“Incredible change happens in your life when you decide to take control of what you do have power over instead of craving control over what you don’t.”
Steve Maraboli ~ Life, the Truth, and Being Free
Four months ago I sat in an orthopedic surgeon’s office waiting for results from an MRI of my back. In reality I didn’t need the procedure to tell me what I already knew.
The doctor walked in and proceeded to inform me that although I am 45-years-young I have the back of an 85-year-old. I won’t bore you with all the medical mumbo jumbo but suffice it to say I had a better understanding of why I am in constant pain.
The next logical question from me was how do I deal with it? I walked out of her office with a prescription for an opioid painkiller, a pat on the back for the instinctual changes I was already making of moving more and being less stationary in my life and advice that I needed to lose weight.
To be clear I was not offended at all by this advice. In fact, I was prepared to hear it before it was said. I knew in the back of my mind that losing weight would be the primary treatment for the pain I was experiencing. It is simple science that weighing less would put less stress and strain on the joints and muscles in the human body.
However, it doesn’t make any of that easier to hear ~ especially when you have been in this position before.
For those of you who might be reading my blog for the first time and who might not be aware of my journey, I was previously successful in losing 150+ lbs utilizing exercise and proper nutrition. My motivation for doing so was very well captured in this Times Colonist article in 2012:
When I left that office, I knew what I had to do. The biggest differences between now and when that article was written were the physical challenges I had to work around.
Since losing weight the first time I had experienced trauma from a bike accident in November of 2015 that left me with 3 fractured bones in my back and the added toll on my body of an ankle fusion just 3 months after that.
While I could have easily let these issues become an obstacle I instead allowed them to ignite a fire I had not felt in some time. This forced me to examine the last year of my life and I came to the stark realization that I had really lost a part of me that had been found previously. This loss was strongly reflected in my blogging ~ or rather lack thereof.
Shortly after that appointment my dear friend and long time bootcamp instructor Sue Killin from Victoria Bootcamp decided to launch a three month transformation challenge. I readily hopped onboard.
My first weight-loss journey had, for a large majority, taken part at Victoria Bootcamp so I knew I was in good hands. I was part of a community that supported and encouraged openly and without judgement.
The challenge started at the beginning of October. My initial weigh-in, measurements and timed fitness test only confirmed what I already knew. The wind in my sails had been knocked out but I was determined to let the winds of change blow and set me on course again.
Start of Challenge
I dove into the challenge head-first, going from attending only occasionally to attending 4-5 times a week. In addition to the classes I rode my bike as much as humanly possible. I was grateful following the accident that I was able to work within my fear of riding again. My bike provides a form of exercise outdoors that otherwise I would likely not be able to achieve. It also fills a void that not being able to run has left behind.
A little bootcamp humor!
As I progressed through the transformation challenge I would face each weigh-in with baited breath and each week would be the same. The numbers on the scale were not budging. I was frustrated with the process but I never gave up. If anything the lack of movement with my weight drove me to work harder and better. I reached the point that when weighing in I wouldn’t look at the result anymore as I knew it would only set me back.
I was so wrapped up in my previous experience of losing weight and watching the numbers steadily decline when weighing in that I neglected to see what was happening to me in other areas. The first sign I had that things might be changing was when a friend from bootcamp commented that my face was looking slimmer. I chuckled inside when she said this and laughed it off. I still put so much value in those numbers even though I have preached to so many that those numbers, our weight, does not define us or provide self-worth.
Along came December and Christmas and with that the final weigh-in, measurements and timed fitness test of the competition.
Before I share some of my results with you, I will explain the fitness test. It was comprised of 5 squats, 5 push-ups and 5 burpees done as many times as we could in 5 minutes. Completion of each exercise was a point and that point would then be multiplied by the number of rounds that we managed to do. So, for example, if we managed to do 4 rounds of each one it would be 3 x 4 = 12. In my case my burpees needed to be adapted due to some physical limitations I have with the movement.
What was accomplished in just under 3 months blew my mind:
Starting Score: 21 (7 rounds)
Ending Score: 35 (10 and a half rounds – 3.5 rounds more!)
Chest – 50
Waist – 44.4
Bellybutton – 45.1
Hips – 48.2
Chest – 48.75 ( -1.25 inches )
Waist – 43.5 ( -.9 inches )
Bellybutton – 43 ( – 1.90 inches )
Hips – 47.8 ( – .4 inches )
Although I know my starting weight going into this was approximately 219 lbs I am unaware of what my end weight was as I mentioned before that I had stopped looking. I chose to stop putting so much value in the increase or decrease of my weight. Instead I decided to focus on the fact that over those three months I had started to find myself again. I knew going into this that the weight I was at was not healthy for me and was negatively impacting my health physically and emotionally and undoing that damage was all that mattered.
My confidence is returning and I feel like I am walking a little taller. Physically I am noticing changes to my energy levels which have suffered as a result of chronic pain. I feel like improvements that impact my daily life are being made all the time. I do feel that my clothes are starting to fit differently as well which is often a better gauge of progress than anything else.
The thing to take away from all of this is that even though I didn’t realize it at the time things were changing. I was getting stronger and my body was responding even when I thought it wasn’t.
We have entered a new year and I know so many of you out there will have made a list of goals and resolutions, some of which I’m sure are a mile long. The biggest piece of advice I can give you is that even when you think no progress is being made… DON’T GIVE UP! Sometimes real change is not so easy to see!
Wherever you are and whatever you are doing I wish for you the ability to work towards to your relationship, work or other goals while being kind, caring and compassionate to yourself. I hope that you start to see beyond the numbers as I have started to do. Most of all I send you all love for your journey in 2020 – wherever that may take you.
Photo Credit: 2014 Photoshoot by Armando Tura