“We’re not like you,” a friend told me a few months ago. “We’re not the active type.”
I didn’t know how to respond. I’m not that kind of girl either, never have been. In fact, the only sport I’ve ever actively participated in regularly — until recently anyways — was channel surfing.
Me? Active? That’s laughable, I thought, even though I knew deep down what made my friends think I was suddenly an active person. Because, well, I am an active person now. But that doesn’t mean it was easy (it’s still not easy). And it wasn’t something that happened overnight or because I wanted it to. Not in the sporty sense anyways.
I’ve always been a pretty lucky girl. Naturally thin, with a high metabolism meant I could eat anything I wanted and not gain a pound. After I turned 20, that began to change, but I also started to smoke, which helped keep me thin, even though I ate like crap and never exercised (climbing stairs was a hassle for me, let alone doing anything actually active).
But after quitting smoking three years ago, my body slowly began to really change. I could no longer get away with my crappy eating habits, but I did nothing about them. A year ago I’d frequently eat lunch at the office cafeteria, then went back in the afternoon for a bag of chips, some candy, or a chocolate bar (sometimes it was all three).
My clothes were starting to get tight, but I blamed them on my boyfriend not using the washer right and shrinking them. Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt, folks. Heck, I wasn’t just a resident of denial, I was its president. Until one night just over a year ago when I stepped on the scale. The number that stared back at me was one I had never seen before: 165.
When I picked myself up off the floor. I knew I had to do something to change. I had to try this time. If I didn’t, I worried I would be headed down a really, really bad path.
So I signed up with Booty Camp Fitness. Earlier last year, I signed up for an eight week session, but dropped out after my third week. This time, I vowed, would be different. I’d only sign up for four weeks, not eight. I’d do my food journal and eat better. Things would turn around for me.
The first night of each session, your instructor measures you and weigh you. My inches totalled 225, while my body fat percentage was 21.4%. Not pretty numbers.
The morning after my first two sessions, I felt fat and disgusted with myself. I got up at 5:30 a.m. to run, thinking running would be a good additional activity. After all, just six months before all this, I had run my first 5K in 38 minutes. I could run off this weight, too. Or so I thought. This was my reality:
Those numbers are a little hard to read, so let me break it down for you. 2.2 kilometres in 21 minutes and 22 seconds. An average of 9 minutes, 21 seconds per kilometre.
At that rate, nothing was going to ever change.
I could have given up. I could have decided that I wasn’t good enough to try to change. I could have accepted that my body was the way it was, and I should just buy bigger clothes and get over it.
I could have done a lot of things. But I didn’t.
I stuck with Booty Camp for another month. And then another. Soon, I signed up for an additional six month renewal that would take me to my first anniversary with them and my instructor, Jannah, a woman who went above and beyond in coaching and encouraging me.
She gave me eating tips. She pushed me when she knew I could do 10 more burpees, even when I didn’t want to. She corrected my form when she knew I could do it the right way, even though it hurt. She cheered me on every Tuesday and Thursday night. I didn’t want to let her down.
In those first four weeks, I lost five pounds. By January, I was down four more. My inches were up and down, but I was trying. I was eating better than I ever had in my life. I worked hard to bring my lunch to work as often as I could. I cut back on breads and carbs (except for when I was on a week-long cruise in Italy, then I had pasta every night). I stopped adding sugar to things — coffee, tea, cereal. I drank less. I tried kale and quinoa and any superfood I could get my hands on.
Last month, I signed up to do Run for the Cure, so I started running again and used Nike+ to track my runs as an incentive for me to hit the pavement. Two weeks after the race, and I’m still running (this week I got out three times so far!). I’m also still Booty Camp-ing.
I missed the entire month of September due to work and other commitments on Tuesday and Thursday nights, so I was nervous about going back and getting measured. But I knew it was important to do in order to see how far I had come.
My inches totalled 214.25 — I had lost over 10 inches in a year (three on my waist alone! Two off my hips!). When I got home, I stepped on the scale. I never thought I’d be so happy to see the number staring back at me: 150.
I’m still eating better than I used to, I try to watch my alcohol consumption and I am active, but not because I’m an active person. Rather, I’m active because I wanted to make a change in my life. So I did. It’s not easy to go to Booty Camp every week or get out there and run 5K in a morning, but I do it because I don’t want to accept the alternative. Not yet.
If I can do it, so can you.