Countless conversations with clients, perspective clients, friends, students, coworkers, gym buddies, and online acquaintances have been bouncing around in my head. I, like many people, say “I can’t because…” a lot. Lately, it stops me in my tracks more than I would like – and I’ve blogged about my personal challenges with this strong woman training already, so I won’t digress. I’m repeatedly told, even by people close to me, who know exactly how I’ve done what I’ve done, “You’re different. It’s easier for you.” It’s like they see the results and forget, or won’t acknowledge, the work. (We all do it – remember that kid who got an “A” in math class that we all assumed was a genius? Now I know differently. That kid probably spent HOURS in my classroom when others were over at Burger King NOT doing homework.)
This isn’t easy for anyone. I don’t have the challenges others have, but I also know people with what seems like insurmountable obstacles who have accomplished more than me. I was just a regular, middle-aged, busy woman – who got a kick upside the head. I’m lucky it was just a kick and not a funeral. Women I know have died while being ‘regular, middle-aged, and busy”. So when I come off as harsh and insensitive to “reasons” – it’s because I know this shit can kill you.
July 2006: I joined a gym. I don’t remember what my weight was at the time, but I know I didn’t feel good. I have no pictures of myself from that time. I used the three personal training sessions that came with that new membership. I remember telling the trainer that I wanted to learn how to lift. She spent a lot of time showing me how to use bands. I got frustrated and quit. (Knowing what I know now, there was nothing wrong with what she had me do, but she didn’t explain to me the purpose of those exercises and how it I would transition into more traditional lifting. She probably trained everyone they way she liked to train – not uncommon.) But my little spark of motivation died and I let life provide all kinds of reasons why I didn’t have time. There were other things I wanted to do that weren’t going to be so…painful and embarrassing.
March 2009: The ER visit. My health deteriorated in the three years I was busy not taking care of it. I was on high blood pressure meds, had high cholesterol, and was at risk for a bunch of life-style induced chronic illnesses by age 47. One Sunday afternoon, my anxiety level was high, there was a sharp pain my chest, and I was dizzy. I asked my husband to take me to the ER. Considering my overall condition, they kept me there for several hours, hooked me up, ran tests, and began to rule out the worst. They determined it was an anxiety attack – this time. The “this time” was emphasized. It was clearly explained that a woman my age, with my physical condition, was smart to come to the ER that day. My soul heard that. I knew I was on borrowed time. My copay on that visit was $1200. Add to that the monthly cost of blood pressure meds…add to that more meds that were on the horizon… it became obvious to me that money was going to be spent to treat a health crisis if I didn’t spend it to prevent it. I didn’t know what I was going to do, but the decision was made. I was going to change.
And then I waited a couple more months. Typical.
June 2009: I got a gadget and an angel. School was out for summer vaca and I was at the gym doing cardio. Looking down at the desk, I saw the table of gadgets – Bodybuggs. I pulled out a credit card and left with one. For me, that was the corner that needed to be turned. I remember finally putting it together in my head.
Let’s throw some money at a solution. If I invest, I won’t quit. I won’t waste my money.
I didn’t even pretend I would be able to figure this thing out on my own. I signed up for the phone coaching they offered at the time (which they don’t have anymore, which sucks, but I do something similar for my clients now). My Bugg Coach was Kim. Her task was to teach me about the device and how to use the website interface, but what she really did was teach me how to eat. We became friends and are still friends now. I listened. I implemented. I asked questions. I followed directions. I trusted. I did what I was told and I got results. Who would have thunk it?
March 2010: Stalled. While Coach Kim and I remained friends, she had a personal health crisis that forced her to quit coaching. After working with her for six months, she set me up with a LOT of knowledge about how to eat clean and I felt I was able to handle it on my own. But there was a problem. I knew I needed to lift, but my insecure butt stayed on that treadmill. I looked down at the weights, but I was afraid. I’m sure I was more afraid of looking stupid than of getting hurt. From June 2009 until February 2010, I had lost 40 pounds, but then I stalled. I knew something needed to change. My membership at the gym I joined in 2006 was paid for and has a really low annual renewal, so I had some wiggle room financially. I joined a second gym – the local YMCA – hoping that change of scenery would be helpful. Met with a couple trainers at those gyms, but while both were very nice women, neither one had the background knowledge I needed.
“Two types of people in this world; proactive people who are constructive risk takers and people who are passive and complain about things.” ~ Coach
June 2010: Hired a boy trainer and started this blog. OK – Nico might not like that, but I was old enough to be his mom, or he could have been one of my students – in fact, he was referred to me by one of my former students – so that’s how I saw him at the time. I decided that to learn what I wanted to learn, I needed to be trained like a 30 year old man. Never mind that I was a 48 year old woman. And I knew I needed to pay for this because it was how I took things seriously. More charge card action – not happy about it, but I also promised myself I would not quit, I would not surrender, I would not let my inner “responsible adult” or other responsible adults around me talk me into making compromises* that I knew would derail me down the road. I had quit for the last time.
*The way I see it, we all have priorities on how we spend our money. I don’t shop – if size changes force me to get new clothes, I go to thrift stores or Walmart. I didn’t have my first manicure until this summer for show prep – and I probably won’t keep that up much longer. We don’t eat out. I shop at a discount grocery store. We don’t spend a lot of money on gifts. We don’t take vacations, hardly ever spend gas on day trips – so yeah. Sacrifices have been made.
I’m not going to continue with my little autobiography here because the blog started in June 2010. The rest of the story from June 2010 until this week is all here for anyone who wants to know. People want easy, fast answers – there aren’t any. Sorry. What I’ve done – and continue to do – for my own progress, well it changes because my body has changed. It changes, then it adapts, so I have to change something, it changes, then it adapts, then I change something… you get the idea. But while the science is complicated and fascinating, it’s not necessary to have a complete understanding of it to do this thing. The people I paid to help me taught me a lot, but I could have learned on my own. What they did for me was more than that – they were my accountability, my coaches, and my “accelerator” when the rest of my life was acting like a big set of “brakes”.