Jul31

My Story Of Physical Transformation

susan-physicaltransformation

While I prepare myself and others for our upcoming Lab on Bainbridge Island, I remember that physical self care is extremely important: strive for at least six hours of sleep each night; drink 64 ounces of water each day; eat just less than what you need to maintain a low calorie diet; be happy; meditate or at least set aside daily time for self reflection.

Below is my story of physical transformation that may explain some of my above tips. How do you take care of your physical self on an ongoing basis? Do you have your own story of physical transformation?

I was an active child, transitioning easily from rigorous activity to intellectual stimulation, from playing tag to reading a book, from riding my bike to playing the piano, in full motion during the days, vivid dreaming at night.

I was an involved teenager, popular & smart, confident & quirky, social & introspective. I rode horses and skied, was a straight A student, played trombone in 3 high school bands, a class officer, and a leader.

I was an insatiable, inquisitive, college student, focused on learning all that was offered, finding the obscure to not just satisfy my intellectual cravings, but to probe the boundaries of my intellect, who also hiked, canoed, windsurfed, and sailed.

When I graduated from high school, I weighed 115 pounds. That was in 1980.

1984 – College Graduation – 125 pounds.

1994 – Wedding – 145 pounds.

2001 – Family Reunion – 165 pounds.

2009 – Family Reunion – 183 pounds.

I’m 5’5″ and 50 years old.

When I looked at the pictures of myself from the last family reunion, I said “that’s not me, that’s not who I am.”

I’ve always been healthy & strong, full of energy & enthusiasm for everyday life. I prided myself on a healthy lifestyle, following a daily regimen of vitamins & minerals, no snacking, no sodas. I ate 2 meals a day, sometimes breakfast, drank water & wine, beer & coffee.

How did I get to 183 pounds, wearing a size 12 (tightly!), giving up on my wardrobe or any sense of style? I said it was the travel – I’ve been a weekly traveller for my career since 1994. I said I wouldn’t make sacrifices for my food & wine experiences. I said it didn’t REALLY matter – telling myself I was still the same person inside.

But, it DID matter. I didn’t like the way I looked. I didn’t like my drab, shapeless wardrobe. So starts my story of physical transformation…

I started slow. No more second helpings of food. Period. I focused on fitness. Being on the road meant hotels at least 4 nights a week, and all hotels I stayed in had a gym.

I started a workout routine. Elliptical & stationary bike, with treadmill for warming up & cooling down. I weighed myself twice a week, using an iPhone app to mark my progress towards my weight goals. I told myself the number didn’t matter, it was fitness that mattered. But the number DID matter.

When I started, I could do 1 to 1 1/2 minutes on the elliptical, 5 minutes on the stationary bike, 5 minutes to warm up & 5 minutes to cool down on the treadmill. That was January 2010. I would add a minute a week, then 5 minutes a month, then “Let’s see how long I can go.”

Once I started to see progress on my fitness goals, I seriously addressed my eating habits. I read all that I could about eating breakfast. And, let me tell you, there’s A LOT out there! And, what I deduced from all this reading is EAT BREAKFAST. It doesn’t matter what or when, but eat SOMETHING before you eat lunch. The healthier the better, but something is better than nothing. So, I started eating breakfast every day.

Being on the road for so long had reinforced my old myths about not eating healthy. So, in order for this to work for me, I had to make a drastic change. Salads only for lunch and dinner. I didn’t care what type of salad, what was on it, if it had dressing on it or not. (I happen to like dressing, so I never skipped it!) And, I didn’t cut out my beer & wine. This had to be sustainable for me.

I met my fitness goals after about a year and a half.

5 minutes – warming up on the treadmill

25 minutes – elliptical

25 minutes – stationary bike

5 minutes – cooling down on the treadmill,

4-5 times a week.

An hour is a good commitment for me. I play around with intensity now, mainly to test what I can do. But, I stick to the hour in duration.

I met my weight goal after about 2 years, reaching 145 pounds and a size 6.

Since then, I’ve lost another 10 pounds and now wear a size 4. I maintain my weight between 133 and 135 pounds.

I still weigh myself multiple times a week. I still eat breakfast everyday. As a matter of fact, it’s my biggest meal because I wake up HUNGRY. I still eat salads for lunch and dinner. (I make exceptions for sushi :)) I have virtually given up drinking alcohol, but for reasons that are more about my mind than my body. I have a renewed sense of style. And, I look and feel fabulous.

I still read a restaurant menu front to back, and look at a wine list. But, I stick to my salads and water. This is my new life. And, there’s no going back.