Sunday, 12 July 2015

6 months with the personal trainer (with photos)

Time sure flies when you are pushing yourself to work out every day.  And by "flies", I mean, of course, "passes predictably with the rotation of the earth around the sun". 

It has snuck up on me, but believe it or not it has been 6 full months that I have been working with the personal trainer, Mr. Fitness.  We have had 23 sessions in that time and the only missing sessions have been planned in advance around our respective holidays - - I am pleased to say that I have yet to cancel one of our workouts, no matter how little I look forward to some of them (high intensity intervals, I'm looking at you!).

My objective in working with the trainer was to help me break through that plateau that had me trapped cycling in the 200-210 pound range, and to help me to be stronger and more toned.

On a purely numerical level, we have achieved positive results.  I have lost more than 20 pounds since I began working with the trainer (although I confess to giving up some of these losses thanks to my recent trip to PEI with the Nerd).  Rather than the low 200s, the 180s are now my easy set point.  Getting lower will take still more discipline and work, but it is very achievable given the results I have seen so far.

As for my measurements, these appear to be stabilizing.  With the trainer I have lost around 12", to bring me down to a size 12-14 (in pants, skirts and dresses) and a M (in shirts and tops).  I still struggle with my own self-image as a "big girl" so I find it difficult to believe that a size medium top will actually fit me, but time and time again when I chicken out and default to the large I discover that those tops are too big for me.  Eventually I will learn to accept the reality that I am a size medium.  In the meantime this means that the Nerd and I actually wear the same size tops, so I can steal his clothes.  Tee hee.

The body shape is where I see the most difference:

My biggest frustration at this point is with my loose skin on my arms and belly.  Sadly, there are sequellae to being super-obese, and loose skin is one of them.  It is not ridiculous and obvious like some people experience - - I don't have giant flaps of skin hanging everywhere - - but there is definitely excess tissue making it impossible to tone as much as some other people.  I am very happy with the tone that I do have, though, and where I am less toned, like my belly, I like the suggestion of tone, assuming that is the best result I will see. 

Some nice changes I have noticed since I first began working out: I enjoy wearing colour more than I did before.  Although I still wear an inordinate amount of black, that's more because it's a very flexible colour for a professional wardrobe rather than the camouflage that it used to be.  I now preferentially seek colour for outfits, and this is a nice thing.  I am embracing colour as I come out of my shell with my weight loss. 

Another change: I do not dread body hugging clothing any more, and in fact I am more likely to go out of the house in yoga pants and an exercise top than ever before.  When I was heavier I believed in the magic of layers, which is poor magic at best.  Almost no one looks thinner by adding layers, but that it the delusion under which I laboured when I was heavier.  Eventually I will feel confident when I wear workout clothes out of doors, but for now I am glad to have the option. 

Another, more profound change: I am no longer automatically the biggest person in the room.  In fact, I am just as likely to be considered "average".  This by itself gives me confidence because I know that people are much less likely to be judging me by my food choices or making assumptions about my intelligence or work ethic because of my weight (sadly, this is a thing that happens, and happened to me).  Sure, there are still jerks out there, but as a more stereotypically "normal" looking person I can blend into the background in a way that I never could when I was heavier. 

A friend said last night that I am the same person I was when I was heavier, I just look different on the outside - - my essential inner core remains the same.  This is true.  But people make so many judgments on the outer package in this world that even though I am the same person, I am viewed differently.  People at the office are surprised to look at photos of me from my heavier days because they do not associate me with "a fat person".  News flash: I was just a "person" - - the weight was not the defining factor.  Now, at least, it is less of a distraction.

So six months in with Mr. Fitness and things are progressing nicely.  I am pleased with my results and don't see changing my routine anytime soon.  Our Thursday grueling workouts will continue, holidays and vacations permitting.

Here's a gratuitious photo from our holiday in PEI, taken in front of the Confederation Bridge: