I really, honestly cannot believe this whole thing actually worked. Let's get the "before" pictures out of the way and I'll tell you why.
My mitral valve had quit regurgitating. I was technically at a healthy weight for my height, according to all the charts. My pant size was in the single digits (barely). But my abdomen and upper thigh area, they were not making me happy.
I thought this was simply the price of getting older. I was a woman in my mid-40s who'd given birth twice. A certain amount of "middle-aged spread" was to be expected, right? I have long since made peace with getting older; I like the authority that age brings. I don't mind being called "ma'am". I've come to terms with the fact that most of the professionals I deal with these days were born after I graduated high school. I put on my big girl pants and then went out and bought slightly BIGGER big girl pants, figuring oh well, I am THIS size now. That's okay. That's just what happens.
Then I went bra shopping and found out that I had become a bra size not really found in nature (or at the mall). Worse, while I was able to find bras that fit (at one of those hardcore expensive lingerie shops where they meticulously measure and fit you for everything), I was squishing out the backs of them. Not in a That Bra Is Too Small way, more in a That Back Is SO SQUISHY way. Standing there in front of a 3-way mirror in jeans and an assortment of underpinnings while a 23-year-old size 2 fussed about helping me adjust straps and hooks and tuck in my back fat, something broke in me. I was no longer willing to accept my middle-aged spread. I knew exactly how I'd gotten it (mindless snacking and cocktail drinking before bed) and I became determined to get rid of it.
And, well, I did. Here are the "after" photos, taken yesterday.
- I joined SparkPeople and used the free tools there to come up with the number of calories I should be eating and how much I should be exercising every day in order to lose the weight by my target date (which isn't for a couple of weeks yet). My rate of weight loss ended up being less than a pound a week. So, you know, I wasn't starving or anything.
- I used the SparkPeople nutrition counter to log EVERYTHING I ate and drank. I did this for about a month, at which point I felt like I had a handle on how many calories were in the things I ate most often, what my serving sizes should be, and which of the things I ate most often were better choices than the others.
- I bought Jillian Michaels's 30 Day Shred DVD (okay, I dug it out of the drawer where it had been hiding since I bought it a year or so before) and I ACTUALLY DID IT. It was very, very hard at first. I had never been so sore or sweated so much in my life. I had to do the modified versions of pretty much all of the exercises. I felt stupid and slow and unfit and out of shape and a little bit maybe like I was dying. I thought, "There is no way. This is for younger, more fit people. I can't do this." But I kept trying and pretty soon, I WAS DOING IT. I was even doing some of the advanced versions of the exercises! After putting in the full 30 days (not all in a row; I usually took weekends off) I realized to my astonishment that not only was I well on my way to losing the pounds I wanted to lose, but my body was starting to change shape. That had never, ever happened and I did not anticipate it at all.
- I continued eating sensibly and after I finished the 30 Day Shred, I started alternating weeks of doing Jillian's Ripped in 30 and 6 Week Six Pack DVDs. I not only went down a couple of pant sizes, I went down a shirt size! And, er, probably a couple of bra sizes, too. After finishing Ripped in 30 and 6 Week Six Pack, I started alternating No More Trouble Zones and Banish Fat, Boost Metabolism.
I have become such a huge believer in weight and resistance training during the course of this thing. Like I said, I was hoping to lose weight, but I did not at all expect that my body would change shape so dramatically. I figured maybe I'd go from looking 5 months pregnant to looking 4 months pregnant, but hello, I DO NOT LOOK PREGNANT ANYMORE! My thighs are smaller, my hips and bust are smaller, I have lost nearly 4 inches off my waist. My jiggly back rolls are gone, and my upper arms are noticeably firmer. This is something that running/cardio alone was never able to do for me.
So yeah. Yay me! I am proud of myself.
Now if only I could take charge of my mental/emotional health the way I have my physical health. I guess that should top my list of goals for autumn, eh?
This is not a sponsored post. All products/services mentioned were purchased by me with my own money. I received no compensation of any kind apart from a SMOKIN' HOT BOD. Heh.