Minneapolis Woman Proves That Age Isn’t Slowing Her Fat Loss Progress Down…

by Megan K on July 27, 2012

Stephanie

“Up until a little over a month ago, I had been telling myself that my failed attempts at losing weight in recent years was due to the fact that I was “getting old”.  I turn 40 next year, and I just assumed my metabolism had slowed down and I was doomed to live the rest of my life as a member of the rapidly increasing population of obese Americans.  I decided that life was unfair. I had been in great shape through most of my 20′s and I had no trouble staying at a healthy weight then.  
I gained weight when I had my daughter, and when my first marriage was unraveling because I used food to comfort me, but I lost it all in subsequent years when I joined a popular diet program that focused on food tracking and eating a low-fat diet, where exercise was optional.  If you exercised, then you could consume the calories you burned while exercising.  So, I would exercise just so I could eat more.  I thought it was great.  At that time, my fridge was filled with every fat-free and diet item you could imagine.  However, once I reached my goal weight, I stopped tracking and started eating “regular” food again, because honestly, I love to cook and love food that tastes good and the fat-free and diet foods just didn’t taste all that great and didn’t leave me feeling satisfied.  Needless to say, the weight started to creep back.  
I got remarried two years ago and the pounds continued to pile back on as I focused on spending time with my husband and daughter, bought a house, survived layoffs in the economic downturn, and endured increased work stress.  Eating right and exercising were no longer big priorities for me.   So, I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised when I weighed myself one day to find that I was back at the weight I’d been at when I was at my heaviest 8 years earlier.  I joined a gym, but I’ve never really liked working out on machines while staring at a TV or a blank wall, and would rather run outside than on a treadmill.  After months of not making use of the membership, I finally cancelled it.
This past winter I resolved to try to get fit again. I bought workout DVD’s and set up a small workout space in my basement.  I resolved to get up at 5:30 every morning to work out. That resolve lasted for a couple of weeks, but as time went on it became easier and easier to hit the snooze button in the morning and tell myself I would work out the next day, because there’s always tomorrow, and I only had to be accountable to me.  I had gone back to eating fat-free and diet foods and managed to lose about 10 pounds over a couple of months, but as soon as I returned from my trip, I stopped exercising and tracking what I ate and regained the weight I had lost.
About six weeks ago I saw pictures of a co-worker’s wife on Facebook and it was very noticeable that she had lost weight.  I asked him what she had done to take the pounds off.  He said that his sister, his mother, his soon-to-be sister-in-law, and his wife were all going to sessions led by a trainer several times a week and they were totally hooked on it.  I had to find out more about this addicting workout, so he put me in touch with his wife to get the details.  A few days later I met Megan, and that’s when things changed.
I remember being nervous about trying out my first “booty” camp session because I didn’t know any of the women besides my co-worker’s wife, and I had no idea what the class would entail.  I had heard horror stories from other friends who went to boot camp classes where the instructor would yell at you and get in your face military-style during the class.  I definitely didn’t want that. Then, Megan introduced herself to me and my fears were laid to rest.  Picture a petite red-head with an ear-to-ear grin who exudes positive energy.  This is Megan.  Definitely not a drill sergeant.
Most of my exercise up to this point in time had been in the form of running.  I rarely worked out with weights because I was of the opinion that the fastest way to lose weight was by doing heavy cardio workouts.  So, I felt a little clumsy during the first session as Megan led us through several series of kettlebell, dumbbell, and core exercises.  She explained every exercise before we did it, whether you were a newbie or had been going to classes for three months.  I could tell that she was very interested in making sure we all had the proper form so we didn’t injure ourselves as she gave suggestions while we were doing the exercises, and offered modifications for those with existing trouble areas.  Plus, there was no yelling, unless you count the occasional outburst as someone was pounding out their day’s frustrations on the tractor tire with the sledgehammer.
I was very pleasantly surprised to find out that all the women were very friendly.  I’m not sure why I expected any different.  I mean, who has time to judge when you’re focused on getting the right form for your push press?  Plus, I never got the sense that there was any sort of unspoken competition going on to see who could use the heaviest weight for their kettlebell swing, or who could do the most push-ups in the one minute interval.  In fact, the motto in Megan’s class is work until you’re tired, take a break, then start back up again.  It’s not about pushing yourself to the limit and beyond so that you end up with an injury, never wanting to workout again.
The sessions are a lot of fun, and they’re different every time.  You may be doing the same type of exercises, but never the exact same set of exercises two days in a row, and not in the same format.  Also, as time goes on and you find yourself getting stronger, maybe using the 12 pound dumbbell for your front row just isn’t that much of a challenge anymore, so you just pick up the 15 or 20 pound dumbbell and keep on going.  The workout can be as easy or challenging as you want to make it.
After attending a couple more sessions, I decided that I was ready to make the commitment to attend three times a week, because I was already feeling better after just two.  One month later, I’m happy to report that I’ve lost 15 pounds and am down 15 inches!  I’ve never had those kinds of results working out on my own because it was always so easy to skip my workouts because I didn’t have anyone to be accountable to besides myself.  I’m also learning that taking body measurements and calculating body fat percentage are more accurate representations of your progress than the number on the scale.
The other big eye-opener for me that has also greatly contributed to my results and continued weight loss was information that Megan shared with me about the types of foods that are key in attaining overall good health.  She challenged me to commit to following her eating guidelines for two weeks.  I could then see how I felt and decide if I wanted to continue eating that way, or go back to the way I was eating before (but tracking food in both situations and staying within a certain number of calories).  Her plan consisted of removing processed foods from my diet by eating foods that are minimally processed and organic.  This results in ingesting fewer carbs, fewer added sugars, fewer chemicals, and increased protein.  I stuck with the plan for three weeks actually, and have kept on going.  I haven’t had a can of pop in six weeks, I stopped drinking coffee and started drinking green tea, and I’ve actually saved money by cooking more at home instead of going out to eat.  I no longer buy fat-free or diet foods because I started reading the labels and realized that they usually contain more artificial ingredients and sugars or sugar alcohol to make up for the lack of taste caused by removing the fat.  The food I eat now is pure and simple, takes less time to prepare, and leaves me feeling satisfied, and just feeling healthier overall.
It’s been hard work, but it’s been very rewarding.  I still have a long way to go to, but I know that I’ll get there with Megan’s support and the support of the other women in the sessions.  Also, I’m looking at this as a permanent lifestyle change instead of something I’ll follow until I reach my goal.  The first and hardest step for me was deciding to make my health and well-being a priority. Now I realize that using my age as something to stand in the way of attaining better health is just an excuse, because I plan on being healthier at 40 than I was at 39!”

Stephanie Plate Press

By Stephanie Westhoff Minneapolis, MN

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