Friday, September 30, 2011

And The Winner Is...

This past Sunday marked the end of our most recent Biggest Winners session. We had our Amazing Race workout with Black Team versus White Team. The concept was show up in either black or white and that would determine what team you were on. It was 12 black and 7 white but that just made it more competitive.

Meet the white team...
and the black team...

I have to say BW's Amazing Race is waaaaaaay better than the TV show - not that i've really watched it enough to be the best judge - but hey i'm a little biased. #1 we don't eliminate people #2 well us BWs are just STRONG and can do anything we put our minds too and #3 I really think that our hosts Michele Shorter & Carol Morrison are just plain better than Phil Keoghan. The race was full of plenty of challenges, carpools and even a yield. Lots of squats, lunges, and just hard work by everyone made it another awesome final workout. It was a close race right to the end but black beat us by a few seconds - way to go everyone!

Now onto the most exciting new from Sunday, the question everyone wanted to know, who was the Biggest Winner? Im so proud to say that Molly was crowned Biggest Winner for this session, not only did she lose a significant amount of weight in 12 weeks, she broke a long standing Biggest Winner record along with another lovely lady, Jana (stay tuned for that amazing story). Molly lost an incredible 48lbs and 53 inches in 12 weeks. This was Molly's first session with us and I remember her first day, she looked terrified, now she exudes confidence every time she is in the gym and is a shining example of dedication. Molly allowed me to interview her for this post and get some insight into how she did this. Reading her responses to my questions literally brought me to tears. I could see so much of how I felt/feel in what she writes. I think you will have the same response when you have to hear what she has to say.

But first here is Molly before...

and Molly after....where'd you go?? Oh that's right you left it on the floor of BDHQ

Now some insight into the lovely Molly..

How much weight have you lost to date?
To be honest, I’m not even sure! There was a long period of time where I didn’t even think about venturing near (let alone onto) a scale. The last time I weighed myself before joining BW was just over a two years ago. I had been watching a season of the Biggest Loser (sitting on the couch eating ice cream, most likely) and wondered how I stacked up. I knew I was the heaviest I had ever been, and feared that I had probably tipped over the 300lb mark. Needless to say, I was stunned when the scale read 386.5lbs. So, from that mark, I’m down 95.9lbs. Which, wow, I didn’t realize until right now! I started this past session of the Biggest Winner at 338.8lbs and am now at 290.6, so 48lbs of that 95 has come in the last three months.

Why did you start?
I started because I made the mistake of telling one of my close friends about BW and BDHQ and she forced the issue! It sounds silly, but it’s actually true. I saw an ad for BW and casually mentioned it in conversation to both her and my mother. Little did I know, that was the beginning of my journey. All of a sudden I had a message on my phone from Michele Shorter of BDHQ inviting me to come in for a meeting to talk about the program! My mother had made a call to the studio, and had given Michele my cell phone number in the process. I was mortified, pretty upset, and most of all terrified. I managed to ignore two or three (or maybe four...) messages from Michele until my co-worker & close friend Yvette caught wind of what was going on. She came and sat in my office in the middle of our workday and proceeded to very successfully guilt me into calling Michele back and setting up a meeting for the next day. Yvette came with me to meet with Michele, (probably because she knew if she didn't, there was no way I would go) and before I knew it I was signed up for the session of BW starting a few days later. I’m still not sure how it all happened, but I’m awfully thankful that I had someone in my corner to give me a little (or really big) push to get started! (As a side note, Yvette’s now coming to 6 studio classes a week with me at BDHQ, so she wasn’t all talk!)

How long have you struggled with weight?
I’ve struggled with weight for all of my adult life. Growing up, a number of members of my family were overweight, although it wasn’t something I was particularly conscious of. I was a fairly serious ballet dancer, and consequently never had to worry about working out or eating healthy. My family moved often, and my early teens were spent switching between countries and parents. My dancing took a backseat and I put on weight, but again, didn’t really pay too much attention. A few years later into my teens, I was in a hit-and-run accident that killed my father and left me with a number of serious injuries. It took months for me to be able to hold a pencil, so dancing was obviously a thing of the past. I was depressed but not willing to admit it, and began to put on weight rapidly. By the time I was in high school, I was well over 250lbs. I tried a number of diets with no success, mostly because I wasn’t willing to put in any kind of effort, and eventually just resigned myself to living my “new” life as an overweight person...Until this year!

What inspired you to start BWs?
Well, I already told the story about how I was not-so-gently nudged into starting...But I know that regardless of any outside influence, I had to be ready to make a change in order to actually stick with the program. I didn’t know if I was in fact ready or not, but I knew that it certainly wasn’t going to make things worse. My mom had been fighting an incredibly tough battle with breast cancer, I was working 65 or 70 hours a week, drinking a ton of coffee and a fair amount of bourbon, and smoking way too many cigarettes. I was on a pretty quick path to disaster, and knew that something needed to change. I figured the worst that would happen is that I’d waste a little bit of time & maybe I’d be a little bit sore, but at least I’d get away from my desk for a few hours a week. Little did I know...! I also remember reading this blog during one of the sleepless nights I spent worrying before I started BW and being completely amazed by your journey, Bri. There was a little part of me, right then, that started to hope that maybe, possibly, I could do it too. So, thanks for that!

What keeps you coming back?
I had to think about this one, because there were so many possible answers, but the short version is I come back because I love it! I never dreamt I’d be saying that about anything that involved exercise, but it’s true. I love that my body is changing, I love feeling stronger and seeing improvements from one workout to the next, I love finally feeling like I’m making proactive choices and having some investment in my own health and well-being, and I love the people who I get to travel this path with. The support from folks in the BW program and all of the trainers at BDHQ is truly amazing, and they are often a big part of the reason I can convince myself to get out of bed for those 6am sessions! I’m constantly inspired by the people that I workout alongside who are working so hard to change their lives, and I’m always motivated by the trainers who are working just as hard to help us make that change. The generosity of time, knowledge, encouragement, and compassion from everyone involved is absolutely incredible.

What is the hardest part?
The hardest part for me is the “head” stuff. I know how to eat healthy & I know how to work-out. It’s certainly not easy to do those two things by any stretch, but it’s also not rocket science. It’s the mental & emotional work that needs to happen in conjunction that makes me want to flee quickly in the other direction! I’m not the most “touchy-feely” person in the world, and most of the time I’d rather listen than share my own thoughts or feelings. I spent many years working as a social worker, and got really excellent at talking about other people’s emotions without ever having to go near my own. I’m finally beginning to realize that, in addition to all of my hard work in the gym & in the kitchen, I’m going to have to do the hard work in my own head to succeed in the long run. I’ll admit that the thought of that still quite seriously terrifies me, and I can think of about 1,000 reasons not to do it in any given moment. I’ve got a long way to go, but it is one of my goals for the next session to at least start thinking about it (if I don’t chicken out...)
Molly, I can totally relate to this, you are absolutely right the head stuff is HARD, and it is one of the hardest things for me still as well. Just know that you will make those changes slowly and before you know it you will be an entirely different person both inside and out.

If you could go back in time and talk to yourself before this process what would you say?
I’d tell myself that it’s not too late! It is possible, and it’s worth the work. Or, maybe more importantly, I’m worth the work. I spent a lot of years not caring; about myself, about my health, about anything in general, really. I was numb, and I was focused on surviving...or so I thought, at the time. I’ve realized now that I was just self-destructing in a painfully slow way. It breaks my heart to look back at all of the years I wasted, but I’m also incredibly thankful that I’ve started to figure it out now, instead of 20 years from now or too late altogether! I’d tell myself that reaching out is the best thing I could do, finding support & getting uncomfortable, as unimaginably hard as it may seem at first, will actually make things exponentially better. I’d tell myself that it’s a long process, and that it’s hard process, but that it’s so much easier in so many ways too. Easier to walk down the street with friends, easier to get out of bed in the morning, easier to chase after kids, easier to just be alive! And I’d tell myself again, as many times as it took, that it’s worth it.

Molly you are wise and you GET IT. I can see that you know this is a journey and you will conquer this battle. Thank you so much for being so open and honest. Don't think of the years you wasted, they make up who you are and they are creating this journey you are on now. The most important thing is you are choosing to make this change and are committed to it, keep up all the amazing work and keep inspiring us all.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Getting Organized

I've found myself very overwhelmed this last week. School, work, pressure, failures, the list goes on and on. You know when you just have one of those weeks where everything just seems too much? That seemed to be my week. I was going through the motions and doing what I was supposed to do but feeling overwhelmed with everything which is not like me. On a positive note I was down 2.5 lbs this week and finished this session of Biggest Winners at 178 which is below my 50% goal. Now the key is to stay focused and on track this week while we are "off". Really, we are never on a vacation from our health but this is really the closest you can get. I also need to try to prioritize better this week and not let myself get overwhelmed. This is going to mean I need to be organized today, finish my homework, write out my schedule for the week and JUST DO IT!

I started my hot yoga Groupon this last week and actually started to enjoy it. I've done hot yoga before, and really didn't like it at all, but when the Groupon is $30 and I was going with a friend I figured i'd give it another shot. I went with my niece Madison on Tuesday night, she was just extremely flexible as i'm struggling to hold my leg up but you know she's a teenager and well i'm not :). Needless to say I was pleasantly surprised to be down 1.5 lbs the next morning and to be able to maintain that. Nicki joined me on Thursday night for another class. I think the difference between this time and the last time is that well apart from the obvious that I am much smaller, I could actually feel a difference. I had kind of pulled or strained my hamstring a few days before because it was so tight from all the running. After doing just one class I could feel it was much loser and didn't hurt as much. Though I still can't say that i'm addicted and love it, but I can say that I can see a benefit from it and will actually keep doing it for the rest of the Groupon. This week since there is no Biggest Winners I will probably try to go a few more times.

I will also need to do a couple of runs this week in preparation for the 1/2 marathon but I am done with the super long distances now and can just do smaller distances. I do feel ready though and excited to run it. My goal is 2:20 and I think I can totally do that.

Now it's time to get organized and on track for the week: prep food, do homework, do laundry, clean house, organize email/blog. I know I will feel less overwhelmed once that is all done and I can relax for the rest of the day.


Sunday, September 18, 2011

Summer Bucket List: Grouse Grind

With summer drawing to a close I feel like it was here and gone so fast. Really the weather didn't start to get nice until August this year so that has alot to do with it feeling so short. I have to say though that this has been the most amazing summer, not only because I completed 9 out of 11 items of my summertime bucket list but mostly because it is the first summer EVER that I was actually excited about it being summer. Every other year I have actually dreaded summer, it meant wearing less clothes which meant showing my body and showing everything I disliked about myself. Summer used to mean feeling embarrassed to walk down the street and wishing I was able to wear the cute clothes that all my friends were wearing. Not this year!! This year I was actually excited, this year I knew I was going to fit into those cute clothes and enjoy all those activities I wanted to do which was a huge part of why I created my bucket list. For those of you who need a refresher, my bucket list involved the following items:

#1: Go to Wild Play and complete the Monkido course
#2: Go Ziplining again at Adrenaline
#3: Rent Kayaks
#4: Day trip to Vancouver to complete the Grouse Grind
#5: Day trip to Vancouver and go to Playland
#6: Go tubing up at Lake Cowichan
#7: Go hiking a few times: Mt. Work, Mt. Wells, Mt Finlayson, Mt. Doug or any other reachable places around the island
#8: Run around Thetis Lake and swim to the island as a cool off
#9: Ride my bike for some short day trips around Victoria
#10: After work BBQ`s & badminton/bocce at Willows Beach
#11: Do the indoor climbing at Crag X Climbing Gym

I successfully completed all those items except for #5 and #6. After my attempt at going on rides at the Saanich Fair I axed the idea of going back to Playland. The tubing, it just never came to fruition, but I have nothing to complain about. I really did so much this summer, it was like cramming in all the fun things I always wanted to do into 3 months. Yesterday was the last item of my bucket list that I checked off. Nicki and I headed to North Vancouver to conquore the Grouse Grind. For those of you who don't know what it is let's just say it's nickname is "Mother Nature's Stairmaster". It is a 2.9KM hike up an to an elevation of 3,700 feet involving 2,830 stairs. Here we are just about to start our hike...
The hike starts ok. Apart from the fact that it was pouring rain out, you think "bah we are strong, we can do this" as you have people running past you. As we pass the half way mark we're making good time and stop to take a photo.
Suprisingly we are still looking kind of all right at this point, wet, but all right. The second part of the hike get's harder as we get higher up in elevation. And as we get into the last 1/4 of the hike it gets increasingly wet and steep. I said it was like hiking up a shower. Literally I could feel the sweat pooring from my forehead but by the time I got to the top I was just drenched in water that all the sweat was gone. Here we are at the top, I just love Nicki's picture so much it captured exactly how we both felt at that moment.
We were both freezing cold and exhausted but made our way inside to grab a hot latte and try to get some feeling back in our hands. Luckily we didn't have to walk down the mountain, we took the gondola down. We were two drenched rats inside the gondola with the nice dry people who took the gondola up to the top. Once we got to the bottom and to the car the rain had STOPPED!! Well the only good thing about that is that we were able to get dry and changed since we had just had a shower :). We headed off to Richmond and checked out Ikea. I bought nothing but Nicki found some cute pillows for Gavin's room. We ate lunch at the River Rock Casino and were planning on getting a massage but were too tired, yes too tired for a massage. We were both just DONE and needing to get back to Victoria. It made for a lovely day, but long. A long day, and a long list of accomplishments/challenges this summer...maybe this means I need a fall bucket list?? hmmm..

Saturday, September 10, 2011

How do you define being healthy?

It was a busy, long week this week. I started my class at Camosun on Wednesday. I was by far one of the oldest people in that class, it was quite strange. I got there early and picked a seat and just watched high school play out again, but this time it was quite funny since I didn't really care about what anyone thought this time. I think most of the people in the class had been in high school together and just graduated. I'm looking forward to getting into the class and getting into a routine which will happen this week. But sitting in that class at having high school flash backs got me thinking about everything I've done over the last three years. I know I am proud of myself, but then I still have a hard time reconciling my outer appearance with my inner appearance. What I mean by this is, I see pictures of myself and think "wow i'm so small now" but I see myself in the mirror and I think "you still have a long way to go". So how do I be okay who I am now and reconcile this in my head? The bigger question is how do I define being healthy?

On Thursday I went to the doctor to get my test results from my latest blood work and asthma test. He confirmed for me that yes I do have asthma, but there is nothing that can be done about it I just have to manage exactly how I have been. He told me I have awesome cholesterol levels at 1.8, with ideal being 3. He confirmed for me that I do not have the hereditary blood clotting disorder that I was concerned about which could have been giving us issues conceiving. He has now given us the referral to the fertility doctor but also reassured me that everything is normal. I felt good going out of there and feeling like everything was taken care of which allows me to just focus back in on training and losing the last of my weight.

So back to the question, how do I define being healthy when I still feel like my body isn't where I want it to be?

#1: I recognize that I have amazing cardio endurance, I can run for 18KM, I will run a 1/2 marathon, I can do double classes.
#2: I make healthy choices and recognize why it is important to do so
#3: I can recover fast, even when i'm working through asthma
#4: I would rather be outside, being active, then being inside all day

All these things I can do are my definition of being healthy, regardless of how I feel about where I am at on the scale, I know the bottom line is that I am healthy. So ask yourself, how do you define healthy? Regardless of if you are at the beginning or end of your journey the fact that you are on a journey defines the fact that you are choosing to be healthy and that is something to be proud of.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Just Keeping Busy

I'm sitting here with thoughts of donuts and chips and food swirling in my head. The internal battle of food versus strength is currently happening inside my head which is why i'm writing because i'm doing anything I can possibly do right now to remind myself that I don't want to walk down those stairs and eat a large blizzard or consume the large bag of chips that is sitting in my cupboard.

Unfortunately I didn't measure up to par to get the promotion I had applied for, but I can deal with that and move on because I have come to realize that is the nature of working in the type of job I work in. The problem was coupled with the news that I had failed on the work front I had again failed on the home front. You know same old story that happens every month and same old disappointment. Today was extra hard though because I had just been to see Stephanie's beautiful baby girl yesterday and left that hospital room so proud and happy for her but at the same time so sad for myself. I reminded myself that when it is the right time it will happen, but that talk gets old really fast.

So as I was coming home from work all I wanted to do was sit on the couch and wallow in my sorrow. Instead I told myself how good I will feel if I just exercise, the cramps in my stomach and my emotional cramps will subside if I just work it out. My dear Tonia took me on a little adventure run around Mt. Doug and I knew after about five minutes in that everything was going to be okay. Like I said before, I have never been disappointed in a workout, I just have to start and get myself there.
I know I must remain positive and be grateful for what I have, my health, a home, a wonderful husband and amazing friends. So I will keep myself busy and go to bed early to avoid the chips and ice cream that are calling my name. I will stare at this picture of the old me and remind myself that I never want to be that way again.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Goodbye Long Weekends

Oh long weekends how I love you. And now it's my last :( well for awhile. I will no longer be on 4 day work weeks, instead i'll be back to 5 days with two of those days being short days. I know it's all worth it, but it's kind of sad because I really loved my long weekends. Starting Wednesday I will officially be a student again, WEIRD!! I'm starting back at Camosun taking accounting two mornings a week so I will go into work late those two days. No more lunch time workouts for me, but I can now fit in some morning ones at least. My schedule will come, i'll figure it out over the next couple of weeks as I see how the school thing plays out.

But let me tell you about how this weekend went. Friday was my glorious rest day, oh how it was needed after the 18KM run. Saturday John and I went to outdoor bootcamp at Beaver Lake for fitness tests. I could defiantly tell my legs/hips/body were not healed from the 18KM because I ran my fastest 1K in 5:45 and I felt like I was going to die after that. Really, I know I could have done better if my legs were fresh. After bootcamp we went with Nicki and her boys to the Saanich Fair. Let me tell you I am no longer 15!! or even 19!! The berries did me in. I don't think I've ever actually felt like I was going to be nauseous and could not contain it. I closed my eyes and tried to concentrate on other things for what felt like the longest 2 minutes of my life. And after that I was pretty much done for the day. Heat + Berry Ride = Not a happy Bri!! Sunday was Biggest Winners in the morning with not such a good weigh in, I was up 0.5 lbs, but really I don't care at this point because I know its a side effect of all the running. You would think that running would help you lose weigh, well not when you are running for 2 hours and putting that much stress on your body. My body is retaining fluid like crazy. Sunday afternoon we headed out to Beaver Lake and had a nice relaxing afternoon. Today I had the pleasure of meeting the beautiful Keira Elizabeth Pringle - congratulations Stephanie & Jordan so happy for your new addition.

Following my squishy baby time, and containing my emotions, I headed out to Thetis Lake with Kristine & Gina for a lovely swim to the island and back. Let me tell you, that was the freaking hardest thing I've done in a long time. I swear it was easier the last time I did it, and I was 60 lbs heavier - fat floats apparently. That 40 minute swim was a HARD workout, I was even having an asthma attack but made it. Overall it was a lovely, gorgeous weekend but back to work tomorrow and back to a full time work week for the next three months.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Run Forest Run

Just finished 18KM. The longest run in my training before the half marathon in October. I have to say this has been the hardest run, not only because it's been the longest distance, but because it felt like every step I took was difficult. I really didn't want to run at all today. All day at work I was trying to figure out how to get out of this, but in my head I just kept telling myself "if you don't do it today you're going to have to do it tomorrow". So I knew I just had to do it and get it over with. A 2 hour time commitment which really takes up your whole evening. Thank god I have John to run with me because I don't think I would be running this alone. Today he was dragging me.

We ran from our house down Government towards Fisherman's Wharf and around where the TC10K route goes. We ran along the water all the way basically to Oak Bay which was 9K and then turned around and came back. I had to mentally break it down into my head into the first 5K and then getting to 9K and then 10K and then well I only have 8K left. It's an exhausting mind game the whole run while i'm trying to pretend that my legs are not throbbing and my stomach isn't eating itself. After the first 30 minutes I started using my fuel which was these Gu Chom things, lets just say basically they are sugar, but they are supposed to balance your electrolytes and keep you fueled when you are working out over 1:30. So then my mind game became, well every walk break I get to eat candy!! Not that I should be using food as a reward but hey whatever works to get me to that walk break. I can't tell you how happy I was to see the inner harbor though, it's that point when we're just so close to being done - and then it was like an out of body experience as we sped up to get this thing over with. We got it done in 1:58 - that puts me right on track to reach my goal of 2:20 for the half marathon.

So where is the positive in all of this? That is what i'm thinking while i'm just running and running and running...I'm thinking really why on earth am I doing this? Am I crazy? Well i'm probably crazy, that's what most people tell me, but this is my goal so i'm not going to back down. I though about how even just last year I couldn't do this. I thought about how strong my legs were to enable me to run this distance. I thought about how grateful I am to live in this beautiful city as we run along the water. I thought about how I actually really do love to run, just not during those two hours today. So all I can say right now is that I am never ever ever disappointed in a workout as i'm not in this one. I may have to force myself through it and I may whine and complain but when it's all over i'm ALWAYS happy I did it. Also it means I get my rest day tomorrow.

On a really random note, Facebook says that on this day in 2009 apparently I was drinking Starbucks cream liquor. I have to say that sounds pretty good at this point and might just make the throbbing pain in my legs go away.