i’m ten years YOUNGER!

I’ve mentioned a few times that I do strength training with a personal trainer. It continues to be one of my “ACTION” items this year. I started a little over a year ago. The day after my 43rd birthday (I’m 44 now), I called a nearby gym to arrange personal training sessions.

Why at 43? My mother had a stroke a few months prior. She’s only 22 years older than me. I don’t want to get weaker as I get older. I want to keep up with my kids. I don’t want a handicap sticker on my car. I want to be healthy. Strong. Active.

The hard fact is that I am overweight. I never got back to my pre-pregnancy weight after my son was born. Even though I’ve been overweight all these years, I’ve always been under my own personal invisible panic number on the scale. My whole life (with the exception of pregnancy), I’ve stayed under this number. I knew if I got to this number I would freak out. In 2006, I passed that number by 10 pounds. The number is . . . 200 pounds.

I freaked out.

I’ll break this up into two parts. First, the changes I made (and continue to make) with regard to food. Then, what I’m doing about exercise.


First, I called Jenny Craig. I’m a Jenny Craig “lifer” and I needed help. I went on what I called “Jenny Watchers” which is a combination of Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers. Basically, it is Weight Watchers, but I used the prepackaged Jenny Craig Food. I used Jenny Craig to get back down below the panic number again. I relearned what a portion size looks like. I was reminded to eat something about every 3 hours to keep my metabolism from dropping (it also helps the reflux too). I have a real good understanding of the nutritional info and good eating habits. Now, I am FINISHED with diets. I am just CHANGING the way I eat. Everyday. I can’t sustain a diet for the rest of my life. I need something reasonable I can live with – forever. I’m still learning, trying different techniques and recipes, incorporating new habits.

But I did “Jenny Watchers” for a few months – until summer vacation. It was the first week of August, 2007. I went on vacation at Walt Disney World, ate dinner at the best restaurants on property for 8 days and then didn’t get back to Jenny Craig for 6 weeks. Guess how much I gained after eating Disney food for a week and “normal” food for 5 weeks after that?

I lost 1 pound!

In five weeks. No dieting. Just living normally. After a week of eating DISNEY food!

So no more diets. Just changing the way I eat. The way our whole family eats.

Exercise was next.

I called about personal training sessions. Because I’ve met me. I need accountability. Let’s just say, the trainer at the nearby gym didn’t “get me” and leave it at that. So I called Bally. I joined Bally back in 1989 for something like $2000 (with unlimited tanning, of course) and after paying that off, they’ve been taking $5.33 a month out of my checking account for nearly 2 decades now. The only problem is that I moved a full 30 minutes away from the nearest Bally. But seriously. $5.33 a month. I just couldn’t cancel it. I just couldn’t do it.

So I called Bally. After briefly explaining the reason for my call, the manager asked:

“Do you prefer a male or a female trainer?”

“I don’t have a preference. I just want to maximize my time at the gym. I want to work multiple muscle groups at the same time. I’m not focused on losing weight. I want to be stronger and healthier and I feel like, if I accomplish that, the weight will take care of itself. And I need someone who can help me recognize the line between pushing myself and hurting myself.”

“I have just the person for you. I’ll have her call you when she gets in later today.”

So, later that day, TinyPowerHouse calls me and we arrange my first session.

That was over a year ago and I’ve been driving the 30 minutes to Bally twice a week to let her push me to my limits.

She is SO worth the drive! She’s really VERY good at what she does and a great fit for me. (The right trainer makes ALL the difference!) We rarely use weight machines. We use an adjustable step, dumbbells, weight bars, weight balls, a Bosu balance trainer, a balance ball and my own body weight. I have NEVER worked a lone muscle with her. I ALWAYS work multiple muscle groups when she is bossing me around. And EVERY session, we take it up a notch. EVERY session is challenging. Some might not like that, but I LOVE it. My thought is that if I’m going to pay for it – and make time for it – I’m going to make it COUNT – every time. I even bought a Bosu balance trainer for my house. I already had the dumbbells.

So, you may be wondering. After working with TinyPowerHouse for over a year, how much weight have I lost? Only 5 pounds.


I’m down 10% body fat. 10%! Woooo Hoooo!

I read that we lose 10% muscle mass every decade as we age. If that ‘s true, I’m 10 years younger than I was when I started!

The real benefit for me is that I am stronger. I have more energy. More endurance. I am healthier. My body shape is different. I have visible muscle tone! And when I arm wrestle FavoriteSon, I still win. Although I have arthritis in my neck (an old laptop case/bookbag injury in MBA school), I rarely get into traction anymore. At the advice of my accountant, I asked my doctor if he thought strength training would help my neck. He did and wrote a letter indicating that for tax purposes. I found out I can even write it off as a medical expense through my business!

The speed bump in this endeavor is that on January 9th, Bally closed in my area and now the nearest one is 45 minutes away. So TinyPowerHouse and I have decided to continue working together and I’ll pay her directly. She makes more per hour, I pay less. She comes to my house, and tomorrow I’ll go to the community work out room in her complex. I even bumped up my sessions to three times/hours per week instead of two.

Now to add the cardio for some additional weight loss and to modify my evening eating habits, which currently are sabotaging my efforts. Since reading Simple Steps: 10 Weeks to Getting Control of Your Life: Health, Weight, Home, Spirit, my goal is to walk 20 minutes a day on the days I don’t do strength training – and I hope to sneak in some walking on the strength training days too. Some days, I’ll walk longer. Last quarter, I was up to an 18 minute mile and trying to get in 2 or 3 miles at a time but the block of time it required just wasn’t sustainable long term. I know I need some accountability, so I’m probably going to put a widget somewhere on the right indicating whether I’ve been physically active that day.

I’m not giving this up. nope. not giving this up. It’s working for me.

I do most of my strength training workouts while the kids are in school and my kids are old enough to leave home while I walk around the block (with my cell phone, of course).

But moms of babies? Moms of toddlers? You can do it too!

You can find a gym that has a childcare center – don’t settle for substandard care – and take your kiddos to the gym with you! Or take them for a walk in the stroller – just 20 minutes! Check for a “stroller workout” class in your area by going to www.strollerstrides.com or www.strollerfit.com! Can’t find a class? Try it on your own or with some friends using this workout! Or try a video like Mom-O-Rama Workout With Baby, Mom-o-Rama: Workout with Toddler, Mommy Baby Body Builders or Fitmom Postnatal Workout.

You can DO it!

Want to learn cool tips and tricks from lots of different people? Click on over to Works for Me Wednesday hosted by Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer!

4 thoughts on “i’m ten years YOUNGER!

  1. 10% body fat gone for good — AWESOME!! I’m so proud of you. I’ve maintained my weight for years from “thoughtful eating” as I call it. I have an eating plan but I don’t have an exercise plan worked out (I just kind of wing it) — I’ve been thinking about getting a personal trainer, but wasn’t sure if it was necessary. I think you’ve just convinced me.

    Thanks Julie!! and congrats!

  2. I love the description of Jenny Watchers. I’d have to say that I’m on my own version of South Beach Watchers. Confusing to say the least. What SB calls a perfect meal, WW goes nutso on the points. Sigh. My goal–to maintain and not gain. Plus it rhymes. Next step, onto the treadmill I go, Hi Ho. And another rhyme. Ladies, she’s hot today.

    But in other news, I’ve tagged you for a meme involving a Mom and an iPod. If you can play, please come and do so.

  3. Wow, I am so impressed. Good for you! I just ordered that book off half.com because I think you are right about taking small steps and not thinking about the weightloss, rather living healthier.

    Lisa – WHERE ya been? I’ve been looking for you! Where’s your blog? And it’s a great book by the way! Small manageable steps, but BIG results (by JSM)

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