I am the kind of girl who loves to negotiate. This is especially true when it comes to weight loss. Cursed with high cholesterol and hypothyroidism, I have struggled with weight since my early 20s. I was never the type to follow a strict plan to the perfect body, so for years I bounced around the diet world falling in and out of fitness trends. My workout library grew to consist of five Zumba DVDs, one celebrity diet book, a T25 workout program and yes, even one Michael Jackson dance video. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not dissing Zumba; in fact, I love breaking a sweat to Reggaeton, but none of these methods offered real results. I would get excited about them for a few weeks, lose a couple of pounds, then hit a wall and fall back into old habits.
Everything was too extreme, and when I failed to meet one expectation, it was easier for me to just give up. I realized if I wanted to make a lasting change in my life, I couldn’t go for an all or nothing deal. I needed something with flexibility and a little bit of wiggle room (pun intended) for negotiations. That is exactly what I found in the Your Body Your Life program at the Bellevue Club. Below are a few things I learned during the program that helped me make healthy, sustainable changes to my lifestyle.
1. Substitutions Are Recommended
One of the major components of Your Body Your Life is nutrition. This terrified me. Diet books have never worked for me. Who wants to read how Gwyneth Paltrow keeps her figure, anyway? But in all seriousness, I thought my real problem with diets was that I am an extremely picky eater. Even as a kid, I had to have a certain brand of pizza (Pizza Hut only, Dominos did not cut it). I am a no-nuts, no-frills, meat-and-potatoes kind of eater. So the thought of going on a diet that would only allow me to eat tofu and wheatgrass smoothies put a bad taste in my mouth.
To my delight, the diet plan dietitian Wendy Caamano created was not only easy to follow but also filled with surprising compromises. She asked about my likes and dislikes and made recommendations and substitutions when I expressed concern. She even turned me on to a few new food items I never would have tried in the past. My mother would laugh if I told her my new favorite treat is bok choy! I will admit the program is strict at first, but as it goes on, it allows for more and more options. It was the perfect transition.
2. Personal Training Is Underrated
Then, of course, there is the physical aspect. I used to think paying a personal trainer was like hiring a drill sergeant to yell at you while you did series of push-ups and sit-ups. It seemed unnecessary, and I believed watching instructors on DVDs would achieve the same results. I was wrong. I can’t express the respect I have for my trainer, Casey Brown. Every day with her brings something new. After six weeks, I can’t remember doing the same workout twice. We have done weight lifting, yoga, Pilates, functional movement, TRX and more. She always keeps me (and my muscle groups) guessing, and it is impossible to get bored. DVDs pale in comparison to having a custom workout.
Best of all, my negotiation tactics were also allowed during my workouts. She always pushed my limit and challenged me to go further than I thought possible, but she listened to me when I hit a wall (I am admittedly very high maintenance) and modified exercises to accommodate my needs. I found myself both dreading and looking forward to my sessions with Casey. I knew I would be sore the next day, but after a while the soreness felt more like a badge of honor.
3. Cardio Is Not (Too) Scary
Prior to the program, I couldn’t tell you the last time I stepped foot on a treadmill. I could Zumba for hours, but I never understood the purpose of cardio machines, other than as obvious torture devices. My fear when meeting Melanie Baker, my cardio coach, was she was going to put me on the hamster wheel and leave me to suffer for 60 minutes, rolling her eyes when I collapsed after a half-mile jog. Again, to my surprise, the actual experience was quite different. After learning about the goals and uses of heart-rate training, Melanie showed me different workouts ranging from walking, biking, rowing and yes, running when I was ready. In the end, the cardio component of the program is what gave me the biggest boost of confidence. I now feel like I know how to get the most out of my time with the machines.
4. The Scale Is Skewed
I’m not going to say it was all easy. There were weeks when the numbers on the scale seemed to mock me. “Don’t worry: muscle weighs more than fat.” I did not want to hear excuses. When the number did not move, it was hard to lift my spirits. However, the truth is the scale is only one part of a much larger picture. Upon entering and exiting the program, I went through the InBody body composition test. The test broke down not only my weight but also my body fat percentage, lean body mass and more. Admittedly, it was not pleasant to review the information upon entering the program, but after six weeks, I was amazed at the results. The test gave me a much more accurate body image, and it highlighted all the work I had put in. Now it was my turn to mock the scale: “You lie, scale!”
I would like to say the results were miraculous, that I lost 40 pounds in six weeks. But the reality is there was nothing magical about my performance. The program is based in the real world and gave me the ability to negotiate through life’s day-to-day occurrences. During my time in the program, I had a beer (or two) at football games, missed a training session for a weekend away, enjoyed a nice Valentine’s Day dinner and had a piece of chocolate when I craved it. The difference was the program allowed those concessions, and I got right back on track the next day. Your Body Your Life does exactly what it says. It creates a healthy direction for your life, and your body responds to the change. I am grateful for everything I learned during the program and am excited to keep my body and my life headed in the right direction.*
➸ For more information, please contact the Wellness Department at 425-688-3172 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
* There is also a mental health and wellness coach available as part of the program, although this participant, again, using her negotiation tactics, opted out of it.