Dusting away the cobwebs

It’s safe to say I further lost focus and further ran out of steam since my last post in 2014. Otherwise I would have been writing regularly.

What happened? Where to even start?

I’ve been through hell and back. An unlucky succession of jobs where I wasn’t happy, several cycles of depression. Training has often been the last thing on my mind, as fighting to stay alive required all my strength.

But hey, look: I’m still here. I’ve gained weight, but I’ve been able to limit the damages. I’ve gradually picked up running again, and next month I should finish my first 10K in years. I’ve also been a more regular at the gym, as I found fitness classes I actually like (kickboxing and BodyPump especially). I went cycling yesterday, for the first time in at least three years. I’ve also been at the pool a few times. No, I’m not training to finish a triathlon. I’m just training to be happy again.

And in this crazy head of mine, the desire to ‘do something with fitness and exercise’ has been nagging me again. Yes, ‘again’ as I did look into getting some sort of fitness trainer certification in 2014. But by fear or lack of motivation (or a combination of both), I abandoned the idea, stored it safely under lock and key, and forgot all about it. Until last week, when I had a bit of an existential crisis. Do I continue in the same field of work, and end up miserable like I’ve been the past couple of jobs, or do I explore other possibilities? Am I strong enough to start my career over at 42? Is it even the smart thing to do? What do I really want to do with the rest of my life?

So I explored other possibilities, namely options where I could work either as a freelancer or have my own practice. Becoming a fitness trainer and possibly a personal trainer was one of the options. But what do I have to offer my clients as a middle-aged woman who is certainly not the fittest, and who used to be morbidly obese? Experience, I suppose. The “I’ve been there” factor. I’d like to focus on fitness for older people, people like me. And I’d love to offer support and motivation to WLS patients as they become more active. I don’t want to make triathletes out of them — I simply want to share with them the joy that physical activity can bring. Not to mention the health benefits…!

And I did it. I signed up for an intensive course in June, where I’ll (hopefully) obtain my level 1 certification. I’m being carefully optimistic, it will be hard work, for sure. And that’s just level 1. There are so many other courses I need to complete in order to call myself a fitness master!

I’ll use this blog as a journal as I continue on the path of change. And some training and race reports, too. Did I mention I’ve also signed up for an 8K race in and around the gardens of the palace of Versailles in France? Versailles! Imagine that!

Watch this space.



Weight off my shoulders

I’m in my first long-ish weight loss stall since WLS! My scale still indicates I’m losing body fat and gaining muscles, so I’m not worried too much, but I’d be lying if I’d say I wasn’t frustrated… I’m still training  5-6 days per week, a mix of biking, running, boot camp style training and strength training, and sometimes I have trouble seeing the results of all of my hard work. I talked to my personal trainer about my frustration, and he worked up a weight lifting session for me. I thought it was just to boost my metabolism a bit through strength training, but he had actually another idea in mind!

foto 1On this picture, I’m dead-lifting exactly the amount of weight I lost since WLS. It was HEAVY. It was HARD. Then came the realization that I was carrying all this weight around for so long, all day, every day. When you are so heavy, even though you know you are heavy, you don’t really feel it. It creeps in slowly, pound by pound. You feel pain in your joints, your feet, but you don’t really feel the extra weight. It was a great feeling to literally feel the weight come off my shoulders as I put the barbell back on the floor. And then I looked closely at the pictures my personal trainer made and sent to me — and I saw my shoulders and arms muscles. DAYIM! No way I would have been able to dead-lift this amount of weight just 6 months ago. Now I see all the hard work of the past months, now I see it has paid off. And I can tell you, it’s only the beginning!

I’ve also had a very constructive conversation with the dietitian who is following me post-WLS. Basically, I’m not eating enough for the amount of exercise I’m doing, and I’m not refueling properly. The day after a particularly intense training session or long run, I’m always ravenous. I could eat everything and anything, and this usually leads to me eating too much at a time (and reach for all the bad stuff with too much sugar and fat), and my pouch really doesn’t like it! She told me to keep my current diet, but to add recovery snacks high in protein and carbs post-exercise, and always keep a protein shake at hand, so I don’t grab the wrong foods when I feel hungry. I’ve been putting this new diet in practice last week, and I must admit I’ve felt much better. I have more energy when exercising, and I don’t feel like I could eat a horse the following day.

And I’ll definitely keep putting the dietitian’s advice in practice, because my first ever triathlon is in less than three weeks! OMG! I’m staring to freak a little. Scared that I’m not fit enough, that I’m too slow, that I just can’t swim properly… arrrgghhhhhh I know I should stop this negative talk and think happy thoughts, but it’s hard!