Like most Americans, I made a New Years resolution to eat healthier and exercise more in 2018. While it took me a few weeks to put that resolution into action, we started a whole-house Weight Watchers plan in late January. Jason and I had tremendous success with Weight Watchers several years ago and I truly believe it is a weight management program that teaches people to eat in real-life, pragmatic ways for long lasting health. Even after we stopped tracking, I kept the weight off for over a year until I hurt my kneed and needed surgery, when the weight start coming back on. That was compounded by starting fertility medication a year later which threw me into total disarray.
After a month of watching my new Freestyle Points, I had seen modest success. While my weight was coming down slowly on the scale, I really didn’t feel very different. I wasn’t seeing any changes in my clothes or energy. I have a lot of weight to lose and know it’s a long journey, but usually those first few weeks of big numbers (much actually coming from water weight and muscle loss) are very motivating. Every week I found myself dipping into my weekly points quite considerably.
Step It Up
Two related things were nagging me: first, my super high stepping “Work Week Challenge” Fitbit group; and second, my own lethargy. Several of my coworkers and I have a weekly challenge going. Most weeks I’m at the bottom or second to the bottom (if someone forgot to charge or put on their Fitbit for the day). I rarely hit my 10,000 steps a day and finished most days around 8000 steps. Being a teacher, I got most of my steps during the course of the regular work day. I wasn’t doing anything to actively get any addition steps (you know, what most people call “exercise”).
That brings me to my second nagging issue: lack of energy. I was tired when I woke up in the morning and dragging by the end of the day. In my 20s, I had cultivated a true love of exercise and physical activity: running, CrossFit, HIIT, kickboxing, and weights. I realized I was missing that daily challenge to push and motivate myself.
So, three weeks ago I literally started stepping it up. In trying to wean Charlotte, I decided to stop feeding her before I left for work in the morning (calm down, she was asleep and I was dreamfeeding her) and use that time to devote to exercise. I have never, NEVER, N.E.V.E.R in my life been a morning exercise her, but it was the only real time I had to fit it in. I had been waking up at that time for the past year to feed Charlotte since I went back to work anyway, so I hoped I could make the swap.
The first week I moved up to the middle of the pack in my FitBit group – a major accomplishment. I walked our dog every morning before work and was hitting the 10,000 steps-a-day goal. Together, the dog and I played with new routes in the morning, adding more hills and difficulty. I was proud of myself and I felt like I had more energy. When we went away the following weekend, I found myself enjoying walking like I hadn’t in a while. What’s more, I lost 3 pounds.
The following week, I was even more motivated. I had a latent Beachbody On Demand subscription since I had been pregnant, so I logged in with my Amazon Fire and pulled up some of my favorite workouts: Shaun T. I started setting my alarm for 20 minutes early in the morning to get in a T-25 before work. The dog and I started taking longer routes. After a year hiatus, I rejoined my school’s after school Cize group. I felt awesome, and I lost another 2 pounds.
The week after, I decided to check out some addition programs I had available on my Beachbody subscription. After playing around with a lot of them, I decided I needed to make a commitment to do one program. I would set my alarm early for the entire month and do an entire program from start to finish. I’d do every workout, as prescribed, not avoiding things I didn’t like.
While I love Shaun T (like to the point of internet and Instagram stalking), I found something so uplifting and motivating about Chalene Johnson. Plus, her Turbo Fire workouts were metabolism burners and put me on top of my Workweek Hustle. So, starting March 1st, I started kicking and punching my way through the introductory Fire Starter workouts.
Turbo Fire Week 1: Fire Starter
First things first, I downloaded the Turbo Fire calendar from the Beachbody website. I modified it a little to account for the days I had to take Charlotte to day care and have a little less time in the morning. I also wanted to go back to weights at the gym, so I replaced one day with that. Occasionally I also oversleep, so I modify and update for that. Otherwise, I’m doing the general idea of the program. I didn’t even think about doing before photos, and I’m not too thrilled about having photographic evidence of me in a sports bra, so instead I’m providing a narrative of my results after a week:
- Lost 2.3 pounds (impressive since I’ve lost over a 1.5 pounds every week for the past 4 weeks)
- More energy throughout the day – I’m finding I get more steps in, even in class, because I spring up to walk somewhere rather than making the student
- Resting heart rate (a measure of overall health) has gone down 6 bpm, bringing my cardio fitness score to 26 – 30 (poor to fair)
- Changes in how my clothes fit, especially around my mid-line
- Decreased appetite – Intense exercise is usually an appetite suppressant for me. I’ve found that I’m having a hard time getting all my points in a day, a nice problem to have on a diet.
- Most amazingly of all, my knee feels great! Since November, I was had become accustom to clicking and pain in my left knee. I have Synvisk injections in both knees and have had laparoscopic surgery in the right knee. While my knees felt better during my pregnancy and fourth trimester, the left has been getting progressively worse over the past year to the point I was ready to make an appointment to see about surgery again. I really had thought I was just going to have to tape my knees, take Advil, and grit my teeth to get through the work outs, so I’m beyond pleasantly surprised to find such a dramatic turn around so quickly.