Friday, November 28, 2008

The Human Body - My Science Fair Project

I've been trying to think of the best way to share about this past year. Many people have asked about what I've done and how it went, so I figured this might just be the way to share. Gadzooks - a BLOG! Anyway, I'll try to be concise but who knows where this is going to go.

All of my life I've been "10lbs overweight". I remember being as young as 2nd grade and wishing that I were thinner. How sad is that, but true. I'm sure I went through stages when I was thinner and fatter than others. I went through stages where I exercised quite a bit. But I was NEVER happy with the skin I was in. I always felt that I was too big.

For my wedding I did a "cleanse" diet and lost about 8lbs I think. I thought I was looking pretty good - fitting in to maybe a size 6 or 8. I weighed 119 and I don't remember if I was working out at that time or not.

Looking back now on those pictures I still had some work to do. Plus the weight came right back and I was back up in 120s before I knew it.

So, time marched on. Habits continued - lots of ordering food in, going out, snacking and drinking with the neighbors. Had tons of fun.

And SUDDENLY, I was FAT. My size 8s were tight and I was starting to experience heart burn like crazy.

Summer of 2007 and a vacation with the family led to some HORRIBLE reality pictures. I had not been working out, had obviously been eating and drinking like a p.i.g. pig. I made my annual appointment with the doctor.

Reality check on the scale revealed that my weight was 138lbs - and this was after I had kind of started to watch it a little, so who knows what my max weight was - at least 140. I think I actually felt panic at that point. My blood pressure was a bit high and my cholesterol was 207. My doctor was talking to ME about the dangers of being overweight! This was not possible - sure I could stand to lose a few pounds, but having "the talk" with my doctor about how to get this under control.

So. A couple of things happened in the fall of 2007. I decided to get back to the Y on a regular basis. I ran into Mondale, a trainer at the Y one day and asked him why I saw so many people - similar to myselft who worked out on a fairly regurlar basis, but whose bodies had remained the same or gotten worse. He said that they weren't working out with him. So I said "sign me up". Little did I know what I was getting myself in to! At about the same time I also joined a "biggest loser" group at school - a little friendly competition.

My workouts with Mondale started at once a week. We had a goal of getting me in to a bikini in time for Spring Break in Jamaica. The workouts were HARD. He had me lifting more weight than I would have thought possible. We also modified my diet - he tried to get me to quit drinking - I definitely cut back, but never fully quit. By December I had won the biggest loser challenge and had lost 17lbs. I started working out twice a day to get more results. By January I met my first goal weight of 115 and bought the bikini.

It was early February when Mondale started suggesting I think about competing. He said that my body was well suited for a figure competition. That blew me away. It was also at this point that I deadlifted 200lbs and was pretty impressed with my strength. By the end of February I deadlifted 235 - more than twice my bodyweight. I was ready for Jamaica and down to size 2s. I weighed 112 when I went and felt incredible. The very first time in my life where I felt great in a bathing suit - and a bikini to boot!

The summer was devoted to working out...I had 3, 4, even 5 hour marathon days at the Y working out with Mondale and doing his classes. I LOVED it. By July I deadlifted 280 lbs - 2.4 times my body weight at the time.

So the competition diet and training started the week school started. I was petrified, but determined. So many people were questioning why I wanted to do this, it just made me more determined to do it and do it right. And of course, Mondale's version of anything is to the extreme. Initially my diet was about 1200 calories a day - no drinking at all - no simple carbs - no sugar. That wasn't too bad.

So the next 13 weeks consisted of eating a lot of protein and veggies working out, working and sleeping. I got up at 4:45 - worked out, went to school, came right home and napped, got up, ate "dinner" and went back to the Y. My diet changed about every 4 weeks and my workouts just kept on ...

Mondale was such an incredible support. So many nights when he didn't have to be there, he stayed with me to work out and do cardio with me. He reminded me how strong I am and that he had faith in me. Sometimes it was these talks that got me through. Of course there were also the times when I wanted to beat him up because there was no sympathy for how tired I was - I had to "get my mind right" and work through it. And believe me there were times, especially during the last few weeks where I didn't think I could do it.

Scott, poor guy, was also awesome throughout this time. He just basically stayed out of my way, hid any food I might find tempting and tried to be discrete with his wine. He also took over walking the dogs and let me have the car with no complaints every day. I honestly was kind of a walking zombie.

Family and most friends were also supportive, having to hear about this journey every time they talked to me - they put up with it and encouraged me. They understood why I didn't want to go out for lunch, dinner, or any kind of socializing at all. Some questioned why I would every want to do this and perhaps thought I was crazy and a bit selfish. And perhaps it was a bit of both. Where I found a lot of support was my friends at the Y and also SparkPeople.

Mondale told me that there would be days where I felt like the power had gone off and I was running on the last bit of a back up generator. SO true. Honestly, there were days I had to pause walking up the stairs. I just didn't have the energy. Towards the last few weeks, having cut calories even more I really wondered if I could do the workouts. But from somewhere I found the energy. I missed a few "two a days", but did not miss one single day of working out.

During this time, I watched my body transform yet again. I consistently lost about 1 lb a week, but the muscle definition started to show through. By the time I had 4 weeks to go things were looking pretty good. Students at school kept asking why my veins were popping size 2s were too big...I could see where this was going.

So, anyhoo, the weeks went by - and finally it was a week away. I had tanned, waxed and gotten my nails done. We had practiced posing a couple of times. I went through two days of liquid diet and a few days with very limited calories. On Friday we got up and I ate my last meal of egg whites and broccoli. I went to the Y for one last workout, came home applied another coat of Dream Tan packed up and we were off to beautiful Dekalb.

We checked in to the Best Western and our room was FREEZING - I tried to nap but was too cold. We eventually changed hotels because the room never warmed up. Friend Yvonne and Paul came by and we chatted for a while. Scott went out for a beer with them and I went to bed.

I of course got up early on Saturday to start getting ready. We applied the last coat of tan, I put on my make up, did my hair and we were off to the Egyptian Theater. Scott helped me find a room kind of tucked off in a corner to set up shop. I shared with a couple of really nice girls which was great.

The whole experience seems a bit surreal now. Masters Class was first out, and I was first of the Masters...ugh. Mondale was HILARIOUS ... he was yelling the whole time getting the crowd going (thankfully, because otherwise it felt like I was on stage in a library). I of course turned the wrong way ....then they called me back out for my T walk and I didn't have any idea what was going on. Novice Class A was directly after that, then Open Class.

Between the shows I went back to the hotel and layed down. Ate my pudding and waited. For the evening show I was much more relaxed. Knowing that most of the judging happened during the first part made it a little easier - and knowing that I could eat whatever I wanted in a matter of hours also helped.

The results were Master's - 3rd, Novice - 3rd, and Open 5th. I would have liked to have been awarded higher than that - at least in Masters and Novice - but it is what it is. Am I happy with how I looked? Absolutely. Do I feel like I did the best I could to prepare? Absolutely. Will I do it again? Absolutely. The plan is to compete at Jr. Nationals in June.

In the past week I've gained 12 lbs and stuffed myself with all kinds of crap. I'm ready to get back to eating a good, clean, healthy diet now and get back to being strong.

And that's that......a bit longwinded, but it's been one heck of a ride!