Who’s that Stranger in the Photo?

My family including my parents went on a lovely vacation to Maui, Hawaii in October 2009—a family favorite locale that we’ve enjoyed for many years.  After the trip, I was back home reviewing the holiday photos with the intention of selecting one for inclusion in my traditional photo calendar. Now, while I knew that I was chubby at this time…I was quite frankly shocked by the photos of myself on the beach.  To be clear, I am not a candidate for The Biggest Loser.  But my “chubbiness” or really fatness had transformed me into a woman that I didn’t know.

Looking at one photo after another I saw:

  • A woman that had bad posture
  • A mid-forties gal that looked at least 10 years older
  • I looked tired and frustrated

Reflection time…these photos reflected the image I was projecting to others, which was scary.  Not the typical high energy, can do, positive gal that I consider myself and am generally (I think) known to be.  The seeds were being sown for change.

Coincidentally my friend, colleague, mentor and former “fat guy”, @KirkMac, who, by the way, is now an 8 time (and counting) Ironman finisher, including Kona, mentioned a book that contributed to his personal transformation Younger Next Year, by Chris Crowley @CrowleySpeaks www.youngernextyear.com  and Henry S. Lodge.  Being the supportive guy and fitness focused individual that Kirk is, he gave me a copy of the book for Christmas 2009.

Loved the book, if you haven’t read it I’d highly recommend it to anyone that is interested in optimizing health and fighting the general “decay” (yes, that term is used a ton in the book) that comes with the aging process.  In a nutshell, Younger Next Year speaks to the physiological benefits that result from vigorous exercise…not the “ho-hum am I done yet?” type of exercise that I mentioned earlier.  But, the kind of workout that gets your heart pumping and sweat pouring, the kind that taps into those endorphins that people love to talk about.

New Years resolution time…2010

As we all know, resolutions that tie into January 1st have a very low level probability of sustained success.  Still it was that time of year and an opportunity for me to jump into the deep end of personal transformation.

The Back Story…

A little background seems appropriate to set the stage.

As with many women, including my Mom, I have for much of my adult life struggled with weight and body image.  This resulted in several costly and sometimes painful outcomes:

  • Yo-yo weight fluctuations
  • The “scale” became either my friend or adversary depending on what was displayed
  • Diets and deprivation; food became both the “enemy” and the “reward”
  • Infrequent, obligation-based exercise—we’re talking ho, hum time-based “am I done yet?” type workouts
  • Self image and personal satisfaction with self-image became associated with which size pants I was wearing
  • Enough different sizes in my wardrobe to fill a small boutique
  • Feeling like the ugly step-sister, when on a weight upswing which was becoming more often than not

It was generally all or nothing.  Not a toe in the water, either all-in or all-out.  This cycle was based upon DIETING.  I personally hate that concept as it a fraud…for me it meant:  Diet and lose weight, stop dieting and gain weight, diet and lose weight, stop dieting and gain more weight.  A vicious and unhealthy cycle that I needed to stop for both my physical and emotional wellbeing.  A myopic focus on the numbers displayed on the scale…was a focus on the wrong thing.  I needed to shift my energy and focus to becoming FIT & HEALTHY.