I have been contemplating writing this blog for awhile and trying to decide how in depth and how far back I want to go. Today feels like a good day to sit down and write it with the end of Body Back. It marks a monumental day and, as meaningless as this statement can really be, the first day of the rest of my life.
So now the long history of Kate's fitness... In elementary school/high school I was involved with sports, but never very good at anything athletic. Where I grew up sports were pretty much the only thing to do that was extra curricular. They took anybody to play because there weren't enough people to fill teams as it was (I graduated with 14 in my whole class). My senior season of basketball, before the season had even started, I injured my knee. I had an MRI and they didn't find anything. I tried a couple of times to go back to playing, but the knee never felt right and I liked being bench cheerleader. Skip ahead to college. I had a membership to the gym, but didn't go a lot. I wasn't really focused on my health in college, but I had fun! After school I started working and it all went downhill. About a year after my wedding I hit my all time high in weight. It was a weigh in at a doctor's office that took me by surprise, there was no way I weighed that much! Not only was my weight out of control, but I really wasn't happy. My exercise routine was simple - we walked 2-3 times a week with the dogs, but we also ate poorly and had late night snacks all the time. I have a picture I would like to share that is my NEVER AGAIN!
At that point I decided I needed to do something and joined a gym. I did really good for about 3 months and along with South Beach dropped about 20 pounds. A trip to Jamaica for a friend's wedding was my motivation. After my motivation was gone, and at this point my knee started really bother me too, I slowed way down on the exercise. Luckily I had made positive changes with eating and was able to maintain. I went to see a doctor because my knee had started this annoying habit of popping out of place when I would put weight on it or bend down. It turned out that I basically didn't have an ACL in my left knee. Apparently my old basketball injury wasn't serious when it happened but after years of walking and some exercise the injury just magnified. So in October 2008 I had ACL replacement surgery. Then a month later I was laid off from my job. I looked at it as a perfect opportunity to work on me. So I got a personal trainer and worked out 4 days a week. We did mostly weights with very little cardio and had a very strict diet plan. I lost 25 pounds in 13 weeks. Then came the move to Arizona. I didn't know anybody and didn't have much to do so I decided I might as well go find another job. I was so sure that I was going to keep up with working out and wasn't going to slip back into old routines. But work, especially at a computer all day, is hard on my body. I was tired at night and didn't get into an exercise routine right away so I lost momentum there. I tried to stay healthy with food, but it too started slipping. The biggest culprit was all the snacking that I do when I am bored, stressed, or just generally sitting at a computer all day. I had gained back 15 of my 25 pound loss within a five months.
That brings us to pregnancy. I was laid off again from my job and found out two weeks later we were expecting. So I decided that instead of finding a meaningless job or leaving after a few month to be a stay-at-home mom, I would start early. I didn't gain a lot during pregnancy, only about 25 pounds. Which was amazing seeing as how I spent most of the pregnancy with my feet up or napping. While pregnant I tried searching for a pregnancy workout class but didn't find anything. What I did find was the website for Stroller Strides and bookmarked it for later (little did I know, but I would have been welcome at SS pregnant). After Lilah came I lost 15 of my 25 pounds and got stuck. Here is a picture from right after I started Stroller Strides.
Let me just tell you - Stroller Strides is the best thing I have ever done. Not only are the instructors amazing, the workouts challenging, and the classes fun, but it has brought friendship and camaraderie, understanding and empathy, and a place I always feel welcome and accepted. When I started SS I was barely able to run from station to station, always taking the low impact option during exercises and sore after EVERY class. After six months I had built up my cardiovascular strength, gained muscle tone, and lost 10 pounds. But I still felt like I wasn't reaching the level of fitness that many of the others seemed to have. Being surrounded by lots of fit, confident mommas all the time left me feeling defeated some days. But other days, when I was able to complete a hard workout, I felt so good about myself and I wanted more of that. That's when Kelly announced she would be starting Body Back. This program, also created by the founder of SS, was more boot camp style, no kids allowed, included a diet portion and was 8 weeks long. Before we started I was scared to death. What had I gotten myself into? Was I going to be able to keep up or was this just going to be another case of trying my hardest to come in last? It felt weird to be doing something that seemed so selfish and would take time (or me) away from my family. From the first day this program was different. Somebody was watching over my shoulder if I slipped, but it was mostly up to me to make it work for myself. I put myself on a strict diet, followed instructions of working out at least 5 days a week, which included the 2 mornings of Body Back boot camp. I shook my head when Kelly would say that a session of Stroller Strides wasn't enough for one day's workout (she had to be kidding - they were strenuous!). Our early morning workouts included fun things like flipping tractor tires, running over 4 miles with a 4 lb ball in our hands, getting a taste of army life from a retired sergeant, and running up hills with boulders. These sessions left me spent but somehow full of energy and drive for my day (ok, maybe not every day). Each workout session also included some sort of meditation and reflection. It was a roller coaster - an emotional journey shared with me by 10 amazing women. But it worked! I have never been in shape like this. I now go to SS and (don't tell the instructors) but it is almost, dare I say it, easy. I can go out for 3-4 mile runs, my heart rate is up, but I am not breathing hard. I have energy that I haven't had in years. I get things done. I have a smile on my face more. I face each day with a better attitude. And finally, I lost weight and am seeing numbers on the scale that I haven't seen since high school! I ended up losing 22 lbs over 8 weeks, over 12% of my weight. And I did it for my family. I did it for my daughter. And I did it for ME! I end with a picture from today. Hopefully the next time you all see me, be it tomorrow or in a year, I will only be more fit, more trim, and happier!