The End and The Beginning

I apologize for the lack of progress posts in the past few weeks.  I haven't had much reason to post.  Things are pretty much on an even keel and the program ends this week.

Over the past year many of my friends who have been following this journey have thanked me for my honesty.  That had me doing a lot of thinking about the importance of honesty in a weight loss program.

Accountability is one of the most important pieces of any weight loss program.  Weight Watchers has built an empire on it (although many members suffer a bit of embarrassment at weigh-ins).  In Lean Eating my coach looks at my photos, measurements, weight, and bodyfat percentages and it gets recorded when I finish a daily assignment or say if I did a workout or performed a habit.  I have given myself even more accountability outside the program by telling everyone I know about it and making it a part of this blog.  If I fail, everyone knows about it.

What good would it have done me if I hadn't been honest?  I could have lied on all of my assignments, digitally altered the photos (I could have even digitally altered my "before" shots to look even bigger so my digitally altered final shots would have been even more impressive), and lied about the weights and measurements.  What would have happened then?  Imagine the coaching team coming all the way to my house to deliver the$25,000 prize and they see the same dumpy woman I always was waiting to claim it?  That would have been more embarrassing than being honest about not doing the program.

I did do the program though.  Maybe I didn't do it as well as I should have, but I did it.  I rocked the workouts.  I rarely ever missed one.  I adopted the habits.  It doesn't always seem like my way of eating has changed, but it has in small ways.  Those were enough to make some difference in my body.

When you want to lose fat, the person you have to be the most honest with is yourself.  If you're not seeing results, then you have to take a long look at what you're doing and not doing.  Are you really eating as healthfully as you think you are?  I hate keeping food journals and rarely do it (I have a crazy good memory anyway) but I know they can be helpful for many.  Are you giving your all at the gym?  Could you be making better choices?  Could you be happier with a little less food on your plate?

I promised I would share my results in the end, and so I will.  What you will see is not terribly impressive.  I don't have a super-cut, smokin' hot body.  I still have a belly and some jiggly and squishy bits.  I only managed to go just a little over halfway to my weight goal.  Still, I did something.  I stuck to the program, made something happen, and I never gave up.  I never gained the weight back.  I kept going.  Here I am.

I'll start with the fluffy bunny photo for the Facebook feed.

Here is my Before picture taken January 19, 2013

Weight: 141 Pounds
Waist: 33"
Hips: 42"
Chest: 39"
Thigh: 25"
Arm: 14.5"
Bodyfat*: 29%

And now for the after....

You think I'm going to make it easy on you?

Come on.  Keep scrolling.  I dare you!

I hope I'm not hyping you up for disappointment here.

Okay.  One more scroll and I'll show you...

Weight: 123 Pounds
Waist: 28.5"
Hips: 38"
Chest: 36"
Thigh: 23"
Arm: 13"
Bodyfat*: 20%

Am I happy with this?  Yes and no.  I know I could have done better.  That's why I do hope to keep going with my habits.  I would like to lose another 13 pounds and knock another inch or three off my waist, hips, and thighs. I'd like to go down another bodyfat percentage point.  I would like to keep working on eliminating the squishiness in my midsection (which is still quite evident in the side view photo).

On the other hand, I have spent so many years losing and gaining the same 5-10 pounds and only gaining more weight in the end.  This is the first time in my life I have managed to consistently push my weight down and keep it down.  Part of me says that if I could just maintain this for the rest of my life and never gain the weight back again, I should be happy with that.  All I would have to do is keep doing what I'm doing.  

When I was first considering this program I participated in an open forum with the coaches.  I asked them up front what they thought would make this program any different from all of the others.  I said I had lost weight on other programs and never got very far and ended up gaining it back.  What were they offering me that no one else was?

Do you know what the coaches said?  They said, "You had success on other programs.  Every time you went on a new program you accomplished something.  That's great."

Whenever I look back on other attempts to lose weight, I always see the failures.  I don't look back on the ways in which I did, at least for a short time, succeed.  I hope if anything ever does go wrong and I get off track, I can remember just how capable of success I am.

I am now making my plans for what I'll be doing going forward.  I'm using all of my LE literature to create the kind of butt-kicking workouts I did during the program.  I really do need to make sure I don't slack off in the gym.  I keep a list of nutrition habits on my refrigerator so I know to follow them every day.  I might buy the Precision Nutrition do-it-yourself program.  I also have the possibility of some one-on-one nutrition counseling if my current project is successful (I will address that project in another post to keep this one from being too long).  I'm even thinking that starting in January I will go back and do my nutrition habits every two weeks as if I were doing the program all over again.  I don't have to shell out another 1200 bucks and join the program all over again in order to keep at this.

Would I recommend Lean Eating to everyone?  I would say yes with some conditions.  You do get out of it what you put into it.  The program is designed so you don't feel as if you're putting in too much at once, but the more you pay attention to the habits, the better you will do.  I had imagined Lean Eating to be like a virtual Weight Watchers meeting where a leader and a small number of group members are in constant communication with each other.  I didn't realize there would be over 200 women on my team.  My coach did make herself available and would email every couple weeks to check in on me and give me encouragement, but it lacked a certain intimacy.  I felt that my coach and I never really got to know each other.  I never felt all that much connection with my teammates either.  There were about 10 who were regulars on the boards, but I didn't always have time to sit down at the boards and communicate with everyone.  I had teamed up early in the year with an accountability partner who had a lot in common with me, but she dropped off the face of the earth.  While there were two members of my team who were openly dissatisfied with the program, I don't know how many other teammates were also ceasing to continue.  It's not for everyone.  If you're thinking about it, you just have make the decision to do it.  If it's really not working out for you, they will refund your money. 

The program worked for me.  If it didn't work as well as I had hoped then I think much of it had to do with me.  I was not as consistent with nutrition habits as I could have been.  What I couldn't accomplish on the program is not something I can blame on the program.  The program did its job.  I didn't always do mine.  Going forward I know what I need to do.  I just have to do it.

While I won't be centering this blog around Lean Eating so much anymore, I do hope to continue to talk about nutrition and fitness topics and I do plan to give updates on my own fitness journey now and then.  I have become very passionate on these topics and I want to join that debate.

Onward to 2014.

*Please note these measurements include caliper margin of error.  Rather than have my bodyfat professionally tested, I decided to buy calipers and do it myself and make all of the calculations.  I'm not sure how good I was at doing it.  My thought was as long as I did it consistently each time the final numbers wouldn't matter as long as they're going down and not up.  According to what I measured I started at 29% and ended at around 20.4%.  In more skillful hands, the numbers might be different.  The key is that they went down.  


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