Experiments in fitness, health & life: a new starting point

In my last post I think I mentioned that I have an experiment in the works.

If I didn’t mention it, let me say it now. I have an experiment in the works. 😀 It’s already in progress, actually.

Here’s the deal:

I’ve been out of commission for a while, because of 2 injuries (a groin pull — OUCH! — and an ankle injury). The ankle is still pretty tight but less painful than it used to be, so I’m going to keep doing the physical therapy exercises my doctor gave me. But I’d also like to get serious about my workouts again.

Last year over the course of about 5 to 6 months I had made it through Tracy Anderson’s Metamorphosis workout (a 90-day DVD program) and about 50 days of Continuity (the next phase of the program) and lost almost 40 pounds. I found a lot of benefits to Tracy’s workout, but between the 2 injuries and a month dealing with my first mammogram and a subsequent breast cancer scare, I had to stop working out for about 6 months and ended up gaining back a little over 10 pounds.

With all that stress, plus some other personal things I’ve been going through lately, I really need to get moving again. It’s good for my energy levels and overall health, both physically and mentally.

Truth Time

I currently weigh 280 pounds. If you’re doing the math from two paragraphs up, that means my top weight at the start of the Metamorphosis program was 310 pounds. Yeah. Either number, not good at all. But there’s so much involved with how I got to that point, so let’s leave that for blog posts of their own and move on for now.

At this point, I still have about 140 pounds that I want to lose. Maybe if I’m being conservative, I could lose about 120 or 130 pounds. But the main goal is for 140 pounds to be gone. That’s half my weight, which is (obviously) a very daunting journey ahead of me.

Given my height of 5’5″ I obviously could go lower than a goal weight of 140 pounds but for me right now losing 120 to 140 pounds is going to be difficult enough.

Ideally, I’d like to get down to a weight of 160 and then reassess how my body is doing, what shape it’s in, all that sort of thing. If I feel like everything is in great shape regardless of the number, perhaps I’ll stay at 160. But if I feel like I want to and could do more and am fired up to do so, then I’ll keep going and try to reach that 140-pound weight goal.

The Issue

Tracy’s program tackles a lot, it’s an amazing challenge, and I’ve seen many people get in terrific shape and achieve great success from her approach. This is why I chose to try her program in the first place. Even I managed to lose 40 pounds and see some changes in my shape over the course of about 6 months, following her techniques, but it was tough. And I don’t mean “tough” like I’m whining because it’s a challenging workout and I should just suck it up and get it done. I mean doing that program can be tough because the pace can be too fast and some of the moves too intense for someone with a lot of weight to lose (a lot being, say, 75 pounds or more to lose).

Let’s get real. Some moves, you just can’t do when you weigh 250 or 300 pounds. When you weigh that much, body parts can be extremely heavy to wield. Sometimes modifications are required until a person’s size goes down. What is beneficial or simply challenging for one person may be too much for another person, depending on their size and level of physical fitness. It’s not safe and can cause injuries, if you aren’t very careful. Hell, it can be challenging for someone who’s at a semi-normal weight but doesn’t do much exercise. It all depends on the individual.

Therefore, while Tracy’s Metamorphosis program has some amazing benefits (and I want those benefits, I want to be able to sculpt my body into better shape and physical fitness, which is why I want to stick with her particular approach to workouts), at the same time her program doesn’t always offer considerations for people who have a lot of weight to lose. At least, not at this time. I do hear that she’s got a ‘beginner’s program’ in the works. We’ll see what happens in the future with that!

In the meantime, I think each person’s health journey is so individual, and size, shape, physical fitness level, previous injuries, health concerns, all these pieces need to be taken into account. For women who have a lot of weight to lose or who are coming off of injuries (or in my case, both), a slower, gentler approach might be needed at first. And I don’t mean ‘slow’ like “Come on, are you even working out?” You can still work hard and sweat a lot, while moving at a pace that is safer for your size or physical fitness needs.

Right now, given my size and need to be careful so that I don’t re-injure myself, I’m going to try a different tactic.

The Idea

I recently viewed Tracy’s set of 9 DVDs entitled The Pregnancy Project. What’s impressive to me about this particular workout is that Tracy takes her time with each move, explaining everything thoroughly and taking into account the needs of a pregnant woman as her body changes from month to month.

It’s my theory that the same approach might benefit a non-pregnant woman who has a lot of weight to lose.

I like Tracy’s more careful approach in her Pregnancy Project workout. In each of those DVDs, it seems as if she takes into better account what it feels like to be carrying a lot of weight on the body and have heavy legs or a big belly. So even though I’m not pregnant, I feel like this particular workout might be a better re-entry into working out, for me or someone my size. (At least, until Tracy comes out with a workout with more modifications and takes such issues into account.)

Back in January I watched each of the 9 DVDs (one for each month of a woman’s pregnancy). It looks like some of the moves are on hands on knees but in the later trimester Tracy also offers moves where you stand and balance by holding onto a chair, and sit and lift weights rather than kneel. Those are all modifications that would be very helpful to a woman who carries a lot of body weight and can’t immediately handle the Metamorphosis program. It might give a woman a chance to take some weight off carefully and slowly, taking her body weight issues into consideration, in order to get in a little better shape before going into something hard-core like Meta.

My experiment involved the idea that you could do the workout in a different order than a pregnant woman would. My first thought was simply to do the workout backward, starting with month 9 because it’s much more gentle and careful about a woman’s size and provides very specific modifications for certain moves, which would not only help a pregnant woman but also help a woman of larger size so that she doesn’t put all her weight on certain body parts. From month 9 I’d then go backward month by month, all the way to month 1.

But after talking with some of the pregnant ladies in Tracy’s online workout discussion forum, instead it sounds like it might be good for me to start with month 9, then do months 8 and 7, then switch to the beginning of the project and do the rest of the months in order from month 1 to month 6. This might be a better tactic because the early months start out with a more cautious approach (given that a pregnant woman needs to be more careful in the first months) and then build up to a more energetic level in the second trimester when a pregnant woman would generally have more energy. That kind of build might be helpful for a larger woman as well, starting out gentle and careful, and slowly building up to a more energetic level, as she loses weight and builds strength, endurance and flexibility. After finishing the entire project, if she feels ready for the challenge she could switch to Metamorphosis and then Continuity.

After a lot of consideration, I have decided to take on this particular workout as an experiment. I’ll do the months in the following order: start with month 9, then do month 8, month 7, month 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and finish with month 6.

(I’ve actually already started this experiment back at the end of January and so far have completed month 9, but I’ll start posting about my progress as I tackle the other months.)

Additionally, when I get down to around 240 or 250 pounds, I plan to start incorporating the cardio portion of Tracy’s mini-trampoline workout along with doing those Pregnancy Project exercises. That way I’ll have the added benefit of some cardio (on a trampoline which will be easier on one’s joints) to help keep me building up my endurance and cardiovascular system in preparation for eventually getting back to the Metamorphosis workout. Plus, while the Pregnancy Project exercises seem to be structured to keep you strong, flexible and in good shape, a cardio workout is what will help burn the fat. I want to accomplish both.

The Long Haul

I already know it’s going to be a long, hard journey that requires patience and time; I know I’m not going to lose all this weight in a few months no matter what workout I do (be it Pregnancy Project, Mat Workout, Metamorphosis, whatever), so I’m going to focus on the ‘long haul’ approach and just trust that I will continue to lose weight, reshape my body, and gain strength, endurance and flexibility as I go along, even if it means it takes me 2 years or more to do it all.

The reason I’m sharing all of this in excruciating detail is that I think it’s important. I’ve spent many years hiding from life, swallowing down my feelings and fears instead of allowing myself to express them or even acknowledge that it’s okay to feel them in the first place. That’s a big part of how I got to the size that I am today. But I can’t continue to do that and expect anything to change.

So here I am, heart open, trying to be as honest as I can as I take on this challenge. I hope in the process of getting stronger, healthier and leaner that I’ll also find that I’m becoming my most authentic, honest and amazing self.


6 thoughts on “Experiments in fitness, health & life: a new starting point

  1. Great start! I’ve been thinking about my own blog (TAM and homeschooling) but for now I’m too busy. However, one day.. I will learn from your experience. If you don’t mind 🙂 Cheers!

    • Thank you, asylanka! I know what you mean about busy — it’s going to be a challenge to post regularly here, but at least I finally have the big explanatory post completed and I can move on to shorter updates about my progress.

      I think a blog about TAM and homeschooling could make for a very interesting blog. A friend of mine homeschooled her kids years ago; I’d be interested in reading about your experiences. I hope you get the chance to write about it someday!

      Thanks again for coming over here and checking out my blog. If you find it helpful in any way, I’m glad. 😀 See you around the discussion forum!

  2. Hey Sinkwriter- I finally remembered to stop by your blog! I look forward to stopping by when I can. I too, have been wanting to blog but haven’t decided what I want to write about since I have many ideas in my head. I think it is great that you have started this!

    • Hi, Kimberly!

      Thank you so much for stopping by to visit and check out the blog. I’ve been meaning to reply, and now that I’ve made it through finals week and can put a sentence together without my brain exploding, I can finally comment! *GRIN*

      Seriously though, I’m looking forward to making more of this blog now that I won’t have 3 classes bogging me down. And I would love to read anything you decide to write about too. Let me know when you start it up!

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