My Year To Thrive

"My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style." ~Maya Angelou

“Slim Down Challenge” Gets Real

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“…I realized that I actually like my body, even if it’s not perfect according to the book.  I just feel sexy.  For the first time, I don’t want to get rid of the curves.  I just want to tone it up.  My body is comfortable, and it’s not unhealthy, so I’m going to rock with it.”
~Rihanna (Brainy Quotes)

Hefty garbage bags

I am not garbage, so why would you put me in one of these? (image used from Hefty’s website, click image for link.)

Today was day 2 of the first week of my slim down challenge at the gym.  So far we have done the treadmill, the eliptical, & the weights, mostly machines but some free weights.  It is certainly a challenge, & our trainer pushes us out of the comfort zone, which is what I wanted, but I started having concerns about her today.

First, we don’t stretch or warm-up or cool-down at all.  Granted we are supposed to stretch on our own when we get there, but I’ve been late both days (typical).  Still I would think there would be a few minutes of something before & after, or at least some encouragement to stretch & cool down at the end.

Monday we did arm weights, & I didn’t think to stretch before or after.  I have been paying for it.  Today we did lower body weights & I made sure to stretch after.  Since I was late again I did not get to stretch beforehand.

And with the weights, she is keeping us at light weights.  Monday I had one machine where it was like lifting air.  I could only get her to add another ten pounds to it.  It sufficed, but I could have done another ten or twenty easy.  I worry we are getting lady weights for fear we might bulk up instead of slim down.  Oy.  I really hate that mode of thinking.

Also, she is pushing us on speed on the treadmill with again no warm-up, just hop on the treadmill & go as fast as she tells us to, no slower.  I am going speeds where I can feel myself edging to the back of the treadmill, & have to grab the bars to pull myself back up.  I know it will get easier, but mainly I’m again concerned that there is no consideration for a warm-up.  This is a 7am class, so I’ve got cold legs.

Today I did take my time ramping up to her minimum speed requirement of 3.9mph.  I only actually did that for 1-1&1/2 mins out of the 15mins though before working my way back down down.  But everything was over 3mph the entire time, which is my fast time.  So that was work for me.  I just don’t intend to fly off the back off the treadmill because some skinny blonde is barking orders at me.  I am every bit as stubborn as her roots are dark. (tee hee)

On top of those concerns, today she comes in with one of those sweat belts & is encouraging us to wear them when we exercise so we can sweat off more weight.  What?  And after that I walked up on her talking to two other ladies in our group about running laps outside in garbage bags.  I couldn’t contain myself.  I burst out “WHAT???  I’m not running in a trash bag.”

She told me I didn’t have to, but the previous challenge winner had done it because “she wanted to win”.  I’m all for winning, but I joined this to challenge myself & become healthier.  Not learn some new disordered habits from someone who bills herself as an expert in fitness & nutrition.

This is when the “slim down” part of the challenge really hit home with me.  I don’t know if it’s this trainer, or a gym wide issue, but it’s all about losing weight & winning.  During the orientation meeting on Saturday we were told point blank no pills or potions would be allowed, because that’s cheating.  FYI, they are also usually either unhealthy, a waste of money, or both.  I don’t see how wearing a sweat belt, or, especially, running in a plastic bag is that different from taking diuretics or even laxatives to lose weight.

Also, this is especially silly since recommendations are that for every ounce of weight you lose while working out you drink that much extra water.  Some hardcore fitness folks weigh themselves before & after exercise to that end.

I am really concerned there is too much focus on the results on the scale.  They take measurements too, so it isn’t all on the scale.  Plus we did some baseline sit-ups & push-ups.  Thankfully that will give us some none scale results to look at.

Here is a military fitness site I found where the expert addresses the notion of running in a trash bag for quick weightloss:

For decades, many people have used sweat suits, garbage bags or saunas in order to lose weight quickly. You will lose weight in the form of sweat, which is water and electrolytes, but you will gain it back as soon as you eat again or drink water. This myth seems to have spread through the wrestling, boxing, and other sports gyms where guys need to lose a few pounds in order to make a weight class. But sweating excessively has no useful purpose in health weight loss. The dangers of sweating to lose weight are severe — they include overheating (heatstroke), extreme loss of electrolytes (kidney damage/death), and other cardiovascular related emergencies.” (from Military.com ‘s Fitness Center)

One thing I’ve been working passed with Weight Watchers is not eating or drinking anything on weigh-in day before the meeting.  This might not sound so bad, except my meeting is at 6 o’clock in the evening.  Which means I was not eating or drinking anything until after the meeting ended at 7pm.   Sure it gave me a lighter weight, but was it an appropriate response?  No.  It wasn’t a healthy behavior or way of thinking.  Now I just eat light that day & don’t have anything to eat or drink for a couple of hours before the meeting.  To me what she is encouraging feels the same.  Anything to see those numbers go down regardless of how it effects your body.

My ultimate goal is to be healthy, mentally & physically.  I do not want to be bombarded by negative “healthy” messages that push thin at the cost of well-being.

What do you guys think?  Am I just making a mountain out of molehill?

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Author: despitemyself

A person in flux.

3 thoughts on ““Slim Down Challenge” Gets Real

  1. I think that trainer is nutso and you are completely right…. just stay with your thinking and don’t let them get to you.
    And this story just makes me feel good about my decision to never step foot in a gym! ;-P

  2. My ultimate goal is to be healthy, mentally & physically. I do not want to be bombarded by negative “healthy” messages that push thin at the cost of well-being.

    This. Amen Sistah! I hate that the entire weight-loss industry seems to be focused on the “skinny”, not the “healthy”. And that’s the truly important part.

    Also, I always thought it was BS when my old roomie’s trainer told her to wear a trash bag thingy when she was working out (and he also suggested she take Xenadrine!!). It’s not any kind of way too keep any weigh off. It’s momentary. I think one thing that’s important to remember about the journey that we’re on is to look at the big picture. Eye on the prize and all that. 🙂 You’re doing great!

    • That trainer’s advice sounds like a heart attack waiting to happen >_<

      A friend texted me this morning to ask if I had slept in my hefty bag. I told him I had & I lost 337.5lbs, making me a negative weight. That meant I won the skinny war & was the sexiest, most healthy person on the planet!

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