run toward the fire

Last week, I met with a trainer. I was finally over my wall (or through it - whichever you prefer), but my weight plateaued. The scale stopped moving for the most part though it did show the occasional gain. Friends continues to mention I looked slimmer, so I chose to blame the muscle I was gaining as the culprit for the stalled scale.

And it is possible the muscle was to blame. But it was also possible that my habits - both with exercise and with eating - were to blame. So I made the choice to try something different.

I wasn't sure what to expect with this meeting. In high school, I worked out with a trainer for some time, but that was years ago and I barely remember what it entailed. I had my hopes of a full work out, of him pushing me and showing me that I was capable of more.

Meetings with personal trainer, much like the rest of life, do not mirror shows like "Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition" or "The Biggest Loser." Rather than run on the treadmill until I thought I would pass out or feel like I was going to die from lifting too much weight, we sat down at a small table and discussed what I am currently doing. Then, before he had a chance to see how much I could lift, he wrote down a plan and included the amount he thought I should be lifting.

I left the session frustrated. And feeling as though nothing was going to change.

To be honest, I went into the session hoping someone would push me out of my comfort zone and into a zone where I tried harder than I ever had before. And while I didn't get a person to push me out of my comfort zone, I gained some knowledge of how to push myself out of my comfort zone.

It didn't happen on Thursday or on Friday. But on Saturday, I forced myself to go to the gym. I then also forced myself to try something new - something that would inevitably leave me sore and barely able to move.

The trainer mentioned spending at least one day completing a 30-minute circuit. The thought of spending a minute doing cardio and then a minute of weight lifting was daunting to say the least. But instead of shying away from the task at hand, I turned the music from my iPod up, gritted my teeth, and determined that I would finish the 30-minute circuit.

And I did finish. Barely. But I finished. I spent the rest of the day in pain and all of Sunday barely able to move. But I finished.

Trying something new while at the gym has turned into trying something new while at home as well.

When I started my journey to lose 100 pounds in April 2011, I decided not to diet. I wanted to make a lifelong change; I didn't want to make a short term change and then find that I would be unable to maintain the weight loss. I made changes to what I ate and how I ate. I did my best to count every calorie.

It worked. But eventually I plateaued. And I found myself bored with frozen dinners and wanting to eat ice cream and egg noodles with alfredo sauce when I got home.

A friend from work mentioned the South Beach Diet. I heard the word "diet" and immediately said no. I reminded her of my wanting to not diet but wanting to change my lifestyle. And then I went on with the rest of my day.

I continued to go back to the thought of the South Beach Diet, and I eventually entered the search term "south beach diet phase 1" into Google. After researching both the diet itself and recipes I could make at home, I said I was in, and I started this new lifestyle on Monday morning.

It would be easy enough to call it a diet. To say that for the next several months I will watch how much and what kind of carbohydrates I eat. To explain that I am going to limit the amount of sugar I eat for the next several months. To think that when all is said and done I can go back to eating whatever I want and whenever I want in moderation and as long as I remain active.

But I won't be able to go back to eating whatever I want. And I shouldn't go back to eating whenever I want. I should commit to whatever changes I make, and I should recognize the foods that have led me astray in the past and do whatever I can to not allow them to lead me astray again.

I started this new lifestyle days ago. In the past, had I started a new lifestyle days ago, I would have also ended the new lifestyle days ago. It wouldn't have been because of a lack of desire but because of a lack of discipline - a lack of drive.

Exercising almost every day has provided me with more discipline than I thought I had. It has also shown me that I can do more than I thought I could. It has reminded me that I can push myself - that I don't have to fear pushing myself too far. And so I have taken this discipline and applied it to eating.

As hard as it is to not eat carbohydrates like baked potatoes and pasta, I've shown myself that I can do it. Just like I showed myself that I can push myself and complete a 30-minute circuit work out.

And I did it almost all on my own. No reality television show or personal trainer needed.

(title from "satisfied" by jewel)

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