When I first learned about bounceREHAB’s Weight Loss Challenge, it was from a post on Facebook about Matt and Paul’s 30-day journey to shed those kilos with their own pilates classes and nutritional assistance from Caroline. I found the post particularly interesting because it was humanizing!
If you haven’t met Matt and Paul, I can tell you that, like pretty much anyone you’ll meet at Bounce, they don’t appear to be the kind of guys that need or would even want to shed some extra weight – they’re in great shape! They’re physios!!!
Still, I was inspired! A lot of people look at me and say, “You’re so skinny!” My only response is, “You don’t see me naked,” and I’m sure a lot of people feel the same!
I get a lot of what I call “skinny shaming” and it is a very real thing. Basically, society has learned what to say and what not to say to someone struggling with a bit of weight loss. But the rest of us that aren’t factored in as overweight are automatically filed away into eye-rolling reactions and “don’t even” comments that are just as detrimental to our self image and mental health.
The truth is, you don’t have to be overweight in order to need to lose weight. I think the way that we “require” people to appear like they have something to lose is just as detrimental to health as any other form of body shaming. That comes from both an emotional place and a physical place. We don’t need to always approach life from a negative space in order to feel like we’ve gained something. No matter what your goal is, we should all approach it from what we are capable of doing every day.
*steps off soap box*
That being said, I often get psychologically squared away into thinking my own goals are invalid because I’m not in the “red zone” for body fat percentage. Because of this, it’s been six years since I’ve reached that ultimate level of love for myself – inside and out.
When we talk about emotional health, we have learned to factor in that we just don’t know what others are going through at any given moment. We learn empathy and active listening skills to help us better relate to each other. I think we should have this kind of empathy with all levels of health, and I’m happy to say that my weight loss instructor – Paul – has been one of the most understanding, professional, and empathetic coaches for weight loss that I have ever met.
Paul was willing to listen to me explain, “Ok ok ok, it isn’t so much about losing weight as it is about losing size. I know I am the right weight.” I explained that I wanted to work on “inches not kilos.”
Before I could get combative over assumed questioning, I could tell he was really listening to me which allowed me to calm down and trust that he was going to give me the kind of information I was looking for to get back to a familiar place in my life. He hadn’t written me off as some basic girl aiming for an unreasonable Hollywood body because I would never be satisfied with who or how I am today.
The truth is, I come from an overweight family. I already get an endless supply of skinny shaming and no open invitation to ever discuss my health at the family table unless I can prove that my health is somehow failing. I know what it is like to only get to talk myself down so that others can feel talked up. I’ve spent a lifetime perfecting this cycle of self-shaming and dodging family questions like, “If you think you’re fat, than what do you think about me?!?”
Paul was willing to listen to me explain that genetic odds are against me and that I have to work unreasonably hard just to maintain that healthy zone. Likewise, I have a pretty significant and losing battle (thanks age!) with narcolepsy which means my body is in constant stress and my sleep is forever disrupted.
Stress and poor sleep are both factors of weight gain. But that’s not all. I have medications I have to take every day that factor in weight gain as a major side effect. Oh, but don’t stop there. Just to top it off, the cause of narcolepsy is a little part of your brain that tells you, “Hey, I’m satisfied.” So, when I sleep – I literally don’t know when I’ve had enough and it’s time to wake up.
What most people don’t know is that when I eat, I also have no concept of when I am satisfied and I often eat myself into utter discomfort. Being that full means my medicines don’t work and my sleep suffers. When my sleep suffers, that constant need for energy results in a lot of last minute decisions to cram in coffees and carbs in order to maintain even the slightest brain power. While this part of the problem isn’t unique, my inability to ever catch up on sleep keeps me in a constant state of anxiety. You can see how this rapidly snowballs!!!
They say that if you want to know how someone with narcolepsy feels on any given day, stay awake for three days straight and try to function. If you can imagine that, you can also imagine how hard it is to find that momentum to practice Pilates every day, go to the gym, have a career, and then come home at night and not order in pizza… again.
Now, this isn’t meant to be a sob story about my experience. There are plenty of people out there that have it significantly harder than I do. I am incredibly blessed to have the support and flexibility in my life that I do, and I can say that I now include my new friends at Bounce in that overwhelming gratitude.
Paul heard me. I think that is the most important factor that I can share with how your own weight loss program can go when you sign up for bounceACTIVE. Each person’s program is completely tailored to their goals and their body.
Paul challenged me in new and exciting ways. For starters, he didn’t put me on a scale or ask for my latest body measurements. That wasn’t the most important part of my personal goal. He quickly found that I’m already a healthy eater so we didn’t overwhelm the situation with immediate information on eating habits. I don’t have soda. I don’t drink alcohol at home. I don’t often go out to eat. I cook most of my meals and I do my best to eat well even when traveling (which is about 50% of my life these days).
I also explained to him that I was very aware that I needed to drastically increase my protein intake in order to get smaller with strength training rather than bigger, and that I was exploring the best ways to do that without also increasing my fat or carb intake. I’m fairly confident that food will come into this rather quickly, but Paul started me off with one simple set of rules: Do Pilates EVERY day and see a physio twice a week.
This is a serious dedication of time, but to be honest it is significantly less time than I’ve been spending in previous months just walking and/or at the gym. Before now, I was focusing entirely on burning calories and decreasing calorie intake without really thinking about what it was I was eating. With that, I was able to shed over five kilos, but I was only able to keep about two kilos off. Overall, my body composition never changed. I still jiggled where I didn’t want to jiggle, struggled with increasing levels of cellulite, and, at this point, I was falling into a body image depression.
Now that I know, I am going to strength train every day. All it takes is 45 minutes of my day, 7 days a week! That is easy!!! And I know I can maintain that schedule because I have the support of an entire team of physios that are going to maintain my muscles for me like I’m a professional athlete.
After week one, we’re going to look at how I’ve shred (the weights) to shed (the pounds) and begin to factor in just how many steaks I should be eating to reach my goal.
Watch my video blog posts on the ups-and-downs of my 30 Day Challenge here: https://www.facebook.com/pg/bounceREHAB/videos/