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Thursday, August 27, 2009

Francine's New Life: Meeting Moonalice and Malibu Stacey

I just hired Francine to work for my new business, @TwistPopMedia. I'll tell you about the business later. Now, I want to tell you about Francine's compelling personal journey, part one:

Francine is re-entering mainstream life after being stuck in a back room wearing a horridly ugly housecoat for many years at her old job as a model for a second-hand store. It's especially ironic that she was working at a second-hand store because she doesn't have any hands.

She took the modeling job after an unfortunate accident at her last place of unemployment resulted in the loss of her hands, her hair, and all but one of her eyelashes. There's a gag order on the case, and she's not allowed to talk about it. Rest assured, it was awful.

When I found her last week, her life was rather grim, and I felt sorry for her. A nice man named Mike agreed to let me take her home, and he helped her out to my car:

Francine's life has been full of glitz and glamor ever since. I bought her some new clothes and I took her to meet some rock stars at the Moonalice concert in Bend:
Francine Meets Roger McNamee, aka Chubby Wombat of Moonalice fame. He welcomes her to the tribe.

Francine's heart skips a beat when she meets her idol, Pete Sears. She's enamored with his hands - the way they float over keyboards and guitar strings in a well-calculated frenzy make her sigh.

Unfortunately, the excitement of this new life has caused Francine some stress, and she isn't sleeping well. She's lost her appetite, too. I was concerned about her health, so I took her to see my personal trainer, Malibu Stacey at Snap Fitness.

Stacey welcomed Francine with open arms and started her fitness consultation.

Stacey takes Francine's measurements

and weighs her, to get a base line starting point.

They start the workout on the pull-up machine, and move to bicep curls:

"Francine's body fat is low, but she is a bit underweight," says Stacey. "I'd like to help her build some muscle tone."
They move on to the leg press machine.

"Francine seems motivated," Stacey tells me later, "But she's awfully quiet. Also, I'm a bit worried that she's not getting enough to eat. I talked about the importance of a healthy diet to combat stress, and I hope she's not a heavy drinker?"

"Oh," I said, "I don't think so, I've never seen her drink anything, actually."

"Well," said Stacey, "She's very sweet, and I'm happy to help her reach her fitness goals. I think she's going to come to Johnnie's Bootcamp next week, it may be a great place for her to meet some new friends."
I think Francine has already made a new friend in Malibu Stacey. All of us are looking forward to helping Francine get in shape and enjoy her journey.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

@juliejulie by the numbers: Malibu Stacey's Workouts Actually Work

Okay, okay, I know I may have lured you here with high hopes of reading my hourglass figure measurements (Ha! As if!) but I'm still a married mommy of three, and not so into sharing everything, as I've mentioned before.

I do realize some of you have been wondering if all my running and working out with Malibu Stacey over the past few months has actually produced any real results.

"How much weight have you lost?" you ask, and "Where's the bikini shot?"

Yeah, well, no bikini shot yet. Trust me on this.

The thing is, I haven't lost that many pounds since April when I first started working out with Stacey and keeping track of all these numbers, but I've lost many, many inches, and people have been noticing that. Heck even I noticed it.

My clothes fit better, I like being stronger, and I like the idea that maybe this running and lifting weights thing will continue to melt me, even if it's just little by little, and surely this will help my bones and stuff as I get older and older every year.

So here are my numbers, dear readers, and I'm giving you the number of inches I've lost, because it's my blog and I get to do whatever I want.

Waist: I lost 4 inches off my waist. That's as much as a balance beam those tiny gymnasts flit around on while they're doing cartwheels and backflips. Someone could win a gold medal on the width of my excess waist fat. Ick.

Belly: I lost 2.5 inches off the widest part of my belly. That's as wide as a $1 bill. Or a $20. Or $100.

Hips: I lost 3 inches off my hips. That's the width of the top of the large sized Honey Nut Cheerios box. Yum. I love those things.

Bust: I lost 2 inches off my bust. That's like a Ritz cracker. Oh stop whining boys, I'm sure some of that was back fat. Yuck. See how clever I am? I got your mind out of the gutter. Right?

Thigh: I lost 1.5 inches off the widest part of my thigh. That seems like a lot for a thigh. I'm trying to figure out what's 1.5 inches wide so I can compare it. Do you have any ideas?

So, as you can see, I've made some real progress here, and the number on scale doesn't matter as much as it used to.

Stacey says: "Don't walk around with the scale on your forehead. No one knows how much you weigh, it's not written on your head, right? It doesn't matter how much you weigh if you're in good shape. Muscle weighs twice as much as fat and it's four times as small."

And then she makes me do wall sits, which I hate. And she won't let me cheat, which I also hate.

So even though I'm not quite as hot as Valerie Bertinelli in a bikini, slow going is better than no-going, I say. I'll give you some more numbers in a few months.

Because I know you care.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Guest Post: Couch to 5K – It didn’t change my life, but it did change my butt

This is re-post of an article originally written for Go Fit Girl by Jen F (one of @juliejulie's many Chubby Mommy Groupies).

First of all, I want to make something really clear. I hate to run.

That “runner’s high” they tell you about? As far as I am concerned it’s a myth. I don’t get a sudden rush of endorphins, or a surge of “happy juice” (like my friend Julie promised me). The closest I get to a “high” is when I remind myself that I’m not actually dying, I just feel like I might be. Also? The overwhelming sense of relief when I am done with my workout is great.

So why do I do it? Well, I guess it’s the effects of running that I like. I feel better about my body now, and I (generally) have more energy. It’s easy enough to do, and I can work out wherever I happen to be. It wasn’t easy to get started–I’ve only been running since March. But in four short months, there’s already a huge change in my health and my attitude.

You see, I realized last winter that I was getting closer to “that age.” I’m not quite close enough to 40 to feel like I am middle-aged, but it certainly is sneaking up on me. And while I considered myself a fairly active person (walking several times a week, riding my bike to work frequently) I wasn’t happy with that “post 30″ change in my body. Frankly? I was getting a little too pear shaped. I tried boot camp, and hated it. I tried “hooping my buns off” and it wasn’t enough. I bought a temporary membership at a local gym, but that was expensive and just wasn’t my style (grunters and oglers … no, thank you!).

Then I saw a program starting at my kids’ school called “Girls on the Run.” It’s a running program for teenage girls–they train for a 5K and do some mentoring. The “goal” 5K race happened to be on the weekend of my (cough, 35th, cough) birthday. My stepdaughter decided she wasn’t interested, but it got me thinking. Could I run an entire 5K by my birthday?

I started browsing the Internet for ideas and training plans. That’s when I saw the Couch to 5K Running Plan. The name seemed fitting–I wasn’t exactly “couch,” but I was definitely not “5K.” Since I didn’t want to go it alone, I turned to my trusty Twitter and Facebook pals and also mentioned my idea on my (sad and neglected) blog. The response was overwhelmingly supportive, and I even managed to convince a couple of friends to train with me. Since it was still winter (I live in Bend, OR where winter lasts through about mid-June) we decided to meet in the evenings–not too dark and usually not too cold.

That first week, you only run for one minute at a time with a 90-second “rest walk” in between. After Day 2, I thought I was going to die. Looking at the training schedule, I didn’t think there was any way I would ever be able to run for 90 seconds … forget 30 minutes! But together with my friends, I pressed on. We actually repeated Week 1 so that we could feel better about moving on to Week 2. So while Week 2 was still hard (and I still thought I might die)–it didn’t kill me. And I didn’t get hurt. I thought for sure that we would have to repeat future weeks. Surprisingly, we managed to continue through the rest of the program without interruption. Along the way we signed up for a couple of “practice” 5Ks and worked them into the schedule. We just ran and walked the course according to where we were in the training program, and it really helped us get a sense of how long a 5K is and what it’s like to run with a “pack.” We also set up a shared spreadsheet so that we could track our progress toward our goal, and commiserate together about how scary the next week’s workout looked.

When our official race weekend arrived, we were all more than ready to run that 5K. We knew the course, since we had walked it a few days ahead to familiarize ourselves with the terrain.

Turned out we were part of one of the biggest athletic events going on this summer. While in a way that’s cool … I was so glad for those “practice” events. Overall for me that race was awful. It was too crowded, the chip timing they used was confusing, and I was unhappy with my results. But I didn’t let it get me down–we ran another (much smaller) 5K a few weeks later and that helped me get my confidence back.

But that’s just the running part of this story! Since I started running I have noticed a big change in my body. I haven’t lost as much weight as I would like (according to what my doctor says I should weigh). On the other hand, I’ve gone down three pants sizes since March. I can wear “single digit sized” jeans for the first time since before my daughter was born, more than 10 years ago. I have more energy, a more manageable appetite, and my craving for sweets and alcohol has dropped off. Yes, I still love chocolate and an occasional cocktail … it’s just better moderated now.

Another unexpected benefit is now that I am stronger and more coordinated, my golf game has improved dramatically (which makes my husband very happy).

But really? It’s those three pants sizes that keep me running. I know running isn’t for everyone … but I think what’s important is finding the fitness program that works into your schedule and meets your goals. I guess I look at exercise as a “chore” instead of a hobby now. (Since the exercise I actually like–biking, hiking, and walking–don’t seem to contribute to my specific fitness goals.) Taking care of my house and doing the dishes isn’t always enjoyable but it’s important. Taking care of my body is important, too, and running has helped me achieve that.

Do you have something to share with other Chubby Mommies? Email Julie with your ideas for a guest post!