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My Body Sculpting Saga: The Need for Balance (Long Blog)

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

In my ongoing saga to create the leanest, fittest, sexiest body I can, at the ripe old age of 44, I have tried about a dozen workout programs. It all started in 1988 with the purchase of my first fitness video. No it wasn't Jane Fonda! It was the first video released by The FIRM. Body Sculpting Basics with Susan Harris. This video changed my life in more ways than one. It introduced me to weight training and got me in the best shape of my life! I was a fat kid and it was only after I discovered The FIRM that I was able to keep my weight within a healthy range. Flash forward a few years and I'm able to go to the gym without dieing of embarrassment. I become a regular after work and spend evenings on the stairmaster instead of in front of the TV with takeout. This is good, but what I have never been able to fix is my diet. And this, dear readers, is where I am today.

I've spent the greater part of the last 24 years trying to out-exercise a bad diet and I have failed. I have taken step classes on a sprained ankle, I have gone on bike rides with a fractured foot, I bought the Tae Bo tapes, I've bounced on mini tramps, run 5Ks, taken ballet class, paid thousands of dollars for personal training and additional gym memberships. In short, the 200 lb 14 year old became a certified fitness addict and all of it worked! To a point. YOU CAN NOT OUT-EXERCISE A BAD DIET!!!

Now, I've known about the diet thing being 80% of the whole in shape, muscle definition thing for years. I've been with Spark since 2009 so yeah, I've heard it all before, but still I did not listen. I did Jamie Eason's 12 Week LiveFit Program twice! I worked out while I had the flu, I worked out the day my Dad died. I have been obsessive (dedicated) to my cause. But did I follow the nutrition program. No. Did I try, yeah, but I didn't feel right so I quit and ate what I wanted, when I felt like it. So I moved on to a program without the rigid diet guidelines of LiveFit:
Bodybuilding.com's Female Training Bible program, which is like a baby LiveFit. As with any workout program I've tried I threw myself into the workouts with gusto. I tried to watch my diet and follow the guidelines, but one week of excellent eating would be followed by two weeks of takeout. I guess I figured that if I worked out hard enough, I'd see the kind of results I wanted no matter what I ate, but I was just lying to myself.

I let myself down. Thinking about how hard I've worked, especially over the last year, and how far I've yet to come has really shaken me up. I can't say I've done it all for nothing because I have seen noticeable improvements. Many of my SP Friends have asked me about my results from LiveFit and the Female Training Bible and I'll tell you that each of these programs are great! The FTB is probably easier for a busy woman to fit into her schedule so I definitely recommend you check it out. I did experience some fantastic strength gains during the 12 weeks on FTB. I can now do up to 3 unassisted underhanded pull-ups! Which I am psyched about! BUT, I still don't look like I imagined I would. My shoulders are not defined, my legs and calves are not as sculpted as I would like, my butt isn't nearly as firm as I would like and, HELLO, where is my 6-pack? Maybe part of that is due to the fact that I am not 20 years old, but how would I know since I'm not eating as clean as I could be? Then again, maybe I'm asking too much of myself.

There is nothing wrong with me or the way that I look. I feel great and I look pretty darn good, but what would happen if I concentrated more on my diet and less on exercise? *gasp* What if I spent some of the time I spend on the elliptical on planning meals instead? What if I start devouring Clean Eating magazine like I devour Oxygen magazine? What would Tosca Reno say? I think she'd say, " You need to find a balance." Obviously I've never been very good at balance (ask my former ballet instructor). But what if I made a subtle shift to the kitchen from the gym? Who knows? Maybe I'll find my heart's desire and my six pack among the produce?

This week I have re-committed myself to logging all of my food. I will be honest with myself. I will not fail to log the "bad" foods and maybe, just maybe, I'll learn something. If I can be as committed to a healthy eating program as I am to my exercise programs there's no telling what will happen. Thank you, dear readers, for coming this far with me. Don't think that you can out-exercise a bad diet. No matter how hard you work there is just no getting past it and don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Oh Libbie:) You brought me back with that Firm video. I had that one, but also DID have the Jane Fonda one. Also remember Rachel McLish Flex Appeal & Perfect Parts books...

    Have to start with what you already know...
    You, your journey and commitment is amazing to me! I have had extended periods, but have not stuck with it like you:)

    I am also reassessing things right now. Feel like I can do the fitness side, but my diet is lacking. I have been eating pretty darn clean, but not enough. Had to be the reason this body is not showing me what I want to see. Some things I (kind of) accept might not happen, but know that others will change. Kind of frustrating considering I think I am putting in the work. Sometimes it may be too much work. The thing I keep coming back to is the need to focus on the diet more and eat really clean for a time period. Kind of like LiveFit first round. I saw better results then.

    Ugh... It is tough. Think I need to enter it with a finite amount of time that I DO IT. Really do it. The fitness side has proven to be easier. Sure, I need to take a look at that too. May have to back off a bit or switch things up again. Forcing myself to eat is hard as heck for me.

    Guess what I am feeling is that if I at least do it for "x" amount of time I can say I did it and deal with whatever happens. I realize that this is a way of life now. Not a short term thing, but I would like to get down to a certain point and see what it is like and what it actually will take to get and stay there. Shoot, who knows, once I get there I may just take a quick pic and say eh, I would rather have 10 more pounds on me so that I have a little room for life.

    I know I went in a little different direction in this post, but I wanted you to know I am shooting for the same goal:) We can do it!!!

    1966 days ago
  • _JODI404

    I do agree with the diet you eat being most important in the results you see. I love JE, I haven't tried her program yet, mainly because I could never follow her nutritional plan. I am an extremely picky eater, and almost nothing on there is anything I would ever eat. (seriously - almost nothing!). I eat pretty healthy, but I guess not "clean". Lots of fruits and veggies. Limit but not eliminate sugar. Minimal processed foods / eating out/ alcohol.

    It's hard not to want a body (and arms!) like JE! But she does say you have to have a body fat % so low to really see results like hers. I don't think any # hours in the gym will get my bodyfat to 15%!!! I'm also not sure about her supplementation. I read a little bit and need to look at it all again. I also have not been able to find a protein shake that I will drink, and it seems like that is necessary as well. My "pickyness" really makes it hard to attempt to follow any plan like that. Do you take any of her suggested supplements like amino acids?

    I guess we just have to do the best we can with what we have. I definitely see the results of my strength training. I would love to see much more...but I am happy with the changes I am getting. My weight is good, I just need to amp up cardio to try to lower my bf % further. Congrats on tracking ~ that is definitely a great way to tackle the nutrition aspect of this.
    emoticon emoticon
    1967 days ago
    I hear ya Paige! JE's LiveFit workout was awesome, but the diet just didn't do it for me. My system was all out of wack! I had stomach aches and constipation (TMI I know)so I just quit. It took me weeks to feel normal again! Living in a house with two guys who eat anything and everything (hubby should watch his growing belly though) has me drooling over potato chips and chocolate chip ice cream. If I don't watch myself I'm going to gain all of the weight I lost when I joined SP back in 2009. That's exactly how it happens! Oh, I can eat these potato chips or I can clean my plate, I'll do better tomorrow. Yadda, yadda....and so it goes!
    1967 days ago
    This is a great blog Libby! I have been in denial about my food too but not quite in the same way you were. I was just ignoring the fact that to stay within my goal range I was going to have to really watch my calories. I kinda went off the deep end after JE LiveFit with the eating. For me, that diet was a little too restrictive on the carbs althought the eating clean was really great. I live on a budget so eating organic and 100% clean can be difficult but I was eating all sorts of the wrong carbs and lots of sweets. Tracking for the last few days and watching my calories has really helped me refocus. I know I will get back to goal in a short time because of this. Working out is never really a problem for me. The food gets me every time. We can do this!
    1967 days ago
    Deep down I KNOW that diet is really everything. I was in D-E-N-I-A-L! Hoping that I was wrong and that somehow my hard work would change the biological facts! I wonder how many others are out there that are doing the same thing I did?
    1967 days ago
    I long ago learned this lesson... it didn't matter how much exercise I do. If I do not watch the food, I cannot lose weight and I cannot keep weight off.
    Plain and Simple.

    JE says "abs are made in the kitchen" and I think this has got to be true.

    I'm still not being as good as I should in this 3rd round... I am having motivational issues with all things Except workouts... but I know what has to happen.

    Keep it up! something different is bound to happen!

    1967 days ago
    It's true. I'm thinking about using my juicer and making sure I make up 2 drinks a day with raw foods. People who do the raw food diet have beautiful skin.

    What I used to do was look at pictures of ahtletes I would see how the type of exercise they did would shape their body.

    The bodies of sprinters look different than long distance runners. Ballet dancers have a different shape than soccer players. Sometimes it is the type of exercise you are doing.

    Ernestine Shepard is 75. Go and look her up. She even has contact information.
    1967 days ago
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