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"I've been watching you": an Encounter With a Complete Stranger

Sunday, April 10, 2011

"I've been watching you, and you've lost weight!" I was getting dressed after my swim (and Boot Camp, rowing, elliptical, and treadmill sessions) and a gal passing though the locker room made to observation. Actually, I've been getting that a lot.

The other day a gal sat down to use the computer next to me and said she knew me from some where after she heard me speak. She asked me about school and work and finally she realized I babysit for people she knows. "I didn't recognize you, you've lost weight!"

At my friend's father's funeral, so many of her family and friends were exclaiming over my newly rediscovered waistline. The night before, on a whim, I tried on a dress I hadn't worn in years after I discovered my old stand-by badly wrinkled and happily wore it instead. Actually, I felt a little guilty that I was enjoying myself so much at a funeral. Somehow I think Papa R. will forgive me.

Since I stumbled into the gym on June 11nth, I've become a regular gym rat. Most days I'm at the gym: Monday and Wednesday- water aerobics, Saturday- Boot Camp, sometimes Zumba on Thursdays. The other days I can usually be found in Cardio Heaven (my name for the partial second story overlooking all the strength training equipment). I like Cardio Heaven, it has an excellent view of my favorite local mountain, and I can also watch other patrons come and go, looking for regulars whom I've come to know. I have a reputation for my 3 hour workouts, so I guess there is plenty of opportunity to be seen.

My weight loss to date is 60 pounds on a good day. I've lost 6 inches off my waist, 5 off the hips, and I've gone from a 44 band size on my bras to 36!

I exult each time I discover something new I can do again. Jumping jacks were really exciting, on my second day back to the gym I went to Boot Camp and I couldn't get my feet off the ground and I did a dumbed down version for months. It was actually easier to do the splits at 275 pounds and age 44, six months into this journey. I can do mountain climbers (just don't look for me do be appearing on a workout video demonstrating the finer points) and a 180 degree twisting jump. When something proves difficult on land, I practice in the pool, where my weight is less of an impediment.

I think my favorite thing I've done is the day I out-rowed the Murray City firefighters who work out at the gym some days. A couple of them were doing sprints. After I finished my second 15 minute set I commented that the one watching his fellow fireman that he needed to spur the other on, because I had out-rowed him. The fellow increased his speed, but I had still out-rowed that too. The next time they were in, the one I spoke to explained they weren't trying to race. I said I knew that, but that I thought it was neat that I could out-do them at all, especially since I was probably 20 years older and obese. He said he'd have his guy race me any time. Actually, I'm thinking of taking him up on it!

So Susan, the gal who began the conversation with a phrase out of a horror movie is my newest gym acquaintance. I invited her to join me if she could for my little 5k next Saturday for the Sparkpeople Virtual 5k Challenge. Several members of SP have expressed an interest, and we're going to have a healthy pot luck. I'm going to invite others from the gym over the next week, I don't know how many will be able to make it, but I figure I'll run more (I signed up for the run/walk) if there are more people there who know me, so there's a method to my madness. And I can hand out Sparkpeople cards out to others attending, and gym business cards good for a week to those not from the gym - a little cross promotion!

I thanked Susan for her kind words. She said sometimes when things are progressing slowly, people need to hear encouraging words, which I heartily acknowledged, and explained I've been on a plateau for a few months.

I like to encourage others too, sometimes it's the muscle beach crew to complete a particularly difficult set while I'm at the drinking fountain, the 50 something blind lady, the lady amputee on the elliptical (now that takes perseverance!), the stroke survivor on the treadmill, and the host of those, like me, who are trying to lose weight. After all, I've been watching too!
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