Pictured above: Coach, mentor, team leader, Amy (on left) joined by the the rest of Team Amy.
By Molly Ingram
Well, I am 1/3rd of the way through the Body Makeover program and it has been an interesting and enlightening journey so far. Let me start from the beginning four weeks ago.
The program, offered by LifeFit Wellness Services and Beaufort Memorial, has 19 people participating – 17 women and 2 men. The very first thing you have to do after agreeing to the 12 week program is to get your “beginning” measurements, weight, and fitness levels. This is fairly traumatic as these trainers get out the tape measure and write down numbers that are way too large. Then come the calipers. Can my body-mass-index really be that big? Take a deep breath, these are just the “before” levels. I have to admit, this was really kind of traumatizing as you are faced with the reality of just how overweight and out of shape you have become. One of the fitness tests you have to do is to see how far you can jump keeping your feet together. Try it. Stand next to a counter in the kitchen, put both feet together, and jump. No running start. Just swing your arms and see how far you can go. Jumping anything hasn’t been in my repertoire for the last couple of hundred years so this was really pretty funny. I am pretty sure I looked like a baby elephant trying to pretend she’s a butterfly. I didn’t go backwards, but I certainly didn’t set any new Olympic records either.
And then comes the first day of exercise class with your team and your trainer. I signed up for my classes on Monday, Wednesday and Friday’s at noon. This is when Team Amy meets. We have five in our group, all women that range from late 40’s to early 70’s. And Amy is our coach, mentor, team leader, and wonderful tormentor. As a team, we are competing with three other teams for some significant prizes. We have a closed page on Facebook where we can recount our successes and failures. And get support from other team members.
So far, I have found the eating part fairly easy but the exercise classes are complete torture for me. But I go. Each class Amy works a different part of the body – arms on Monday, legs on Wednesday and abs on Friday with a ton of cardio thrown in to keep the heart rate up. We work with weights – that seem magically to be getting bigger and bigger each week, equipment in the main gym area, the indoor track – you name it, we go there. Last Friday we climbed 4 flights of steps and then had to come down. Sounds like a piece of cake right? Wrong! This was after a tough hour of solid working many muscle groups and our legs were not happy at that point. First flight, piece of cake. 2nd flight, ok. 3rd flight getting harder and I literally had to crawl up the 4th flight. There’s a picture for you. A bunch of old ladies leaning over the railing huffing and puffing at the top but we all made it.
After four weeks, I have lost 12 pounds and I think I am slowly getting into better shape. I have had high blood pressure since I was a kid and my energy levels for class were very low. After meeting with the dietitian and figuring out I wasn’t eating enough or the right foods before my noon workout, and determining that my blood pressure was really, really too low, I am now off of one medication completely. And my energy levels are returning and by blood pressure numbers are “perfect!” That is one of the great advantages of doing something like this tied up with a hospital. Everybody is knowledgeable in so many areas. No one is “just a trainer”- they are all very well versed on the nutrition side of things as well as the cardio implications.
The program is what I could call a 360° program. Unlike other weight loss or fitness plans, you will come away with an in-depth knowledge of what you need to know in order to sustain where they have gotten you to. So far, we have had a field trip to Publix where we were shown, “use this, not this, because…”, we’ve learned how to read labels and decode some of the sneaky words that really mean “sugar” or “fat”, and we have had a cooking lesson from Chef Eric Sayers who is the executive Chef of the hospital. The cooking demonstration was incredibly valuable for me who thinks chicken is a boring/no taste food. In 30 minutes, Chef Eric prepared three different chicken dishes all using onions, carrots, and celery plus some spices. And we all got to try them. I have to admit none of them were boring. It was an eye opener for me. I consider myself a pretty good cook; I just never do it for myself. My refrigerator has never ever had so much healthy foods in it.
However, no matter how much I have learned, I have found the single thing that really sets this program apart from others is the incredible support you get from everybody – from your fellow program members, your coach, the dietician, the people behind the desk, just everybody. This has become the “village” that is raising a healthier me. I don’t think I will ever go back to eating my old ways. Hummus has replaced mayonnaise and it’s ok. Kimberly Yawn, Manager of the LifeFit Wellness Services remarked, “We are so excited for everyone involved in our Body Makeover program! Each member is energetic and dedicated to bettering themselves. The best part of the program for me has been seeing the support and encouragement among all of the participants, no matter the team.”
So stay turned for my next installment report in another month. Hopefully by then I will be able to acknowledge that the body is slowly changing along with my attitude, interest, and desire to become a healthy and energetic 64 year old. Now if I could only muster a love of kale…