Goodboy Norman Featherstone

Friday, November 21, 2008


Norman is still pouting, so I (Woman) am blogging again for him. Maybe he'll be less of a sour puss next week.

We don't have cable, and since the mountains block the "free" television transmission waves, we don't currently have access to network television. Back in the day when we did, I loved the show The Biggest Loser. Although I have never been overweight, I could somehow relate with these people and felt such joy in their accomplishments. What a great show. I haven't seen the show in a long time, but I was impressed with NBC's ability to keep the backstabbing drama that was so prevalent in other reality shows out of this one and focus on the participants' victories. I hope it's still the same.

Likewise, I get teary-eyed reading phenomenal weight loss stories that I occasionally find on-line. Yeah, I'm a sap. CNN recently ran this story regarding a woman who lost 175 pounds over two years. Her website further documents her amazing journey and gives pointers to people with similar weight loss goals. To me, this woman losing all this weight is comparable to someone winning gold at the Olympics - just simply amazing.

Although I don't have a "super inspirational" story like hers to share with you, I would like to share some personal insight on fitness and weight management from the perspective of someone who has been striving over the past year and a half to live a healthy lifestyle. It boils down to this - It takes commitment to a lifestyle to be a healthy person. Health isn't about an occasional work out session, the latest binge diet or handful of pills, but a commitment to living responsibly every day and being personally accountable to yourself for the choices you make. Each day puts you one step closer to your goal, so it is important to rejoice in yourself and your accomplishments every single day.

Throughout high school I was really thin, just reaching 100 pounds the end of my senior year, although I suspect that hairspray contributed to my weight. At 5' 6", 100 pounds was probably thinner than I should have been. I didn't feel all that thin though. I ate what I wanted and didn't have a really regular exercise program. I guess I had a crazy fast metabolism. Rumors spread that I was anorexic, but I honestly was not.

I started to gain weight in college as my intake of fast food increased and my activity level came to a halt. I could put a pounding on a Whopper, let me tell you. I worked full-time and went to school full-time, so most of my time was spent sitting on my butt. Once I got married I took up the hobby of baking which only contributed to my increasing hips. My target weight is supposedly 120-133, and at my heaviest, I weighed in at 137, which is not really "heavy," but was for me. I was popping buttons off my size 6 pants (literally!) and couldn't seem to find any new clothes that fit me right, probably because I refused to go up to an 8. After swimming in a size 0 throughout high school, it was hard for me to come to terms with a size 8. I had also been struggling with chronic back problems for several years that I blamed on sitting in front of a computer all day and had painful arthritis in my hips that made transitioning from sitting to standing unpleasant.

So last summer ('07) I just got fed up and decided to join a gym and try to get back into a comfortable size 6. I started out on the elliptical for 20 minutes 4 times a week. Since the gym is close to our house, I was able to go during my lunch hour. At first I hated it, but as I saw results, I became addicted to working out. Not only was I losing weight, but my back pain was gone, and the arthritis in my hips was also fading. In December I took my first group fitness class, which happened to be Body Pump. I wanted to tone up my flabby muscles to really enhance the weight loss I was experiencing. I immediately became a Body Pump fiend, even showing up the day after Christmas for class, only to get turned away disappointed that class was canceled for the holidays. Maybe it's sadistic, but I love the muscle pain that lingers for days.

I had been taking Body Pump regularly for 6 months when I was asked by the Instructor if I had interest in teaching the class. I had actually fantasized about teaching the class, so heck yeah I was interested. I trained in August, submitted my video for certification 2 weeks ago and have been teaching my own class on Monday nights for the past month. I love me some Pump.

So during this whole Body Pump certification process, I was working my body the hardest I have ever worked it. I was supposedly as physically fit as I had ever been, but I realized that working out was not fulfilling all the health needs I had. I still suffered frequent persistent headaches and troublesome stomach issues. So I decided to do some investigation into what was going into my body. I was really startled by what I found. I can't believe the FDA has approved this food for human consumption. I decided to take better control of what was going into my body and committed myself to a two-week perfect whole food diet in order to learn how to eat more healthy.

I purchased the book, "Recapture Your Health," which outlines the PWFD and provides a handy reference for what is and is not a whole food. I had no intention of maintaining a PWFD for the rest of my life, as I found you can have absolutely no social life while on this diet, but I was hoping to train myself to read labels and really think critically about the food choices I make. Two weeks on this diet is a good training technique, and I have learned a lot from those two weeks. Admittedly I only made it through 12 days on the diet, but I am still happy with myself. I am still working on changing my dietary habits, but I am confident it will help me with my remaining health issues.

I am not a fan of "diets." "Diets" are so temporary. If you want to lose weight, if you want to be healthy, if you really want to change, you need to change your lifestyle. You need to change the way you think about food altogether and adopt a healthy system of choices. Don't cut sugar out altogether. Don't avoid carbs or fats, just use them responsibly. Don't buy a whole bag of Oreos, but buy the little snack pack of 6 cookies and treat yourself two or three at a time. You'll enjoy them a lot more. Swap whole wheat pasta for refined pasta, try Stevia instead of sugar, use olive oil instead of butter, eat oatmeal for breakfast in place of the supposedly healthy cold cereals full of refined sugars. Turn your healthy choices into a habit and thereby create a lifestyle!

If you are considering making a change in your lifestyle, I recommend that you do some reading first, and start after the holidays. There is no reason to torture yourself during the holidays by making major changes in your eating and fitness habits. You're probably going to fail and feel worse than before you started, because the holidays are too stressful as it is. So, grab a book on healthy eating or fitness advice, and start making a plan for the future, with a specific start date. Also make goals for yourself, and write them on a calendar or day planner. If you need an accountability partner, want some advice or just need someone to vent to, drop me a line. I would love to help you out any way that I can!

If anyone wants to share their stories, I'd love to hear them!


  • At 11:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Wow that is awesome!! Good for you!
    I was always in the underweight category all my life, senior year I was 5'8 and maybe 120. I couldn't wear spandex when it was cool because it just never fit.

    And then I went through the weight gain that you did.. When I got Indy I lost alot of the weight I had gained but I seem to be gaining it all back again now.
    Portion size was also a huge role in gaining, and I need to cut that back again! I am about a size 8/10, so I not largely overweight, I am just not comfortable with the extra fat. :p So more walking, more yoga, more time on my elliptical and of course an over haul of my eating habits again! :)

  • At 12:11 PM, Blogger Page said…

    Yeah! I'm so glad you shared that story because I never really knew that you weren't that into fitness until relatively recently. That's inspiring!

    Boy, have a got a story on my weight and the "battle". But, since it involves actual weight numbers that I'm just not comfortable displaying to the entire world, I'll email you...

  • At 12:26 PM, Blogger Eduardo said…

    Eduardo's Mommy here: Thank you for sharing your story. I was a good size in high school & addicted to weight training. After I graduated I put on weight because of my depression & epilepsy, but recently I have started working out again & my headaches & depression are slowly leaving, I have a long way to go still.
    Hugs & Snugs
    Eduardo the Snuggle Puggle's Mommy

  • At 1:02 PM, Blogger Pam said…

    Great great post! I think it is fabulous that you are teaching that class and have taken the reins at improving your health.

    A couple years ago I changed my eating habits and lost about 20 pounds. I felt great, my clothes were fitting so much better, and I was working out regularly (a spinning addict at the time). Around this time, we took a trip to Europe for 3 weeks and I fell back in to old habits. Not that it was a solo excuse there but it contributed. While I continued and still continue to work out, it's not as regular as it once was and I eat more crap that I should.
    Anyway, a lot of what you were saying has been on my mind lately and I want to really get back on course. I've noticed that while I might do well in some areas of eating, I constantly sabatoge all the good that I do, whether it's doing a hard work out or eating healthy all day...I'll reward myself somehow and undo all I worked at.
    Just wanted to say thanks for posting this. =)

  • At 1:49 PM, Blogger AM said…

    Page! Share you stories with all of us! Dont let the numbers scare you!

    And Tammy, I read this post while eating cheesey dip and chips for lunch. I had coffee for breakfast. My food intake is atrocious. When Jason was here, it wasnt so bad, but I have no desire to cook for myself or take the time to eat real food. I eat when I can, and by that time I am usually starving and just eat the easiest thing, which happened to be cheesy dip that a friend brought over last night. My weight is diminishing, and while some of that can be attributed to working out and breastfeeding, and not having a baby inside me anymore, I know part of the weight loss is that I am not eating enough. I'd like to say I will change all this soon, but I dont think I'll change until I am in Korea with Jason again.

  • At 2:30 PM, Blogger Priscilla said…

    I wanted to thank you for your comment and ask a question. Then I read this post. I was hoping to find that book in our library system but it's not in there. I'll order it when I do my Christmas Amazon order.

    I've recently felt the urge to go back to my healthier eating lifestyle. I always feel better when I do. And at my age it is harder to maintain my weight.

    I should exercise too.


  • At 2:55 PM, Blogger Rachel said…

    yes, thanks for the post. I have almost always been a size 2 - all the way through high school and through most of college. Then, I got married. I gave up being a vegetarian, but continued (for the most part) my exercise routine and healthy eating habits that included meats. But over the past year I gained 20 pounds - I am up to a size 6 and am about a piece of pizza away from an 8. I joined a gym, I started "dieting" (aka - portion control), but continued to gain weight. So I started thinking about what else could be going on....I did some research and it turns out one of the side affects of a drug I was given a perscription for about one year ago is weight gain. I started frequenting forum boards and other websites and read horrendous stories from other women who had taken this drug who had gained upwards of 50 lbs while on it.
    SO - at the end of this month I am saying 'good bye' this the prescription and continuing with my exercise and healthy eating and hopefully I will be back in my size 2 pants this time next year.

  • At 3:14 PM, Blogger Tami said…

    It takes a combination of motivation, dedication, and determination.

  • At 3:28 PM, Blogger "M" said…

    I'm glad you posted this as well. I have always been a size 0-2 but lately can fit comfortably in a size 4. And although that doesn't seem like a lot to some, it is to me since I have never been that size in my life. I know my body has changed since my heart surgery 1.5 years ago. While I'd like to blame it all on that, I'm sure that my lack of exercise and / or not so always great eating habits has also contributed. So I like the rest of the world will make a new year's resolution to improve myself. Gotta start somewhere right?

  • At 5:21 PM, Blogger Sandy said…

    I'm so glad you wrote this post. It's interesting and inspiring. I wish you could run a boot camp and I could come to it! I'd pay good money for that. Aunt Sue saw your posts on body pump and she got real interested in it. she looked at the web site. she loves that muscle ache, too. Do you count calories, carbs, fat grams?

  • At 6:42 PM, Blogger Page said…

    Yes! You should run a boot camp! I'd go! Quit your job as a, computer engineer? Well, quit it and become a exercise/healthy eating motivational guru! I was also wondering if you count calories?

  • At 10:45 PM, Blogger Bee said…

    I might take you up on an being an accountability partner. Chris has always told me you can ride someone if need be. I'm having a hard time finding time to get in any exercise at all lately, and I want to lose at least 10 more pounds.

  • At 11:16 AM, Blogger Goodboy Norman Featherstone said…

    I don't count calories, and I don't step onto the scales. It's all about knowing what goes into your body, knowing when you're actually hungry and knowing when to stop eating. Also, fitness is not a number - it's a feeling and a journey. There's no need to step on the scale every day just to be disappointed. Be happy with you are each day, because each day is just another step toward fitness. No need to let the scales take that victory away from you!

  • At 8:49 PM, Blogger martha said…

    I enjoyed reading your story a lot. What you said is inspiring!!!

    I pretty much never had trouble maintaining my weight, and had never exercised until my early-forties. And then my husband dragged me to the gym with him with MUCH grumbling and griping from me. But I went, and after a few months, I realized how good I felt, both mentally and physically. When I work out my mind is vacant, and that is such a stress reliever for me. And in the years since, I've had several health problems, and as soon as possible I've gotten back to the gym. It has sometimes been hard, but always worth it! And my biggest payoff was last week when at 56 years old, I accomplished a lifelong dream. My husband and I hiked all the way to the bottom of the Grand Canyon, camped there, and hiked back up! Not an easy hike for me, but I'm ecstatic! I feel like I've won the Superbowl! Being strong rocks!!

  • At 9:08 AM, Blogger Goodboy Norman Featherstone said…

    That's awesome Martha!

  • At 12:17 PM, Blogger Clover said…

    This is a great post, thanks for sharing! It was definitely inspirational. I was just thinking this morning about how much I love that muscle ache that you feel for a few days after a good workout. (I did a half-hour self-defence course yesterday morning, and feel muscle ache in my legs today!! That is how out of shape I am!) I used to love going to the gym and working out, but I got out of the habit, and now I am struggling to get back into the habit. Thanks for the extra push!!

  • At 12:37 AM, Blogger steve carve said…

    Hats off! To this lady who lost 175 pounds over two years and I am really inspired from her story. We all must try to do exercise daily and also make goals, and write them on a calendar or day planner.

    Personal training gyms


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