Updated: September 25, 2012

I Hated the Person I Saw in the Mirror

I wanted to change. I wanted it badly. And on July 22nd, 2005, I decided to take back control, starting in the weight room of my gym.

As a teacher, at the beginning of the year we have to say something about ourselves. That particular year, the question was geared to personal challenges we'd set. I can still hear the laughter as I announced to my fellow co-workers that I was going to start a five-year fitness and nutrition plan.

I remember one of them saying, "Well, you gotta ways to go; you better start now!" The sarcasm, though maybe not fully intended, was obvious.

At 156 pounds, I had yo-yoed my way down from 171 pounds. Diets didn't work for me, and due to allergies, supplements weren't an option. However, hard work, determination, and the "want to be fit" attitude were at my fingertips.

I knew that eating clean and maintaining a steady fitness regimen would benefit me. I had not gained the weight overnight, so I didn't expect to lose it overnight. What I did expect was transformation… and what a transformation I've accomplished!

Hard Work Pays Off

To date, in my beginning of the fifth year of my five-year plan, I've lost over 30 pounds and 45 inches - that's right, forty five inches all over my body! Thirteen of those inches were in my gut alone!

I've maintained a steady loss of weight and kept it off. Although I fluctuate between 130 and 135 pounds, I have gone from a size 13 to a size 6.

I love weights! I never liked running, but love my power stepper. I guess I love weights because I'm such a control freak, and I love the power I feel when working with weights. I like the way a body can be transformed into something completely different and I get those results with weights.

I don't go into the gym with a "complete plan" each time. If I did, I wouldn't do it because my ADD would kick in and that would throw the plan straight out the window. My workouts are steady, and while they may be light to medium, I'm always consistent!

Making New Discoveries

I recently took two weeks off when we went on a vacation to Egypt, and while I felt guilty for taking some time off from lifting initially, I know that in the long run, it benefited me a great deal. When I returned to the states, I found my strength returned much more than I thought it would. I now know that even if I take some time off, not everything will be lost.

I train with weights three to four times a week, and do either stepper cardio or yard work on the alternate days. However, I've also learned to listen to my body and lay my rests in there. I now know when to push, and when to pull back.

We recently bought an assistive lift machine that I love working my shoulders on; I like the results I've gotten with it so far. I've been performing pyramid sets starting at a resistance of 120, progressing to 130, 140, 150, and then 15-20 reps of dips without rest. What a rush!

It's all worth the time, the pain, and the sacrifice.

Fit, Fine, and Fifty

I just celebrated my 50th birthday, and I'm in better physical shape, with more muscle tone than I had when I was in my 20's! Over the past several years, I've literally lost a whole person! How incredible is that?

The amazing thing is, I did this for ME!

I kept journals of what exercises I did, kept a spreadsheet of monthly measurements, and took lots and lots of pictures. I started with 20 minutes of training a day until I could do more. Once I started seeing results, the rest fell in place.

I'll be 51 years old next year, and it'll also be the ending of the 5th year of my five-year plan. I will be on the beginning of a new 5 year plan. All of this has taught me that even negative motivation can be channeled into some very positive results.

If I Can Do This, Anyone Can!

My best advice to anyone starting a fitness plan is to:

Be consistent. Be determined. Be diligent. Be yourself.

Do it for change. Do it for results. Do it for life. Do it for you.

Plan your work. Work your plan.

When everything is said and done, make sure more is done than said.

And if anyone asks, tell them, Teri LaFaye said so!



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