A 25 Pound Very Personal Journey – Part 2 – Introducing Shawna Kaminski
As I mentioned in Part 1 of this post, I gained 25 pounds IN ONE YEAR!!! I’ve chronicled that venture and I need to say this right from the start this time…THIS IS NOT A SPONSORED POST! I’ve written this to own my health and my intentions, and as a personal thank you to Shawna Kaminski who has challenged me and changed my life. Here’s where I left off on my very personal journey to regain control:
“I have to say the toughest part of changing my ways was actually leading myself out of denial and making up MY MIND that it was time”
Once I realized I had to do something about my weight (and accompanying constant state of tired and illness), I did what I always do…I started running again…because I LOVE running…and I’m not talking a kilometer or two…I’m talking Sunday runs of up to 10k! But guess what…my old standby didn’t work this time! But I kept running anyway. Because…you know…the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results! Just ask anyone who knows me and they’ll tell you that I have been known to have been bitten by cray-cray bug from time to time!
But here’s the kicker: with running came my other usual outcome…I was constantly hungry. (The Mr always jokes that he needs to carry an emergency supply of energy bars in the glovey because when I need to eat…I NEED TO EAT…and it’s dangerous for his health if I don’t…but that’s because he’s constantly second guessing if we should stop to eat here at the restaurant right in front of us, or if there’s another one 200 miles down the road that might be better…but that’s a whole other post!)
So I ran, I ate more, I was constantly hungry, and NO WEIGHT CAME OFF.
I actually think I gained a little more. Well, since I was no longer living in denial, my science brain kicked in and I began to do my research. Which of course involved Facebook ;). That’s when I saw a picture of a friend and former co-worker who was a fraction of their former self. And who??? pray tell was the brawn and brains that was being credited with this transformation?
Meet Shawna Kaminski
She is none other than the two time winning “toughest Calgarian alive” of course. She’s a 49 year old mother of two who can knock out over 20 pull-ups in a row…and she can beat most men at this when challenged! But for me, I liked what I saw when I really looked beyond the pull ups. And the more I did, the more I was impressed that she is REAL and relatable. What I mean by that is that she isn’t a 20-something who eats 2 kleenex a day and is then telling people how to stay thin (sorry kids, I have had a trainer or two like that in the past). Her focus is on FITNESS…if you’re fit, the weight-loss will follow…but beyond that, she shows you how gaining control of your health and your body flows over into all other areas of your life! (Yes, there is a bit of a religious fervour when I speak about her!)
Click THIS LINK to see her rock the pull up bar!
If you weren’t impressed by the video, then go try to do a pull-up!
Only about 5% of the world’s populations can do them and once I came to that realization, my naturally not so competitive self (cough cough) knew I wanted to be able to be strong enough to pull one off. Plus, Shawna and I are pretty much the same age so there was no reason why I couldn’t do it too. Sooo…..yes, I just came clean on my age too…I’m just one big ol’ SuzieSpiller these days’ aren’t I?!
Ok, so I checked out her program and lurked on her blog (I know, sounds creepy but it was with good intentions), and started really researching what she was doing and why it could/should work from a REAL scientific perspective…peer reviewed journal articles (y’all know I’m a trained physical/nutritional anthropologist, right?). And trust me, there were times she really pee-ed me off…like when she said if you want to get fit RUNNING isn’t the most effective way to do it! This went against everything I had come to believe in so I ran more, just to prove her wrong! But guess what: I couldn’t!
When I couldn’t succeed even though I was running more, I finally gave in and downloaded her Challenge Workouts program and started working out her way. Plus, I finally quit lurking and LIKED her Facebook Page. It was through this that I found out she had a 24/7 virtual coaching service. It involves texts, emailed workouts and tips, and me being accountable to her for my nutrition at the end of every day, for 6 weeks, until I gained good habits. And the price was less than one personal training session per week! Well, I signed up…YES, I SIGNED UP FOR VIRTUAL SHAWNA…A WOMAN I HAD NEVER MET!…at the hardest time of the year to begin a journey such as this I might add…at the beginning of November…which I remind you is right before USTG (which my family celebrates) and all the ensuing holidays! I’m telling you, it was the best thing I EVER did for myself!
Why? Because before you can work with her this way, you must fill out a questionnaire that helps her gauge if you’re serious (she’s a seriously busy woman who owns Calgary North West Fit Body Boot Camp and constantly traveling to attend/speak at conferences that provide her clients with the most up to date fitness information available). It was those questions that caused me to realize what had really been going on in my life beyond just being busy and sometimes lazy! And the realization was deep! It lead me to this:
2007 was humdinger of a year for me, let me tell you!
In January, our beloved Nana (who was 99 3/4 and still living alone through the assistance of family and daily visits from homecare) had a stroke and we were told she would not make it. She had always been adamant that when her time came she did not want to go into the hospital, so my sister and I helped care for her until she passed away in the comfort of her own home. In March, this was followed by my beloved one year old yorkie, Scout, suddenly passing away due to a congenital birth defect. In the midst of all this, my brother was suffering horribly from lung cancer and given 6 months to live. When his time came in September, my sister and I spent the last days helping care for him at my mom’s until he passed. And after all this? I kept telling everyone and myself that I was fine…except I wasn’t. But you know what? Once I was able to put my finger on the source of the pain, it was as if the burden was lifted. Sometimes just KNOWING where it’s coming from helps you deal!
And since I was able to put my finger on the REAL issues so that they didn’t cloud what I wanted in my life, I realized I wanted more than weight loss!
- I wanted health and life and strength.
- I realized wanted my mental health back! I had very likely been depressed and it was time to deal with it in my own head (sorry, I’m not a therapy gal, I’m a self-healer).
- I found the roadblock, set my goals, and clarified my intentions such that I was able to give myself a break, stop blaming myself, but also start holding myself accountable!
And that’s when the magic really happened!
I now work out 6 days a week with virtual Shawna there to support me (but also threaten to fly to Vegas to find me if I don’t check in!) Yes! I said 6 DAYS A WEEK. But the beauty of it is, most of the workouts use my own bodyweight as resistance and a whole lot of science to deliver a kick a$$ metabolicly challenging workout AT HOME…and some days they are as little as 12-15 minutes. Since I’m not blessed with co-ordination, in spite of being a former cheerleader ;) those yoga-zumba-sweatin it to the oldies classes are not for me! If you can do that, I say FANTASTIC…it’s just not MY thing…plus, I travel too much to be able to consistently attend, even if I wasn’t worried about embarrassing myself.
And there is so much variety to my workouts that I’m never bored! Trust me, I get bored REALLY fast! So I think this is why I am still sticking to the program. My long workouts are 30-45 minutes, depending on whether I add a 4-6 minute “finisher” onto the end, and every other day they’re short. I get in, get out, and get ‘er done! And in 8 weeks, I haven’t missed a workout…now that’s consistency!
Have I changed how I eat?
Yes…and no! See, if your diet tells me I can never have a Baconator again, I’m not going to stick to it. As I said, I’m a nutritional anthropologist so I understand nutrition as it relates to health, but I also understand cultural contributions to why we eat what we eat…and for me BACON is part of my culture, or so I like to tell myself (Praise the Lard)! But I don’t eat a Baconator every day like I did last summer when I was studying Chemistry. What I love about how I eat now is that it’s delicious, nutritious, filling (some days Shawna actually tells me to eat more), and it’s REAL food. Not a pre-packaged meal plan that can sit in my closet for two years without going bad…not a two shakes a day then eat a head of lettuce for dinner kind of scheme…not an unscientifically sound paleodiet (don’t even get me started on how flawed this is!). This is a plan where I can eat anything I want…just NOT ALL THE TIME…and when I do there are trade-offs, like finishers at the end of my workout! I eat clean 80-90% of the time and live my life 100% of the time as a result of it.
So what has my progress been so far you ask?
Well, at the end of eight weeks (which is today), through US Thanksgiving (when my son cooked his first turkey dinner and there was no way I was not eating EVERY bite), through my trip to Vegas and NFR (when a 2:30 a.m. cheeseburger and a “few” libations did happen), through Christmas dinner (when I DID eat turkey, stuffing AND the Christmas Cake that had been soaking in Sailor Jerry’s Rum for 2 1/2 months), through a very stressful New Year’s when I had 6 extra house guests, the sewer backed up twice, you couldn’t flush the toilets, and my lovely friend Vicki brought her famous rum balls to apply to my butt cheeks…at the end of all of this (as of this morning) I’ve lost a total of 14 lb since starting with Shawna (17.5 since I started on this journey…note that other 3.5 lb was the result of 3 months of running!). I haven’t done my measurements today (I usually weigh in and measure on Monday mornings) but at the end of the first 6 weeks I had lost 16.75 total inches! I consider these solid steps toward success.
But more important, I’ve gained muscle, tone, and control of my life!
Here’s an IG pic from yesterday…check out the pipes ;)
(PS My new hashtag is #stongisthenewsexy so if you tweet or IG I’d love it if you’d follow back and tag your workouts/selfies with this so I can follow too)! I still can’t do a pull up (but come on…for from zero to one in 8 weeks for a non-strength trainee like me is unrealistic…and I know I CAN and WILL achieve it…If you think you can or think you can’t, you’re probably right, right?). Another success? I can do 5 REAL pushups now (I could only do them from my knees when I started)…and my Burpees? I do them with ten pound weight in each hand now! (I jokingly tell Shawna I’m aiming to be the Queen of Burpees!)
So…here’s what I like the most about this change
It’s not a diet (just solid nutrition plan that doesn’t tell me I can NEVER eat Baconators again, I’m just careful with how often and how much, and I add a finisher, thanks to Shawna’s friend Mikey Whitfield, to my workout if I did)! It’s not boring! At the end of the day, this is a lifestyle change and one that fits MY lifestyle to boot. Because of the number of bodyweight only workouts I have, I can do this at home or in a hotel room with limited equipment (I invested in a trx and a skipping rope for travel). And 3 of the 6 days I can get ‘er done in under 30 minutes…often under 20! I’m definitely not too busy for that!
To RECAP what has lead me this far:
- I no longer allowed myself to live in denial. I found photographic evidence to wake me up. I ask you, can you find an old pic of yourself that you love and compare it to today? Are you where you want to be NOW?
- I identified my mental roadblocks (does this resonate with any of you?)
- I did my research to find a life-plan that has solid science behind why it works and I apply it in a devout manner.
- I set my REAL goals…which are way beyond weight loss (it’s like business, if you’re only in it for the money, eventually you’ll be forced to cheat…don’t be fooled…pounds are the weight equivalent of money so make your health your priority…not so much the number on the scale).
- I set up a system of accountability for myself that I LOVE (I highly recommend her because she really KNOWS what she’s doing, but if virtual Shawna is beyond you then how about setting up a network of friends to text/post/email each other daily on your progress?). Prior to Shawna, I was part of a wonderful Facebook group called 100 for 100 (log 100 miles in 100 days). When I stopped logging miles, I reported my workouts to them and they were all so encouraging that the next challenge will include workouts as a daily point in the challenge…thank you Michelle Farley for providing this!
- I make my workouts a priority…no excuses…even if the sewer backs up burpees will happen!
- I researched healthy recipes that taste amazing! (if you follow me on Instagram (@urbancountrystyle), Twitter (@UrbanCntryStyle), or Facebook you’ve seen them appear in those feeds this past couple of months!)
OK, this post has grown way too long. If you all would like examples of what I eat in a day, how I eat, healthy recipes, or where I find inspiration for healthy recipes, then just leave me a comment below saying you do. I’ll be sure to set up a future post with one of my sample days’ nutrition and some links to where you can find great inspiration for tasty REAL food!
And if YOU have tips that work for you, please share them. As I said on Friday, we all get there together…there’s no need for us to be out here alone any more!
Have a wonderful Sunday Y’all!