The challenge begins...

This week, Staff Writer Lydia Beers and I share with you the first week of our fitness challenge. This column will be published Saturdays throughout the Best Loser weight-loss competition, in which we are both participants. — Maggie Nixon, Editor

What’s bothering me about my “diet”?
It’s not the 2,000 calories I could have had eating a full piece of coffee cake during our visit with Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels (I didn’t eat one, by the way, since I felt like even looking at it was adding pounds). It’s not the fast food cheeseburger I grabbed after our editorial board meeting Wednesday. It’s probably not even the soda pop I drank the other night because I was craving some carbonation. What is bothering me isn’t even that once in awhile I “cheat on my diet” — it’s my lack of motivation. I don’t necessarily consider a change in lifestyle and eating habits a “diet” so that’s why I don’t just outright call it that.
Joining the Best Loser with my son and two office-mates here at the Pilot, I had grand visions of dropping 20-30-40 pounds, but that’s just not realistic in a three-month time period unless I live in the gym. And let’s face it, with four over-achievers in my house active in sports (and travel teams), academics and friend activities (among more - too many things to list), I haven’t learned how to make time for myself to get to the gym and work off that pop, or that cheeseburger. I’m a procrastinator by nature, and there’s always things to do like play Bingo, have band practice, or bowl…
I know, you’re reading this thinking, “Take care of yourself. Be in good health so you can be around for those boys as they grow up.” I am a healthy person by nature, though. I don’t eat cookies or cake; I don’t over-indulge in fast food; I don’t sit on the couch and eat bonbons and watch hours of television (at night I admit I’m a reality TV junkie, but there are NO bonbons in sight). I do get plenty of natural exercise walking a fairly normal amount and playing volleyball and bowling (yes, bowling: my Hammer bowling ball is heavy!). But I know I need to increase the activity and decrease the time I spend trying to figure out where to fit in routine exercise.
I don’t want to keep making excuses, because that’s simply what I’m doing. I’m finding all the reasons why I can’t lose some excess weight instead of mimicking that Nike commercial: Just Do It! I will try. OK, I promise, I will try… harder.
Maggie Nixon is Managing Editor of the Pilot News Group.

My mom likes to say, “Do you want the good news or the bad news first?”
The good news is that this week I found several opportunities for fitness. The bad news is that I still ate a lot of junk! I started out great by pre-slicing celery and putting it with carrots in the refrigerator for snacks. And I did eat it, but I also ended up hitting the drive-thru a few times too many. I fell into the trap that many people do — being too busy to eat until you’re starving, then grabbing whatever you can find. I know one thing I could do to prevent the drive thru rut is just bring enough healthy food and snacks with me to work to last throughout the whole day. So if I know I won’t be getting home until late, I should probably bring more than a sandwich.
Since I didn’t get much physical activity in over the last weekend, I was ready to hit the ground running on Monday. I went to the gym with my Best Loser partner and coworker Melanie, and we sweated for a while amid many, many others — I’ve never seen the walking/running track so jam packed with people. It was our first time working out together, and we had fun discussing some of our goals for the contest and getting to know each other a little better.
Wednesday I went to Webster Recreation Center to check out the Plymouth Park Department’s free exercise classes. I had spoken with the instructor, Jane Fuentes, on the phone previously and wasn’t sure exactly what to expect. I got there early and was surprised that the parking lot was empty. I didn’t have to wait long though — about 10 minutes before the start of the class people started pouring in. The gym seemed to grow smaller as more than 80 women (and several men) packed into it, laughing with friends and ready to get a good workout. The first class was a 4-mile walk, consisting of fast paced stepping moves to a background of peppy music. It was fun, and encouraging to see people of all fitness levels really getting into it. I decided to stay for Zumba and now, three days later, I’m still feeling it.
Next week I plan to make a more concentrated effort to stay away from the grease. I also want to make time for the things I really enjoy — I love yoga, and I wasn’t able to get to the class this past week. I’m hoping to convert Melanie so we can love it together!
Lydia Beers is a Staff Writer with the Pilot News Group.

Next week and on the web:
Next Saturday, we’ll update you on our success for the week, but in the meantime, if you would like to share your story with us, your success, or your struggles, post a response to this on our website: (look under the “news” link to “Question of the Week”).