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My Personal Mission: Day One

Posted on: April 20th, 2016 by Taryn Jeffries 2 Comments

I have been talking about making some changes for a few months, and to be honest, its really hard. I eat food, glorious and sometimes sinful, for a living. I realize many of you are rolling your eyes at me right about now. “What a rough life!” I am not complaining, not by any stretch of the imagination. The truth is, for those of you that have never met me, I am not a slight person. I am, shall we say, very present.

My Personal Weight Loss Mission: a food writer's journey to balance food and fitness

not my foot, not my scale

If we’re being honest, there are a number of phrases that you ould use to describe me: overweight, fat, obese, fluffy, chubby. While these are all true and fitting I would much rather you call me charming, funny, sassy, smart, gregarious, nice, lovely or something equally delightful (oh, I like that one too). The reality is when a person sees someone for the first time, all they see is their appearance and sadly, sometimes because of their appearance they opt to either not take the time to get to know that person or even worse make judgments about a person because of their appearance. While I have a good deal of confidence and belief in myself, there have been times that people have said ugly things to me or in close enough proximity for me to hear. Now, my very sweet Grandmother taught me a long time ago that if you don’t have anything nice to say, you really should just stay quiet. Maybe some folks missed that day with their Grandmother. As much as we try not to let people’s mean words or actions affect us, it happens. I’m human and so are you.

So, when my youngest son asked me when I was going to stop being fat (yeah, that happened) we quickly had a conversation about nice words and mean words and then I did some serious soul searching. I came to the realization (not like it wasn’t something sitting in the back of my head) that I needed to do something, and that maybe that something could be helpful to another person. So here I am, completely transparent, asking you to come along with me on this journey; a journey that is going to be hard for me because of my job. At the end of the day, however, we all have our reasons for something to be hard, sometimes also known as excuses.

Part of my decision involved partnering up with OrangeTheory Fitness. I will be going through their 6-week weight loss challenge which includes a specially crafted diet and exercise plan. This will prove to be difficult for me, you know because of the line of work I am in, but I thankfully have some really great contributors that will be able to cover events and we will all still be bringing you lots of valuable content.

I will be asking you to hold me accountable. Part of that will be in the form of me taking you along on this journey with me with weekly chronicles of what I have encountered during the week. This is the first entry in the series and I wanted to start with being completely honest.

I had my first class at OrangeTheory Fitness yesterday morning I arrived about 30 minutes prior to the start of class in order to fill out some paperwork and get a tour of the studio. I prepped for the class the night before by watching a few YouTube videos to see what a class would actually look like. I asked for tips from my friends on Facebook on what I should do to prepare as a newbie. Many people told me to take it easy, breathe, and listen to my body.

I have this silly quirk about me; when trying something new or starting something I am an “all or nothing” kind of gal. I get super self-conscious in work out situations. Since I am likely one of the bigger people in the room, I don’t want anyone to see that I am not able to keep up. So, I push myself too hard so that no one can look at me sideways; not that anyone would. its just a fun thing I do in my head.

I feel like the classes at OrangeTheory help people like me avoid that with their heart rate monitors and the visibility of where your heart rate is on the displays in the studio. The class that I was in was set up with three separate stations; cardio on the treadmill, a free weight area and then rowing machines and medicine balls. Members rotate through the station, but it bears noting that different instructors have different structures for their classes so it may not always play out like this. I was able to meet up with the class instructor prior to the start of class and he walked me and another first-timer through what was going to happen. There is a lot of care given by the instructors. They really want you to be successful and to enjoy your time there.

I started class on the treadmill and kept a lookout for my name on the display screen. The display shows four levels or activity; blue, green. orange, and red. The goal is for you to spend most of the one hour class in the green zone, with about 12-20 minutes in the orange zone. The orange zone is that sweet spot of fat burning and keeping in that zone for that amount of time allows for you to continue to burn fat and calories long after you leave the studio. I started on the treadmill as a Power Walker. The other options are Jogger and Runner. I might push myself, but I’m not a crazy person! Power Walker was right up my alley. There are three zones, no matter what level you fall into: Base, Push and All Out. The instructor will let you know where he wants you to be and when to move up or down. The Power walker starts out at a speed of 3.5-4.5 miles per hour. The Push and All Out phases require and increase in the incline percentage, rising up to a 10% incline during the All Out phase. It was not easy. If you tried to talk to me during those All Out phases I probably would have just smiled and cursed you on the inside. I mean, I can barely breathe so talking is not an option.

After I survived the treadmill I moved to the weight training area. Burpees, man. Burpees. We started out with 15 of those and then a circuit of other arm and core exercises. It was hard. Really hard, but I powered through and did everything that was asked of me, all the while willing those 20 or so minutes to go by faster already!

After the weight training, we moved to the rowing machines. I may be crazy, but I actually liked this and think that I would like this a lot more had I not already been through what I had. The rowing action made me feel strong and powerful, even though I was exhausted. We were instructed to row a certain distance in meters then hop off and do specific exercises with the medicine ball, hop back on the rower and repeat the meters only decreasing the distance by 100 meters. You do this over and over again until the class is completed.

Class finished with some stretching and a lot of high fives. Were the high fives because we all made it out alive or commiseration for completing something so hard together. Perhaps it was a healthy mix of the two. I felt a little woozy after the class, you know because I couldn’t give myself a break! I didn’t feel like I should have, really, because I was watching the display screen and I was bouncing back and forth between the green and orange zones, but I probably could have spent a little more time in blue. You know, since it was my first time. But I made it. I survived and when I got home and got the flush out of my face and had a little more food in my belly I was crazy proud of myself for powering through and not giving up.

Orange Theory: Day One

These are my results from my very first class! Crazy!! I did that!

I will be taking another class tomorrow morning and then attending a workshop on Saturday where I will get weighed, measured and educated on all the things I need to be eating to support my 4 times a week workout routine. Am I nervous? A little, sure. Change is always a little uncomfortable. Am I excited? Absolutely! I know that these kind of changes are important to make in order to reclaim my health. I am hoping that this will be a jumpstart in losing weight and learning how a food writer can effectively balance the decadence with fitness.

Have you tried OrangeTheory? Are you making weight loss or health changes in your life as well? I want to hear about your experiences. Let’s go through this together!

*I have received some products or services at no cost, but my opinions and experiences that are shared here are my honest opinions and experience. Promise. Check out our Disclosure Policy for more information.

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© Taryn Jeffries 2016

About the Author - Taryn Jeffries

Editor and Chief Eating Officer of PhoenixBites, 2017 Food Writer of the Year (Arizona Culinary Hall of Fame) Taryn grew up in a small town in Illinois with a doting Grandmother who taught her the way around a kitchen and that food is representative of love. Her current quest is to find the love in local dishes and the chefs behind them. In addition to running all things PhoenixBites, Taryn is also a freelance writer, sharing her insight on the best dishes and where to get them each and every month.

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2 Responses

  1. Susan says:

    Way to go, Taryn! Keep up the good work. Every journey begins with one step. Every day you take care of your health with exercise, proper nutrition, healthy meals, correct portions, rest and play, you are being your best self in the most important ways. Have a plan and stick with it so you won’t be distracted by temptations. Have your kids help you prepare meals so they can join in and make it a family mission to be healthy and well. Ride bikes or take walks with your family; make it fun and you will have many good memories. Enjoy it, be grateful and most of all, be proud of yourself for taking action to improve your health and well-being. You go, girl! I know you can do it!

    • Thanks so much, Susan!
      It’s definitely going to be a challenge, on many levels, but I think coming to the realization that I need to set an example of health for my children will help get me through it. We focus on teaching them to be good humans, use good manners, be a great friend, but I now see this as equally important.
      I will do my best to make it fun and get everyone involved. Should be a fun ride!

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