Tuesday, May 11, 2010

12 week challenge

I've never had much of an issue with my weight.

As a teenager I was skinny, completely lacking in the chest department and could easily have passed for a boy. I wished for curves while my curvy friends wished theirs away. When I was getting married I was about 45kgs. 14 years of wedded bliss and 3 kids later my weight naturally crept up little by little to 55kgs and those curves I had always wanted appeared. I never felt the need to diet and was grateful for my high metabolism that let me eat chocolate or fast food without seeming to affect the number on the weighing scales. My only health issue was the regular Migraines that bugged me.

And so about 12 months ago I went on a Migraine preventer, a Beta Blocker that slows the heart rate down and lowers the blood pressure. They have reduced the frequency of my headaches but not eliminated them entirely. Unfortunately I have had an unwanted side effect of the slowing of my metabolism. I have put on 12kgs in as many months. My GP has told me I cannot afford to keep gaining weight this rapidly and has told me I have to lose it. I eat healthily and reducing my food intake has had no effect at all except leaving me crabby and hungry. I face the reality that most of my friends knew all those years ago, I need to exercise.

In order to keep me accountable and motivated I asked my work colleagues if they wanted to join me in a health kick. As the conversation evolved amongst 4 or 5 of us someone suggested the idea of chipping $10 each into an envelope. This was to be a prize at the end for the most successfully participant. In an effort to make it more about general health and not just losing kgs on the scales I suggested we work out our Body Mass Indexes so we could see what a healthy target weight could be. I made charts so that each of us could write down our weight, height, BMI and space to put in how many minutes of exercise we did each day.

We decided to set a time frame of 12 weeks and celebrate with a meal out at the end that anyone could come to. That was two weeks ago. It has totally snowballed. 35 people have joined. From the kitchen and cleaning staff to the nurses, physios, speech therapists and occupational therapists all the way up to secretarial staff and management. 35 people are now charting their exercise, exchanging healthy recipes and sharing workout DVDs. 35 people have learned what their healthy weight for their height should be. Some are already there and are just wanting to get into more of a pattern of regular exercise, others are far away from ideal and are not expecting to fix everything in 12 weeks but are starting to move in the right direction. The emphasis is on overall health and not just focusing on the number on the scales.

Beauty is not a number, we are all beautiful and individual but if getting that number in the healthy zone means that our beauty will be around for our kids for longer then bring in on!

There is $350 prize money at stake. Broken into prizes from $40-$100 so that a few people can be presented with a bonus envelope on the night of our meal out. Already people have said they don't care about the money. They said that if they win they plan on putting the envelope in the centre of the table to share out and buy their friends a drink. Already people feel they are winning because they feel better, their clothes are fitting better, their skin is glowing!

Every day since this challenge began I have done some kind of exercise. I'm exhausted but excited. There is a buzz in work. The kitchen staff stop by the nurses desk for just a bit longer to chat, people smile as they pass on the stairs and make jokes about how many steps they have climbed instead of using the lift, people are talking in the coffee room and encouraging one another.

I hope we last the distance. I hope the camaraderie continues. I hope the next time I see my GP he will be shaking my hand not shaking his head...!

4 comments - click here to leave your comment:

  1. How fun and healthy is this! Exercise is always more fun when several join in. I'll be interested to see the awards night.

  2. Fabulous! I think it is great that so many joined in. It seems to have brought you all a bit closer together as well. I will be looking forward to the awards.

  3. that is awesome! I took up running this year...just to stay healthy. It feels so good to get out and do something and to know that you're taking care of yourself. It's also important to have the support of others to keep you motivated. My friend and I have been using a site called www.dailymile.com to track our workouts and progress. It's like facebook for exercising. Check it out, it's a fun way for you and your colleagues to keep tabs and motivate each other! Go Gina!! I hope you reach your goal!

  4. Wow, this is wonderful! It's so much easier to stay motivated when doing it as a group! I need to seek out some other people who are in the same boat I am, so we can act as each other's support system, because I'm still struggling to loose the baby weight, 2+ years later. I hope you reach your goal...and have fun doing it!