Baltimore Sun

Fitness Challenge Week 1 update: Sarah

Sarah and I have been impressed with all the supportive comments left on this blog. I have been inspired by our participants. Inspired enough to try to lose the 10 to 15 pounds that have crept on over the past few months of holiday eating. As Sarah points out below, it's not easy when your workplace is filled with food. Here's Sarah:

Ten days in, and this 2011 fitness challenge is off to a good start. I'm down 2.5 pounds (to 164.5), which is less than I was hoping for but more than enough. But I guess it's possible I overestimated how much of my start number was water weight from New Year's Eve indulgences.


I'm 10 percent of the way into the 100 Days Challenge and haven't missed a day, though some days have been better workouts than others. Still, I've done at least 30 minutes of "intentional movement" each day since we started, and I haven't hurt myself beyond a tweaked calf muscle for a day after failing to stretch enough. Lesson learned. I've also tracked calories consistently and made that goal every day so far.

It hasn't been easy, though. Like right now (Tuesday afternoon), there are five bags of potato chips sitting on the counter, product samples that showed up in the mail. I'm trying not to think about them too much, but I'll admit it. I'm tempted. Then I try to think about how many people have manhandled that food in the past few hours, and I'm less tempted. But as food editor, I've already been faced with this sort of challenge repeatedly. Six bags of pretzels came in the mail at the end of last week. A "press kit" with full-fat popcorn and two boxes of candy a few days before that. It's always something around here, and that's not going to stop any time soon. I'm sure the Valentine's chocolate will be next.


But so far, I've been bringing my lunch and snacks for the day, and that's been enough to hold me, most of the time. One day this weekend, my eating schedule went totally awry, and I ate too much too early in the day, then tried to graze instead of eating a real dinner, and later in the evening, I found myself starving. I stayed within my goal that day, but barely, after inhaling a late-evening peanut-butter sandwich.

Another bonus: I'd guess I've saved at least $25 so far by bringing food from home and wasted less food at home by bringing in leftovers and healthy snacks instead of letting them languish in the fridge.

In short (or not): I'm feeling pretty good. After a few days of pretty easy workouts (mostly exercise biking or stair-stepping on the Wii), I'm ready to push a little harder in the coming weeks. Still babying the shoulder, so I won't be bench-pressing three figures any time soon, but I know I can do more.

Thanks for all the support so far, and helping to keep me honest. I was a little surprised at all the reactions about revealing my weight, but even though it's higher than I wish it were (and than I thought it was before we began), it's just a number. It's not who I am or what I am, just an indicator of where I am. That said, once the post went up last week, I did have moments where I felt like I was walking around with a name tag on my shirt with my weight. But I kept reminding myself of the sentiment above: It's just a number.

Which reminds me: I need to make an appointment with my doctor to check my cholesterol.

Weight: 164.5

Height: 5-foot-4