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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

One Day She Faced Her Fears, Part One

Mary (not her real name) is now twenty-nine pounds lighter than she was two and a half years ago when I first met her.  She is strong and energetic, too, but she had to go through months of denial and an additional gain of ten pounds before she faced her fear and walked through the uncomfortable door called truth.

I remember with great detail our very first meeting, when her weakened musculoskeletal structure was not only blanketed in thirty pounds of excess fat, she was also layered with nondescript folds of faded sweat fabric.  And even though she's an attractive woman, her over all look said, "I'm not worth it."

At that initial visit with me Mary told me she had just turned fifty and by her own admission could be identified as a career mom; her three children's hectic education, activities and social schedule kept her extremely busy .  Mary took her job very seriously and I'm sure her kids were better off for it.

Mary had sat uncomfortably in a comfortable chair and stated her goal:  she wanted to get into better physical condition and to lose unhealthy excess fat from her body.  "I really can't believe how I've let myself go.  I'm always so exhausted that the very idea of exercise just seems like living hell right now."  She replied to my question about her current exercise routine.  "That's why I'm here, I know if I pay someone, I'll show up."

"So tell me how you think your goal benefit you?"  I asked.

"I really want my kids to be proud of me."  She answered quickly.

After getting a pretty good picture of Mary's current lifestyle, I asked her if I could do a body composition analysis and fitness evaluation.  "I won't get on that thing!"  She declared as I started to pull  out the scale.  "I absolutely do not weigh myself.  I just know it would send me over the edge!"
Courtesy of
Because it is very important for my clients to trust me, I acquiesced and put the scale back.  "I can understand your anxiety, but the scale has gotten a bad rap.  To me it's simply a tool to see how your body is responding to your lifestyle changes."

She spent a moment in consternation, "I guess it's OK, I just don't want to know what the scale says."

I wrote her weight down  discreetly in her chart and once I'd collected as many facts as I could about Mary, I discussed some ideas I had about how we could proceed with her fitness program.

Three weeks later, she was five pounds heavier than she was that first day.  "I'm really starting to feel like I'm getting stronger.  And, I think I've gotten lighter!"  I wasn't sure what to say.