by Amber Buck
This guest blog post by WhyPowered Coaching Client Amber Buck tells her personal story of shedding 40 pounds, going from sedentary to active and how support, accountability and knowing her Why helped her find her way. Amber is a testament to the sustainable power of coaching.
The intro to my story isn't important. ‘Everyone’ knows it; everyone has been there. I gained weight for many reasons, and diets didn't work. In July of 2017 I decided to start working out, using my free trial of the Diamond Dallas Page Yoga (DDPY) app. I even joined their Facebook support group. Then, after not very long, I promptly stopped.
In mid-2018, I learned about a health/weight loss coaching group. Gayle's focus was what she calls WhyPower. Everyone thinks making changes to your diet, exercise, and lifestyle are about willpower. Gayle teaches it's not about WILLpower; it's about your WHYpower. Not "Will I do this?" but "Why am I doing this?" It's the why that keeps you going when you want to quit. Your Why connects you to your deep reasons for wanting to make changes. I joined one of her 16-week groups that took me from September through December 2018.
I was one of 6 women in my group. We didn't talk about branded food for sale that would magically solve our healthy eating challenges. There was no list of foods we couldn’t have on our journey either. No cookbooks or merchandise was for sale. That's not what Gayle does. Instead, we were given "playbooks" to use as guides to shifting our mindsets and making healthier choices for ourselves. Both in the group and as ‘homework’ we were encouraged to explore what we wanted for ourselves. We answered questions such as ‘what do you value most, what are your goals, and what is your vision of your best self?’
We created our "why statements." These were the words that would keep the chocolate at the store and out of our pantries, put our tennis shoes on our feet instead of having our butts on the couch.
My focus wasn't on losing 70 pounds; it was on wanting "more than that". That was my personal Why: "More than that". I don't want that piece of cake; I want more than that. I want to be able to help set up our campsite without getting tired. I want to go on hikes with my family. I don't want to sleep in. I want more than that. It made it all so real and meaningful.
At each weekly meeting, we shared our challenges from the week prior and stayed accountable to Gayle and to each other. We celebrated our ‘non-scale victories’ and encouraged more of them. We talked about if we met the goals we set for ourselves and what got in our way if we fell short. Together we weathered a family death, a move to a new home, the holidays, family visits, vacations, as well as the regular stressors of day-to-day life.
By the end of the group meetings, I'd lost 20 pounds. I felt as though I'd been given the tools I needed to continue by myself, but we also had the benefit of our private Facebook group where we could keep checking-in and encouraging one another.
In January 2019, I made three commitments to myself. The first was working out with DDPY again. The second was that I would train to walk my first 10k in June (my son even decided to train with me!). I became a regular in the DDPY Facebook group and started working out three times or more each week. At the beginning of April, my 8-year-old son and I began our training for the 10k, walking three or four times each week, gradually increasing our time and distance. Last weekend we walked four miles, and tomorrow we'll probably walk five. I've moved from the beginner program in the DDPY app to intermediate.
The third commitment I made to myself was that I would finally join "Onederland" by my birthday on February 25. Onederland refers to weighing under 200 pounds. It had been twenty years or so that ‘two-something-something’ has greeted me from the scale, so this was an audacious goal.
And I made it. I was officially in Onederland by my 41st birthday. I’m beyond thrilled.
I've gone from living a sedentary lifestyle to working out six days each week. This past week we walked nearly 10 miles, and next week we'll walk 11. Our 10k is on June 8th, and I don't plan to stop walking once the race is over. I'm now 40 pounds lighter, have 7 fewer inches at both my waist and hips; and went from a size 20 to a 16.
BMI calculators say I need to lose another 50 pounds, but my current goal is to lose another 35 pounds and see how that feels. If my body tells me I'm good, cool. If not, I'll re-evaluate then.
But hold-up on that re-evaluation: I'm finally under 200 pounds, and somehow I feel like I’ve gotten stuck again.
At my current weight, I've found myself slipping back into old habits. (Thankfully not the habits that kept me sedentary!) The higher calorie, less-than-healthy food and drinks are creeping back into my diet. My portions have gotten bigger. I finally figured out that something in my brain has gotten hung-up on this weight, and that that same part of my brain is content to just no longer see the 200s on the scale. My original Why Power isn't giving me the same kick anymore. I still want "more than that", but I need a newer, more empowering mantra.
If I don't do something NOW, I'm not likely to reach my 160 goal.
It's time to reboot. I've printed the updated version of the WhyPowered Playbook. I'm going back to the beginning. I've got a new starting weight, am taking new measurements, and making new goals. I'll put in the work to discover my new WhyPower. I'm not the same person I was in September when I began this journey. One of the group exercises Gayle had us do was writing a letter to our future, healthier selves. I AM a new, healthier version of my former self, and everything I wrote goals for last September was for a person that no longer exists. I am always reinventing and rediscovering!
Our coaching group met on Mondays, so I keep my self-accountability practices and check-ins with the group every Monday still. I'm re-starting as an active woman who needs to continue good habits and tweak existing ones. For the first time in my life, I am rebooting not because I failed, but because I am succeeding.