Susan’s Blog: Did she survive her band workout, and she reveals a big secret. No turning back now.

Yes, that’s Susan strangling herself with the bands at our recent coaching session. I think she did it in lieu of telling me to go f**k myself :-)

I’m not going to write much of a lead in because I can’t match Susan’s compelling writing and style. She is an incredible person and this week she drops a bomb shell that will shock you. It confirms that everything happens exactly as it should and when it should.  Here it is:


We have been doing this for awhile now, you and I. Each week, I write, you read; hopefully we all learn something along the way. For this blog to have integrity, significance, and depth of meaning, I need to be completely truthful here, and I haven’t been, not entirely. Have I lied to you directly? No, of course not; but the sin of omission can be just as slippery a slope. It prevents you from seeing the whole picture as it truly is. What you fail to mention can put a completely different spin on things, right? You see dear reader, I have been holding out on you, harboring a dark, dirty little secret that sometimes makes me feel like a hypocrite when I go on and on about all these amazing strides I am making towards being a new and improved healthy person. But we’ll get to that. First we need to back up to where we last left off. I had invited Peter to kick my ass…

So… did he? Was he merciless? Did he leave me panting and begging for mercy in the dirt? For those of you who have met Peter, this is a ridiculous question. No, of course not; he’s too smart for that. Had he really acted like a drill sergeant or a sadistic HS gym teacher, he might have won the battle, but he would have surely lost the war. Had he left me sore and aching for days, he would have given me the perfect excuse to say, “See? I told you! This sucks! I’m done.” Maybe that’s exactly what I was hoping for in a twisted unconscious way; a final last gasp effort to convince myself that exercise is not for me. But Peter is Peter; I have yet to outsmart the b*stard, though I am sure I will continue to try. ☺ We went to the park, and we did an 8 AM work out that left my fingers numb and my nose running from the morning chill, but little else to complain about. Was it pretty to watch? Probably not, but it wasn’t terrible like I imagined, and we managed to laugh all the way through it, and in the end, he got what he wanted. I made friends with my bands. Ok, that’s a bit strong. We are acquaintances at this point, but the key here is that I am no longer intimidated by them, or think of them as a dumb useless gimmick unworthy of my time and attention. We did 20 minutes of bands, and I did begin to feel the hint of burn in some muscles I didn’t know I possessed. “Humph.” So much for resisting the resistance bands. I used them 4 out of 5 days this week on my own, with no hounding from Peter. Will I end up with Alison’s abs, arms like Jane’s, a convert like Russell? I guess we will have to wait and see, but there is now the faintest glimmer of hope this could happen.

Other athletic endeavors… B*tches 1 – 3, and Insult to Injury. This is now how I fondly refer to my lunchtime walk. I am still without Norton, but have resumed the practice of taking a lunchtime stroll anyway. I know I sometimes tend to be melodramatic, but not so much here. The terrain is wicked. No matter which way I try to go, I come face to face with a monstrous hill. The route I walk has 4 of them, all affectionately noted above. I took some pictures for you guys, but they aren’t worth posting, though I did send them to Peter. I don’t know why hills don’t photograph realistically, but trust me on this- they are steep, and they suck, and the photos don’t do them the slightest justice. I make myself take this walk every single day, sometimes twice, in addition to doing the bands. I come back to the house out of breath, with legs that are a little shaky; I can rest easy knowing I share no DNA with mountain goats.

So, am I an athlete yet? Have I embraced exercise? Am I willing to forfeit the battle cry, “I HATE IT!” ? No, no sign of that yet, but my days of reigning supreme on the sofa are clearly over. I am still not comfortable exercising. I still look forward to it about as much as getting my teeth drilled at the dentist. I still feel goofy and uncoordinated, a little ridiculous, and sometimes embarrassed. But here is what I DO like- finally believing that this walk I take each day, and the few minutes I spend with the bands WILL make a huge difference with my metabolism and my body’s ability to burn fat. And oh yeah, the sense of accomplishment I feel each day when I can check exercise off my to-do list, instead of feeling like a slacker for not getting up and moving…AGAIN. That I do like, a lot.

The scale… “Humph” again. Having a weird week I don’t quite understand. By the 2nd day after my last reported weigh in, I had gained 2.2 lbs. I don’t feel that I was eating poorly enough to warrant that gain, then proceeded to lose most of that as the week progressed. I am up 4 oz. from my last weigh in- 254.6 instead of 254.2- total loss to date 76.4 lbs. I stayed very close to my 1400 calorie a day limit, and only ate one dinner out where I am allowed to “cheat” (not something I usually take Peter up on, though it is on the table as an option each week). I guess I am mainly irritated by the small gain this week because I completely “upped my game” by adding in all this exercise that I mentioned above. I sort of feel jipped here- where is the payoff for all my hard work? I just have to have faith that if I continue to diligently plug on, the scale will better reflect my efforts as time goes on. The worst thing I could do here is get frustrated and resentful, because in my twisted brain, that negativity will somehow translate into, “Go ahead, you DESERVE that entire pint of Ben & Jerry’s…” and I know better.

Ok. So that’s my week in review. We are done now, right? Except, we’re not. Because I promised you I’d reveal a dirty little secret. Ready? Drum roll please…… I am a smoker. I have been a “pack a day” girl for the last 25 years, more than half of my life now. 331 pounds AND a pack a day smoker you ask??? I wasn’t kidding when I said I’d be dead soon if I didn’t get a grip on my health. Through good times and bad, happy and sad, cigarettes have been my constant companion. Having a smoke is the very first thing I do when I wake up each day, and the very last thing I do before I go to bed. If I wake up at 4 AM to pee, I have one then for good measure as well. I have smoked like a trooper right on through every case of Bronchitis I have ever had, and even through Strep Throat as well- though I will admit, that was pure agony. I have even chain smoked, while leaning on the wall outside Sloan Kettering in NYC, while a loved one was inside undergoing cancer surgery. If that doesn’t put the depth of my addiction in perspective for you, I don’t know what will. During my teenage years, I think I believed it made me look cool and mature. As times and attitudes have changed, it makes me look like an idiot, and a social pariah of sorts. Let’s face it. It is a dirty, socially unacceptable, health destroying vice; those of us who still do it know all these things to be true, and still we are enslaved by our habit. Deny me a cigarette when I “need” one, and watch me utterly and completely melt down and lose my mind. Wait, I am a Nanny right? What parent in their right mind would employ a smoker to watch their children? Well here is the thing, nobody I have ever worked for knows, because I don’t actually smoke while I am working. How could “pack a day girl” pull this off successfully? I’ll give you a hint. My son refers to me sardonically as “The Nicotine Nanny.” A nicotine patch is glued somewhere on my torso, at all times, whenever I am working. This nifty little patch gives me a constant“fix” and keeps me mild and even tempered so I don’t slaughter my little charges.  The minute I am free for the day, the patch is gleefully ripped off, and I light up. I can talk about this here now, because I have stopped posting the blog on my Facebook page not too long ago. The more personal this process got, the less I wanted to share my intimate thoughts with EVERYONE on my friend’s list.

I just glanced back over the length of the blog, and it is a lonnnng one. Peter is going to whip out his red edit pen if I don’t shut up for now. So much more to add here, but in the interest of brevity, I’ll save it for next week. Here’s the thing. I am one step closer to being the healthy person I envision myself becoming. It’s been 4 days, 5 hours, and 24 minutes since my last cigarette. Not that I am counting or anything…



2 comments for this entry:

  • Karen

    Susan- you rock!!! Keep it up. It will take time, but eventually, little step by little step you will get there. I know how you feel about your walks. I have become a runner in the past few years and have yet to experience that “runner’s high”, but I do love that sense of accomplishment at the end. That being said, I’ve been known to miss a run or two, but I have not quit running yet even after I have a horrible run.

    Don’t quit your journey. You’re strong and you can do it!

  • Pam

    Susan thank you for sharing with us!! That had to take a lot for you to share with that you are a smoker. I am a former smoker. It will be 10 years this November that I quit!! It isn’t an easy thing to do, I have faith in you that you will do it!! Stay strong you have come a long way and should be proud of yourself!!