Fat to Fit to First Level:  TWENTY POUNDS GONE!

Esther is right on track to her personal weight loss goals, and we couldn’t be prouder! Get the lowdown on her system for staying motivated.

This week, I stepped on the scales to see 187.  That’s twenty pounds lost since the record high weight of 207 that made me weep on Christmas Day 2016.  That’s ten pounds lost since I began this column, just a few short weeks ago.

We equestrians understand well the concept of macro-goals and micro-goals.  Big picture and step-by-step.

My “big picture” goals are to: lose 60 pounds; get fit and toned (I can still hear JJ Tate chanting, “abs! abs! abs!” with every stride!  It’s a wonderful, rhythmic, inner chant that I use often now.); and have Kaliwohi comfortably and reliably trained through First Level.

To make these macro-goals achievable, I broke them down into Phases.  Some of the phases include micro-goals, which I’ve not included here.  An example of a micro-goal might be, “go seven days without eating ice cream” or things like that.

Goal:  Lose 60 pounds.

Phase One: Lose the first five pounds.  Lose the first ten pounds.  Lose one-third of the 60 pounds (20 lbs).

Phase Two:  Lose half a bag of feed weight (25 lbs).  Lose half the 60 pounds.  Lose two-thirds of the 60 pounds (40 lbs).

Phase Three:  Lose a whole bag of feed (50 lbs).  Lose the last ten pounds to 60 pounds.

Current Status:  PHASE ONE:  COMPLETE!

Goal:  Get fit and toned.

Phase One:  Begin a regular yoga practice.  Achieve tree pose at the ankle.

Phase Two:  Continue regular yoga practice.  Achieve tree pose at the calf.  Achieve easy pose.

Phase Three:  Continue regular yoga practice.  Achieve tree pose at the inner thigh.  Achieve boat pose.

Current Status:  PHASE ONE:  COMPLETE!

Goal:  Have Kaliwohi comfortably and reliably trained through First Level. 

Phase One:  Lunge work to under saddle work, walk/trot/canter.  Introductory USDF tests complete.

Phase Two:  Training level work.  Training level USDF tests complete.

Phase Three:  First level work.  First level USDF tests complete.

Current Status:  PHASE ONE:  60% complete.  Kaliwohi is now under saddle for 50 days, so I am solidifying his canter work and bending.  I am integrating some Intro level test sequences into our training.  We plan to compete Intro level in September.

Twenty pounds.  I am so thrilled to reach this milestone on my journey from fat to fit.  There are several changes I was hoping for – like looser clothing and chairs not feeling so tight when I sit down.

There are also changes happening that I didn’t expect.  Like my skin feels thinner.  When I touch my forehead, it feels like the bone is more pronounced.  Since I’m burning off a layer of fat all over, I suppose that is true.  There is less fat between my skin and my skull.

My shirts now come down a little bit lower than they did when I weighed 207 pounds.  I guess, with the loss of twenty pounds of fat to circumvent, the fabric can now flow downward.  The photographs this week are from the first column, for reference, and updated pictures taken July 27, 2017, for comparison.

How have I lost this weight?  I’ve snacked less and found better ways to deal with stress.  I’ve stopped eating supper late at night; if I don’t have my evening meal by 6 p.m., I just don’t eat that evening.  I’m not advocating that idea, I’m just sharing what I’ve been doing that is working for me.

I have dramatically reduced the amount of carbs I’m eating, and increased my protein intake.  This has made a noticeable difference in how hungry I get and how well I am able to control any cravings I have.

I have exercised much, much more than I did all last year.  I now practice yoga at least three mornings per week.  I miss the great feeling I get from yoga on those mornings I don’t practice, so I plan to up my yoga to at least six days per week.

I’ve also set up a regular routine of riding, instead of “once a week” or “when I feel like it.”  When a horsewoman feels fat, it is all too easy to make excuses to avoid riding.  Tight breeches are uncomfortable and unflattering and you feel like you have too much mass and too little balance in the saddle.  Seven weeks ago, I decided, “enough is enough; I’m going to ride regularly, ride my best each time, and enjoy it no matter what I weigh!”

Kaliwohi is losing weight, as well.  If you recall from the first F2F2FL column, my vet had advised me to get some weight off my mustang or risk adverse health consequences.  So Kaliwohi now benefits from regular exercise and I have reduced his overall caloric intake.  As of today, Kaliwohi has lost around fifty pounds.

For Kaliwohi, the name of the weight-loss game these days is conditioning and building muscle tone.  I did not ride for a few days this week; we’ve been having a heat wave and I won’t ask a horse to work in temperatures over 90 degrees F.

Kaliwohi has not complained at all about his mini-vacation this week.  He and his pasture mates have several acres of shady East Tennessee hills to explore, or he can stand in his oversized stall inside the cool barn with a fan giving him a breeze.

As I pause for a bit to reflect on being one-third of the way towards my weight-loss goal, I want to thank Horse Nation for allowing me to share my journey here.  Thanks also to my HN editor, Kristen Kovatch.

Thanks to those who share this journey with me – we have a wonderful group and page on Facebook (Fat to Fit to First Level).  Thanks to all those who have supported my journey thus far – folks like Cathy Keeton, Eliza Sydnor Romm (www.elizasydnordressage.com), JJ Tate (www.team-tatedressage.com), Katrina Love Senn (www.katrinalovesenn.com), Maree Thom (mareethom.com), and my friends and family.

Most of all, thanks to Kaliwohi, and Lady Grace, and Ginalii Sami – the three horses of my lifetime that have made me the horsewoman I am today – and thanks to the Divine Creator that conceived such a magnificent animal as the horse.



Go Riding!

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