Posted by: forgingahead | May 20, 2008

The Transformation

How did I transform from a lackadaisical round layabout with a sore hip to a triathlete in training? A series of unexpected events, the guidance of a new friend and the daily support of Hubby.

Our tale begins last July when Allison and David invited us to join them at their lovely second home in Mexico. Perched right on the edge of the Sea of Cortez it’s paradise. Most mornings Allison would be returning from a run just as I was waking up. She would go for swims in the Sea. And we spent a lot of time around the pool in swimsuits, Allison looking fit and healthy in her bikini.

We were there about a week and towards the end of our stay I finally got the courage to ask her how she stays in shape. She told me about a work out group she belongs to at home. And she told me about writing it down. Writing what down? Calories consumed and calories burned. She showed me her calorie journal and explained clearly how food has calories and in order to lose weight you need to burn more calories than you consume. She tore a page out of the book and suggested I try it.

If I could find that page (it’s somewhere around here) I’d see that I wrote down a couple things, for a couple of days. I even bought the Calorie King book as a reference. But I wasn’t committed and it fizzled out. Caveat here…I’ve never really dieted. Didn’t want to know what I could or couldn’t have. Ignored the doctor when she said my cholesterol was bad and I had a marker for heart disease. Big time head in the sand syndrome.

Cut to Thanksgiving and we’re off to Mexico again. This time the boys are driving and Allison and I are flying the next day. That evening I go with Allison to an awards dinner for her workout group Rough-Fit. Two very important things happen. I talk to at least a dozen women who tell me they lost weight just by writing down what they were eating. And we hear from a speaker who talks about setting goals, training to meet those goals, and then doing your best. Plus it was inspiring just being in a room of people committed to their health. People of all ages, shapes, sizes.

In Mexico Allison pulls out her calorie journal, puts it on the kitchen counter, and says in her upbeat way with a big smile, “How about we write down what we eat while we’re here this week?” Did I mention what a clever coach she is? Made the whole thing a game of looking of calories, calculating how many we burned, totaling our numbers for the day.

Then she suggested a goal for me. Walking a two mile loop each morning. She mapped out the loop, walked it with me once, and then didn’t mention it again. I also decided to try something I wasn’t sure I could physically do. Swim from the local beach restaurant back to the house. I knew it was possible because Allison had done it several times. But I hadn’t been swimming in years and certainly never in a Sea.

I surprised myself by going on the walk each morning. And we had fun writing down our calorie intake and burn each day. But I think the clincher for me was the swim.

The day dawned surprisingly windy and the normally calm Sea of Cortez had a few whitecaps. We went to lunch at La Palapa with our swimsuits on under our clothes and our caps and goggles in a bag. When lunch was over we walked down the beach, donned our gear, and with a high five waded into the water.

I was scared at first. But I had Allison and I followed her lead. Saltwater filled my mouth as the waves crashed over my head. An incoming tide had us swimming hard and going slow. For some strange reason I didn’t open my eyes underwater once. But to my amazement I was having fun!

I was euphoric when we reached land 30 minutes later. I’d set out to accomplish a physical goal that was a real stretch, pushing my body to do something new. And my body and mind rose to the challenge. What a feeling!

The next day as we were getting ready to leave, Allison again had another gift for me. “What if you set a few goals for exercise and weight loss? Say 40 pounds in one year and we can celebrate when come back next Thanksgiving.” I stared at her with my mouth open. 40 pounds? A whole year? Exercise every day? Could I really do that? She seemed to think so.

The journey has been amazing. I’ll save the details for another day but I have some great news to report. This morning I got on the scale and I did it! A 40 pound loss in about 6 months. The numbers are nice – so tidy and quantifiable. But the real gift is my health. The sore hip disappeared with the first 10 pounds. My energy level seems to increase daily. Hubby is happy that I’m finally eating all that healthy food he’s been fixing for years. And I have a friend who has coached me through it all. Who do you think suggested we do a triathlon? 🙂


  1. Kathleen! I am proud of you and your accomplishments! WOW! Thanks for sharing your story, it is an inspiration. I am impressed with your bravery…jumping into the bay and making that swim! Good luck with the triathlon! Keep posting.

  2. Thanks Shelly!

  3. OK…I’m not sure which part of this made more of an impact because it is all amazing. A triathlon – a daunting, yet achievable endeavor based on what I’ve just experienced through your words. You are fully committed and I am extremely proud of you. I am impressed and I have been obssesed with it since I read it yesterday. Most of all, the undeniably refreshing approach you are taking through it all.

  4. WOO HOO!

    How exciting is this – not only doing something beyond your wildest dream, but then writing about it and inspiring others. You are an amazing woman and have found inner strength and peace that will carry you through many new and exciting experiences. I am honored to call you my friend and to have the opportunity to enjoy life with you!

  5. […] my goal. Healthy. Finish. Hugs to Allison my amazing coach who kickstarted this journey for me 9 months ago in Mexico when she talked me into swimming from the local beach cafe back to the […]

  6. […] loss and the unveiling of the athlete buried deep inside me began with a transformational swim the Sea of Cortez just about one year […]

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