Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Ode to my Trainer

One of the primary reasons I finally broke down, admitted I needed help and had this surgery was that I wanted to be healthy. I wanted to be mobile. No longer living in fear of having to walk somewhere, or stand for a while. I wanted to be able to play with my nieces and nephews. Go for walks. Live a "normal" life...not the size-edited version of a life I'd been living for so long.

Part of my success, I knew, would be finding a personal trainer. I've worked with a couple of them in the past, and the truth of the matter is - I need one. I am not one to stretch out of my comfort zone. I don't try things to see if I can do them. I don't push myself.

Today Facebook let me know it was my 1-year anniversary of friendship with Scott Sutherlin.

Around Thanksgiving last year, I started working with my trainer Scott. My sister's sister-in-law went to his bootcamp classes, and she had really good things to say about him. He was right in my town, so that was convenient. At our first meeting, I just knew we'd work. He's worked with overweight people - and by overweight I mean well over 20 pounds to lose - and has not only helped them shed the weight, but keep it off. Weight-loss surgery patients were nothing new to him. He didn't see like one to take any shit, which I can appreciate. I still remember that first meeting like it was yesterday - - He made me stand during the entire thing. It was likely less than 30 minutes - but I was starting to sweat, and my knees hurt - - typical things for me.

I met with him a few times a week. It started so slowly, and so simply - which is exactly what 495# Natalie needed. He had me walk - at whatever pace I could - for 15 minutes. Small circles around the gym. I still remember how fucking hard it was to walk for 15 minutes!!! I was so grateful to be able to sit down when I finished. He worked in a bit of weight-training - - but the goal was movement. I hadn't been doing anything for so long, that that alone felt like something major.

As I dropped a few pounds prior to my pre-surgery liquid diet, we worked up to some tougher things - flipping tires, more weights - but for the most part it was walking. He'd keep me entertained with his stories while I walked in circles. The boredom he must have experienced watching me walk in circles for what ended up being close to 30 minutes - - I cannot imagine. But he did it, because at the time that is what I needed.

I was gone for about 2 months between the liquid diet (no energy at all), my surgery and recovery. When I came back we eased into it. He knew enough to start slow - see what my body was able to do, and where it's limits were. There have been a few days where I was just run down - where I hadn't eaten enough in the days before - and he knew I needed rest, and allowed me to do that. I cannot speak enough to the importance of working with someone who has the knowledge, and experience, to continually put your best-interests first.

So we got back to our 3 sessions a week. Easing in at first - I still had fairly new incisions on my stomach, and I'd still get woozy/light-headed fairly often because I wasn't eating much at the time - and was ingesting no carbs. Scott was patient, but firm. He wasn't going to let me off easy - but he also wasn't going to push me into something that would cause me harm.

I can't remember when the switch was exactly - but suddenly he knew I was ready. I was able to do more than we'd been doing. Everything was kicked up a notch. It was time to test out this new bod, and see what it could do. I had slightly move mobility than I'd had before, and he was going to use it. There are multiple times per session where doubt creeps in. He asks me to do something, and I start mentally calculating the levels to which I will fail. But you know what -- I don't fail. He hasn't asked me to do one thing that I physically can't do. Mentally - it might take me a minute to get my body to cooperate. But he keeps saying he'll never ask me to do anything I can't do - - and he's right. Hopefully one of these days I'll start to believe him right away.

no good comes from the agility ladder
And here's the truth - - I do not like our sessions. I wish I could tell you I love it, and every second of our time together is magical - but I can't. I have to keep telling myself "it's only an hour. It's only an hour. It's only an hour" my entire way to the gym. It's fucking hard. But when it's done, I feel pretty damn fantastic! I'm cranky, and I'm surly  and I'm bitchy - and yet he tolerates me. He doesn't lose his patience. He doesn't scream. He basically just tells me to STFU and do it. And then I do. And then I'm amazed by what I can do. Today he hauled out the agility ladder. My eyes immediately started to roll, and I asked him if he was aware that "agility" and my body were mutually exclusive. He was not. And he made me do it anyway. And I was awful sometimes, and sometimes I was ok. But I could do it. (I'm still somewhat in awe)

From the outside, we may appear to have the most dysfunctional relationship - he is constantly making me do things I don't want to do, and I'm forever being mean to him. But if you look closer - you see he's the best kind of friend - - he knows what I'm capable of, and continually pushes me.

I know without him, I wouldn't be where I am today. Sure - I would have lost weight...I have a hammock, after all. But I wouldn't have lost as much as I have - and my body wouldn't have transformed as much as it has, if it wasn't for Scott. I am so grateful to be able to work with him. I am so grateful he takes the time to work with me, until I'm ready to join the group classes. I am so grateful that he shows me on a daily basis that I am able to do things I'm certain I cannot. I'm grateful that he pushes me, even when I swear at him and give him one of my less-than-loving looks. I am grateful.

Happy 1 year friend-iversary Scott. I appreciate you so much, even when all I do is act the opposite. Here's to many poor guy! =) You might never get rid of me....

Scott & I, post-workout in his torture chamber

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