War on weight challenge

As part of an ongoing
series, the Sunday Observer will be following 50-year-old mother of two Penni
Bell, a contestant on this year’s War on Weight – WOW – challenge. In the last
couple of weeks the reality of the challenge has set in but Penni is beginning
to notice changes.


Boot camp

Aug 25 – Oh my!  Today was brutal!  I woke up with a pounding headache, feeling
queasy and sore in places I didn’t know could be sore!  My first thought was to not go to boot camp
in the morning and do the evening session, thinking I’d feel better by
then……”you always feel better once you’re out of bed” the voice in my head
kept saying, so I decided to at least brush my teeth and get dressed then I’d
see how I felt….once dressed I reasoned that I’d at least show up, even if I
didn’t participate…once I showed up I decided to “just do a little something”
and so I ended up at boot camp.  While I
only completed about a 1/4 of each drill (I’d done about ½ of each drill the
previous day) I did something even better…I took control of my mind!  The rest of my day didn’t get any better, my
headache lasted all day, I was lethargic and couldn’t put a complete sentence
together, and the soreness just would stop! 
I figured out how to raise my chair at work so that I didn’t have to
bend so much getting up and down (my feet barely hit the floor).  My work day was unproductive so thankfully,
on this day at least, I had an understanding boss!  I spent the majority of the day trying to
figure out a way to raise the toilet seat up by 3” so I wouldn’t have to squat
so low and lower the bathtub by 3” so I wouldn’t have to step so high to get in
and out of the shower!  I can’t imagine
feeling like this for much longer, I have too much to do!…..Tonight I have my
first appointment with the nutritionist and get the eating plan….

Aug 26 – What a
difference 24 hours can make!  Don’t get
me wrong, I still don’t feel normal by any stretch of the imagination but the
headache is down to a dull roar and the queasy feeling is gone.  The soreness is even gone if I don’t twist,
walk, run or breath, otherwise it’s stepped up a notch…Not going to boot camp
never crossed my mind this morning.  I
completed about ½ of all drills, and since we are starting in their 4th week of
camp, that’s not bad! The nutrition plan is quite the opposite philosophy of
what I have learned (but never followed) but I am going to give it a try.  Regardless, it will create habits based on
some of the same basic principles like meal timing, portion control, self
discipline etc.    

Aug 27- Since we
started boot camp while it was in this session’s final week, today  was the first day of break before next
session begins.  However, we did not get
a break!  Yesterday Ernest said “just
come to the 5:30am class at Body Sculptor instead of camp”…so without asking
any questions, that’s what I did and oh my! 
It was tough!  It wasn’t till the
end that I asked Jerilyn (the instructor) “what class was that”, her
response?…Intermediate High Intensity Training! Are you kidding me?!?!  Firstly, I am not an intermediate in anything
and secondly, had I known that the words “high intensity” were anywhere in the
name, I would have found another option and fast!!!  I did complete the class and used the right
amount of weights most of the time…..I found places where I was sore that I
didn’t think could be sore!  Are there
really muscles there?  I have our first
group therapy session today (should be interesting) at the Wellness Centre so
I’ll keep you posted on that.

group therapy works!

Aug 28 – We had a
group therapy session today.  I wasn’t
sure what to expect, but found it enlightening. 
I really think that for 10 virtual strangers having met only a week ago,
we have developed a dynamic bond.  I felt
everyone was very open and real, and are truly there for each other.  The idea of this being a competition never
crept into the air.  I overall feeling
and message being sent and received by everyone was “I am not doing this alone
and I need to be strong for me as well as for everyone else”  I now truly believe if I need motivation,
someone to vent to or to reach out to, I could call any one of them and get
100% of their time and attention.. I normally would never dream of doing this
but now I can actually see it happening.

Aug 29 – This morning
was the Safehaven 5K walk…I sadly say, it went on without me….see we had a
class at revolutions yesterday and to say that I am sore is so inadequate!  The workout was great but the seat had a lot
to be desired….I can’t sit properly and walk like I just got off a horse! I can
barely make it from my bedroom to my kitchen. 
Maybe next week I’ll make the Sunday walk.    I did notice a strange happening on
Saturday.  It was the first day in a week
that I did not have to get up at 4:45am so getting up at 7:00am made me feel
like I had a sleep-in! but the change in routine made me feel sort of
out-of-sorts…I am really beginning to like the weekly routine and the muscle
pain is disappearing very quickly.   


Aug 30 – I figured it
would be hard to get up and started again after taking a day off (Sunday) but
actually it was pretty easy.  I love the
feelings of self-discipline that I am rediscovering as I wake up so early and
of accomplishment after every session.  I
am learning to re-prioritize my schedule to make time for me and am loving
it!  If anyone had told me 2 weeks ago
that I had 9 extra hours in my week to workout (which is how many I spent last
week) I never would have believed it….


Scales lie

Aug 31 – I hate these
new scales with the memory chip.  You get
on, press a number and it knows who you are and what you normally weigh…the
problem is mine has not realized that I’ve changed my diet drastically (no more
fast food, no donuts, no cokes, no breads) and I’ve changed my exercise level
drastically (from no exercise to 9 hours in a week of cardio, weights and yoga)
cause it still says the same weight as last week! 

Sept 1 – Today was
the 3rd day in a row for weight training (boot camp doesn’t start again till
next week) and my muscles knew it….boy, did I feel the burn and it wasn’t acid
reflux! I was proud of myself for pushing through the burn and completing most
all of the repetitions of each exercise. Foot cramps were brutal today!!!  Haven’t figured out why I get them or if
anyone else does, but I’m actively investigating it. 

Sept 2 – The
honeymoon is over!  I’m hungry, I hurt
more than ever and I had an emotional meltdown last night….but I was up and
back at it at 4:30 this morning. I do look forward to seeing everyone in the
mornings. They say “that that does not kill you makes you stronger” so I should
come out of this as a beast!If you exercise 5 hours a week you get 1 “whine”
day and today is mine!

Sept 3 – Something is
definitely happening, though the scale isn’t changing I am.  When I began last week, I could not go from
laying on my back to sitting straight up, without the use of my hands. Now I
can and not only do it once but 10 times in a row plus 10 more times with a 10lb
weight!  Not sure where this is going but
definitely going somewhere!

Sept 6 – I have
realized a funny thing…..Due to work and family demands, I have been living
somewhat of an insular existence. I make contact with people but not in a
friend/social type way very often.  And
now, I really look forward to seeing everyone in the group at one point or
another during the week.  Because we can
choose class/times I don’t’ see everyone at each class or always in the same
place so when we do run into each other, it’s like running into a friend, we
chat, catch up, moan, vent etc….This is definitely a bonus I hadn’t counted


Definitely more

Sept 7 – I knew I
would be in for ups and downs, and I think today I’m experiencing a
“down”….Yesterday I went to my 5:30am boot camp and then I decided to try a
weight training class I had been eyeing called Big, Bold and Beautiful at Body
Sculptor.  It was from 7:40 –
8:40pm.  I must go to bed by 10:00pm in
order to get up so early.  I knew this
was late for me but figured “I’ll survive”…well, I LOVED this class.  It was tough yet gentle on the body and
joints.  Well, my mind is willing but
evidently my body isn’t on board….. at 10:00pm I go to bed and can not sleep, I
toss and turn till midnight when out of nowhere I began to get physically
sick…again and again and again!  Finally
around 3:00am I fall into a “fitful” sleep. 
Obviously when I awake at 4:30am I am in no shape or frame of mind to go
anywhere!  So, there it is, my first day
of boot camp missed!!!  So, I am at work
with no sleep and no exercise for the day. 
I can’t believe the frustration I’m feeling. It’s like I’ve become
addicted to the exercise already! We had our first visit with the nutritionist
since we started the eating plan.  Like I
said, I’ve lost a couple of pounds but my body fat % went up!  I was told this was actually body fat/water
so since it went up -I lost weight, it was perfect…just means I’m building
muscle.  He said I seem to be in line
with what’s expected.  I am still sore,
but seem to have more energy and not really hungry between meals/snacks (we are
told to eat every 2 – 3 hours).

Sept 8 – You know
about my issue with the scale…so I tried something new yesterday….I signed as a
“guest” and guess what?….it moved!  I
lost 3 pounds!!!  (it was confirmed by
the nutritionist “official” scale as well) 
Yah me!!!….I will always sign in as a guest now (I knew it was
remembering the old me and not really weighing me each time….hehehehe)…My goal
is to average 2 pounds per week.  I have
completed 2 weeks in the program but only 1 on the diet so I’m pretty happy
with the results so far.


The honeymoon is over!  I’m hungry, I hurt more than ever and I had
an emotional meltdown last night….but I was up and back at it at 4:30 this

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