Name: Pam Mabrouk
Weight: 192 lbs
Weight: 136 lbs
Why I Got Started
I woke up and realized I was 40-years old and if I didn't change my wicked ways soon, life was going to be short and miserable - Ialready started to have health challenges due to my obesity.
First, I tried to lose weight unsuccessfully originally on my own. Then I recognized I wasn't going to be able to do this on my own. In spite of the negativity of friends and family, I joined Weight Watchers, which met at my workplace. For the first four months I did fairly well on the program and lost on average 1-2 pounds each week.
For me the keys were writing down what I actually put in my mouth, weighing my food, drinking fluids, attending meetings - provided community and support for me and weekly weigh-ins, which provided personal accountability. Unfortunately my weight loss slowed and then stalled.
I was doing a lot of things well but I was missing one key element for successful weight loss: exercise. Fortunately for me a women-only gym called Curves for Women opened literally three blocks from my apartment. I really liked Curves right from the start. This is an amazing statement given I only made it around the Curves circuit once on my first visit (you are supposed to go around 3 times!).
If you aren't familiar with it the way Curves works you alternate between cardio and weight training using piston-based machines for 30-second periods moving from station-to-station around a circuit on cue. There are eight machines in an average Curves circuit (some have more machines) and each machine has one specific function so you don't need to struggle to figure out what to do or how to do it.
If you do the math, the entire exercise circuit takes 8 minutes - three times around takes 24 minutes and represents the complete workout. The other aspect I really liked was the people - the supportive, friendly staff and the other Curves members - they are real women - not "jocks" or "Barbies."
It shouldn't surprise you that shortly after joining Curves my weight loss picked back up and continued at a steady pace and on July 13, 2003, I became a lifetime member having reached my goal weight and having maintained it for 6 weeks. All in all I had lost 110 pounds. Soon I became interested in the machines which friends told me were a lot like the Nautilus machines in a regular gym.
My success, growing self-confidence and curiosity about weight training led me to the university gym where I signed up for a fitness assessment - Curves' magic allowed me to rank at the 87% for my gender and age - pretty good for a former couch potato. Two sessions with a personal trainer were part of the fitness assessment package.
Emboldened I hired a superb personal trainer who literally opened up the regular gym for me. Fast forward one year later, I ran a 5K race! Last spring I became interested in figure as a sport. In September 2007 I hired an on-line coach to assist me with nutrition and training. Throughout my competition prep I turned to Bodybuilding.com for information, advice and supplies.
I have learned so much from the many kind people who have stopped by my blog. I found other people's blogs, the many articles posted, and the forums inspiring and informational - a vital resource whenever I struggled. On April 19, 2008, I realized my dream and competed as a novice figure competitor in the NPC Ocean State Natural Bodybuilding & Fitness Competition in Providence, RI.
I didn't place but I was a winner - for me the whole day was a celebration of fitness and wholeness I will never forget! Right now I want to do more work on my lower body - I want legs! And then I plan to get back up on that stage!
I follow a 3 day rotating calories and carbohydrates meal plan that emphasizes eating whole foods - quality protein, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats. I typically eat about 5-to-6 mini-meals per day depending on my schedule.
I currently weight train three days each week and do cardio 5-6 days per week. When I started I weight trained 5 days each week and did 10 minutes of cardio before and after my weight training workouts. I constantly vary the forms of cardio I use and I follow a new weight training program each month.
I think the most important thing is that I always rest one day each week. I can't say I have ever been afraid of training heavy for fear of bulking up. However, in the beginning I didn't use heavy weights simply because I didn't know I could!
Monday: Back, Biceps & Triceps
Tuesday: Abs & Lower Back
Thursday: Abs & Lower Back
Friday: Chest & Shoulders
Suggestions For Others
The keys for me in my journey have been action, community and accountability. You can only get the body of your dreams if you actually do something different than what you were doing before, i.e., make changes to your diet and lifestyle.
That said if you want to make changes that will last then only make changes in your diet and lifestyle you are willing/able to make for the rest of your life. Many people fail because they make extreme changes that if they sat and truly thought about would never make.
Don't eliminate any foods or food groups, avoid people or places like restaurants, or consume questionable drugs or supplements thinking that making these short-term changes will get you where you want to go. They may and then they are more than likely to bite you in the butt!
Be an active participant in a community of like-minded folks who are going where you want to go. You will make new friends and gain much needed perspective on your journey, learn about foods, tools, exercises and all kinds of other interesting things that will make your journey go faster, smoother and much more pleasant than it would have been otherwise.
Finally, set a concrete achievable objective and a sensible time limit and then hold yourself accountable for achieving it and when you do meet your goal reward yourself (non-food rewards work best) and identify a new one. Before you know it you will be on your way to the body of your dreams! Hey if I could do it, I know you can, too!