Introducing the happy couple, Mr. and Mrs. Magdalenski. Credit: Victoria Duffy Photography
So, I didn't lose 30 pounds in three months — I lost 25 — but I consider that a success, not a failure. I lost 25 pounds! And I also didn't lose my mind.
When I started this challenge at the end of January, I had no idea if I could really do it ... but here I am. There are so many things I couldn't do then that I can do now, most of them small: walking up four flights of stairs without wanting to keel over. Touching my toes. Running a mile in under 15 minutes. Fitting into "regular" rather than "plus size" clothing. And, more than anything, standing up straighter and having more confidence in myself.
Twenty-five pounds is by no means the end for me, but now I have momentum and the skills to keep going. It's a decent start — according to the Internet, here's what also weighs about 25 pounds:
The average 2-year-old
A car tire and a chihuahua
Two bowling balls
Three gallons of milk
A 19-inch flatscreen TV and a 2-liter bottle of soda
The amount of pizza the average American eats in a year
Imagine carrying a car tire and a small dog around with you all day, every day. When I think about it like that, I'm pretty happy.
But by no means have I done this alone — and the project may not have happened at all without some very important people.
Metro's wellbeing editor Meredith Engel was the first person I talked to about turning my pre-wedding health makeover into a column, and she has been nothing but supportive and encouraging. Thank you for not only believing in me, but helping me help our readers (and I hope I have!)
Just days after Meredith and I started kicking around the idea, she was contacted by April Riegler, the director of public relations for the New York Health & Racquet Club, which was launching a "bridal boot camp." The timing was serendipitous, and it worked out. April was there for my first cycling class, checking every few minutes to make sure I was surviving, and keeping in touch as the months went by. Everyone at NYHRC has been wonderful, making me feel welcome even before I walked into the club for the first time. I can't thank you enough.
Matt Sauerhoff is the king of personal trainers. (I should get him a T-shirt that says so.) I was afraid I'd have a drill instructor screaming at me, but Matt was the perfect mix of toughness and support. He pushed me in exactly the right way and I truly don't think I could have achieved the kind of success I have without him. If you've ever considered working with a trainer — which helps a lot, especially when you're getting started — he's the right man for the job.
My eating habits have changed drastically in the last few months, and NYHRC nutritionist Alanna Cabrero is a big reason why. Her No. 1 piece of advice is to have protein at every meal, and it really works. I swear that I haven't had a doughnut in more than three months — though wedding cake is another story. Thank you for teaching me so much.
My family, friends and coworkers have been constant cheerleaders, following my progress and encouraging me to keep going. Thank you for every little "You go, girl!"
Last but certainly not least, to my husband Chris. There aren't enough words in the world to express how much I value and appreciate everything you do. You've believed in me even when I haven't believed in myself and helped me in a million ways. I love you dearly and am so very happy to be your wife. I can't wait to spend the rest of my life with you.
1. Learn and follow a healthy eating plan – hopefully weakening my sugar addiction. This definitely happened! The sugary, high-fat snacks have disappeared, replaced by actual meals, more protein, and healthy fruits and veggies.
2. Establish a workout plan and stick to it, with at least three sessions per week. Between personal training sessions, the twice-weekly "Fit to Say I Do" program, and taking other classes (spinning, anyone?), the staff at NYHRC's Whitehall location got very used to seeing me... and I'm not going anywhere.
3. Lower my body mass index by five points, closer to the “overweight” range instead of the “obese” range where I am now. My BMI dropped more than four points and is now less than two points away from the top of the "overweight" range. A big improvement!
Starting Stats (as of Jan. 29) Weight: 209.5 pounds Body Mass Index (BMI): 36 Chest: 48 inches Waist: 41 inches Hips: 48.5 inches