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Mental HealthNutritionWeight Loss

You Are Fat, I Thought You Should Know

Last week when presenting at Hou.Sec.Con the first question asked to me was “How do you tell your partner or spouse they are fat and need to lose weight.” I admit to laughing as did most other people in the room.

My response was simple. “You don’t.” 

Everyone Is Different

I know several people that have experienced the weight-loss rollercoaster. Some people have had surgery to drop the pounds, while others have paid for a “medically supervised weight loss” program, where they eat less than 1,000 calories a day and need the doctor to provide missing nutrients. More commonly, many people join a weight loss program or follow a fad.

The Results?

The majority – not surprisingly – fail to keep the weight off long term. The people that have completed the weight loss surgery, while lighter, fail to actually eat better. So, while they might be down significantly in weight and probably no longer dealing with health issues such as heart disease and diabetes, they have failed to take control of their eating habits. For people that join weight loss programs or jump on a weight loss fad, they might push through the program to lose the weight, but as soon as the weight is off, they go back to old habits and the weight returns.

The Fix?

There isn’t a fix. Simply put, people aren’t born obese. People also don’t suddenly wake up obese. Something has happened or is going on in their life that has led them to the lifestyle they are living. So, if someone is obese, it is not your place to tell them. When it comes to lifestyle choices, it is up to the person affected to recognize the problem and commit to change it. 

Historically Speaking

I was probably 14 the first time I was told by a boy that I was fat. The problem? I actually wasn’t heavy back then. As I went through college, my weight crept up and as soon as I started sitting in an office, the weight kept coming. My grandfather told me in my twenties that I was fat. He was almost 90 at the time and thought nothing of his words.

What actually worked for me? I think it was a combination of things. Mainly being frustrated with work. I needed an outlet, so I started going to the gym. My trainer time was my disconnection. My nutrition reconstruction was something I could control. Something I wasn’t getting with my job/career.

As we all know, losing weight is easy. Just ask someone that has never had to lose it!

Keli Hay is a certified personal trainer using her weight loss success to help others.

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ActivePersonal TrainerPersonal TrainingTraining

Warming Up to Be Cool

Welcome to the gym! I hope you enjoy your work out! Hopefully you won’t be waddling out the door after leg day or walking sideways through the door later because you did some bench.

What is your plan today? How much time do you have to spend here?

More importantly, before grabbing a weight, sitting on a bench, or finding that perfect bar, how much time are you going to spend warming up your body? What exactly are you going to do to your muscles to prepare them to move those weights? When you finish your work out what are you going to do after you put the weights and toys away?

I’m Hot Enough and Ready to Lift

Regardless of the workout you are about to perform, your muscles need to be stretched and activated. Active, static stretching – stretches that you perform on your own – such as reaching for your toes or pulling your knee towards your chest, help prepare various muscles for exercises. These same stretches are beneficial post exercise to undo repetitive motions from workout exercises, such as the repeated hip extension during a squat.

If you plan to have a more active workout, incorporating various planes of motion, then dynamic warm-up exercises are required. While squats and deadlifts primarily work in the sagittal plane, the work on the LPHC is demanding, so dynamic movements, such as clamshells can help open the hips and ready them for lifting.

The most important aspect of your warm up? Warm up the muscles you are actually going to use during the workout. Don’t just walk on the treadmill for 5 minutes if you plan to lift some dumbbells over your head. Don’t do push ups if you plan on squatting in a rack.

But I Just Wanna Lift Already

The weights aren’t going anywhere. If you are in a rush and can’t incorporate a warm up to your program, then change the program. Remove a set or entire exercise. Your body needs to be prepared for weights. Do some basic static stretching first and then walk over to your favorite bench or platform. I am guessing since you love to lift, then you know how heavy you can go. So – take your 1 rep max bro and cut it in half. Warm up for 10 reps at that weight, add a plate, and do 10 more. Warm up complete.

Post Lifting

Don’t just drop the weights and walk away. Sit for a couple of minutes, then re-rack your weights and put your shit away. Then stretch again.

Do chest bro? Grab the edge of a door and stretch your pecs. Did you work those legs? Lay down and pull your knee straight to your chest for 30 seconds. Release and then pull your knee across your chest to stretch your butt – also 30 seconds. Finally, hop on the treadmill for 5-10 minutes and walk a slow pace.

Hopefully you can incorporate some warm ups and cool downs, because really bro – that waddle post leg day isn’t really sexy. And that sideways walk through the door or down a hallway after chest – please – fix it. Seriously – fix it. You are more appealing when flexible than as a fixed object.

Keli Hay is a certified personal trainer using her weight loss success to help others.

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NutritionPersonal HealthWeight Loss

Riding a Rollercoaster

I know I am not alone in describing the emotional toll of health and medical diagnoses as a mental rollercoaster. While I know that my weight loss has resulted in no more plantar fasciitis, no more monthly cycle irregularities, and no more weight-related aches, I have always had other issues. Issues that no doctor has ever taken the time to properly diagnose. This past week, I went from a high of happiness knowing that my weight loss reversed another ailment, to a low of being diagnosed with something that I have probably had my entire life.

The Thyroid Problem Symptoms

Since I started puberty at the age of 14, my cycles have been irregular. My weight didn’t really start creeping up until my early to mid twenties. Pretty much every year of my life I have had a women’s wellness exam where I articulated to my doctor that I was irregular with severe cramping and heavy flow. How irregular? I was going 3-8 weeks between cycles with one instance of a 9 month gap and no resulting baby. 

Doctor Timeline

In 2006, a doctor assumed thyroid issues which were confirmed with the TSH blood work. I was prescribed Synthroid and dismissed. While the medicine helped me mentally – because I had been an emotional nightmare – none of my other symptoms changed. I continued to be irregular to the point where we were buying pregnancy tests a few times a year because I was “late” and there might be a chance.

In 2012, my husband and I decided to pursue fertility options while still in Canada. They did the standard blood work – cholesterol, chicken pox, STDs, and other variables that might affect a healthy pregnancy as well as checking if I ovulated every month. The results – I wasn’t ovulating regularly. While I was bleeding, I wasn’t always releasing an egg. My full menstrual history was revisited and the cure was a prescription for Clomid with monthly blood work to see if it triggered ovulation. Eventually they found the right dosage for ovulation, but nothing took. We moved to the states and put babies on hold.

In 2013, after moving to the US, a doctor felt nodules on my thyroid and the referrals began. In under 24 hours, I knew the nodules were not cancerous, so I was to simply continue on Synthroid. My other symptoms continued.

Almost 30 Years Later

In March 2019, I finally got to see an endocrinologist who sent me for a new thyroid ultrasound. The discovery? My nodules were gone! My weight loss and healthier lifestyle made them disappear! I was ecstatic! Could I stop taking Synthroid? Had I completely reversed everything my obesity had created? On Friday, March 29th, the morning before my Bsides Austin presentation, I received the news. I have been diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease.

Working on a new goal

The Effect on Me

While I know I am not dying, this has hit me hard. I have been struggling to understand why it took into my 40s for a doctor to finally listen, pay attention to my symptoms, and dig further. In addition to always knowing I had something else going on with my body, I have been dealing with pressures – internal and external influences – of having children. Married since 2003, the pressures and assumptions that I would produce children started from the engagement in 2001. Ever since we got married, we always just figured it would happen.

Now that I finally know there is something else going on with me, I am hoping I can move on and continue focusing on me physically. I actually feel like there is some closure, but I think I will always be a little upset. Upset at the possibility that an earlier diagnosis might have made a difference earlier in my life. Upset that no doctor listened. Upset that it took so long to finally know more.

I am now simply hoping that there is nothing else going on. Hoping that cancer and other family illnesses never come in to play. Hoping I can completely let go and move on.

Keli Hay is a certified personal trainer using her weight loss success to help others.

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NewsPersonal TrainerTraining

Creating Successful Personal Trainers

When I moved to Austin, my plan was to continue my personal training career by forging new friendships and finding new clients. I also knew that I wanted needed to continue working with a personal trainer (PT) because having someone challenge and coach me is important to me – personally and professionally. 

Finding That Someone

To my pleasant surprise, I found a fantastic powerlifting trainer, coach, and mentor in Justin Wecker. Even more exciting was the fact he had just bought into a personal training school – a school focused on providing classroom and hands on gym training to people pursuing the PT certification. While his recent acquisition really excited me, because of my technical training background as well as my passion for PT, I was hesitant to approach Justin about working with/at/for the school. What would he think of me? Would I scare him away? If I worked with him at the school, would our trainer/client relationship suffer?

Forging a New Business Relationship

When I finally decided to discuss the school with Justin, we’d known each other a whopping six weeks. Six weeks of working together as trainer/client and gradually getting to know each other. I know he was hesitant because of previous business relationships – completely understandable. I also knew that I really wanted to help him.

After visiting family over the holidays, I returned to Austin ready to help. Back in January, I started helping Justin quietly in the background with content updates and various other work for the school. Over the past few weeks, I have also shadowed him for many classes and recently started instructing some classroom sessions.

Training Trainers

I couldn’t be happier. I have thanked Justin several times over the past few weeks for pulling me in to PFTA Austin, but I feel the need to thank him again – this time publicly. While we still have things to sort out and a business to continually evolve, I couldn’t be more happy with what I am doing.

I truly love training people – as clients and as students. I also want to see more certified personal trainers do more than just lift. It only took me 20 years of adulting to find my true passion. Thank you Justin for helping me find it!

Keli Hay is a certified personal trainer using her weight loss success to help others.

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