AS A PERSONAL fitness trainer, I spend my days on the front lines of America's war on fat. Working one-on-one with clients, I hear all their fitness complaints and problems.
Every day my goal is to educate and motivate. I try to cut through the myths and help people get the best and most out of their lives - no gimmicks.
But being a personal fitness trainer is no bed of roses. Sure, I'm in the gym all day, but I'm working, not working out. And when I leave the gym, I face the same temptations you do.
Today, I have summoned the courage to share my personal struggle with weight loss, working out and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Like many of you, I have wrestled with 25 - or more - excess pounds. I've lost battles with cheesesteaks, chocolate and wine. I've come up with excuses for my weight: "It's my genetics"; "Hey, I'm big-boned"; "It's my metabolism." I've blamed others - like my husband - for my lack of self-control.
The truth of the matter is that there is only one person responsible for my success or failure, my weight loss or weight gain, and that person is ME.
That reality may be painful to face, but it is incredibly empowering to realize that you are the co-creator of your life; you can do whatever you put your mind to.
The camera didn't lie
Look at this photo of me, taken in 2004. I was mortified when I first saw that photograph. I looked at it in horror, because I hadn't realized I had packed on some major pounds.
Sure I was working out every day and sometimes twice a day. But I was also overeating with abandon, having whatever I pleased and not keeping track of my weight.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and this shot spoke volumes. When I saw it, I knew that to get back into my skinny jeans, I would have to get back to basics. It was time to restore balance and moderation in my life.
How I slimmed down
I knew it was not only a question of what I was eating but more importantly, how much. Whenever I've avoided the scale and gone into food denial, that's when the pounds have slowly but surely crept back on. I have more than 15 years of documented evidence - my food journals - to prove it.
Times when I've looked my best, I've been staying on top of my game: conscientiously measuring my food portions; maintaining my journal; weighing myself regularly and, of course, exercising daily.
Consequently, in about 12 weeks I got rid of the flab and downsized from a 12 back into my size 6 skinny jeans.
The more recent photo shows the fruits of my labor, which had little to do with exercise - I was already doing that daily - and everything to do with portion control.
Sorry to burst your bubble, but that is the simple truth: No matter how many crunches you do, marathons you run, or weights you lift, you can't eat whatever you want and expect to get optimal results. This goes for everyone - meat eaters, macrobiotics, vegetarians, vegans and raw foodists.
In the end, it's just simple math.
Now that I've gotten that out of my system, my personal fitness goals this year are to master the monkey bars (that's right, you'll see me in the playground this spring), maintain my lifelong commitment to portion control and lower my body fat by 2 percent by the end of the year.
Oh yeah, it will take some effort - but it's worth it. Every worthy goal in life takes persistence, dedication and effort. It's just universal law.
Even so, again and again we have to be reminded that there are no free lunches. Each of us will get what we give.
That's it - end of story.
So, please take my sincere advice: Know that you, too, have the power to lick your food addictions and the power to overcome your workout woes. You have what it takes to lose five, 50 or 500 pounds.
Starting today, just do whatever you are capable of doing - and never quit. I want you to figuratively and literally crawl, walk or run your way to success. I have no doubt that you can achieve any goal you set for yourself.
This is your season.
Lift your head out from under the sands of denial; stop making excuses. Plan your work and work your plan. It's 2007 and seven is the number of completion. This year, make a promise to yourself to compete only with yourself and complete your goals.
Isn't it long overdue for you to get your house in order, raise your personal bar and do what you need to give yourself the best health, fitness and life?
After all, you are worth it!
You asked for it!
In October, I wrote about the hottest new workout in the industry, and Daily News readers responded with enthusiasm. Now here's your chance. Check out Michael Graves' Kobu Power workout from 6-7 p.m. Monday at the 12th Street Gym, 204 S. 12th St., 215-985-4092. Guest fee is $10. *
Kimberly Garrison is a certified personal trainer and owner of One on One Ultimate Fitness in Philadelphia (www.1on1ultimatefitness.com).
E-mail her at
firstname.lastname@example.org. Her column appears each Thursday in Yo! Chat with her on her Daily News weblog, the Girlfriends' Locker Room, at www.girlfriendslockerroom.com. Her new podcast, "Philly Fitness and Health," is available for download every Thursday at www.philly.com.