Katie Mack walked into Pata Negra and tasted Jamon Iberico de Bellota from my hands. I swooned over the ham candy and she reacted as if something foreign was being introduced to her palate. It was clear that I live to eat and that she eats to live. This was an important moment for us as later on we would try to meet somewhere in the middle.
When Mack came over to my apartment and shocked me with some life changes I would have to make, I was not ready to hear what she was saying, even though deep down inside I knew she was right. First, I needed to trust her, then I needed to have faith in myself. Again Mack reminded me of my motivations for changing my life.
Fast forward four months from the decision to make a lifestyle change, and I am prepped to meet my trainer for a second time.
We met at a private gym and I didn’t know what to expect. At first glance Katie Mack looked pretty much the same to me as when we first met. I could tell that she had gained some weight. After feeling through her first workout, I could see the struggle. Her mind expected a high level of work output, but her body struggled to keep up. Frustration mounted after each repetition and exercise. This was further exacerbated by watching a taped workout just a short four months ago on a laptop. She was so damned fit.
Mack was very emotional and I gained empathy for her situation very quickly. When a person is fat most or all of his/her life, it is hard fora skinny person to understand the issues, from basic to most complex aspects of how much more difficult life’s challenges can be. To take a naturally thin and fit person and have her gain weight for a short period of time is a tiny glimmer into an obese life. But what made me feel her sacrifice was her humanity and her struggle. The more we talked and shared our lives, the more I came to realize that she did understand me, and because of the quality of a trainer and person she is, probably would not have needed to gain the weight to empathize with me. Now there are aspects of our time together when the weight gain and weight loss did make her a better trainer (but I will disclose that later on).
I could see an opportunity for a real partnership, one in which she helps me and I help her. We both were battling similar and different demons. We both could benefit from one another’s support and strengths.
Mack was totally dissatisfied with the quality of her workout and discouraged of her present state. I was not sure how long it would take to get her out of that depression.
My workout took place in a meadow in Central Park. I was prepared to work hard, but knew that I had limitations. My aching knees and ankles, coupled by my girth and back pain was a real hindrance to any performance. Mack had me run through a varied program of movement and activity and it was quite hard, having not exercised in so long. There were points when I told her I could not physically continue, and we moved on to different exercises. It was hot. I was sweating, and it was not fun. At one point I snapped a workout band and it hit me on the forehead. I was sure that was gonna make the cut. Again Mack joined me in the workouts and struggled but finished. Mack is one determined woman!
The next day I woke up with some gout in my ankle and was upset that I wouldn’t be able to perform a good workout. I desperately wanted to impress Mack and give it my all. Mack was calmer than the day before and immediately gave me some great physical therapy. She relieved my ankle pain by 50% and I was able to work out. Then she asked me to run, which I believed in my mind I could not do. But my faith in Mack grew stronger, especially when I saw her magic with my ankle. I made up my mind that I would try to do whatever she asked of me. And that’s how she got a 311 pound body to run around the fountain and run up a hill, and up and down a lot of stairs. Mack is very persuasive!
We hugged it out. It felt like a team. But even better, was after all the cameras and OTF’s (on the flys), we walked some 40 blocks together and talked about ourselves and our goals, our fears and our frustrations. We bonded and formed a team, later to be identified as snail power.
That was the first and I would say easier part. Now, changing my eating habits for good was the real challenge.