Smart Health Challenge Week 3: Jess Reed reflects on her schedule, how workouts affect time with her family

In last week’s post, Smart Health Challenge winner Jess Reed changes her fitness and nutrition routine. She eats veggies during Bunco night and follows through with working out. This week, Jess reflects on her schedule, and how it’s affecting her family.

April 16

Back to the grind today! I did my program this morning and I am exhausted! I did feel a little stronger than last Monday, so I was happy.

Today was the worst day I have had so far. I was hungry and just not in the best mood. We all went as a family to Costco to get our monthly supplies, and we always eat dinner there. I prepared and brought salad dressing from home and got a grilled chicken Caesar salad and water. As I sat eating my lettuce, I looked around and watched my family eat Italian sausage sandwiches and pizza and, I wanted to kill them all! Seriously, I had dreams of knocking one of my children over and stealing their dinner; this was a new low. I made it through the dinner, completed my shopping, and came home and rewarded myself with a handful of raspberries. Now, I’m just sit waiting for the part to come where I feel proud of myself for not eating the pizza and staying strong. As of now, I am still just hungry!

April 17

As promised, below you will find my schedule for an average day. I am definitely on the run all the time, but it really isn’t as bad as it seems (OK, maybe it is). The point of this is so you can see that I have the same challenges as you; I always told myself I didn’t have time for all this, but I do. I just had to make the time.

7 a.m.: Wake up, feed myself and kids
8:25 a.m.: Leave to take kids to school
9 a.m.: Blended Fitness Class
10 a.m.: Yoga mixed with Pilates
11 a.m.: Grocery store
11:45 a.m.: Made lunch for myself and my 4-year-old
12:05 p.m.: School work to prepare for tonight’s class
1:15 p.m.: Half hour of advanced step on Wii
1:50 p.m.: Play with 4-year-old for letting me do step
2:20 p.m.: Clean
3:30 p.m.: Kids come home, snack and homework time
4 p.m.: Prep dinner and meet with the therapist who comes to work with Aidan
4:30 p.m.: Leave for class
5 p.m.: Class
7 p.m.: Pick up kids from lacrosse practice
7:30 p.m.: Make dinner and eat
8:30 p.m.: School work
11 p.m.: Bed

April 18

Today is my birthday and my weigh-in day. Needless to say, I was nervous about going to the gym today. I kept thinking, what if I only lost two pounds; would I want to quit? I got a wonderful birthday present today, and found out that I had lost eight pounds; that is an insane amount of weight for one week! I am fully aware that I won’t lose that every week; the first week is always when you lose the most.

After the weigh-in, I did personal training with Mindy, and that good feeling lasted until about 35 minutes into the workout, when she put me on an elliptical machine that I actually nicknamed “the machine” from the movie, “The Princess Bride.” If you haven’t seen the movie, the hero is strapped into this machine, and it sucked the life out of him. This machine she put me on must have sucked at least a month off of my life!

So in the evening, my parents came to take me out for dinner, and we went to Red Lobster. Now, let me explain that I would kill for those damn cheddar bay biscuits they bring to the table. Anyway, I did really well: I had snow crab legs (with no butter), steamed broccoli (with no butter) and a side salad with vinaigrette dressing. I was so glad I had the weigh-in today and that I lost eight pounds; if the outcome had been something like two pounds, I would be talking to you now, explaining that I had downed about five of those biscuits! All I can hope now is that next week I have similar results.

April 19

Not too much is going on today; I tried a new class that was called Rip. I know you are thinking that I should have known this would be intense, but of course I blindly went in. … Well, this class was all lifting weights. I was able to choose the weight but still, ouch! That is a bad class to take the day after I trained with Mindy; I will definitely try it another day when my muscles aren’t screaming so much.

I had one of those moments today when I had to remind myself why I was doing all of this. It is taking a tremendous amount of time away from my family, and they are starting to feel it. Today, I took one of my 9-year-olds to the Kennedy Krieger Center for Autism in Baltimore (we go about every other month to meet with his psychiatrist), and he was excited because it meant he could spend some time with me. He innocently looked up with his big hazel eyes, smiling, and my heart broke a little. It is the mother’s guilt; I am taking five months to focus on my health, and I feel guilty. In the end, our family will be stronger. My friend Missy wisely told me that my children won’t remember the five months I was at the gym all the time; they will remember the biking and hiking we were able to do for countless years after, because I was physically able. She is right, but it still hurts.

April 20

Crazy day today; just a lot going on. I did my independent program in the gym today, which takes me almost two hours. I do three sets of nine different exercises, and approximately 30 minutes of cardio, including warm-up and cool-down. Four of those nine are machines, and the other five involve weights or other miscellaneous workout accessories. The most weight I am lifting is for my triceps: I started at 40 pounds, and I am up to 50 pounds. During the course of the workout, I do 45 crunches, and step up 72 times on a stool that is as high as my coffee table. By the end of the workout, I have consumed two bottles of water, gone through two towels, and look like I have entered a wet T-shirt contest. People talk about how great they feel when they walk out of the gym; I just feel gross, hungry and damn tired. Maybe by the end of this, I will be one of those people. Yeah, probably not!

April 21

So today is my big birthday dinner that my husband is cooking for me and six families from our neighborhood. My day started out at Zumba, followed by my mad rush home to make it to my boys’ lacrosse game. I stayed at the field until about 1:30 p.m., selling tickets for a fundraiser I am chairing called the LAX Bash; it will be a cool party at Central Market to make money for the club. Then I rushed home, cleaned, did a little cooking, and got ready for the madness. We cooked all things I could eat and had the neighbors bring a few things the kids would like. I am happy to report, I didn’t run off to the bathroom with a brownie or lick the chocolate off anyone’s plate. It was a great time, and the people around me are just so amazing. They are so supportive, and I am thankful I have them.

April 22

Today is my off day, so I get to rest and not do any exercise. It was a rainy, nasty day, and I have to say I feel rather down. I am not hungry, so that is a plus. I am just exhausted, and preparing myself for another week of madness. I have decided not to take two classes this summer, to try and give myself a break while the kids are home. This should free up some time to spend with them, and I am sure my husband is glad he won’t have to help out with the chores as much.

Earlier in the week, I posted my schedule and I am sure some of you don’t understand how I can do everything; let me explain it is because of my husband, Bryan. He has been an amazing partner in all this; he luckily works from home, and when my 4-year-old is home from school, I can steal away some time to take a class. He is an amazing cook and has changed all of his cooking habits so I can eat with everyone. He usually eats what I am eating and is encouraging. He is also an inspiration; when I met Bryan, he was 70 pounds heavier than he is now. He did the work a few years ago and lost the weight and has kept it off. To be honest, I have to remind myself sometimes he has already done the work. For example, when he was eating a sausage at Costco and I wanted to kill him, I kept saying to myself he has done the work; it is my turn. It always seems easier for everyone else; of course, I would be remiss not to mention the fact that he didn’t have to do everything I am doing with two cantaloupes strapped to his chest!

Read more:

Smart Health Challenge Week 2: Mindy Quesenberry weighs in

Smart Health Challenge Week 1: Jess Reed sets up her fitness and nutrition plan

Jess Krout

Multiplatform features copy editor at York Daily Record/Sunday News. Follow me on Twitter @JessKrout. Email or call 717-771-2002.

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1 Response

  1. cyndie lester says:

    Hang in there Jess! YOU CAN DO THIS! You are well on your way. :)

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