Harlequin Historical author and PHS editor Michelle Styles explains how she got herself back to a Healthy BMI
Back in early 2007, I became aware of writer's bottom (partly because of Trish Wylie and her inspired posts on PHS). I joined in and lost weight quickly and then lost interest. I moved into elasticated waists which seemed like God send but are actually incredibly dangerous. I made it to RNA's fab award lunch that year with the help of Magic Knickers (Natasha Oakley blogged about those and they are a Life Saver!)
And so began my battle with Writer's Bottom. There were some interesting skirmishes. I lost weight due to taking up rowing, regained it, did the same with walking the collies. In 2009, I learnt that I had lymphoedema in my left arm and my metabolism went south. At Christmas 2009, my husband accidentally got me a pair of tweed plus fours that were my old size -- UK 14 (US size 10). Actually I didn't have the heart to say that I was really a US 14 now and barely that. By August 2010, I weighed about 200 lbs with a Body Mass Index of 32. I went to the RWA Nationals wearing several pairs of magic knickers. When I returned home, I went on a diet and that helped a bit. I lost about 25 lbs but was very flabby.
Last January World Beat which goes out to all Harlequin authors had pictures from the 2010 Harlequin Party and I finally saw my back. Yuck! I ordered some dvds -- Jillian Michaels The 30 Day Shred and 10 minute solutions. The Jillian Micheals worked wonderfully. Although I only lost about 6 lbs, I lost inches and discovered I enjoyed sweating. I went from a size 18 UK to a size 14. The plus fours nearly fit. I threw away lots of my fat clothes and vowed never to go into elasticated waists again. I did one of Jillian's dvds every day or a complete 10 minute solution with Suzanne Brockman. I wasn't losing any weight but then I wasn't exactly dieting either. The lymph oedema in my arm had gone slightly but I still couldn't really get my wedding ring off. I started to accept I would be big and never really get into those trousers or indeed some of the clothes I wore when I was younger. My metabolism had changed. My BMI was about 28. Overweight rather than obese.
I attended the RWA Nationals and had a great time. Lots of compliments. When I returned home, I noticed that not only was my wieght not moving, my clothes were starting to get tighter. Rock bottom hit on 23 August. I had eaten pasta and a piece of chocolate cake, my head spun and I knew if I allowed this state of affairs to continue, I would be regaining all that weight. I didn't want to.
Time to try the Tracy Anderson Method and in particular her 30 Day Boot Camp.
I had heard about her and knew she was hard core. I also liked the look of the women who had been through her programme. I have no wish to build weight lifter muscles or look like a gym rat. I have a bad back anyway and so, lifting weights has always been problematic. Also I read in the Times that according the recent study at the University of Newcastle, a diet with purees is good for combating Type 2 Diabetes. I knew it involved Dance Cardio which I thought I'd hate. I can't dance. I have two left feet, little sense of rythm and a tendency to hit other partcipents in dance classes in the face. Humliations in dance class? Yes, I have had a few. I am the one who always ends up facing the wrong way. But I decided to try. I'd wear my Harlequin socks for luck.
Amazon delivered the book and I made the commitment. I would do it but if I hit a healthy BMI before Day 26, I wouldn't do the Cleanse because it sounded stomach churning. Kale beetroot juice, carrot and parsnip purree, sweet corn and sweet potatoe purree. I wasn't hopeful. But I started, doing the Dance Cardio first and then the muscle strenthening exercises.
The strangest thing is that my heels which pinched are now too big. I didn't know that I had fat feet.
My plus fours are now almost too large and I can fit into clothes that I made 25 years ago. I actually went out and bought a UK size 10 (US size 6)black sheath dress because it fit.I shall be wearing it to AMBA at the end of October but with a new pair of heels.
Most importantly, the lymph oedema in my arm has subsided and gone to very mild. I have to wear the hated bandages while I am exercising but that is all.
I am looking forward to continuing on with her Method of exercising (I ordered the Meta Omni from her website and will start that once it arrives.) My writer's bottom has been conquered (for the moment) but I am under no illusion -- after a certain age, you just have to SWEAT.
Writers are prone to writer's bottom and it is up to the indivdual author to do something about it if she so wishes. And it is important to find the exercise programme that works for you. Do your research. Look at before and after pictures. See what is involved. But above make a commitment to show up.
If you are interested in learning more about the Tracy Anderson Method, the video explains a bit and shows some of her moves. It is from her Perfect Design series but the book follows a similar sequence:
All I can say is that the Tracy Anderson Method really worked for me and the time I had to put in each day exercising is worth it. And having conquered my writer's bottom, I can now stop talking about it.