HEALTH & FITNESS
JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARBULLETIN.COM
Beckie Oxley tried seemingly every diet she could imagine. Now she trains with weights, eats more fruits and vegetables and does regular cardiovascular exercise. Oxley, above, did lunges while holding dumbbells at the Oahu Club in Hawaii Kai.
Yo-yo no mo’
Eating healthy food and exercising regularly are crucial to ending a destructive cycle of fad diets
Beckie Oxley was a typical dieter. She'd gain weight. She'd lose it.
Diet pills, appetite suppressants, magazine fads, Atkins, cabbage soup — you name it. She's tried it.
"I used to feel so disgusted ... I could not even look at myself in the mirror," Beckie said of her yo-yo days. "I remember how I was in a constant state of guilt and at times felt completely hopeless. There was nothing I could do to lose the weight and keep it off."
It's a tale that waxes familiar.
As a child, she said, her father ran a farm, so she played outside a lot and was very active.
"I was my father's son, so I was kind of a tomboy," she said. "I also had a healthy appetite, so I could eat, but I was always working or playing so I never had a weight problem. Then I got married."
Wedding bells rang for Beckie at age 21. She looked good, weighing in at 135 pounds. But as most married couples know, the weight creeps on slowly. Shortly after the wedding bliss, Beckie found herself fluctuating between 135 and 145, which to her was no big deal.
After marriage comes the baby carriage and Beckie did great with her firstborn, Ryan. She gained weight, of course, but quickly lost it all and got back down to her pre-pregnancy weight.
Not quite the same story with her second child, daughter Koto, although she didn't gain as much weight this time. Shedding the pounds was harder. She hit a plateau of about 160.
A few years had passed and daughter Kara was born. Again, Beckie did great with the pregnancy, but found herself even heavier afterward.
A few more years had passed and Beckie's weight steadily climbed.
By 1996 and in her mid-30s, Beckie knew she had to do something. She just didn't know what.
"There was nothing I could do to prevent gaining weight," she said. "Any of the pills that I took, any of the crash diets, or starvation or limiting your eating. Nothing worked and the weight kept continuing to come on and now I don't even have the excuse of having had a baby in the last 10 years. Basically I was feeling like there was no control, there was no stopping myself, the weight progression just kept going."
By October of 1999, Beckie packed 188 pounds on her 5-foot-8 frame.
And then she hit the diet jackpot — The Cabbage Soup Diet.
After a few weeks the diet actually began to work. Within a month, she had dropped 13 pounds. Beckie had the Cabbage Soup regimen mastered and by May of 2000 she had reached an astonishing 145 pounds, fitting comfortably into a size 10.
Then the inevitable happened. It was summertime and families started getting together.
"The diet was getting hard to do at this point because it would require me to bring over my cabbage soup when we were out having lunch or dinner with friends," she said, "And restaurants got really difficult. What was I supposed to do, bring my cabbage soup to the restaurant?"
By the end of summer, she was back up into the 150s.
Frustration set in and none of the other diets she tried would work. By the end of 2005, Beckie was stuck near 170.
Her breakthrough came last year. A personal trainer offered a basic fitness assessment. She accepted and her life has changed.
The first couple of months were a little slow as Beckie was not used to a regular exercise regimen, especially one that included three days of weight training. It also took Beckie a while to get the hang of the nutritional requirements of the training.
"For the first time in my life I was not on a diet, it was more about being educated on the affects that food has on your body," she said. "It wasn't a diet; it was something I could see myself doing as a lifestyle.
"And there was no guilt. For the last 10 years, my life was layered in guilt. You were either on a diet or not, and if you were not on a diet or the minute you got off the diet, you were a failure. On my training regimen, I no longer have to deprive myself, in fact I can eat more of the foods I like because I'm doing my cardio and strength training."
The months have flown by and Beckie has been working out three times a week with her trainer and doing cardio on the days in between — all while forsaking the old dieting lifestyle. At this point she has started to witness an interesting phenomenon. She's not losing weight all that quickly — she's down to about 165 from 171. But her body has a completely different shape.
COURTESY BECKIE OXLEY
Oxley in 1999.
"I couldn't believe it," she said. "I weigh more than I did when I lost all my weight on cabbage soup, but I am a size smaller.
"And now I can see how my body is being sculpted with a combination of weight training, cardio and proper nutrition. I can wear sleeveless. I can wear short shorts and I'm not embarrassed. My fat on my arm that used to hang over my elbow is no more, in fact when I glance over at my arm I can see muscle, I like that.
"Another great thing about my new program is that I get to keep all of my results. I can take a two-week vacation, come back home and weigh exactly the same if not less. I'll never go back to dieting again."
is the owner of Fitness Together, a training studio in Manoa Marketplace. Contact him at 306-1485 or at firstname.lastname@example.org