The Jacksons, Week 11: Now You See Them, Now You Don't -- The Magic Numbers of Weight Loss

Filed under: Healthy Families Challenge

deidra jackson picture

Deidra uses her own body weight as resistance in a TRX Suspension Training workout. Credit: Jenn Hall

At my last weigh-in, the numbers were magic. Nine pounds? Gone. And two-and-one-half inches around my waist have disappeared.

This is good.

I feel very encouraged to have survived the first round of holiday eating while achieving measurable weight loss. My goal now is to keep it up (or keep it down). Now that the fall semester at the University of Mississippi has ended, and my health-and-fitness team has bid me farewell until January, I'm a little nervous. My experts, who have abandoned me for a few weeks to rejuvenate and enjoy their own festive holidays, have sent me out alone into this scary wilderness where celebratory cakes, cookies and other cream-filled cuisine, combined with lazy days of rest and relaxation, might lure me back into old bad habits.

But, once again, I'm armed to overcome such weaknesses. Jenn Hall, my personal trainer, has left me with another spreadsheet of calorie-burning cardio and weight-lifting exercises to follow on my own (cycling, dumbbell chest presses, rowing, treadmill warm-ups, lat pull-downs) at my gym, UM's Turner Center, which remains open, with reduced hours, during the holidays. And my other team members have given me sage advice as far as eating and drinking are concerned.

Do both in moderation, they said.

Jenn ran me through a small battery of innovative and demanding exercises known as "TRX Suspension Training" during a workout session recently. All movements rely on you gripping a special nylon cord secured onto a hook a few feet above you. TRX training doesn't use a machine, but simply a strap, in which you place your hands or feet to perform exercises using your own body weight as resistance. Think back to how your muscles ached after a short game of tug-of-war. According to one website, TRX allows people of all fitness levels to "safely perform hundreds of exercises that build power, strength, flexibility, balance, and mobility ..."

Gripping tightly this newfangled harness and making sure not to allow any slack in the straps, I did squats and abdominal, back, bicep and tricep work. And Jenn was right when she said that my core, the stabilizer muscles around my trunk and pelvis, would be sore the next day. It's a very demanding, calorie-burning workout that conditioned my muscles in a very short amount of time.

Speaking of Jenn, my trainer, I'd like to be the one to congratulate and encourage her now. She not only finished a 26-mile, 385-yard marathon through Huntsville, Ala. on December 11, but placed ninth in her division. She didn't let the 34th Annual Rocket City Marathon defeat her. You go, Jenn, and thank you for always encouraging me.

I'm also giving a shout-out to my son and teammate, Jackson, for his support. Not my baby boy anymore, he recently turned 12 and celebrated the occasion with a birthday party featuring two large pepperoni pizzas and a round 12-inch mint-chocolate-chip ice cream cake. He and his friends later burned some of those calories at the local roller-skating rink and during a rowdy sleepover at our house.

Courtesy of the Healthy Families Challenge, Jack and I have been integrating Wii Fit Plus exercises into our routine and loving it (especially Kung Fu and skateboarding).

In the throes of doing his daily push-ups, Jack says the video game so far has made him "outrageously fit" and has helped him burn additional calories. He said he likes the idea of working out with the Wii, "because it's so fun, and it doesn't seem like exercise."

That sounds like a magic formula for weight loss and regular fitness right there.

Who's the rest of the competition? Check out all the challengers' latest updates here.

How is the Jackson family doing? Check in on their progress!

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.