An interview with Megan Auvil
Tell us about yourself.
My name is Megan Auvil and I am a Registered Nurse at Seattle Children’s Hospital working the night shift. Almost 2 years ago my friend finally convinced me to join her for a Zumba class. After one class I was hooked and immediately bought a monthly membership. I started in the back corner since I had no dance experience and was way out of shape. After attending months of classes, I was able to keep up better and worked my way up to the front. I pretty much go to every class Medora teaches that doesn’t interfere with sleeping for work…well, too much at least. They made me forget how much I hate to sweat (a previously significant barrier to working out) because I was having so much fun.
Why did you decide to do the Weight Loss Challenge (WLC)?
I was an exclusively Zumbaholic for over a year and a half. For months at a time, I would say I was going to try another class. I would finally take one then quickly revert to my usual habits. Being terrified of Tabata and of trying new classes, I figured the WLC was the push I needed. I also wanted to start making better nutritional choices and I guessed that having to be accountable would be more motivating for me.
Did you set any specific goals?
I have always been bad at goal setting, so I started off very broad… my main exercise-related goal was to attend classes that I didn’t enjoy but knew would be good for me: BodyPump, Tabata, bootcamp, etc. I have been overweight my whole life. Just before my 25th birthday, I realized I wasn’t getting any younger, which helped motivate me to start classes at C-Fit.
Nutritionally, I wanted to start improving the quality of my diet, develop good eating habits and eat out less. I often use the saying “go big or go home,” so my challenge was to go big with no other option. As I started to lose the pounds, I developed a goal of losing 20 pounds. At our final weigh in, I was just shy of hitting my goal with a 19 pound loss, but I hit over 20 the next week!
What surprised you about the experience?
I was most surprised by the fact that I developed a love/hate relationship with Tabata! After the kick-off, I told Deb Voss (a CFit instructor) that I HATE Tabata. The first few classes were still a hate/hate feeling but soon I started loving how I felt after each challenging class. The instructors were great about giving options/modifications to make the workout more accessible to everyone with different fitness levels and injuries. I was pleasantly surprised with the results of 6 weeks of hard work and improved diet.
Seeing results is slowly shifting my thinking about working out. At first I just wanted to be “healthier.” I have come to realize that it was actually embracing a “something is better than nothing” mentality and coming in without expectations.
What challenges did you face?
Adding in classes before or after work during a long stretch of 12 hour shifts was really challenging. It still is, but now I feel worse if I don’t squeeze them in somewhere! One personal challenge was to eat out less, which was hard since my friends are used to eating socially. It was challenging to make better decisions and replace the carbs I enjoy with healthier carbs. It was shocking using MyFitnessPal to realize how many calories I was eating since I never paid attention to portions or calories. It was definitely challenging to significantly decrease the calories I was used to eating and start looking at portion sizes. I am still working on changing my diet habits and trying to eat healthy snacks every 2-3 hours and smaller meals.
Favorite thing about WLC?
There were so many great things about it! First, the results: I was shocked that 6 weeks of hard work with lots of classes and improving my diet allowed me to lose 20 pounds and 4% body fat. Even better than the numbers was being able to keep up better in classes, and challenging myself to take higher impact (especially jumping) workouts like Tabata. But my favorite part was meeting some fabulous and encouraging instructors I had never taken classes from before the WLC. I owe a lot of my success to Zumba & Dance Club with Medora, and Tabata with Deb and Susan. They all pushed me harder but recognized when I was already pushing my limits. I loved getting to know fellow challengers in the WLC bootcamps and then continuing to encourage each other in all CFit classes and seeing at which classes we would see each other next. Yes, there were teams but everyone was very supportive and encouraging of every person in the challenge which also helped my success!
What are your next steps post-challenge?
The next steps are to keep challenging! I consider the challenge a starting point and want to keep working hard with the goal of being in shape. I’ve been keeping up most of the classes I started during the challenge and want to keep trying new ones. The hardest part for me is to maintain the healthy eating I was doing during the challenge. MyFitnessPal was very helpful during the challenge and helped keep me aware of my caloric intake/output, but can be lengthy to enter the food. I quit doing it, but want to start back up since it forced me to make better choices to stay within my goal range.
What is your best advice for someone who is considering doing the WLC?
Absolutely do it!! I don’t think there is a more supportive atmosphere than the Community Fitness WLC! All the coaches are fantastic, supportive and willing to help everyone. Not to mention the encouraging participants—I made some new gym friends that I probably would never have met before the challenge since we attended different classes.
Any small changes you do add up. You aren’t expected to give up your life for the challenge, and coaches encourage you to work classes into your daily routines that you can keep up after the challenge. It was just what I needed to increase my workouts, and my success is only motivation to keep going.