Monday, September 22, 2003

She's hungry to be fit

After nine months of training, writer's diary shows she's 18 pounds lighter, feels stronger and looks forward to breakfast

By Llee Sivitz
Enquirer contributor

In January, I joined The Enquirer's "Fit City Challenge," pledging to get fit with the help of a personal trainer.

Beryl Donenfeld, Spinning director of Midtown Health and Fitness in Columbia Township, agreed to take me on.

You've followed my progress as I confronted my poor lifestyle habits and begrudgingly replaced them with good ones. Here is the third installment:


Although I'm stronger, I've lost only eight pounds since I started, so I ask Beryl to take over my eating regimen.

At her request, I keep a food journal of everything I eat. Beryl explains that junk food is food with no nutritive value. I eat sugary dried pineapple from the health food store. Is that junk? She says yes.

At a party, a cake is staring me down. Beryl suggests eating watermelon slices instead. I do, and miraculously my craving for sweets goes away.

I grocery shop, using her list of suggested foods. When I get home, I take two nibbles of a chocolate bar and discard it. I have real food to eat!

On Memorial Day I run a five-mile race at Lunken Airport. A race walker speeds past me, but I finish in 56 minutes.


I'm struggling to keep my sweet tooth at bay with "legal foods", i.e., whole-grain bread, peanut butter, plain nonfat yogurt, dried fruit, apples, bananas, hummus, salsa - anything to tantalize my taste buds.

It's a "red letter" day at Spinning class. My heart rate monitor usually reads 85 percent of my target during the class. Beryl predicts as I get more conditioned my heart rate will settle down. Today my heart rate stays at 75 percent - even though I'm sweating and puffing like crazy.

I've been on my healthy diet for three weeks. Beryl reads my food journal and says I need to add more fresh vegetables.

I look thinner. I measure myself. I've lost 21/2 inches total from my body.


I run the four-mile Hyde Park Blast on July 4. It's very hot and humid. On some hills, I feel as if I'm standing still. But the weight is starting to come off. I've lost 13 pounds.

I join an ultimate Frisbee game. I'm able to keep up and even score a few goals.


My clothes are too big so I go shopping and buy a size 10 dress - one size smaller than usual. I try on pants and I'm not afraid to look in the mirror.

Beryl checks my food journal and tells me I tend to eat "comfy" foods, that is, mushy foods rather than fiber. Just when you think you have the hang of it ...


Bought my "future pants" - size 8. I can get into them and zip them, but they don't look very good.

I've lost a total of 18 pounds and worked off 71/2 inches, however my body fat is 29 percent, down just 3 points since January. Beryl suggests I need to increase my upper-body workouts to get a lower reading.

I'm not eating at night so I'll be hungry for breakfast, the most important meal of the day.

It's my 55th birthday. I see muscles on my arms. I'm keeping up with Beryl's Ballistics class now. I was so hungry last night I could hardly sleep.

Sivitz's fitness goals for 2003

• Increase my stamina and endurance

• Build core and upper body strength

• Correct my posture

• Establish a healthy diet

• Lose 20 pounds

• Finish the six-mile Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving (information at )

A weekly routine

Llee Sivitz's program for meeting her goals of losing 20 pounds and finishing Cincinnati's 10K Thanksgiving Day Race.

Monday - Ballistics (free weights, exercise ball, step, tubes), 75 minutes

Tuesday - Two-mile jog

Wednesday - Total body stretch, 45 minutes; upper-body workout, 15 minutes

Thursday - Spinning class with stationary bikes, 75 minutes

Friday - Aerobics tape, 45 minutes; upper-body workout, 15 minutes

Saturday - Total body stretch, 45 minutes; three-mile walk

Sunday - Training run (five-six miles). Upper-body workout, 15 minutes

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