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Year later: Trading sitting for running
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EDITOR’S NOTE: Jeanette Balmut has been selected to participate in the Year of You, a fitness challenge hosted by The Manteca Bulletin, CalFit Manteca and CORE Athletic Performance. Balmut is keeping a weekly journal, highlighting the strides and struggles of her fitness journey. These are her thoughts and feelings shared with you.

Day 344
OH MY GOODNESS, I cannot be happier.  I am the lightest I have been to date, how is that possible? I splurged and cheated and enjoyed the holidays and I still lost weight.  I hope it doesn’t catch up to me next week and I go up again.  I was just so happy stepping on that scale and seeing those numbers.  I am so close to the next “level”…..I can, I can, I will!
Looking forward to working out with Javi today.  It’s been a week and I NEED HIM!  I seriously don’t know what I am going to do without him after this year is over.  I am starting to panic!  I get to the gym, do my quick warm up and then we get started.  Its “heavy” weights today.  I do everything he puts me through and he coaches and encourages me the entire time.  He reminds me that since we are doing heavy weights today that means my body will continue to burn calories for up to three days.  I LIKE THAT!!!
After our session I move to the brand new, beautiful Stairmaster and get to work.  Oh and is that a work out. Nothing like climbing stairs for half hour straight!  As I am leaving I am stopped by a regular and he tells me that he saw me doing the heavy lifting and that it was good because “I will continue to burn calories for up to three days”…..literally word for word what Javi says to me.  Gotta like it!

Day 345
Today is a half day of work, and then a day with McKenna.  Looking forward to a nice lunch and movie.  We go to Chili’s for lunch and I opt for the low calorie salad bowl and a water.  It was so good.  We decide on a movie and we have about a half hour till it starts.  We agree to go look at model homes before the movie.  One thing led to the other and we end up spending the next five hours seeing model homes and then making our way to the new River Islands.  WOW, have you seen all they have done out there?  It’s unreal!  We had so much fun, dreaming about this and that I ended up walking all over the area and seeing at least 30 homes.  I guess you can consider it a work out…
I can’t believe I opt NOT to go to the gym, a rare thing for me but we were having so much fun and the time just got away from us.  By the time we got home and cooked dinner it was late and COLD.  I guess that means a double workout for me tomorrow!  I CAN’T make this a habit!

Day 346
Ok, I was warned….Javi said today would be a workout like no other and the hardest yet.  I am terrified.  I arrive at the gym and do a long warmup.  One mile.  Javi arrives carrying a “flak jacket”…not really, it was actually a weighted jacket but it looked like a flak jacket.  He put it on me and strapped me in. It was just over 20 pounds.  WOW, you don’t even realize how heavy that is till you are wearing it.  And to think I had this plus almost 50 more pounds on me at the beginning of this year. 
We get to work.  We do things I have yet to do.  All cardio and weights and ropes and rubber bands and speed intervals on the Stairmaster and inclines and dumbbells and kettle bells and weighted balls — too many things to count.  Yep, exactly what he said it would be — the hardest yet. But man did I love it.  I felt so strong, and tough and even looked it.  I had a lot of “watchers” and I think people were impressed, I was, lol!
Raced home made a big pot of chili and watched the pitiful USC Bowl game.  Depressing!

Day 347
What am I going to do? The gym opens at 7 a.m. (after I start work) and closes at 2 p.m. (before I get off). I guess that means it’s a day to run on the streets.  I need to do that anyway so I can be ready for next Sunday. I am starting to get very nervous. 
I get home from work, and hit the streets for a quick three mile run.  It’s pretty easy to do that now I must say…never in a million years would I have though I could say that. 
We get ready for a fun night.  We start at Pete’s and I choose a chicken salad.  I was good!  We make appearances at two parties and enjoy the night.  I skip all the appetizers at desserts at both places….another good choice!

Day 348
My hubby talks me into just relaxing an enjoying an entire day with no work out.  I am sore from the hard work out with Javi on Wednesday and my legs are sore from my run last night, so I agree and veg out the entire day. 

Day 349
I wake up early and hit the gym first thing — it’s packed!  Makes me a little uncomfortable to arrive like a normal Saturday (usually just familiar faces).  I get right to work and get in an 80-minute cardio session.  I feel great and ready for the weekend.
Day 350
Today is a LONG run on the streets.  This will be my last long run before the 15K next Sunday.  I tell myself before leaving that I will do three miles then walk, then run, then walk…..but NOPE….I run the ENTIRE WAY….I don’t stop one time.  I run a little over six miles.  I seriously can’t tell you how this makes me feel.  NEVER, and I mean NEVER could I have imagined being able to run ONE mile let alone six.  It blows me away.  As I am running I reflect on one year ago.  Mike would leave for his runs and I would wish him luck and then I would just sit on the couch.  I could not fathom me being able to actually do anything like this.  Now, one year later, I am doing it.  The entire time I am running I am saying to myself…keep it up, forever, don’t stop, one year from now, two years from now….that is my goal.  Yes, I want to still lose 35 more pounds, yes I want to someday be in shorts and maybe even a swim suit….yes I want to possibly get into a size 10 pants  but mostly I want to just keep getting fitter, stronger and more in shape.  It really is the best feeling in the world!
We end the long weekend and the holiday season with a good balanced dinner.  Tri-Tip, broccoli and salad.  I have my breakfasts, lunches and snacks all prepared for the week and I am ready for the final TWO full weeks of this competition.  It has truly been the best thing I have ever done for myself.  Yes, I had a tremendous amount of help. I had CAL FIT. Steven (the owner) has been amazing, so uplifting and supportive and complementary every single day.  He and all the people at CAL FIT have become like family.  Javi….oh man, I could never say enough about him.  What he has done for me is nothing short of a miracle.  He has coached me, encouraged me, and taught me how to work hard on my body and my training.  He has never let me slide.  I am so thankful for every single session I have had with him and I cannot thank him enough.  All of my followers.  You have given me every ounce of determination I have.  I was doing this for me but also for you.  I never wanted to let you down.  I wanted to succeed for all of you.  IF I CAN DO IT, YOU CAN DO IT…..And my family….by far the biggest supporters I have.  My hubby Mike, you have been my strength, my backbone and my reason for wanting this so bad. I want to make you proud like I did at 22.  You don’t even realize how much you helped me in this journey.  
AND NOW…..It’s YOUR TURN.  I am happy to announce that the YEAR OF YOU will continue in 2016.  We will be looking for several enthusiastic, committed, and dedicated individuals who are ready to take on this journey.  Who will be the next to transform themselves?  Details will follow in the Manteca Bulletin as well as the Year of You Facebook page.  Be sure to watch for the updates…all specifics will be coming out shortly.  We are shooting for this year’s contestants to have a kick-off date of Feb. 1.