Now is generally the time of the year where many people are thinking of resolutions or making changes with the start of the New Year. I am going on almost four years of having personally changed my life. Obviously, we all make changes throughout our lives but this was the big one for me where I really changed how I ate and my fitness levels. I thought I’d share here what worked for me in two simple steps in hopes that it gives you some ideas AND to remind myself how to make changes. I still have several things I’d like to change and I’m saying this stuff to myself as much as sharing it with anyone that needs to hear some unsolicited advice. You don’t need a new year to make a change, it can happen any day of the week, any month, and any year.
Find your fitness passion. This was twofold for me. Many (10?) years ago, I started going to the gym and doing some light cardio and light weights with the help of a trainer. I had biked and walked on my own to lose some weight and wanted to step it up. This trainer helped me and I also got the guts to join a few fitness classes at the gym. I fell in love with and have been spinning ever since. I managed to lose quite a bit of weight and thought I was probably the lowest my body wanted to be. (Haha, the lies we tell ourselves.) Then in a nutshell, I got married, moved, quit the gym and weight crept back up. I have yo-yoed in my weight since high school. I joined the gym in a nearby town that had classes and kept spinning. Around this time, I also checked out a few Beachbody programs (no, I DO NOT sell Beachbody) and really liked Shaun T and his enthusiasm and “realness”. I started doing the T25 program and fell in love. I followed the eating guidelines and did everything he suggested. This REALLY jump started my weight loss and helped me get to my lowest weight since probably junior high. (I have since put on some of that weight but that is a work in progress…) I FELT amazing. The combo of spinning, biking, running and doing body weight exercises made me feel so wonderful. I’m not saying you have to do any of these exercises, but you need to find something that “clicks” for you and makes you want to keep working out. I was sore in a good way and so satisfied at seeing small changes, whether that be clothes fitting better or doing exercise moves I previously could not complete. Why do you think there are so many fitness classes, DVDs or ways to stay active? Because people like different things and that is OK! Now my day really isn’t complete unless I work out because I found a mix that I love.
Make small changes in the way you eat. If you think you are going to quit eating fast food, only eat salads and never eat processed foods, you are probably wrong and likely you are setting yourself up for failure. There are many ways to make small changes that will add up in big ways. Try eating a healthy breakfast if you currently don’t eat breakfast at all. Try adding spinach to your iceberg salads. Try giving up your chips and dip for hummus and fresh veggies. You will find your tastes buds and preferences will change over time. Personally, I had a hard time having chips in my house. I really cannot stop at just one, unless you mean one bag. No joke. For a while, we just did not have chips in our house. Same with peanut butter. I forced myself to explore other options. Now, I have both of these items in my cupboard. I can’t remember the last time I binged on peanut butter – I can now control my servings. Try to eat as many “real” foods as possible like veggies and fruit. I know winter is horrible for produce in ND, but you can find some good frozen options. Start adding them little by little to your foods. You truly cannot out exercise a bad diet. I struggle with my eating the worst. I love to workout and find that easy. But I really pick at food throughout the day and that adds up big time.
I’m sharing a few of my before and during photos. I just want people to know that I struggle and I think I will for quite a while, maybe forever. I have maintained my weight for the past 3-4 years but I still have horrible, awful, no-good days where I feel fat, I cry, I hate myself. Honestly. I definitely do not have things figured out. BUT, the will to not go back to where I was, ultimately wins out. You see above I mention that I have gained some weight from my all-time adult low. It’s true and it’s a bit easier to “hide” on my frame since I’m tall (5’11”). My clothes all still fit but not really the way I want them to. I am “putting this out in the universe” that I want to lose those few pounds. I have said it for months (my poor husband has heard it a thousand times I’m sure), but I’m not really changing anything when I know what to do. I still want to “live” and have fun but I need to take steps to get back to my healthiest, best feeling self. I know it is too easy to let the unhealthy habits spiral out of control.
I have done it before and I can do it again! There’s no better time than now. (Let it be known that these two BEFORE photos are my most hated but it really helps to take progress photos of yourself – you don’t have to share them with anyone.)
Finally, I know there are some people who HATE the new year resolutioners who inundate the gym. Some don’t know how the equipment works or don’t possess proper gym etiquette. Instead of rolling your eyes at them and counting down the days until they drop their membership, why don’t you say hello and offer them a smile? Maybe one out of thirty new gym goers will stick it out and make a change?? But what if that one stayed because you said hello and offered a friendly face to see? I’d much rather be the person smiling than rolling my eyes at someone who already is nervous joining a gym. Fitness for everyone – we all start somewhere. So don’t think just because a person looks fit or in shape that they don’t have struggles or areas they want to improve. We are in this together to be the best versions of ourselves. May 2017 be your healthiest and fittest year yet. I am hoping so for myself.