Some of you are all, well that’s a random title. And the rest of you are singing “Girl look at that body…”
It will be in your head all day now. You’re welcome.
Today I’m going off course as I do sometimes to talk about life stuff. I’ve had a bit of an epiphany over the past four months or so and I wanted to share a bit of the journey with you today.
I know too many people right now who are dealing with the scary, nasty, despicable disease that is cancer. It’s hit especially close and it woke me up to the fact that I have one body and I want to take better care of it. Simple as that. (And in no way am I suggesting those with cancer do not. I just want to do better by mine.) I’ve never treated my body horribly, but I haven’t treated like the temple that it is. Laugh at that if you want, but it truly is!
So earlier this year I was on a mission. I don’t do resolutions but this mission started suspiciously close to the beginning of the year. ;) But that’s what I do every year just because it feels like new start to me. Thing is, usually by March I’m kind of done and I go back to old habits.
Last summer I got in decent shape and had lost quite a bit of weight – and I don’t know what in the heck happened but by Christmas I was inching up to dangerous territory for me again. It happened SO fast. I was still working out, just not as much. And I was obviously eating anything and everything.
I was tired of it. Tired of doing well and going backward and tired of not treating myself better overall. And I had that epiphany -- I have a healthy, working body and I’m going to take care of it and take advantage of it. How lucky am I?
This time I’m sticking with it. It’s my life now – this is a totally different outlook than I’ve had before. I’m SO thrilled with my progress so I wanted to share little things that have helped me along the way.
First up is tracking what I eat. I’ve had the My Fitness Pal app on my phone for years and never really used it till a few months ago:
So here’s the thing. I still eat. I don’t eat great all the time either. We go out to eat a lot. I like margaritas. And tortilla chips. :) I’m still not eating as well as I should but I have made changes that have helped.
I say that to be honest but I also say that because so often I think we feel like we can’t lose weight unless we eat like birds and eat nothing but lettuce. I eat bread, (real) sugar, meat, ice cream and even fried chicken occasionally – but I don’t eat a lot of it. I know myself and if I restricted everything I love completely I’d be back to my old habits in no time. It’s not always about willpower for me – it’s about enjoying life. I enjoy food and refuse to give up all the stuff I love 100 percent.
I was hard core with My Fitness Pal for months but I’m starting to log in less and less. Partly because I know what many of the foods are as far as calories so I can keep it going in my head all day, but partly because I’m determined to just move more so the calories don’t matter quite as much.
Here’s another thing – don’t eat too little calories! I think anything below 1,400 a day is too low. I’ve lost weight just fine at 1600 to 1800 a day – but that’s based on my weight and some calculations. You need to figure out the calories it takes to sustain your current weight and then from there figure out how many to cut to lose weight. (That’s a post for another day.)
Speaking of moving – you need to find a workout that you enjoy. I’ve tried to become a runner so many times in my adult life and I’m just not one. Although I’m realizing how it works my body in different ways so I’m trying to incorporate it more.
But group fitness I’ve always enjoyed -- in college I did kickboxing and loved it. When I was at my lowest weight about 14 years ago (low weight because all I did was work out because it was how I dealt with a sad time in my life) I started it up again.
But for years after that I rarely worked out at all. A couple years ago a friend had mentioned taking Zumba and it sounded fun…but it had been a long time since I had been in a fitness class. I was intimidated. So instead I got the Zumba fitness “game” for Xbox and starting doing it at home:
Being overweight, walking into a group class you are clueless about, not knowing a soul – it’s not something many people can just do. And if you don’t know what you’re doing and feel uncomfortable, you’re not going to go back.
So this was my way of easing into it – and I LOVED it. After about six months of doing it at home (and seeing some results) I started going to the class. And once you find a class that you love, there’s no going back. It becomes almost an addiction – you WANT to be there. I hate missing class – what??
My instructor is now a friend and her classes are intense – almost like a Zumba boot camp. But I love that I feel like I’m dancing the whole time, not working out. The music is big for me – she incorporates some hip hop and top 40 that we know so it makes it so much more fun. Like I’m in da club. But not. :)
I started out with a little Fit Bit to track my steps every day:
It’s great – I wear it all day long now and it syncs to my phone. You’d be surprised how many calories you burn cleaning your house or walking up and down the stairs doing laundry. :)
The Fit Bit doesn’t track things like riding a bike or floor exercises (we do the latter in class a lot) so I ended up getting the Polar Fit as well:
This one is more expensive but tracks the exact calories burned (you have to wear the strap around your chest). Most times you’re burning more than the Fit Bit tells you so I like having both.
I think the biggest part of this journey is having support. You know the whole it takes a village to raise a child mantra? Well, I think it takes a village to lose weight. I really do. My husband is SO supportive of me running off to class each week. And I’ve made some wonderful friends throughout the process. About 25 of us did the Dirty Girl Mud Run this past weekend:
It was TOUGH (with five days of rain before) but we had so much fun. And now I seriously can’t wait for the next 5K. We even signed up to do the Indy mini next year – not sure where my head was on that one. It’s peer pressure – but the best kind. :)
Here’s another biggie for me – I have no idea how much weight I’ve lost. I don’t weigh myself anymore. It gets me down. Last time I checked I had lost about five pounds but what was months ago. But overall I’ve lost more than 18 inches in four months – that’s pretty amazing. That is encouraging to me – the scale is not.
Last night I remembered that I had taken some before shots of myself back in January. I never do that but I knew this time was different so I wanted to track the difference. Four months later (this morning) I took progress pics and when I put them side by side I almost cried. I couldn’t believe the difference! It doesn’t feel like much when you’re going through it but the pics made me realize I’ve really started to change my body:
I wore the same pants in the photos – I noticed the other day that they are starting to fall off when I wear them. WHOOT! I don’t really have a goal in mind – I’m just going to keep going and see where I land. Now I’m focusing hard on my arms and that middle pooch. I loathe that middle pooch.
My goal is not to be skinny. I want to fit and athletic and strong:
I do weight training with a friend once a week as well but want to try to start adding a day – weight training does wonders for your metabolism! It won’t make you bulky – it tightens you up and completely changes the way you look.
Even though I have more weight to lose I am in the best shape of my life at 38 years old. Seeing muscles develop is almost as exciting as fitting in my old jeans again. :)
One of the biggest areas I’ve noticed is the “back fat” – I am starting to get a little bit of definition in my back and I love it. And the side rolls are getting smaller and smaller:
I hate taking photos of myself but it’s actually really encouraging to see the progress!
But first, let me take a selfie:
Now THAT song will be in your head all day. Sorry. ;)
Just with DIY and decor I don’t think there’s rules to getting fit – you just have to figure out the way that works best for you. If you still want to eat your favorite foods I believe you can – you’ll just have to cut down and your progress may be slower. I think that’s just fine. I’m sharing my thoughts to encourage but take what works for others with a grain of salt – you need to figure out what will keep you going.
Do you struggle with weight and working out? Do you have a routine that you love to do? Do you run? If so teach me your secrets. :)