The thing I have to keep telling myself is that this is not ALL OR NOTHING.
This is not go out and spend a hundred bucks on workout clothes that would eventually be used for lounging on the couch.
This is not buy a gym membership that will never get used or an expensive workout machine that will only collect dust or clothes in the corner of the bedroom.
This is not cut everything out of my diet. This is not eat Lean Cuisine’s for lunch and sneak the Weight Watchers shortcuts in that still aren’t the best choices (pudding, Rice Krispie treats, etc.).
This is not work out one night and eat healthy for a day and step on the scale to see a loss of five pounds.
This is not a diet. This is not a program that lasts until I reach a goal weight and then everything goes to shit and the pounds pack back on.
This is a lifestyle change. It is a slow process. It is the build up to a different way of living, to making healthier choices without depriving myself of the deliciousness that this world offers.
It is learning to enjoy moving my body and the adrenaline rush that comes after a long and sweaty workout. It is knowing I am going to sleep like a rock and wake up feeling refreshed in the morning because I didn’t skip my work out. It is knowing I can go out and be active, whether it’s hiking in the mountains or riding the ATV’s we plan to buy, without getting winded or holding up the group.
It is knowing that I can have those Reese’s Peanut Butter Miniatures or those French fries but I’m going to have to work for them later. It is not really wanting either of those things in the capacity that I used to, knowing that one or two will satisfy the craving and that I won’t ever feel gross or sick to my stomach because I just kept shoving the crap in my pie hole because it was SO DELICIOUS and I DIDN’T WANT TO WASTE IT!
I saw the image above on Pinterest last week and immediately had to do what I told myself I never would do: start a fitness inspiration board. Because I needed some. Because if this lifestyle change is going to take place, I need some pretty reminders that this is not ALL OR NOTHING but is really SMALL AND SOMETHING.
It has been two and half weeks since I’ve started modifying my eating habits and about a week and a half since I started exercising. And it feels like forever! Not because I’m not enjoying it but because I love it so much that I don’t know why I didn’t do this sooner.
The key, as I said above, is the baby steps. I am not rushing to make huge changes or grandiose plans because I don’t feel like that would be beneficial to my plan. Slow and steady wins the race.
Instead of joining a gym, I’ve been working out at home using Dance Central 2 and Your Shape fitness on the Kinect. This not only provides me with exercise that I enjoy but it gives my body a chance to get acclimated to actually moving around instead of just sitting on the couch. It gives me a chance to figure out what I like (anything involving dancing or rhythm movements) and what I don’t like (running – I will never like running).
The workouts are fairly low impact now – I can dance in fitness mode for about an hour and only burn about 250 calories. This is fine because I haven’t moved my body this much in years and I am severely out of shape so by the end of the sessions, I am usually done. But I figure the longer I do it, the more I’ll get used to it and I can gradually increase the intensity of the workouts. Then I might consider joining a gym (the local community center lets residents join for $50 a year). Right now, I’m at least considering buying a small stationary elliptical just to give me some more variance in my workouts and help start to boost the intensity a bit.
I’m working out in old tshirts and lounge shorts and some severely old and stretched out sports bras that I have. It’s not the best scenario but again, I want to make sure I am going to stick with this before I go out and buy some better workout gear. I plan to at least pick up one sports bra because I need something to keep the bubbies contained a bit but other than that, I’m giving myself at least a month before I get an actual workout wardrobe.
I’m working out four days a week right now. I do them during the work week and give myself a break on the weekends. Just from the working out though. I still try to stick to the eating healthy on the weekends.
And as far as eating goes, it’s much easier than it used to be, even when I was on Weight Watchers. Let me just say, Weight Watchers worked for me, but I never reached my goal weight and I didn’t have the devotion to continue calculating the points values of the meals. Plus, I was doing it in my early twenties, where my lifestyle centered more around eating out than cooking in and it was such a pain to try and figure out all of the points values for food at restaurants and drinks and whatnot.
Now, I just make better choices and eat less. The first week, it was all on instinct – pick the fish over the beef. Eat more vegetables. No soda after lunch. Don’t eat a whole sleeve of Club crackers. This past week, I actually started using the My Fitness Pal app on my phone and the best thing that has done for me is make the concept of burn more than you eat click in my brain.
Right now, the app has me on a 1200 calorie a day diet and I don’t know if it’s because I adjusted my eating gradually, but it hasn’t really affected me. I can be a bit hungry when I go to bed at night but, as my experience with Weight Watchers showed me, the first few weeks you will be hungry because of the simple adjustment in the amount of food that’s being consumed.
The best thing about it is that counting the calories is easy because I’ve already adjusted my mind to pick things that are better for me. So I’m not really picking something that’s say, better in calories but has more fat. I’m already picking lean meats and having larger portions of veggies. Counting the calories thus becomes simple because it’s simple math – these calories plus these plus these should equal less than my daily allowance. And if I burn off calories by exercising, I can add them back into my total.
The other thing I’m trying to do is not fall into the “diet” trap. This isn’t about me eating low-fat food and Lean Cuisine meals and only salads. This is learning to enjoy the food I like in smaller portions and to just know that if I indulge, I’ll need to adjust my workout later to accommodate that. I don’t like the fact that a lot of the frozen health meals have so much sodium in them and I’m really trying to stick to fresh home cooked foods. We still use a lot of frozen veggies just because I need to make sure they don’t go bad in my refrigerator before I get a chance to cook them but I’m trying to make sure we’re not buying or eating from the center of the store, the prepackaged boxed foods and instead focus on simple building blocks that can be modified to fit the tastes of the evening (chicken, rice, veggies, potatoes, etc.).
I haven’t kept soda in the house since New Year’s – instead, I buy two 20 ounces bottles on Friday night and they act as my “coffee” for Saturday and Sunday. I haven’t had anything fried since Christmas and haven’t really wanted it. I turn to yogurt and homemade frozen yogurt and grapes for snacks.
I wake up and feel awake and ready to start the day as soon as my alarm goes off. I have enough energy in the evening to CLEAN ALL THE THINGS but I get tired earlier, early enough to actually get a good nights sleep. I don’t crave the soda or the caffeine like I used to or feel like a zombie if I don’t have it. I can eat one or two pieces of candy in a sitting without guilt but also without shoving the entire package in my face.
I weigh myself every other day or so but don’t panic if the numbers fluctuate a bit.
I actually feel like crap if I don’t work out and find myself falling back into the wide awake at midnight and barely able to get out of bed in the morning pattern.
I am amazed at how my focus has improved and how I feel like I fly through tasks instead of getting distracted by the Internet or the shiny thing that flew in front of my face.
This is not the easiest thing I’ve ever done, especially when I compare it to how easy my lackadaisical attitude made life.
But it is certainly more enjoyable than I ever imagined it would be.
And I’m willing to give it four weeks then eight weeks then twelve weeks.
I’m willing to give it a year.
It’s not about right now. It’s about the rest of my life.
And I intend to make it the best life ever.