I remember when I truly realized I needed to do something about my weight. I was sitting in the bath tub and there were multiple rolls formed by my stomach. I was disgusted. Where the heck did they come from?! I tried to maneuver myself to make them disappear but there wasn’t an angle that I could find that could hide them. I wasn’t comfortable in my own skin and I knew at that moment that it wasn’t just about the surface but that my body was not healthy. I needed to change. I needed to do something, to take action to not just feel happier in my body but to be healthier as well.
I didn’t lose the weight overnight just like I didn’t gain it overnight. Nor did my lifestyle change journey happen instantaneously. I started my journey weighing in at 135lbs on my 5’3.5″ frame. I was addicted to soda, sugar and fast food. Having grown up in a home with a single mom who didn’t know how to cook and thus often having take out or tv dinners for meals, I didn’t know how to cook and I never had the occasion to try. When I first decided to reclaim my life I began researching any and everything I could get my hands on when it came to nutrition. I submerged myself in it and I found my love for it. I began saving recipes and began recreating them in my own kitchen. Much to my surprise I wasn’t just a good cook, cooking was a hidden passion of mine. I found ways to make delicious meals and with my newfound knowledge of nutrition and health was able to alter them to make them healthier. I swapped regular soda for diet soda and then diet soda for sparkling flavored water then sparkling flavored water for crystal light and finally plain ol’ water was good enough for me. The more I learned about nutrition and the more I ate healthier, the more I wanted to continue to eat healthy and the less I craved unhealthy foods.
I also began exercising. I began by simply walking on the treadmill at the gym. Then I added an incline. Next I added in some running intervals. I found the Biggest Loser Powersculpt DVD at my local Walmart and began doing it 3 times a week. I’d search online for workouts and would do random ones I’d find on fitness magazine sites such as Self. The more I worked out, the more I wanted to continue my journey for health. I saw how much work it took to burn calories and fat that I mindlessly added to my body which motivated me even more to eat cleaner.
After 6 months I’d lost 20lbs, exchanging fat for muscle, a flubby tummy for a more toned version. But that wasn’t the end of my journey. It’s a constant one that five years later I’m still on. It’s a journey that will last a lifetime. I still eat Chinese takeout, indulge in Christmas cookies and enjoy an ice cream on a hot summer night. But it’s about moderation and about choosing the healthier options more often than not.
The most important thing I learned is that you need to find what works for you. Not everyone is destined to be a runner, a crossfitter, a swimmer, a weight lifter or a yogi. Not everyone is going to be able to eat salads everyday and be satisfied or happy. It’s about finding a lifestyle that works for you. If your exercise of choice is walking, DO IT! Walking is a fantastic workout. Don’t think that you’re just walking either and that those runners out there are so much more fit than you. If you want a turkey sandwich on wheat bread for lunch and feel intimidated by the low carb salad lunches of your peers, don’t. Everyone is different and as each body is different so is each lifestyle. The only way you can truly succeed at a lifelong lifestyle change is if you stop comparing yourselves to others and truly find what motivates you, what drives you and what works for you and go with that. After all your goal isn’t to be on a lifelong diet but to truly create a healthier you.