with everyone excited about the warm weather around the corner, it seems that it's inspired them to get summer-ready which is great.
my decision to get healthy has been brewing for a while but i was just too lazy to do it; it was always one excuse after another and i seemed to have a great ability to rationalize the reasons why i could eat that cake or sit and watch one more episode instead of getting up and doing something.
after my drastic weight loss during my depression, i was enjoying feeling normal again and part of that enjoyment was food - rich food, bad food, yummy food. i was so skinny and wanted to put weight on that for a while, it felt nice not having to worry about what i was eating since i had a long way to go (i was 108lbs and i needed to get back to my regular 130lbs). as the weight kept building, i continued to eat what i wanted - chips while watching tv, fast foods, beer, coke, desserts, ice cream - and kept telling myself that it was ok; that i still needed to get back to my old weight.
after a while that train of thought became a lifestyle and before i knew it, i was a heavier than my target weight and needed slightly bigger clothes. to justify this, i told myself life is short, my hubs still loves me and i don't look much bigger. however, i secretly didn't like the fact that i had to buy one size up; i didn't like the fact that i felt heavier and i really didn't like the way i looked when i stepped out of the shower. i found myself hiding from my hubs, closing the door as i was changing and even wearing slightly larger clothes to hide my body. my sleep was awful again, my skin was reacting pretty badly (eczema flare-ups, sallow and dull complexion) and i no longer wanted to be in any photograph when in the past, i was a total camera whore.
the last straw was when i went out in december 2011 for our annual december girls' birthday. i saw a picture that was taken of me and my girfriend and the size of my face totally surprised me - i never had much of an angular face but i never looked that pudgey before. pictures don't lie and that's when i realized that the past year of careless eating with the excuse of needing to put my weight back on was just that - an excuse to do what i wanted.
back then, my diet consisted of pretty much whatever i wanted - rice, breads, pastas, mcdonalds if i was too lazy to make lunch, desserts after dinner (almost every night!!), chips (my favorite is sour cream and onion). fruits weren't a regular part of my diet anymore. sometimes i would eat some chips every night until the bag was done. my favorite hobby was to curl up with a bowl of chips while watching vampire diaries. i tried to curb those cravings and i tried numerous times to get healthy but it never stuck. it was one excuse after another: i'll start tomorrow. just this one last time. oh, it's just a few pieces of [insert bad food here], what's the big deal? and falling off the wagon became a habit.
when january rolled around, i was over the excuses, over the extra weight and i was ready to do something about it. i'm a person who firmly believes that one has all the power to make a change for the better yet i wasn't taking my own advice. i knew that i had a hard road ahead of me - quitting the bad food and regaining the discipline would be tough - but i was determined to stick to it and lose the extra weight or at the very least, fit into my size 4 jeans without gasping for air.
start with baby steps....
when i get overwhelmed especially when it comes to doing something i don't want to do, i won't do it. i knew that i had to take small baby steps to accomplish my goal and while i wouldn't be shrinking my wasitline as fast as i wanted, the trade-off was being consistent and sticking with something for the long haul.
the first thing i did was completely overhaul my diet. i cut out all white carbs (rice, pasta, potatoes); no more desserts or sugar, no chips, no eating after dinner, no more pop, no more fast foods. i increased my protein intake and initially limited myself to 3 pieces of whole wheat toast - 2 pieces in the morning for breakfast and 1 piece during lunch. i increased my fruit and veggie intake and only drank water with every meal and throughout the day. my 'freebie' was my morning tea with 1.5tsp of sugar and a bit of 2% milk. i started bringing healthy snacks to work and i ate a salad with each lunch and dinner (with home made or low fat dressing).
the first 2 weeks were fucking hard. i had the worst cravings but i was determined to get through it because i knew it was just my body adjusting to the absence of sugar or any of the other addiditves/crap that is ever-present in junk food. to reduce the cravings, i made lots of healthy smoothies - berries with plain yogurt and some OJ - which was sweet enough to take the cravings away and filled me up so that i didn't want to eat.
i also started a very short, yet intense exercise routine - a 4 minute tabatas exercise that gets your heart rate going. it was hard enough for me to feel a sense of accomplishment yet short enough to make me feel guilty if i didn't do it. when i got used to exercising regularly, i started walking on the treadmill in addition to the 4-minute workout. it wasn't much - between 20-25mins - but i slowly started increasing the pace and elevation so that eventually, i started jogging/fast walking.
when you accomplish your baby steps, you feel good and ready to tackle another goal. if you continue to do this, you'll be ready for more because you know you can do it.
be patient; know that it's a lifestyle change...
after being consistent for 3 months, i know i would feel guilty if i ate something i shouldn't. i now want to work out (say whaaat?!?) and aside from me complaining and whining about it, i feel so good afterwards. it took me about 4 or 5 weeks to lose 5lbs and although it's not a significant weight reduction, i take pride in the fact that i can now comfortably fit into my size 4 jeans. i haven't even worn my other jeans because they're too big and the other day, my co-worker looked at me and said "you need new pants; they're hanging off you". holla!!
when you start feeling great, up your game...
i had been jogging/fast walking on the treadmill for a while and then started getting bored. i didn't want to lose momentum so after some research, i found jillian michaels' 30 day shred. my workouts cannot be more than 30mins otherwise i'll lose interest and i don't have more than 30mins since i have a toddler running around so the workout needed to be short, quick and effective. this definintely is. i'm only on day 3 and i feel awesome; i'm sore but it's a good sore and i feel accomplished which is the important part.
enjoy the results, whether big or small!
don't look at the scale; go by how you feel and how your clothes fit. i've only stepped on the scale twice since i started in january and both times was because i had to (yearly physical and insurance nurse's physical).
i now sleep so much better (as in i pass out within 5-10 minutes of lying down), i sleep more soundly and for longer stretches (from 2hrs stretches to 5-6hrs) and if i happenn to wake up to go to the bathroom, i fall right back asleep instead of taking 1-1.5 or sometimes 2hrs to go back to sleep (gah!).
i have more energy during the day. i used to get so sleepy around 2pm and sometimes driving home from work was a struggle but not anymore!
i don't get sick as often. i've felt under the weather a few times but i've managed to not only fight it off within a day but i've only been sick once this winter.
my hair isn't falling out in clumps anymore. i used to pull out huge wads in the shower but now, it's only a few strands... although my hubs would say otherwise. i chalk this up to a better diet, better sleep and healthy daily dose of vitamin supplements (especially omegas).
my skin looks and feels WAY better - combination of the healthy food, exercise and better sleep. oh, and also because of this awesome serum.
my clothes fit so much better - i'm no longer trying to hide anything. some of the weight is still there but my mid-section feels tighter and smaller. i now have to buy smaller jeans which is a huge win!
while i've never had any insecurities about myself, i do feel much better. there's a bounce in my step and i walk around this place like i'm the bomb-diggity. when you feel good, it shows in your behaviour and that dear readers, is the most important part!
read about my 30 day journey here (updated daily) or just click on the top nav above!
if you're currently on a journey to a healthier you, please leave me a comment, i would love to hear what you're doing!