Eight years ago on May 19th, I reached my goal weight. It took a long time to get the 90+ pounds off, so that day was a pretty special one.
Every year I take a comparison shot because it keeps me motivated and it also allows me to look back into the eyes of the former me who didn’t believe in herself.
I learned a lot this year. What used to work in the earlier years to maintain my weight wasn’t working anymore. My body adapted to the same exercise and food choices. I had to change-up my program and I quickly realized I needed help. I hired a kick-ass trainer; my beautiful friend Shannon. She created a strength program for me, and I was able to focus on strength training with her in the gym and cardio at home. It took weeks to visually see any difference; it’s an exercise in patience I tell ya! However, I did feel results quickly…I was able to lift more weight and do more reps. My cardio improved too, I was able to run my 5K in a faster time once I was focusing on a leg strength day with core work too. Most importantly, I learned I can do a workout anywhere with very little equipment. No excuses.
As for the eating part of the equation, I had to completely change that as well. Again, I felt out of control in that area so I joined in a Nutritional Challenge through BMS Bootcamps which I’m half way through. I’m learning so much about food choices, and the true meaning of “eating clean”. I realized I’m addicted to sugar! I was eating 100 calorie snack bars which were loaded with sugar and eating cereal every morning that was also very high in sugar (and often as a bedtime snack). Once I cut back on the sugar, I got off the roller coaster of blood sugar crashes I used to have. I added more healthy fats into my diet as well. I have a sustained level of comfortable fullness by eating 5 times a day and enjoying natural foods. I don’t have the cravings for certain foods I used to have. My taste buds changed and I actually enjoy foods that I didn’t like before. Eating clean has been a gift in that I have more energy, my skin has cleared up, and my hair is growing fast too. Huh?! Good stuff. I have enjoyed cheat meals as well! Everything in balance.
The other day on my run I was thinking about that photo of me from 10 years ago. As crazy as this sounds, it’s as though it’s not even a photo of me but rather of a close friend. I feel sadness and empathy for the old version of me. It’s not about the aesthetics, but rather what I see in my eyes and what I know was in my mind. I see pain, frustration, the urge to stay home and not face people, loneliness, fear. I had given up on myself and I didn’t believe my future was in my control. Feeling out of control everyday is no way to live. I didn’t understand the pride that comes from pushing myself both physically and mentally and how that transfers in a positive way to other areas of life. I was uncomfortably numb. That photo was taken just a few days before I made the decision to take control back and reclaim my life. So if I was to run into the old me in my life today, here’s what I would tell her…
10 things I would tell the old Me
1. You are going to have to do a lot of trial and error to find what works for you. Not everything will work, you will try many things that don’t work. You will get to know your own body and metabolism, so trust yourself enough to listen to what your body needs and don’t panic when you need to reassess. Chill out chicky!
2. The most important thing you can do as you age is to add weight training into your program. By adding muscle you will burn calories at rest and there is no better exercise medium than strength training to test yourself and feel success quickly.
3. Don’t overcomplicated things. Use cardio to burn calories, use strength training to build muscle which also burns calories at rest (replace the expanding fat with dense muscle), fuel your body with whole foods…healthy fats, lean proteins, fruits, veggies, nuts, whole grains. Eat often so you are never famished. Sleep 8 hours. Drink at least 12 glasses of water a day. Crank up your music and dance. Repeat.
4. Challenge yourself each and every day in some way. That voice that creeps in and tells you that you can’t is lying.
5. There is power in the vulnerability of sharing. Do not hold back sharing what you’ve learned simply because you are fearful of what other’s think of you. Like-minded people attract one another, and that can only happen when you live out loud.
6. Don’t give up when you don’t see results in the time frame you want. It took years to get to this point, you aren’t going to change over night. One step at a time grasshopper. 😉
7. Listen to your inner voice that knows what is best for you. Pay no attention to what others tell you that you “should” do. They don’t know your inner struggles, only you do. Sure another person can lose the weight while restricting calories, that doesn’t mean you should too. Slow and steady wins the race. Your goal is fitness, the weight will drop off in the process.
8. Start your journey by journaling your food, that way you can’t “pretend” you don’t know what you are eating. Knowledge is power; however, try not to be all-or-nothing which only ends in loss of control. Enjoy a cheat meal once and again. Balance is important. You won’t always have to journal your food, but if you find that you are slipping in your food choices, that trusty journal is a powerful way to get back on track.
9. If you have a bad eating day, recognize it as just that…one bad day with a clean slate the next. Get back on track and don’t beat yourself up about it.
10. This one is important: HAVE FUN!!! Don’t be so serious, this is a lifestyle for the rest of your life…so you better make it fun. Ride your bike, dance-walk, high-five a stranger, shake your ass, takes 10,000 steps a day and put a ‘lil attitude into it, don’t go one day without laughing, get outside with the kids (by the way old version of me, you’re going to have some pretty amazing kids who are going to make all of this totally worth it)
From my heart to yours,
P.S. If you are on your own weight loss journey and want some pretty cool resources to help you out, check them out HERE