Since I had our son 13 months ago, so many people have asked me how I was able to lose the 35 plus pounds of baby weight. What they don’t know is that I am also working on the damage I did as a newlywed…because I totally gained the newlywed 10! Nonetheless, I am always glad to share my “secrets,” which aren’t really secrets at all. Whether you have recently had a baby or you’re on the journey to healthy, the key is consistency. So often we neglect to trust the process and hope that we will reap the benefits of what only hard work produces.
As I have been working towards a better, healthier me, I have come across tons of Instagram workouts, numerous advertisements for workout DVDs, dieting tips, anti-skinny-fat circuits, advertisements for healthy supplement products, fitness articles, quick-fix challenges, before and after photos of both thin and hefty folks, and so forth and so on. There is SO much information available to those who desire to learn how to lose weight and adopt a healthy lifestyle. With this said, the goal of this post is not to give you 20 steps to healthy by next month. Quite frankly, all of the work that I have put in and all the steps I have integrated into my healthier lifestyle have been GRADUAL. For your reading pleasure or goal-reaching motivation, I will offer you the top five things (this is gonna be hard to narrow down!) that have helped me thus far in my journey to healthy. I say “thus far” because I don’t believe there is a finish line to this journey…you just keep tracking because if you stop, you will regress.
- Consistency. This is the #1 habit that has helped me up til now. Hence, the name of this post is “Something Every Day.” Friends, just do something every day. I don’t care if you start with 10 jumping jacks. The idea is this: if you start somewhere, your endurance and motivation will build simultaneously, pushing you to do more each time you work out. MOVE. EVERY. DAY. Why didn’t I mention diet? First of all, I will in a moment 🙂 Secondly, without physical activity, altering your diet will do little to help drastically change your body through muscle gain. But, that’s another post altogether. Be disciplined enough to stick with it so that you don’t have to keep starting from the beginning. You’re running 1/4 of a mile now, in a few weeks it will be a full mile nonstop. Consistency gets you to your goals.
2. Hydrate. Water, water, water. Honestly, I haven’t been drinking water like I should as of late. However, water goes a LONG way to helping you decipher whether you are hungry or thirsty. A switch went off for me and I realized as I drank more water that my body was CRAVING that crystal clear goodness all along. As a result, I ate fewer calories, I craved less sugar and salt, and I saw inches (and sometimes pounds) melt off my body. Try replacing your breakfast and lunch juice/tea/soda with water. It will be challenging at first, but one day you will look up and notice you’ve mostly only had water for two weeks–even at restaurants and the drive-thru!
- Meal Planning. I cannot stress enough to anyone seeking to eat healthier, lose weight, save money, or just get a meal on the table at night, the importance of meal prepping. Oh, what peace of mind! Oh how your checking and savings accounts, waistline, and spouse will love you (although it is arguable that your spouse should already be loving you–so let’s say your spouse will thank you profusely)! Take an hour or two on Saturday or Sunday and cook/pack all of your meals. Three square meals and three snacks, or whatever works for you. You won’t feel the need to run to Chick-fil-A (well, not as often, because I love CFA) after work. You won’t have to go rush grocery shopping, which can jeopardize your budget. The meals and snacks go with you to work, to the gym, or wait safe and sound in your refrigerator after a long afternoon of meetings. Get the picture? Planning your meals means you are planning to excel in more ways than one. Look out for a future post with sample meals for the week.
Flexibility. So, they say you are supposed to get your heart rate up for 20-25 minutes of uninterrupted time to see maximal results from a quick workout. I get that, I respect that, I agree with that. However, there have been days where my little one wanted to be held, which meant that I couldn’t get through my T25 workout uninterrupted. There were days when, as badly I wanted to do Anowa Adjah’s Full Body Curve Down or my Verizon Fios OnDemand workout video, my grad school homework load screamed for my attention, drastically cutting down my workout time. On days like the ones I just described, I learned to go with the flow. Sometimes your days won’t go as planned. So when that baby wants to be held all day or needs some stimulation, put her in the Moby and go for a long walk (bonus points if she falls asleep). When work piles up on your desk, do some chair dips when you have two minutes. Whatever you do, be forgiving and patient with yourself and be flexible when the little monkey wrenches of life drop in.
THE SCALE CANNOT BE YOUR MAIN ACCOUNTABILITY PARTNER BECAUSE IT WILL FAIL YOU! Sorry if this seems a bit blunt, but it’s true. I haven’t had a scale victory in a few months now–no weight has been lost here. So, if the scale had been my #1 accountability partner I put myself in a position to become discouraged. Thank goodness for girlfriends who encourage me in my goals and even workout with me. My husband has played a huge part in my success as well. As much as I hate it sometimes, he puts a little fire to my behind when I start lagging! Attend your church’s fitness small group, ask one of your health-conscious friends to help keep you in check, join in a fitness challenge with a friend who is shooting for similar health and fitness goals.
Cheers to Living Well!