If you follow me on Instagram and watch my stories, then you already knew that I would be writing this blog post. Over the past five years, my fitness journey has been an interesting one; one that I still almost can’t believe happened. I still remember it so clearly; walking into urgent care after a few days of being very sick to find out that I had the flu (after getting my first ever flu shot, but that’s neither here nor there). The nurse weighed me and then proceeds to tell me that I’d lost so much percentage of my body weight (I can’t remember the number at this point) since my last visit (only about 6-7 months prior), and if it was on purpose. I had arrived!
My story is like many others; I’ve been a big girl for as long as I can remember. I’ve also been working out for as long as I can remember. When I was growing up we had workout time in our house where my mama would corral me and my siblings to do some kind of physical activity. However, I continued to gain weight because I never changed the way that I ate.
It was June of 2013 when I got serious about losing weight. I went on this campaign; 28 by 28. I wanted to lose 28 pounds by the time I turned 28 in September of that year (I just gave away my age, huh? I still look good). I began doing zumba on lunch breaks at work and, many times, when I got home from work in the afternoons. I worked out no matter what. I remember that summer our air conditioning unit went out unexpectedly, and I posted up our box fan where I could feel the blast of air and forged ahead in a 90 degree house. I also became more aware of what I was putting into my mouth. It’s amazing the amount of calories you can consume in one day an not know it. By October of 2013, I’d also realized that I had the stamina to run. I still have no idea where that came from. But, I began incorporating runs into my workout regimen, and the weight really started to fall off. My body had never experience that level of intensity in terms of a workout. By December 2013, just a week before Christmas, when I walked into that doctor’s office I had successfully lost 45 pounds. Now if you’ve done the math, you’ll know that was just 6 months after I got serious about losing the weight, crushing my 28 pound goal. It was the smallest I’d ever been in my adult life. However, the greatest accomplishment wasn’t losing the weight, but keeping it off for 3 whole years!
Fast forward to November of 2015, I marry my best friend (hey bae!). Now we all know what happens when you get married…you get fat and happy! Well, I was well aware of this and promised myself that I wouldn’t allow this to be my fate. For a while, I did really well! I kept up my workouts and continued to monitor what I ate. That was until we moved into our home. The nesting was real! Then a year later, I was offered an amazing job opportunity which I ultimately accepted. With this job change came a more sedentary lifestyle. For the majority of my day I would either be sitting behind my computer or in my car commuting to this place or another. The change in activity level coupled with the happy eating I was doing with my hubby equated to a 30 pound weight gain over the course of two years. You read right! THIRTY POUNDS! Ahhhh! Thankfully (there’s always a silver lining), my weight is pretty evenly distributed and I gain everywhere as opposed to one place (like my butt or my stomach) so 90% of my clothes still fit…just not the same!
Just like that, I’m (nearly) back to square one! However, I have the formula for success and am now committed to putting it back into practice.
One of my favorite pictures! Taken the night of our rehearsal dinner.
Let me preface this all by saying that I am not a dietician, nutritionist or personal trainer. Here I’m only sharing what worked for me in hopes that it may work for someone else.
Set Attainable Weight Loss Goals
When I set out to lose weight, I realized that putting a huge goal in front of myself would be way too overwhelming. Instead, I set smaller subgoals to help me get to the big goal. For example, I would make a goal to lose 5 pounds by a certain date (usually two to three weeks out). Once I lost that 5, I’d set my next goal to lose another 5 in the same fashion. Though I only worked on 5 pounds at a time, I eventually made it to 45. I believe if I’d started out with the goal to lose 45 (which wasn’t even my goal, it was 28) pounds I probably would have become discouraged at the slow rate of my progress and given up.
Sorry for the picture quality, but me at my heaviest (L), me at my smallest (M) and me currently (R).
Set Reasonable Fitness Goals
If I could, I would work out everyday. However, I know that’s near impossible with my ever changing work schedule and various other hitches life throw my way. So, instead I set a personal goal to work out at least 4 times a week. That way I’m not bridled to any specific day each week, but I know that I have to hit the gym at least 4 times to meet my goal. Back then, If I did more, great, but less wasn’t an option. My goal remains the same this time around, but I really really try to get to the gym 5 times a week. But again, if I make it, awesome and if I don’t, that’s ok too as long as I get my minimum of 4 days in.
Find an Accountability Partner
Around the same time I embarked on my fitness journey, a coworker of mine (who later evolved into one of my best friends) was doing the same. It was easy for us to link up at lunch time, before work or even on the weekends (since we didn’t live far from one another) to get a workout in. If I knew that she would be waiting for me a work an hour early, the likelihood of me rolling out of the bed was greater. Even if I knew that she was planning to run a particular distance on a day we weren’t going out together, I would be more motivated to get out and pound the pavement myself. Together we lost at total of about 90 pounds.
#Thirteenpointfreakingone! Taken after our first half marathon!
Keep a Journal of What You Eat
This was probably the most time consuming and overwhelming thing to do…at first. There are plenty of calorie counters out there that are easy to use. Myfitnesspal is very popular, but I personally use Mynetdiarypro. I’ve also used Myfitnesspal, but did not see nearly as much weigh loss as I’ve seen using Mynetdiarypro. I’m not sure why that is, but I imagine it’s probably a combination of reasons why this particular app was more effective for me. Either way, I would enter anything I ate into my calorie tracker before it went into my mouth. Many times, I would do so the night before. I’m a creature of habit, and once I found things that I enjoyed eating that remained within my calorie means, I would eat them often. Mynetdiarypro would allow me to create weight loss goals 5 pounds at a time, and calculate the amount of calories I was allotted each day to meet the goal in the desired amount of time. A lot of times it was a game for me, seeing if I could stay below my allotted calories. Most days, I did remain below or within my calories. However, sometimes I’d go over and that was ok. I’m not perfect and the occasional slip up wasn’t detrimental to my success.
Drink Plenty of Water
I love all the memes out now about drinking water and minding your business (two things I enjoys). I don’t like to drink my calories, so drinking water has always been easy for me since it’s the only thing I drink besides coffee. When I was activley working to lose weight, I would drink upwards of 100 ounces a day. When I began to gain the weight back, that was one of the things that began to go lacking; I was drinking less and less water each day. Some sources say that water not only helps to flush out fat, but it can also help suppress your appetite by making you feel more full which helps you eat less calories. Either way, we know that water is a necessity and good for the body.
You will very seldom find me out without a water receptacle.
Be Realistic About the Foods You Will and Won’t Eat
My favorite thing use to be when people would ask me what I was eating to help me lose weight, or rather what I was avoiding because the answer was almost always nothing. I still ate exactly what I wanted, but exercised portion control and planned my meals according. It’s recommended that you reserve your larger meals for during the day as you’re naturally more active during that time. So, I would eat my macaroni & cheese and my chickens wings for lunch knowing that I’d more than likely have a salad for dinner. It was all about compromise for me. I didn’t want to deprive myself, but I was also realistic about what my goals were. The same remains true this time around!
Love Yourself Through the Process
I gained weight. Yeah, it sucks, but I’m still me! Sure I’ve found myself in the self loathing rut from time to time, but I’m working to love myself through the peaks as well as the vallies. My body will continue to change, hopefully for the better, but what won’t is my heart. I find comfort in rooting my self worth in the unseen because at the end of the day, that’s what matters most. Plus, I still think I’m cute!
Look Good While You’re Doing It
Last but certainly not least, if you’re gonna do it you gotta look good! My favorite place to find active wear is Old Navy because they have so many affordable yet cute styles for women of all sizes. As for shoes, I only exercise in Brooks. For a brief time, I did wear Nikes, but I soon decided I wanted a shoe that said “I run”. LOL! Sure you can run in Nikes, but they can also be worn for fashion. I wanted a shoe that set me apart while also providing the comfort and support I need. Though I prefer to run in Brooks, I’ve also heard good things about Asics and Adidas. Either ways, I’ve linked some cute active wear pieces and shoes below!
What are your fitness goals? What are you doing to achieve them? I’d love to hear about your fitness journey!
As always, if you have any questions, comments or suggestions, talk to me! If you like what you see, subscribe!