My fitness journey has spanned over the last 5 years. It started right before my wedding and I wanted to get in great shape.
Unfortunately, I started off with an unhealthy plan of eating less and working out more. I fell into the false advertising that the fitness industry makes millions off of each year. Calorie counting, tracking my meals, cardio spin classes/running and checking my weight on a weekly basis were part of my life. It was not a healthy or maintainable way to go. I felt weak and sore all of the time. Mentally I was exhausted from the pressure I was putting on myself with calorie counting and weight tracking. It was a temporary solution which backfired in the end. After taking a break, during my two week honeymoon, I ended up gaining all of the weight back and some extra pounds.
I gave up for awhile…got rid of my small sized clothing and no longer worked out. The disappointment was a bit too much to handle and I just could not bare starting all over again.
About 2 years ago, my friend signed me in as a guest to a gym near me. This started me on a journey of figuring out which type of exercise would keep me interested and also allow me to meet my goals. I tried running (did a couple 5Ks), pilates, yoga, spin classes and personal training. There was good and bad to each of them but nothing was really exciting me enough to look forward to working out.
I started to research not only different ways to exercise but also recipes and what it meant to have non-GMO and organic ingredients. Also started reading the science behind what the body does with the types of food we eat. Example is what the body does with an excess of protein (like from those protein shakes and bars that I used to consume). I did a huge clean-out of my cabinets and fridge. Meal prep started to take up about 6 hours of my weekend including writing out a meal plan, grocery shopping and then cooking 2 meals to freeze for during the week. We started to eat less processed foods and only ate out once a week. This took me a good year to get into this habit. I found that there was no quick fix, in order to maintain this, it needed to be a complete life change. My progress of getting to my ideal shape was very slow but it was sustainable. I was no longer having an up and down roller coaster ride with my weight.
Then I finally figured out my exercise passion…9 months ago I attended a boxing class and was hooked! It was a huge challenge to me but I found that it not only provided me a great work out, but also a fantastic stress-relief. I also started working on my strength training as well.
Today my main focus is on what I eat, the ingredients I use in recipes. Making sure my meals are nutritional and have fruits, veggies and whole grains. I do not use the scale to weigh myself, no calorie counting or meal tracking. My measurements are based on how energetic I feel, my endurance during workouts and my strength progress (amount of push-ups, weight I can lift, etc). Then I have my boxing and strength training to compliment my hard work in the kitchen.
My main lessons included…
- Not to believe everything I read that the fitness and diet industry was advertising to me
- Making small sustainable changes to make sure they stick and become part of my long-term lifestyle change
- Understanding that slow progress is a good thing and to not put so much pressure on myself
- Never stop educating myself…this is a journey and I will continue to learn more about exercises and food