This has been a long time coming, and although technically off topic for this blog, it can still fall under beauty because well… I don’t feel beautiful. I feel, laborious breathing and a skyrocketed heart rate when I run up the stairs to the train to get home everyday, to the point I can’t talk and I worry I will go into cardiac arrest on the train.
Typically I don’t promote lifestyle changes to happen on a Monday, it gives a hard start, and that’s not what it’s supposed to be about, and fun facts, the failure rate of starting on a Monday is about 80%. BUT, this is what is in my brain this morning so here we are.
My intention with this post is to not only provide some motivation to anyone who is suffering through their own yo-yo weight, and to give my own head a shake.
For those of you who know me as more than someone who can hide behind a keyboard with no makeup and cheese dust all over me, know that I am pretty great at losing weight. When I want to. When something snaps in me, I can do it, fast and properly. My issue is maintenance, my weakness is moderation in all aspects of life. I will never be thin, but hell yes can I be strong, and THAT is my first subject I want to discuss.
Disclaimer- I am not a professional, this is my story alone, and you should always consult a professional before starting any strenuous physical/nutritional plans. My personal profile I am basing this on is for a 27-32 year old mildly active female, standing at 5’8, who loves Doritos, poutine and works too much.
Be Strong – Not Skinny
The first time I went on a weight loss journey I lost 45 pounds over six months. Some say I was too small for my frame but I felt amazing, I was so strong, I was sleeping better and I could do things I couldn’t do before even when I was a kid. (run for 45 mins straight, leg press 300+ pounds while only weighing in at 145.) My failure? For awhile it was too much about being skinny and not enough about being strong, halfway through the journey I was just getting skinny. I had no muscle tone, my arms and legs were skinny, but looked floppy and it wasn’t a good look. I stopped looking up #thinspo (bad idea to begin with don’t go down that road), and stuck with #fitspo instead. Found this little gem and it shifted my mindset.
Side note: you are going to see at LEAST butts in this post. If you are offended by the human body, please see yourself out. I don’t wish to hear about it, we all have one. Deal with it.
The idea behind fit not skinny, is it becomes about weight goals, not lose weight goals. It’s not about losing 5 pounds, it’s about lifting 50. It’s not about if your pants give you a muffin top. It’s about can you run for 15 mins without passing out? Are you hitting those goals? If you are, your pants will fit on their own, and the 5 pounds will go away in it’s own good time.
Figure Out What Drives You
Are you competitive, do you like stats, why are you doing this? Can you be pushed by visuals? Do you need to be held accountable?
This is important. I can’t even stress how important this is. Each time I have had to drop some weight I am only successful when I am 1. Accountable 2. In competition 3. I have reportable analytics on my progress. For anyone wondering, this is my weight tracker for the past 5 years. No secrets here guys.
I need to see it, I need to see it in a chart- on a dot graph, anything really. If electronic doesn’t work for you, then you can also add a page to your bullet journal or your planner if it helps. The more places I track something the more accountable I am to myself. I want to fill the boxes in, I want to make the line drop. This is what works for me.
I also strongly recommend MyFitnessPal, and actually tracking your caloric intake, for at LEAST two months. You think you know what you are putting in your body, and what you are getting from that nutritional investment, but I can almost guarantee you don’t until you do this exercise. You ate one easter egg from your kids candy? Put that in there, hold yourself accountable. Watch the things you wont eat when you have to write them down.
Sigh, this is the most difficult part. Many don’t seem to be able to commit to, or understand how crucial what you jam into your face is. Going to the gym for two hours 5 days a week? Awesome. Thats actually incredible and good on you for making that kind of commitment. Coming home right after that and having half a bottle of wine and a bag of chips (may or may not be self descriptive) you might as well have not gone to the gym at all. 80% nutrition and 20% fitness. This is the ratio you need to be working with. If it’s not you wont get the results you want. Guess what? This is difficult, it’s tough, and you will have to give up things you really love. That age old adage of “abs are made in the kitchen” is not a joke.
Which one of these do you think is the real challenge? Go to a birthday party while everyone else is eating cake and come back and answer me.
A few ad-hoc tips re:foods
- Don’t set yourself an expectation to eat food you hate because its healthy eg- I can’t stand arugula, it’s gross. Although healthy and laced through most spring mixes, I just dont eat them. I eat spinach, or romaine or any other options.
- Know what is your in your food, you want to eat that cake at above mentioned birthday party? Go for it, but know that in doing so you are ingesting an extra 400 empty calories that will not provide you a good workout later, or the real energy you need to get through that budget meeting on Monday.
- Don’t let people bully you. This seems odd, but the amount of times I get food bullied in a day is ridiculous. Just have some, you don’t need to lose weight, you look great, its just a bit, omg cheese is the best you should just eat it, it’s not going to kill you. LISTEN HERE WITH THE AMOUNT OF CHEESE I WANT TO EAT I ASSURE YOU IT WILL KILL ME. AND QUICKLY. Learn to be hard and fast in your no, and not to feel bad about it. There is no food guilt here my friend.
Make an investment (if possible)
Something that really helped me if I was hitting a plateau or just feeling unmotivated was to pick up an outfit, some new runners or something of the like. Having a new pair of pants to run in at the gym almost always worked like a charm. I wanted to wear my kick ass new gear, so I would then put it on and march my ass over to the treadmill to show off my fancy threads. Yeah I can be pretty shallow sometimes, but whatever it works and gets me on the machine.
I also strongly recommend doing some research on a heart rate monitor/fitness watch. I have been a devout user of Fitbit for a very long time, (even after switching to an apple watch I promptly switched back) because people, I need to compete with my friends in step challenges. I just do.
I recently upgraded to the iconic and am happy to report how amazing it is. I even changed out the band for a sparkly new one. As an avid user of Fitbit I am more than happy to add friends, so if you are reading this, drop your contact info below and I will add you.
I could go on about smart watches and fitness tech forever. My main point is, do the research, figure out what you want out of it, and make sure it works for you. Then wear it and use it.
I am going to cut myself off here as I think we get the basics of how to make things work for you, but I am going to sum up a few last points before I go.
- Not everything works for everyone, the way your body responds will not be the same as others, so set your expectations accordingly.
- You CANNOT spot reduce, it’s not real. So if you think doing 600 crunches a night is going to get rid of the pooch. Nope. Only vegetables and lean proteins can do that.
- Join a community or get an accountability friend, even if its just some random instagram account.
- Find people with link minded goals, when you are following that instagram account, attempt to make sure it is one that has a similar body type/goal as you. It will help your mental state when you are having tough days.
- Keep starting over. Start over 100 times, if it means you keep going. I’m not perfect, and I showed you how badly my weight can bounce around. But I keep going, and I will always start again, because I don’t forget the information, I just need to apply it.
- ONLY do what works for you. Don’t like the gym? Don’t go to the gym. Go mountain climbing, walk, whatever you enjoy. Doing things you don’t enjoy is not sustainable.
Please feel free to share your weight loss and fitness journeys with me., I will be beginning my third time around, and documenting on my personal instagram, which I am happy to have you join me at as well. HERE
Thanks so much for joining me today for this long winded off topic fitness rant!