I’m sorry for how I have mistreated you over the years. I am sorry for sometimes starving you. I am sorry for sometimes overfeeding you. I am very sorry for feeding you such garbage in the form of junk food and fast food one too many times. I am sorry for not allowing you the proper amount of sleep to recover and repair when you needed it the most. I am really sorry for drinking as much as I was (yep I went through a phase…I was a bartender for a lot of years so it kinda came with the territory.) And I am just generally sorry I didn’t wise up sooner to how incredible you are, how much you are constantly doing to keep me healthy and happy are and how with just a little bit of TLC you could really be not just surviving one day to the next, but actually thriving.
While I am abundantly sorry for all the mistakes I made, indifference I showed, and harm I caused my body by treating it like trash for a lot of years, I am very thankful I finally wised up and realized what a true blessing good health is and how important it is to do everything in my power to protect it. I have spent the last two years essentially atoning for my past bodily sins and one thing I can happily report is that it truly is possible to turn your health and your life around with a few simple changes. Now I say simple changes because we all know what we need to do to get and stay healthy. It really isn’t rocket science. We need to move as much as we can and be mindful of feeding ourselves whole, nutritious foods the majority of the time. But that’s a pretty high-level overview of what it takes, right? Again, having spent the last two years trying to get myself healthy and in shape, making mistakes, trying and failing a few times and then finally finding the right combination of exercise and diet that has worked for me, I wanted to dive a little deeper into a few lessons I have picked up along the way. Some of them were pretty easy to learn, some of them took me a while, but as always it is my hope that the more I share my story the easier it may become for someone else just beginning to write their own…so here goes:
Changes are happening even when you can’t see them.
And one day you will wake up and look in the mirror and you will all of a sudden be blown away at the progress you have made. That’s exactly what happened to me. I was consistently working out for about 8 or so months, was mid way through my first program, LIIFT4, and all of a sudden one day it was like BOOM, you have muscles! And I mean muscles I had never seen before or ever thought I would ever in a million years have, especially at my age. The tricky part was showing up all those days before that happened when I wasn’t seeing any meaningful changes taking place despite feeling like I was doing everything in my power to bring them about. The changes are happening you guys, trust me! And don’t always rely on the scale to tell you they are happening either. Keep in mind that muscle weighs more than fat so the number on the scale might not be going down dramatically for big changes to be occurring in the background. Stay consistent, use that dedication on the days your motivation is lacking, and show up for yourself enough times that one day you get to that OMG moment as well. As soon as I had mine, that was it. I was hooked and started setting even bigger and better goals for myself. I stuck with it long to see the results of my hard work start to show and I am so thankful to myself for that to this day.
It isn’t about what you do occasionally, it’s about what you do consistently.
One less than healthy meal isn’t going to derail your progress. A whole day of unhealthy eating isn’t even going to derail your progress. Now six months of unhealthy eating probably will. The same goes for working out. You don’t have to workout like a crazy person for hours on end every single day. To be honest, you shouldn’t do that! You will end up not only potentially burning out but most likely injuring yourself along the way. Now the opposite of that, working out like once a month and wondering why you aren’t seeing results also applies to this principal. Seeing results comes about by taking smalls steps every single day toward the goals you have set for yourself. Getting and staying healthy is like a marathon. And to be completely honest it is a marathon that really has no end if you want to achieve and maintain optimum health for a lifetime. Find the joy in the everyday. Find a workout program that keeps you wanting to come back like I did and a meal plan that is healthy enough that you are fueling your body correctly most of the time and indulging enough that you don’t feel deprived. That, in my opinion, is how you will find success.
Surround yourself with like minded people.
And ignore those people who give you a hard time or make fun of you because chances are there will be a few. Not everyone will understand your commitment or your journey and that’s ok. Find people who share your passion for living a healthy lifestyle. Join an accountability group. Find a running club. Follow some blogs, heck start your own accountability blog like I did and watch the support roll in! I started this blog a few years ago to help hold myself accountable as much as it was for hoping to inspire at least one other person that it was not too late to live the life you always wanted to. This blog for me has become a wonderful community filled with extremely supportive and kind people who push me to keep going and to be better even than I was yesterday. So on that note, let me give you all a HUGE shoutout for being such incredible, supportive people! You have made my journey all that much more rewarding and definitely supply me the that extra motivation I need sometime to keep showing up!
It matters just as much as what you are eating and even how and how much you are working out. It matters a whole heck of a lot you guys (for a more in depth read on this topic, check out my post, Zzzzzzzz). I had been a notoriously bad sleeper for years and years and honestly had gotten to the point with it that I just kinda accepted that I was most likely going to just walk around like a zombie for the rest of my days. When I got serious about taking better care of myself I realized I needed desperately to fix this part of my life because without a proper nights sleep nothing works right. I needed to get good solid rest in order to maintain enough energy throughout the day to get my workouts not only done but done well and as that became more and more important to me so did my sleep habits. I started making an effort to go to bed earlier. I also started putting away my electronics a good hour before I was planning on turning in. I cut out caffeine in the later afternoon and I even got a white noise machine which made a huge difference in my ability to fall and stay asleep. Your body does a TON of stuff while you are sleeping from giving your immune system a boost, to healing and repairing muscles, tendons, blood vessels and even our hearts! Getting a good night sleep is now on the top of my priority list and is something I know I will not again take for granted!
It will spill into other parts of your life.
What will you ask? Your motivation, your new-found energy, your drive to succeed, at least it has for me! Once I started consistently working out and eating better, I wanted to do better in other parts of my life as well. I saw what amazing results I could achieve by just putting my mind to something and staying consistent with it on my health and fitness journey so pretty soon I was applying this determination and dedication to becoming a better employee, a better friend, an all around better person. I feel like I hold myself to a higher standard now because I know I am capable of doing hard things at whatever I set my mind to. I don’t have the excuses anymore that I once did when I was “trying” and failing. I can’t let myself off the hook now because I know if I really commit to something I won’t fail. I have achieved some things over the past two years that I honestly probably would not have if I hadn’t made that one decision to get myself healthy. And maybe better still, I have truly found joy in life again because I can hold my head up high and be proud of the person staring back at me when I look in the mirror!
The exercise you like the least is probably the one you need the most.
It’s human nature to avoid things that are hard or slightly painful or make us lose our breath. When it comes to working out though, the exercises we dread or are the most challenging for us shouldn’t be skipped over just for the simple fact that we don’t like doing them. Ok, now if it is really painful for you to do there might be something more going on so that is one thing, but if it is just uncomfortable or it is taking a longer time to master a particular move, don’t give up! Double down and embrace the challenge. For me, this applies to squats and lunges. I find both those exercises to be more painful than just about any other exercise that comes up in the workouts I do. When I know they are coming, heck, when I know leg day is coming, I feel a slight sense of dread every time. I recently made it a mission of mine to master both the pistol squat as well as the reverse lunge. I know, I know…not much to a reverse lunge but for some reason my form on them is just downright terrible and I almost always end up tipping over. I’m working on it! By taking the exercises I normally want to avoid and putting them at the top of my priority list it changes my perspective from “let me just get through these moves” to “I’m going to attack this with everything I have so I can get better!” I guarantee that you will surprise yourself with how quickly you can master something and move on to attack the next goal on your list!
Real, meaningful change happens outside your comfort zone.
Nothing could have exemplified this more than the experience I had with the last program I completed, which was the Barre Blend program. If you read the post I wrote about the program, “I can become a ballerina at 40, right?!?” then you know how much I fell in love this style of workouts after initially thinking they were not at all for me. I stepped out of my comfort zone, tried something new and am totally hooked now, not to mention after 8 weeks of following super-trainer, Elise Joan, and her amazing training plan, I am noticeably leaner, have some serious calf muscles and my butt is looking pretty good too if I might say so myself! The moral of this story is nothing changes if nothing changes. Switch things up, try something new, get uncomfortable from time to time and I bet you find something you love as much as I love Barre Blend! BTW, I loved it so much I restarted it from the beginning and am already on Week 2 once again! I can’t wait to up level and see how many more amazing changes this program brings me…stay tuned! 😊
I know I have said this one before but I feel so strongly about it! Weight training changed my life and I mean that sincerely. I never really picked up a weight before doing my first program, LIIFT4, but after the first week I was hooked! Not only do I have muscles in places I never thought possible, but I absolutely fell in love with the way it makes me feel. I am stronger now, both mentally and physically, then I have ever been before and I know I couldn’t have achieved the goals I have thus far without having started picking up and putting down progressively heavier weights. It’s so fun to see and feel myself progress from the weight I started out being able to lift to what I can do now. Oh yeah, and I don’t feel or look bulky at all like might be the fear of some of my girls out there who are contemplating lifting weights. If anything, I am actually leaner and all this has happened at 40 years old! And while LIIFT4 showed me the awesomeness of lifting heavy weighs, Barre Blend showed me that you can get pretty amazing results through the use of much lighter weights as well. I only use 3lb weights for the entire program and oh wow have I gotten some crazy definition! For more on either one of those programs, check out my Workouts page. Again you guys, at 40 years old I have never been more in love or in awe of my body and that is a pretty cool feeling! Pick up those weights and watch the magic happen!
All or Nothing = Recipe for Nothing!
Being disciplined is one thing, being obsessive is another. I will admit, I struggle with this sometimes. Not so much in the food/nutrition aspect of living a healthy lifestyle cause your girl definitely likes her tacos, pasta and ice cream, but when it comes to the working out part, I have to watch myself. I got to a point about a year into my new lifestyle where I was enjoying working out so much that I was finding myself skipping rest days. Like skipping them weeks on end and getting dangerously close to overtraining and risking serious injury. Luckily, I realized the error of my ways in time, mostly because my body was screaming at me to stop, but nonetheless I learned my lesson. In order to prevent this from happening again, if a rest days comes along and I still feel like being active I allow myself to take a walk, not run, but a walk outside or a bike ride or more recently I have taken up doing yoga just to stretch everything back out. I am REALLY enjoying getting into yoga and now I have even started to incorporate it into my workout schedule a few days a week. The real lesson here is that balance is the name of the game. Find a happy medium where you are working out and eating right enough to see results but not so much that it is too much for your body and honestly your mind to maintain. Avoid the burnout, rest when you need to, indulge in that cheat meal when you feel you have earned it and most of all enjoy the whole dang process!
Everyone has their own path to travel on the road to health and wellness but there are definitely some universal truths that can make that path much less bumpy if absorbed early on. It will never be downright easy. Heck, most of the time it will be just the opposite but what is so amazing about the struggle is the feeling of accomplishment you get when you work through it, overcome it and achieve what you set your mind to. It is never too late to change your life or take control of your body and mind. As some one who used to treat my body like the enemy, take it from me, all it takes is some consistent self-love and a healthy dose of commitment and you can completely transform just about anything you want to. I work with my body now. I listen to it. I honor it and most importantly I do everything in my power to keep it as happy and healthy as it is working to keep me. Again, it is always my hope that someone sees my page and glimpses at what can happen if you just don’t give up on yourself!
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