Weightloss and Fitness Journey: Part 1

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Ahh, New Year’s resolutions. Some people can’t wait to make ‘em, while others think they are a waste of time. My opinion? I think they can be motivating, and studies show that we are more likely to stick to our goals if we put pen to paper and lay out a plan of action. I’m not saying I’ve always been good at keeping resolutions in the past, but I’m very good at making them!

A few years back, I resolved to work out more consistently by trying a new workout every month. I purchased monthly passes for yoga, barre, and spin in advance. I killed my resolution that year! Not only did I stick to working out more consistently, I kept up with working out through yoga and barre through the following years as well, attending classes 6 or 7 days per week. It got to the point where I would be mad if someone would want to do something after work, because then I wouldn’t get to work out. By mid-2016, my consistency started to fade. Some months I went to 26 yoga classes in 30 days; other months, I only went to yoga once per week when I was teaching the class! I also started eating out more and started to gain some weight back that I had lost (20 lbs to be exact!). My resolutions for 2017 were to lose those 20 pounds and read one motivational/self-help book per month. I finished the year with just one-half book read, and gained 10 pounds. See? I’m either all or nothing!

So this year, I’m setting some goals for myself, and they are mainly focused on my health and weight, because that has caused me the most stress and sadness over the past year and a half; well, really, it’s been my biggest stressor since I was very young. I was never a small person- I was always in the back row of elementary school class pictures because I was as tall as the boys (sometimes taller). Although I wasn’t fat, I was bigger than the other girls- I like to say I have more of an athletic build with broader shoulders. I was 5’9” when I entered high school at 14 years old, but then I stopped growing, so finally everyone else started to catch up! I was an athlete- I played basketball and softball, and was on the swim team. And I was teased incessantly for being “big.” I look back on pictures of me when I was playing basketball, and I had to have been at least two sizes smaller than I am now- and people still called me fat! And as many of you reading this know, what people say about you as you are growing up sticks with you as an adult. I started my first diet when I was 10, and I would attend Weight Watchers meetings with my mom. I don’t think I’ve ever NOT been on a diet or eating plan since that time. My weight has fluctuated throughout my adult years, but in general, I’ve always been within a two size range since graduating college, between sizes 10 and 12 (that’s where my height helped- I lose and gain weight pretty evenly throughout my body). My issue has always been food- I like to eat and can eat a lot. I’m basically always hungry (you know those shirts with the funny sayings? I need the one that says “Always Hungry”- for reals). Even though I probably eat healthier food than most people I know (I’m mostly vegan and stay away from fried foods and sugary drinks/food, and love my veggies), I can eat more than most people I know, hence the problem with losing weight! Working out has been a part of my life for a long time, so for me, I don’t really lose weight if I just work out. Every time I’ve lost  a significant amount of weight in the past, it was due to counting calories. Although I don’t get the weight loss benefits from my workouts, exercise definitely makes me feel better, defines my muscles so that I look better, and helps me stay on track with my nutrition, so a regular workout routine is essential for me.

I lost about 20 pounds between January and June of 2016 after making a New Year’s resolution, by sticking to my food logs daily. Shortly after that, I got back together with my ex-boyfriend and we started going out to eat and drink more and more. When I started to gain weight in August 2016, I called it “love chub;” my affectionate term for my weight gain when my boyfriend moved in and I started moving less but eating and drinking more. An extra 8-10 pounds wasn’t so bad because my clothes still fit. But then, over the next several months, my clothes got tighter and tighter. Some smaller pants that I was once so proud I fit into, no longer zippered and had to be placed on my “skinny clothes” shelf in the closet (*sigh*). That pile grew larger through the year. I refused to purchase pants in a bigger size, so I am now down to two pair of black pants for work, and a couple dresses. Luckily I work in a more casual workplace, so it’s acceptable to wear jeans some days. I never used to wear jeans to work, accept on Fridays- then I started wearing jeans three days per week to work because I was so tired of my black pants and my jeans were stretchy and still fit!

Now, a year and a half after I lost 20 pounds by working out and counting calories, I gained it all back, plus an extra 10. It hurts to write that! But now I’m putting pen to paper, and vowing to make some changes! I need to be held accountable, and I’m hoping that by documenting my journey through Instagram and my blog, I can do just that. I have way too many cute items in my closet that haven’t seen the light of day that need to be worn! After Christmas, I purchased a new pair of running shoes, a class pack to a new spin studio, a class pack to a yoga studio, and am about to purchase a month-long membership to a barre studio. These are three classes that I enjoy attending, and that is essential to sticking to the plan! I know I won’t consistently hit the gym for a self-paced workout everyday, so for some of my workouts, I need to attend classes with an instructor that is telling me exactly what to do!

My goal is to start slow- for January, I plan on working out at least two times per week; then in February I’ll up it to 3 times per week. After that, I’ll set my goals month-to-month. I don’t want to set myself up for disappointment later in the year by resolving to do something this far in advance (I’m only talking about fitness goals now!). I also need to clean up my eating- eating out has been a big contributor to my distorted portion size. When I make my meals at home, I eat probably half as much. I use MyFitnessPal app on my phone to track my calories each day- it is such a big help! You can also set goals for yourself within the app, and it can tell you how many calories you need each day to reach that goal. And I definitely can cut back on my wine- I don’t drink that frequently, but some weeks I’ll find myself pouring a full glass of wine every day when I get home from work (that can add up to 200 calories a day!). Limiting wine to weekends can definitely work in my favor.

In a nutshell, here are my goals for the next 60 days:

1. Workout 2-3 days per week

2. Count all calories consumed on MyFitnessPal (goal: 1300 cals a day- some people may think that’s too low, but I’ve experimented with all different calorie counts, and this works for me)

3. Limit wine to Friday and Saturday

Thank you so much for reading a little about my journey- I hope you will follow along, and maybe join me on your own fitness/health journey this year! If so, I’d love to hear from you so we can encourage each other along the way! Stay tuned in the next 60 days to hear more about my progress! Here’s to a healthy and happy 2018 friends!

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