My Fitness Journey: Lessons from Chapter 1

For my first fitness post I wanted to share the lessons that made me successful, in what I’m calling chapter 1 of my fitness journey. Since becoming a ‘healthy foodie’ I’ve managed to lose 10% of my body weight and keep it off. These are the lessons I learned that got me there.

1.Go Slow. The Ted Talk video (below) is great summary of why losing weight slowly is so important. If you take it slow, you really can get the same amount of enjoyment out of smaller portions and healthier food without torturing yourself for the rest of your life, yay! Losing slowly involves setting manageable long-term goals. Goals such as: eating the daily recommended amount of vegetables. If that sounds difficult you can slowly build up to it, which will give you a reasonable amount of time to learn how to prepare vegetables in ways you enjoy without becoming over-whelmed by meal-planning or a lack of variety.

 

2. Cook Your Own Food. The absolute best way to lose weight is to cook your own food at home. Stop eating fast-food entirely (the more you cook the more you realize fast-food tastes gross anyway) and limit eating out to a maxim of 1-2 meals/week (when eating out, select the healthiest options possible). Even the seemingly worst-for-you dinner you make at home (like, I dunno, macaroni with sausage in it) is going to have a fraction of the fat and sodium than 99% of your options when you eat out. Bonus: when you learn how to cook, you can be sneaky with how you add fruits and veggies to your food (I personally enjoy adding spinach and/or broccoli to Aunt Annie’s organic macaroni when I am too lazy to cook something fresher). The extra time you will spend cooking is well worth it. You will be healthier, you’re food will be tastier, and you will be able to take pride in learning a new skill.

3. Don’t Care if They Like It. As I said in #1, to lose weight and keep it off you have to do it slowly. I realize that this can be incredibly discouraging if you are looking to lose weight. I get it, liking your body (especially as a woman) is SO hard. Yet getting fit even harder if you are unhappy with who you are now. Sometimes, we need some inspiration to reject cultural standards of physical attractiveness and to remember to like ourselves for who we are. Below is a video by LaciGreen that inspires me. In it she explains why society’s standards for how our body should look are b.s., and how she was able to reject them and lose 35lbs (for good) without self-hate/negativity.

 

4. Find an ‘Addictive’ Hobby. Most of us are addicted to processed foods. Food companies manufacture ingredients to achieve what they call the “bliss point,” the ratio of sugar and fat that triggers cravings in our brain and makes us ‘addicted’ to junk food (source). Why not empower yourself with the same psychological tools to make thoughtful, positive decisions about your nutrition and health?

When I think of training my brain, I think of grueling work (like my ‘training’ schedule when I ran a marathon). Adopting a hobby with health benefits on the other hand is fun. The key is to choose a hobby that allows you to work toward rewards you crave. For example, I started really cooking after creating a Pintrest board “Recipes I’ve Tried” (link) where I pin all the (mostly healthy) recipes I cook at home. I am now addicted to trying new recipes and pinning them. Looking at that board gives me a sense of accomplishment for mastering cooking skills and techniques that before I didn’t even know existed…the possibilities for healthy hobbies are endless. Just make sure it’s something you love, and crave doing.

5. Everything in Moderation. Frankly, we all know what a healthy lifestyle looks like. Too often when we compare that with our actual lifestyle, we freak out and try to make drastic changes. Bottom line, that doesn’t work. Being healthy needs to be your end-goal, not simply looking better and getting down on yourself for how you look right now. When I made the lifestyle changes that helped me become fitter and happier I just wanted to look better, but achieving that was so much easier by focusing on my health instead of just my caloric intake. Eating healthier (and walking more) gave me more energy, a better mood/positive outlook, clearer skin, and shockingly fewer colds or medical issues (I haven’t had a cold in like, over a year).

If you decide to incorporate any of these lessons in your own life and want support along the way, or simply to share in your success, please do! I would love that. Leave a comment, email/message me personally, either way I’d love to hear from you.

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