Years of treating my body like shit took its toll. Like most young adults, I thought I was invincible and paid little attention to my overall wellness. I didn’t use sunscreen, I didn’t drink water, and I most assuredly didn’t eat my veggies. I lived on Diet Mountain Dew, Doritos, and beer. Over the years, my weight has vacillated from 115 to 180 (not counting pregnancy). I have been skinny fat and I have been fluffy. Additionally, I had my boys at the advanced maternal ages of 39 and 40, followed by multiple surgeries, including three abdominal adventures. Having been a trainer, I knew what I needed to do, I just didn’t want to do it.
Now that I am nearing a new decade, it is time to focus on ME. It has taken quite some time to get to this point, you know, the one where I make myself a priority! Whether you are a mom or just like to fill your schedule to overflowing, we eat on the fly, we finish our kid’s meals, we stock our kitchen with fast foods. We are too fricken exhausted to work out…even thinking about doing a sit up about makes us want to cry. Our clothes don’t fit, we consider ourselves dressed if we splash on mascara and put on a bra.
Enough. I am worthy of more time than I give myself.
And so are YOU!
Here is what I have learned:
Before I could find success, I needed to change my mindset. I had to stop being a martyr and making excuses for why I wasn’t taking the time I needed. Laundry can pile up, dishes will wait, and the kids can deal with mom spending 30 minutes for herself. This was huge. Once I stopped making excuses, I had no reason to NOT go to the gym. I found a gym with daycare and my kids were amazing at the waterworks, however, the staff was incredible and I soon looked forward to these small “me sessions”.
I’ll admit it, I had that same self-confidence issue that many feel when walking into a party. While I had been a trainer in the past, now I was overweight and lacking self-esteem of any kind.
Not every exercise is fit for everyone and I found that I was pushing myself too hard, thus finding myself getting stupid injuries. Those injuries created a sense of failure within me and allowed me to want to quit. The exercises I did in my 20’s may not be the same exercises I should be doing in my 40’s and that’s ok. I had to learn that I was not working out to impress anyone else, I was doing it for me. It didn’t help that I love to play the “let’s compare” game and compared myself to every other person in the gym.
I was (and continue to be) very hard on myself. I need to grant myself the same grace I would grant a friend. I need to be realistic as I will skip workouts, I will indulge, I will make poor choices. I don’t do diets because it is an unhealthy head game for me. Once I discover something is restricted, all I want is that which is restricted. I choose to use the word “lifestyle”. I am a work in progress on a healthier lifestyle.
Something else I often tell the people at the gym is this: “you didn’t get out of shape overnight, therefore you will not get back into shape overnight”. People, myself included, want immediate results. That is totally unrealistic and anything that promises you fast results is not healthy for you.
That may sound counter-intuitive as I am an It Works Rep. Thus, I do believe there are tools that will help you on your journey, just as I have found tools to help me on mine. Sometimes we need a little help to boost us where we want to go. After all, when we look better, we feel better and when we feel good, we excrete confidence! For me, the wraps showed me that I could change by changing the appearance of my skin. That was the original impetus for my wanting to change my life and therefore, work on my wellness.
I get it, no one wants to ask for help. You are wonder woman and can manage your own fricken health, right? Wrong. Someone else may offer ideas you had not thought of. Having an accountability partner ups the ante and makes this wellness journey real. You may be able to skip a workout with too much guilt, but there is no way you are gonna ditch your workout partner.
Additionally, working out or checking in with someone else makes it easier to try new things. It’s tough to walk into a new fitness facility and try something different, however, it is easier when you have a pal with you. It makes it easier to get adventurous and find new classes to try…and stick with!
What I have learned so far:
To this point in my life, I have learned a few things about this wellness adventure…ready?
- Your metabolism will change, however, this is NOT an excuse to sit on the couch and eat all you want. Hormones, thyroid, metabolism, blah blah blah. Yes, they are real, however so are you. stop letting these be excuses for not reaching your goals. I meet people every day who have exceeded their goals regardless of their age.
- Change your eating habits. This is an extension of Number one. As your body chemistry changes, your eating habits need to change. After being on a plateau for some time, I finally made the decision to go low sugar/low carb. However, before you make any drastic changes, please consult a practitioner. There is so much information out there and starting on a regimen without medical assistance can be detrimental.
- One lifestyle is not for all! Just because your pal lost 20 pounds eating low carb doesn’t mean you will. That friend who gained ten pounds of lean muscle doing cross-fit may be in a totally different fitness level than you are. stop the comparison game and find something that works for YOU!
- Make small changes. Don’t change your whole world at once. Make healthier choices when eating out, and keep healthier snacks within your reach.
- Set attainable goals. When people tell me they are going to come to the gym and work out five days per week, I tell them no. Set a realistic goal and celebrate the victories. Self-sabotage comes from changing too many things at one in addition to setting unrealistic goals.
- Be patient. Lifestyle changes take work and will involve some successes and some setbacks. That’s ok. Pick yourself up, get back on course and move forward.
- Love yourself. You are more than your appearance. You are a living and breathing human who deserves to be healthy and look their best. Fitness looks different for everyone. I know people who are technically overweight who could kick all of our assess in a circuit and I know people who look fit and get breathless walking up a flight of stairs.
The bottom line is that you need to want to change more than you want to stay the same. My motivation was having children at an older age. I didn’t want to be mistaken for their grandmother, nor did I want to sit on the sideline while they played…I wanted to be right in there with them. So, find your way and get out of your own way. Not only will you feel better, you will be an example to those around you.