My Journey So Far

Its only fair that if i’m going to write about being on a fitness journey, that I give some photo evidence of my journey. I am a big work in progress, but for the first time since I started dieting and exercising four months ago, I am finally starting to notice some changes. They are subtle, and I still have a long way to go, but I am making progress. I feel stronger, healthier, and happier. I lifted the most weight i’ve ever been able to lift in my life today and I hiked a mile and half successfully this past weekend. I was never able to do those things before. I know i’m on the right track and i’m here to show anyone, that no matter what stage you are at in your life, you can make a change too and become a healthier, happier person.

To understand my journey, we need to go back five years ago (see top left picture below)-when I was at my skinniest, not healthiest, but when I weighed practically nothing-115lbs. I was eating terribly because I was very young and my metabolism was still wonderful, I wasn’t exercising because I didn’t think that I needed to. I was very insecure, unhappy, and very stressed. Fast forward two years (top right picture below), I had gained about 15lbs, so I was now 130lbs, my life had started to settle and I became more content, I was more confident. I was very happy with my body, with my weight, I was glad to put on some weight, to have some “curves”, but I was still living that same lifestyle as before-no exercise and eating fast food-all the time.

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Well two years went by again, and this was me last summer (Bottom pictures listed above)-I gained 70lbs, I was at 200lbs-I was depressed, stressed and had just given up. My metabolism changed, I aged and I was not living a healthy lifestyle. I would work my desk job, sit in traffic, come home, eat, eat, and eat my feelings some more, crawl in bed and not move until I had to walk to my car the next morning to go to work.

I did this until December 2018-I woke up depressed and disgusted with myself. I needed to make a change-I could not keep on living that way. I mentally changed that day, I had never wanted to change so badly in my whole life, I wanted happiness, I wanted to love myself again, I wanted to feel beautiful, I wanted to be healthy.

I decided to put loving myself before everything else in my life, before my relationship, before my family, before my job. I was going to lose weight and get healthy and nothing was going to stop me.

I started to hit the gym, and fix my diet. Over the course of the next four months I made drastic changes. I cut out dairy, caffeine, soda, reduced fried foods and cut out 90% of sugar out of my diet. I go to the gym five days a week minimum and love every second of it. And I’ starting to love myself again.

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Here I am at 187lbs, strong, building muscle, and feeling healthy. I have a long way to go to get to my goal but I am loving myself through my journey, including all the lumps, bumps, and rolls.

If you are on a journey too, please remember to love yourself through it, be kind, and to not give up!

Much Love,

Girl on a Journey

Gym Anxiety and How to Overcome it

 Gym Anxiety is very real. Most of us are terrified or dread going to the gym. If you are like me, you probably are worried about your health, the fact that you have NO IDEA what you are doing and the fear of embarrassing yourself while in the gym.

List of things that give me gym anxiety:

  1. Farting while exercising

  2. Using the equipment wrong

  3. Somehow having a heart attack

  4. Being so sore I cant move the next day

  5. Causing myself injury

  6. People thinking I’m fat/feeling not good enough

  7. Being tired after a long work day and “wasting my evening”

I can tell you that these seven items deterred me from going to the gym for so long. Feelings of inadequacy, lack of knowledge on health/fitness, my anxiety, my depression and most definitely feeling like I could never lose weight. So, I became content with my lazy life style but I was unhappy and unhealthy, eventually it caught up with me. I became sick, all the time. My body hit a point where it forced me to either be healthy or be in pain. I will admit, I resisted the clear signs my body was yelling at me for many months because of my gym anxiety and because I refused to diet. I wish I had listened to my body because once I did, I saw tremendous change!

I was diagnosed with IBS, which according to a very wonderful doctor, is a physical manifestation of stress and anxiety. I had to give up food that I loved because I developed sensitivities. My body was forcing me to be healthy or be sick. So I started to truly listen to it for the first time in my life. I cut out dairy, caffeine, soda, reduced the amount of fried food I consumed and started to focus on reducing my stress. Immediately I saw improvement, I was no longer experiencing pain. Now I didn’t do this cold turkey, and I don’t suggest anyone going on a diet. Diets don’t last. You have to create a life style. So whatever change you make, needs to be permanent. This sounds daunting to anyone. It took me three months to fully transition to my new diet and life style. And trust me I made so many mistakes along the way and paid the price for them. But after about a month it became much easier and now its as easy as breathing, plus I feel wonderful. Its given me purpose, I know I’m on the right track. Its had huge effects on my mental health, I still struggle daily with anxiety and depression, but it feels more manageable and I look forward to my gym time (it never feels like a waste of time, quite the opposite) and healthy meals.

Now if you are reading this, you are at some point in your life where you want to change and that’s wonderful! I support you and want to be here to help provide you with education. Because education is empowering, it will help you feel like you can go to the gym, change your life and conquer! Three pieces of advice for you: Be kind to yourself through the process, be 110% committed, and listen to your body. Every body is different.

You don’t have to go and kill yourself in the gym to see results. I started out just walking on the treadmill, and I would suggest this as a great entry point in just getting comfortable being in the gym regularly. It needs become a routine, you need to feel weird if you dont go, and eventually you will get to that point.

Now to maximize your workout on the treadmill, start by doing research on what your target heart rate should be. You can look this up with a google search for heart rate calculators. Your target heart rate will depend on your age. Most treadmills have a heart rate monitor on them, so you can monitor it while you walk (I work out at Planet Fitness). I walk at a slow pace and increase the incline on the treadmill as I walk to keep my heart rate in the target zone, for me 135 is perfect. I set a goal to walk a mile, which takes about 25-30 minutes for me. It will be different for everyone, especially as you are starting out.

Once you get comfortable going to the gym, doing your cardio and having your routine, then lift weights! And ladies, if you are reading this, dont be afraid to lift, you will not be bulky, you will be strong. As a woman, when you put on muscle, you can never put on so much that you will look like a man, it will only enhance your feminine features and make you look so good. I promise. I set a goal for myself to be as naturally muscular as I can get. I want to be strong, I want to feel strong. And you can too.

Planet Fitness is wonderful because the machines show you exactly what to do, no personal trainer needed. However, as you progress into your fitness journey, you will want to start using the free weights to see more results. In the future I will post more about this but for now, just watch, aspire and know you will get to that part of the gym eventually.

Now for diet, you can eat healthy and have your meals taste good and be easy to make! I swear I’m not lying. Check out my Recipe section for information on this! Its also important to count your calories, I suggest downloading My Fitness Pal. It calculates what you need to consume to lose weight.

These are the most essential basics to start out.

You can do this!

Disclaimer: Please consult your doctor before making any drastic changes/get cleared to work out if you have concerns. Also, please also dont be afraid to seek help for any mental illness you have, there is nothing to be ashamed of and your mind is just as important as your body. It is also important to have a healthy relationship with food and to have a diet that you are able to maintain long term-please see my recipe/health food section for more information on this. I am not a doctor and I dont have any formal education on this, this is based off of my life experiences.

Much Love,

Girl on a Journey

Sausages and Turtles:

Why being kind to yourself is important

Last night I went to the gym, I had an amazing workout and I felt wonderful both mentally and physically, until I caught myself in the mirror. Looking back at me was a disheveled sausage that had just finished a 10 hour work day, made dinner and had sweated so much that my clothes clung to me. I felt ugly. I felt like a sausage that had been stuffed too much and its casing was about to burst. I left the gym and sat in my car, wondering how I could go from feeling so good to so badly in a split second. I shed a few tears and then tumbled down a horrible hole of self hate for the rest of the evening. Simply because I wasn’t where I wanted to be with my progress physically. Although I had lost weight and put on muscle, I’m not even close to my goal. This awful mentality made me want to do very unhealthy things related to my diet and exercise to lose weight.

This mentality followed me into the next day, and I didn’t even finish my very low calorie breakfast because I was so disgusted with myself. But as the day went on, I reminded myself of importance of being kind to myself. We are our own worst critic. We know exactly where that roll is, how our double chin hangs when we look down, how our arms are flappy, and even when we make progress-its hard to unsee the fatter version of ourselves. To let go of the insecurities. I had to ask myself, would a really good friend talk to me this way? Would they make me feel like a sausage?

The answer is a big, fat, no.

As human beings we have a hard time being kind to others, and especially ourselves. Its something that you have to work at daily. I had to be kind to me. I had to remind myself that I am putting my health first, not my weight loss. That I am building muscle, I am making myself stronger-both mentally and physically and that I will not be perfect through this journey. To forgive myself and to take notice of the small victories. Most importantly-to remind myself to celebrate those small victories and be patient.

Much like a turtle, I am inching towards my goal every day. Slowly but surely, and patience is key. Kindness is vital. My shell is growing stronger every day.

If you are reading this, and feel like a sausage right now, know you are a turtle. Know you are not alone. Know that this will pass. And do not jeopardize your health to reach your goals.

Please throw away your scale because it is not an accurate determination of your progress, how you look and how you feel is.

This turtle is throwing out her scale.

Stay positive and keep inching.

Signed,

The Inching Turtle