When I started this weight loss journey. I saw a picture of myself that made me think I needed to make a change. It was the beginning of wedding season and finding a dress with sleeves was a challenge. Then I wore a dress without sleeves, my picture was taken, and just wasn’t happy with how I looked.
Don’t get me wrong, I know I don’t look like a hideous troll or anything. I just knew I wanted to set a goal and try and stick to it. My goals were to eat well thought out meals that would make me feel good throughout the day, gain some stamina and feel strong. Also, when trying new fashion pieces and trends I wanted to feel confident in my body so I could wear what I wanted without feeling self conscious. This is something I have struggled with in the past, and still do sometimes, but it’s a process like everything is that’s worth working for.
When I started, I used an app on my phone called “Lose It”. I liked it because I was able to track what I was eating and how many calories I would consume in a day. I was also able to set a goal. It was a goal of not only your goal weight but how many pounds you wanted to lose a day. With that goal in mind how many calories you could consume to meet that goal. For example I wanted to lose two pounds a day so it suggested I eat around 1200 calories in a day.
To be honest I used this as a guide and went over most days. However, it made me aware of what had a ton of calories and what I could eat a lot of. This taught me how to find balance.
My favorite feature was the step tracking. It would give you a goal of about 10,000 steps and once you met that however many more steps you took after 10,000 translated into extra calories you could consume.
Let’s say I started with 1250 calories I could eat that day, but I walked around a bunch at work and went for a run after I got home. I would have met my steps goal and earned about ten extra calories. This came in handy if I wanted to snack a little bit or make my overage a little less severe.
I was diligently using this app for about three months. Now I just use it to track my steps and my weight loss.
Nowadays I don’t manage my calories as closely. Instead I just try to make my meals balanced throughout the day. For example I will eat yogurt for breakfast with a banana which is a fruit and some dairy. For lunch I’ll usually eat sushi which is full of protein and veggies, but also rice which is carbs. Then for dinner I will eat a veggie burger and maybe some sweet potatoes or tuna salad. So I get more veggies and/or protein.
Snacking is where I had a big problem and I still battle with it some days. Candy and Starbucks were my biggest vices. However, now I have protein bars at my desk (which are deliciously sweet flavors) and bring my own Keurig K cups to work. If I’m really having a hankering I will just get what I want and be careful about my choices. For Starbucks I would get a drink, but make sure it’s low cal if I have had a lot of sugar and carbs that day. If I was pretty good I’ll get something a little more high in calories in a small size.
With candy I rarely crave really sweet stuff but when I do I will eat something that’s relatively low in calories (for candy) with a high piece count per serving. For example, I bought a package of these sour air head candy things. They were 140 calories per serving. That’s less than a candy bar. The serving size was 17 pieces. If you get a Hershey’s chocolate bar it’s like around 210 for the bar which is easy demolish for me if I’m really craving sweets. I really pay attention to portion size for sweets and carbs. All in all, the old saying is true. You can eat anything in moderation.
Exercise was another thing that was really hard for me to get the hang of so I started off slow.
When I first started working full time I was leaving for the train at 7:00am, and coming home at 9:00. It was incredibly hard hours so working out was the last thing on my mind (all I had time to do was eat and sleep). Once I moved and got a new job with more reasonable hours I was setting myself for a more reasonable routine.
I decided to start off slow. Running once a week (twice if I was feeling like an athlete) right after I got home from work so I didn’t have to think about it. I could just get it over with and out of the way.
I call running the lazy person workout.
Running works your body and burns a ton of calories for like thirty minutes of work. Also it’s free. I don’t want to pay to try and work on a machine I don’t understand just to look like a fool and maybe hurt myself.
Running works your legs and your core. If you want to work more than that it is easy to google “——– workout”, and try a bunch of workouts until you find something you like. I am also trying to tone my arms and I found a workout I like. I do it sometimes when I am watching tv, but I’m trying to force myself to do a full arm workout on the days I’m not running. It has not been going well.
I know running sucks, but you just have to throw in some music and focus on something else. I am not saying you have to run a marathon or even a mile. Just run until you can’t anymore and then walk the rest of the way. Your body with become stronger and you will be able to go further longer.
When I graduated from college I could barely run a mile. I could do it and it would take 20 minutes which is basically walking. Then I really got into running within the past few months, running on a schedule weekly. Last week I was able to run for two miles at a ten minute pace, well 1.8miles, but you get the point. I started like everyone else, out of shape and then I worked towards something I never thought I would accomplish.
Just doing a little bit every week is really how you make it through and get stronger. Even as my workouts get more intense I will alway take days off to rest and recoup.
Taking Care of Your Body
Taking care of my body has also been something I take very seriously. Stretching and icing are really important to avoid injury. An injury can take you out of your routine, and you have to start all over.
I have shin splits and basically if I run too much, stand around too much, or just push my legs too far they get really tender and send a shooting pain up my legs. If I feel this start to happen I immediately ice my legs. I don’t care if you are in a rush, icing soothes the muscles so they can continue to be pushed without being pushed too far.
Same goes with stretching. I always stretch because you never know how your muscles will react. Maybe it’s really cold outside, maybe you haven’t run in a day or two. Stretching warms up your muscles for what’s to come. I stretch every single time I go for a run.
Proper running shoes will also help avoid injury. I’m not saying you need $200 dollar Nike’s. I’m just saying you need some support and maybe some cushion. Just do a little research and you will find something that works for your budget.
The only way I manage to get all this crap done is have a routine. I buy the same three foods every time I hit the grocery store (always in more than flavor, because if I get tired of it I won’t want to eat it). I buy oatmeal, yogurt, and protein bars. These are things I know I want/need to eat each week. I know I like them I and if they are already in the office fridge I won’t forget to bring them one day.
When it comes to working out I have always run either first thing in the morning or as soon as I get home from work. The schedule had been Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, but I am trying to run four days a week so I am trying to create a new routine (it’s hard). If you have a calendar just write it down and try to stick to it. So you miss a day, make sure you go the next day. Be strict with yourself. No one else is going to care about your goals as much as you do.
The Actual Number
I do weigh myself, but not everyday because that would be actual torture. I never weigh myself at the end of the day or if I’m bloated because these are not actual representations of weight.
Everyone says the number shouldn’t matter, and it won’t once I am happy with how I feel in my skin. It does give me a boost of confidence when I see I lost a pound and I see no change in my actual body.
In fact, I have been working out since late May/beginning of June, and I started noticing a change in my body like last week. It took four or five months just for me to say, “hey, you’re looking a little thinner!”.
What I am saying is that the change you’re looking for isn’t going to happen overnight.
It takes time and a lot of effort so if you lose a pound. Don’t get discouraged! You are one pound lighter than you were yesterday and that’s more than a lot of other people can say.
Maybe you gained a pound. Don’t stress. Figure out what you did that day that was different than what you did the day before and change it for tomorrow.
I have learned it is all about just doing you’re best, because that’s all you can do. Always strive to get better and you will no matter if it takes a month or a year, even longer. You can do it!