I Stopped Caring About a “Goal Weight” and Started Focusing on What Matters

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January 17, 2016

I thought I’d write a short, feel-good post since my posts inevitably end up longer than anticipated. I tend to be long-winded…just ask anyone who knows me personally 🙂

As you all know, I’ve been hitting it hard in the gym and the kitchen for about 15 months now. When I first started—overweight and out of shape—I punched my goals into MyFitnessPal and tracked everything I put in my mouth. My goal? 125 pounds.

It seemed reasonable. I spent my late teens and early twenties at about 120-125 pounds, consistently. I was thin, wore a size 2, and everyone always said how “tiny” and “skinny” I was. I figured, hey, why not shoot for that again?

Initially, I lost about 25 pounds (pretty quickly, in fact) and thought, “yes! I’m making progress! I’m so going to hit my goal!” But it slowed. Then it stalled completely at 136 pounds. I spent a bit of time trying to adjust my diet and wondered why I was seemingly doing everything right, yet not making further progress. *Gasp* This is what all those ladies’ fitness magazines call a plateau! Oh, the horror!

But you know what? I got over it. And damn fast, too. Why?

January 3, 2016

January 3, 2016

I felt fantastic and looked better than ever. And despite my weight “plateau,” I swore my body was still changing and improving. I figured I should eat for health, fitness, and happiness and who cares about the number on the scale? What a concept, right? I started eating intuitively (still making healthy choices, of course) and kept pushing in the gym.

Last week, I noticed my abs were starting to pop through…for the first time in my life…EVER. I hadn’t been on the scale for ages, so I thought I’d do a weight check. Surely I’d lost a few pounds. The result? 136 pounds! I’ve literally been the same weight for months, yet I’m looking better every day.

Moral of the story? Fuck the scale. At least when it comes to “vanity pounds.” Weight doesn’t tell the whole story, and it sure as hell doesn’t determine your worth. Make healthy choices and live happily ever after.

Do you weigh yourself regularly? Are you obsessed with the number on the scale?

Patience, Perseverance and Progress: the Healthy Path to Fitness

Perseverance + Patience = PROGRESS!

Perseverance + Patience = PROGRESS!

We just rung in the New Year and I’m sure thousands—if not millions—of people resolved to lose weight and get in shape. I’ve been there. Many of us have. But do you know what usually happens? The gym fills up with weight loss hopefuls in January, slows down a bit by February, and is usually back to just the “regulars” by March. I’ve worked in gyms; I’ve seen these spikes and drops firsthand.

Why is this? I think there are a few reasons, and I feel it’s important to recognize why so many people fail with this approach to getting fit so you can avoid the same fate.

You have to want it. Of course you want to lose weight/get buff/have a six pack/whatever. Who doesn’t? But I mean you really have to want it. Just because January 1st rolls around doesn’t mean you’re ready to hit it hard—mentally, emotionally, or otherwise. I know there were many times I said I wanted to get in shape, when I longed to fit in my old pants. But I had to get to a place where I really, really wanted it. I needed to be in the right headspace. Once I was there, I stuck with it. That just happened to be October of 2014. Maybe the New Year is what some people need to motivate them, but most of the time, I think this approach sets people up for failure.

You go all in. I know doing a total 180 might work occasionally. I’m sure some people successfully transition from drinking soda and booze, eating pizza three times a week, and sitting around on their asses watching TV to being strict dieters who pack their own meals for special occasions, drink a gallon of water a day, and hit the gym six days a week. Good for them, but those people aren’t normal! If most of us tried that, we’d fail miserably within a week’s time. Baby steps. Stop drinking soda and start going to the gym twice a week. You’ll start feeling better and see some fat loss in no time. Woohoo! You’re starting to get motivated. Add a gym day to your routine, up the intensity and swap your morning bagel for a healthy breakfast. Before long, you’ll be a total gym rat popping creatine pills and chasing them with a BCAA preworkout drink. Er, maybe that’s just me…

You’re doing the wrong workout. What do most people do when they resolve to lose weight? Sign up for a gym membership, hop on the cardio machines, and quickly burn out. Not everyone will be motivated by the same activities. Here’s a novel idea: find something you actually like doing and do it! I guarantee you’ll stick with it longer. Take boxing lessons, sign up for dance classes, try group fitness, or maybe yoga is your thing. Like the outdoors? Go hiking or biking. You get the idea. No reason you have to stick to the hamster wheel to get in shape.

You’re broke. I’m a firm believer that you can most certainly eat healthfully on very little money. I’ve done it. When I was in college, I found that buying fruits, vegetables, beans, and rice to prepare my own meals was much cheaper than eating out or buying junk. But I also know that gym memberships, fitness classes, and trainers can sometimes cost more than your budget can handle. Look, you DON’T need to spend a lot of money to get healthy. You really don’t. There are so many home workouts all over the internet and on social media, even your grandma could find them. Walking and running outdoors are free, too. Seriously, try a 20-minute HIIT workout that doesn’t require any equipment and tell me you’re not sweating your ass off.

Left: May 2014 Right: January 2016

Left: May 2014
Right: January 2016

You have unrealistic expectations. Okay, here’s the biggie…are you ready? Getting fit takes TIME. Yup, it’s true. Don’t believe all that crap you see on Instagram (you know, those pictures where somebody with love handles and a gut miraculously has washboard abs just six weeks later). This is especially true if you take baby steps, as I mentioned above. I’ve been on this path for a year and almost three months and I’m just now starting to see my abs popping through. Sure, I could’ve seen quicker results, but you know what? I’ve stuck with it, created healthy habits, AND enjoyed treats and yummy foods along the way. I truly haven’t felt deprived much at all. This is all part of my bigger goal, which is to live a healthy lifestyle—not just to get a bikini body for summer. I’ve been happy with my progress the entire time, too. I’ve slowly seen “new” muscles showing up, watched as my shoulders get more definition, and enjoyed saying good riddance to cellulite. Sometimes progress slows down and I have to reevaluate my plan and make changes accordingly. But through my entire journey, two things have ensured my continued progress: perseverance and patience.

So, don’t set yourself up for failure. Don’t think a resolution and an arbitrary date will suddenly motivate you. Have you already made a resolution to lose weight or get in shape? Figure out what fits your lifestyle, make a plan, take it one day at a time, and get your head in the right place—find what motivates you and take the necessary steps to reach your goals.

Now get up and go get it.IMG_9847

 

Progress Update: Changing Up Your Fitness Routine & Increasing Intensity

August 26, 2015: 5' 5" & 136 lbs

August 26, 2015: 136 lbs (5′ 5″)

Fridays. Ah, we all love Fridays. For many, it’s the end of the work week and the beginning of a fun-filled weekend with friends and family.

For me, it means bicep/tricep day 😉

Since I’m just over 10 months into my journey to change my lifestyle, I thought I’d do a quick recap and update.

Last October, I finally hit a breaking point. The weight I’d gained over the previous few years was taking its toll. I couldn’t do activities I love as I once had–I was nearly in tears during a 5-mile hike. Even tying my shoes and painting my toes was becoming uncomfortable! Hell. No. This was not me.

So I squeezed into some leggings, wore loose tees to hide the tire I’d acquired around my waist, and started hitting the gym.

At first, it was hard. Hard to stay motivated, hard to not feel extremely self-conscious, hard to believe I’d ever be “in shape” again.

I started going just three times a week. I’d do 20 minutes of interval training on the treadmill, adding in more and more sprints and hills over time. But mostly I lifted. I lifted as heavy as I safely could and started building strength. This is the basic routine I started with:

  • Day 1 – Chest, biceps, triceps
  • Day 2 – Legs, butt
  • Day 3 – Back, shoulders

That’s it. Simple. And a good start for someone who’s out of shape. It wasn’t so much, so fast that I would burn out. It also allowed me to manage some of that initial soreness you feel from putting in hard work after a long period of inactivity. I started seeing some progress almost immediately, and once that happened, I was hooked.

My husband went with me everyday. No, I’m not one of those people who needs a workout partner in order to go to the gym. But it’s a truly wonderful thing to have a supportive, reliable person to accompany you when you’re feeling less-than-motivated. So if you have someone–a friend, sibling, whatever–recruit them!

As soon as I started feeling too comfortable with an exercise, I’d switch it up. More weight, more advanced version of the movement, adding more exercises to my routine, etc. Same for cardio. More sprints, more hills, and adding stairs in once a week (I HATED stairs, but I love being challenged).

Finally, the gym became a habit. Just something you do, like eating or brushing your teeth. Of course I have blah days and don’t feel like going. But I suck it up and go. And now, I even crave getting my sweat on! I yearn for my gym fix.

Three days a week was no longer enough. Not only because I loved working out again and the iron was calling my name on rest days, but because I needed to challenge my body even more. Over the past couple of months, I’ve redesigned my program so that I’m in the gym 5-6 days a week for about an hour each session. It’s not that much time out of my week – come on, you know you watch more Netflix than that each week.

Left: March 2015, 138 lbs Right: August 2015, 136 lbs Yes, only 2 pounds of difference but MAJOR changes.

Left: March 2015, 138 lbs
Right: August 2015, 136 lbs
Yes, only a 2-pound change but a MAJOR difference!

In total, I’ve lost 25 pounds of fat and gained an incredible amount of muscle. My weight loss has ‘plateaued,’ but my fat loss HAS NOT. That’s important to keep in mind if you’re lifting. I kept asking myself why the hell my body wasn’t changing anymore, but then I did some side-by-side photo comparisons and guess what? My body looks way different today at 136 pounds than it did a few months back at 138 pounds. That was exactly the boost I needed. Just think what my body could look like in another 10 months!

This is why I encourage everyone to take pictures. Documenting your progress with photos can be an incredibly motivational tool and can keep you on track. You may notice the little changes here and there in the mirror over time, but miss the big picture. These little changes add up and, by looking at before and after photos, you’ll realize you’ve made major progress!

I can’t stop flexing. I don’t care how narcissistic that sounds. I’m starting to see some serious definition and I’m fucking loving it. This can be you, too. You don’t have to spend all day, everyday in the gym. Be consistent, be patient, challenge yourself, and track your progress. Do this and you will find success. A 12-week “bikini body miracle workout” might be a good start, but don’t go into it with high expectations. The best bodies out there take years of hard work, discipline, and dedication. I’m willing to put in the work – are you?

Why Choosing a Healthy Lifestyle > A ‘Quick Fix’

Greetings from Maui – quite possibly one of the most beautiful places on Earth!

Sunset

Sunset – first night in Kapalua

 

In my last post, I talked about feeling confident in my beach attire as I was heading off for vacation. Now that I’ve been here (in paradise!) for a few days now, I keep saying to myself and to my husband: “I am SO glad I started this fitness journey when I did!” I feel fantastic for so many reasons—and not just because of the way I feel in shorts and swimsuits.

Waimoku Falls

Waimoku Falls

Hiking the Pools at Ohe’o, or the “Seven Sacred Pools,” is absolutely one of my favorite life experiences to date. Of course, the scenery was gorgeous—the road to Hana, the bamboo forest, Waimoku Falls, the rocky bluffs overlooking the ocean—all of it. But what I really loved was how I felt on that trek. I was full of energy! Starting up the trail through the fermenting mangos that had fallen and covered the ground, I kept thinking maybe I wasn’t in as good of shape as I’d hoped and was afraid I’d be dying halfway up. But as we continued upward, I felt more and more fantastic. Every new milestone invigorated me—I felt so powerful! I practically bounded up the trail like a child, taking in all the wonderment of my surroundings. Relishing all of the vegetation and critters foreign to me. It was a wonderful, familiar feeling.

Now granted, that particular hike doesn’t climb much in altitude, but we walked and explored for hours and clocked several miles. By the end of the day, I was exhausted in a good way, not in a drained, defeated kind of way.

If I hadn’t started changing my lifestyle six months ago and had hurriedly begun some “30 days to a summer body” plan, I’d be miserable and disappointed in myself. You know that feeling? If only I’d started sooner… I shouldn’t have had those cheat meals… I wish I’d have squeezed in a few more workouts… By starting on a long-term path to healthy living and true fitness, I didn’t feel those pressures. I’ve come a long way and made a lot of progress in terms of appearance, strength, and stamina, not to mention my increased confidence and happiness. And, because I didn’t go the ‘quick fix’ route, I’ll continue working toward being a fitter, healthier me—and will be in even better shape for my next adventure 🙂

Don’t set yourself up for failure and disappointment. Start your journey to a healthy lifestyle now and you’ll be ready for any event life throws your way!

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The Road to Hana

Road to Hana

Road to Hana Falls

Road to Hana Falls2
The Trail to Waimoku Falls


Tree + Me

 

Oheo trail

Ohe'o Trail + Me

Bamboo Forest

Bamboo Forest

Bamboo Forest + MeThe Seven Sacred Pools

Seven Sacred Pools

 

Pool Outlet

Pools

 

Stay tuned for my next update from the island!

Countdown to Maui: DAY ZERO!

Poor guy knows we're leaving.

Poor guy knows we’re leaving.

Seeing as I’m leaving for Maui TODAY, this will be a short post. So how do I feel about my 50-day progress? While I’m not where I want to be in the long-run, I’m pretty damn happy with my results for this trip!

Over the past 50 days, I lost about 5 pounds. Not much, right? However, my body has changed tremendously. My legs have more muscle and shape than they ever have. My delts are starting to pop again. My stomach doesn’t resemble a tire in my clingy beachy dresses. All in all, I’d say the past several weeks have been a major success.

I can’t begin to describe the freedom that comes with feeling comfortable and confident in beach attire—shorts, dresses, even bikinis! Part of my newfound confidence, I believe, is simply a matter of age. In my teens and early 20s, I was in pretty fantastic shape and yet never felt confident. Boy do I wish I could go back and slap myself 🙂 But now, at 30, I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished and realize that perfection is an unrealistic (and unhealthy) goal.

Am I where I ultimately want to be? No. Am I okay with that? Absolutely. The best part of this journey has become the journey itself—the hard work, the dedication, the challenges, the process, the making of a lifestyle, and the satisfaction that comes with even the smallest of wins. And I’m so excited to continue on this fun, fulfilling path toward a healthy, rewarding lifestyle.

Alright, I’ve got a plane to catch – updates from Maui soon to come!