Updated: Dec 13, 2019
For many folks, January is a month of renewed commitment to meeting goals, which they perhaps didn't fulfill the previous year. Enter February. Some of us may look back on January and realize that the goals we set weren't met and/or weren't realistic. We can sit and lament about unfulfilled goals or we can reset, look forward, and adjust those goals.
Prior to finding success with my fitness and nutrition, there were numerous failed attempts at establishing a routine, new habits, and changing my lifestyle permanently. And yes, I was hard on myself when I failed, which wasn't productive in moving myself forward. What I've come to learn is to look forward and leave the failures behind.
When I began this journey back in the fall of 2015, I knew that I wanted to lose weight, be comfortable in my skin, and reverse the health issues I struggled with. Below is the "recipe" that worked for me.
1. Workout consistently. From day 1 of this journey, I worked out 6 days/week with one rest day. In the beginning, a 30 min. workout was plenty. Today, I still work out 6 days/week for 2.5-3 hours/day. Why the increase in volume? Lots of energy — and a serious love affair with fitness. I am also lucky enough to have a space in our home where I built up my own gym and so working out is simply a walk down a flight of stairs. My home gym has all kinds of tools in it so I can keep challenging my body and continue to build strength. You can check out what's in my home gym here.
2. Track my food. There are apps for tracking or you can use pen and paper. For about the first 8 months, tracking my food was critical, as it helped me establish good habits and not overindulge in certain food groups.
3. Measuring portions. I used the 21 Day Fix containers and meal plan. This system helped me understand how much food I need to fuel my body. Like tracking, this was critical to my weight loss and lifestyle changes. Today, I still use the containers so I stay honest and don't go overboard on the portions.
4. Meal prep. Every Saturday I plan our menu on a program called Plan to Eat for the upcoming week. On Sunday we food shop and meal prep. Why meal prep? One word: hangry. When I'm hangry, I often lose the ability to make good choices and eat whatever is available. Meal prep is an investment of time and IMHO worth every minute. In addition to prepping meals, I also prep healthy snacks like celery sticks to dip into peanut butter. Check out recipes I use here.
5. Habits. This is probably one of the biggest (and mot important) changes I made in my life. Establishing (healthy and sustainable) habits wasn't something I was very familiar with and so it took some time and trial and error to achieve this. There are differing theories on how long it takes a person to establish a habit with some saying 21 days and others saying at least 2 months, and some times longer. I can say for myself that it took me awhile to truly change my my own thinking and mindset to adapt to the habits that are now for a lack of better word, habitual.
Some of the habits that are vital to my own success:
• Having a routine, which I make every effort to stick to. • I bring healthy foods/snacks with me when I'm going to be out for an extended period of time so I won't have to stress about eating healthy food when out and about.
• Getting enough sleep has also been a habit I've worked hard on establishing. Our bodies (and our minds) need time to repair and reset.
• And rest days. I take these seriously. Rest days include lots of lounging, meal prepping, and epsom salt baths. Along the lines of the importance of sleep, rest days allow my body a day to further repair and revitalize.
Look forward. Be gentle with yourself. Reset your expectations and perhaps try one or all of the ingredients from my recipe for success. Let me know if I can help.
Reclaiming my Body
Check out the new move (and past moves) of the week.