It’s been 3 years since I committed to taking my power back. After years at a job where work/life balance was not part of the workplace culture, I was burnt out, tired, stressed and feeling very disconnected from my Self. Change is hard and I think it’s human to want to stay comfortable and within the realm of what is known; it gives us the illusion of safety. Leaving that job changed my life in unimaginably positive ways. Life is amazing now.
Perhaps what I am going to share today isn’t for you. Maybe you need something completely different. This is what I did and what has worked for me, not only to lose weight but to have been successful in keeping it off for over 3 years. I am not a doctor. I am not a dietitian. I am not a personal trainer. If you are on a journey to getting back into shape or losing weight, consult your doctor and do what is right for YOU.
This is what I did to lose weight and what I do every day to stay motivated:
How I lost Weight
The first (and best) thing I did was change jobs. I was working at a Spa; a place, you’d think physical and mental well being would be the highest on the list for all staff members. It wasn’t. With a schedule that changed almost daily and most days getting home after 8:30pm. No lunch break. Vacation time taken with guilt and fear that your job might not be there after you got back. I never knew what drama I was walking into at the beginning of every shift. I spent more time at work than I did at home or with family. Breakfast and Lunches were purchased in a hurry at Starbucks. Dinner was the fastest thing I could make and eat before bed. It was not a healthy time.
Not everyone can or wants to change jobs but I assure you: If you are unhappy right now you must find a way to create a balance where you have time to yourself; time to cook healthy meals. Time to truly relax. Time to exercise. Your mind and body will reward you in so many ways. The average life span is 27,375 days. You read right, DAYS!!! You deserve to be happy and healthy. What are you waiting for?
How I Got Started
During a conversation with someone I know (and who I’d noticed had lost weight) they introduced me to an App called My Fitness Pal http://www.myfitnesspal.com . Disclaimer: A couple of people have scoffed at me when I’ve told them I used this App to lose weight because technically what you’re doing (just like Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig) is counting the amount of calories you consume in a day. I can see where their weariness might come from since this could mean that you can technically eat anything you want (chocolate cake for breakfast and 5 strips of bacon for dinner all while sitting on the couch having an 8 hour long Netflix binge) as long as you stay within the calorie intake the program has allotted you. I chose differently. I cooked healthy meals every day and used the App to understand where I was going wrong, what my portions should look like and how to maintain my weight once it was shed.
After opening an account on My Fitness Pal (it’s free), you enter your height, current weight and your goal/intended weight. Then you start journalling every single thing you eat and drink. At the end of each day you complete your journal entry and the App tells you how much you will weigh in 5 weeks. The app rewards you with extra points/calories that you can consume (snacks!) IF you exercise. What I like the most about the program is that it will not let you complete your daily journal if you are under calories (so no starving yourself!).
I quickly started to see that what was hurting me the most was the amount of snacking I did in between meals. Because I had no lunch break at my old job and started my shift at odd times, I’d snack all day when I had a minute here and there, with no concept of how many calories I was taking in. Top that with a solid 8 hours of sitting, driving home then having dinner after 9pm before climbing into bed exhausted and you’ve got yourself a recipe for disaster. As an example (don’t judge me); a “snack” for me was a blueberry muffin from Starbucks eaten over my computer, taking phone calls with my free hand. Little did I know they are 380 calories! Now if you think that for my personal weight loss, I needed to consume 1200 calories a day in order to lose 2 lbs a week. That muffin was almost a full meal in just one snack. Two words: No Wonder.
The App suggests you measure your food at the beginning. This gave me a visual of what amount of food should go on my plate…. it also motivated me to get my ass off the couch; I’ll admit, at the beginning I’d do power walks just so I could eat more haha. Slowly I got used to eating how I “should” and in turn fell in love with exercising. I now work out 6 days a week.
The Weight Started Coming Off
The first time I weighed in (after a week on the program) I was 2 lbs less. “Big deal” I thought, people fluctuate a few pounds here and there on a daily basis. When I weighed myself the next week and the week after that and I’d lost 6, 8, 10 lbs, I started understanding. The best part about even small successes is what it does to our psyche. If I had been able to drop 10 Lbs, then I could drop 20. I started getting excited, researching healthy meals, stocking my fridge with wonderful ingredients that tasted delicious and most importantly kept me satisfied. I don’t believe in fad diets where you only eat a certain type of food (no carbs, high fat, bla bla bla). I think diets fail because you suddenly cut out the things that bring you joy and losing weight becomes a chore and all you can think about is food. With this program, I was eating healthy but also indulging in things I loved. Chocolate being one. I have chocolate every single day! and I’m not willing to compromise.
24 Lbs In 3 Months
I started my journey in February and by the end of April had lost 24 lbs. I felt so accomplished. I was wearing clothing I hadn’t been able to fit into for years. I wore a dress to NYE that year that I hadn’t worn since I was in my 20’s. That may sound completely shallow but lets be honest, yes we want to be as healthy as we can, but we also want to look the best we can and as the weight started to come off, I felt more motivated to keep going.
So I’d lost the weight I’d intended but Now what?
In the back of my mind I’d have that thought: What if I gain it all back again? Well, the program supports you once you’ve reached your goal and guides you through how you need to eat and exercise to maintain your weight. Nowadays, if I’ve been on holiday and have indulged a little too much in the all-you-can-eat buffet, I come home and quickly go back to eating how I’ve learned and the weight comes off. This past Summer I gained 8 pounds worth of pasta and prosecco during our honeymoon in Italy. Once home, I was back to my regular weight in less than a month.
How I Stay Motivated
At first the high of having lost the weight and feeling great kept me motivated but we are creatures of habit and it’s easy to fall back into old patterns or get lazy about working out.
Set A Time To Workout And Make It Your Priority: I set my alarm and wake up at the same time every day (days off included). I work out before breakfast so that I get it done before I start my day or go to work. By the time I’m done working out, I’m SO looking forward to my protein smoothie. It’s the perfect reward.
Switch Up Your Workout Routines : I find workouts that involve reps mind bogglingly boring so I’ve found that by doing a completely different workout each day keeps me interested and I look forward to doing them. This is what my week looks like:
Monday – HIIT workout with The Body Coach or Full Body Workout with Niomi Smart (Youtube)
Tuesday: Iyengar Yoga (deep stretching, slow breathing)
Wednesday: Legs and Abs Workout
Thursday: Cardio on the Elyptical Trainer (or Treadmill) followed by Arm toning with light weights.
Friday: Yinyasa Flow Yoga (my favourite workout of the week). This workout makes me feel strong.
Sunday: Long power walk along the Seawall or around the city. I walk between 6 – 10 kms. If the weather permits, I like to hike in the forest.
Look The Part – Buy some workout clothes you feel great in. I have a spot in my closet for my workout clothing and recently purchased a few sets of workout gear that I love and look forward to putting on (and no I NEVER wear them outside of the gym). I sometimes set them beside the bed so that as soon as my alarm goes off, I slip into them and am ready to go!
Love Yourself – Taking care of your health, eating well, exercising are not indulgences as I’ve heard people say. It is not selfish to put yourself first, to love yourself so much that you want to give yourself the best body to live in for the rest of your life. You choose whether your old age will be spent enjoying life, travelling the world, staying active, feeling alive or sitting in front of a TV feeling tired, achy and sick.
Have A Distraction – I don’t watch a lot of TV so when I do my Elyptical or Treadmill Workouts on Thursdays, I take my iPad down to the gym with me and catch up on my favourite Youtubers, Vlogs, Netflix. Yes! I watch a show, makeup tutorials and financial advice videos while I workout. It keeps me in one spot for up to an hour and the time just flies by. I look forward to my sessions each week.
30 Days Doing Anything Becomes A Habit – I challenged myself to create the habit of working out by setting aside 1 month and pushing myself to exercise every single day. The first few days I was excited and ready to go. A couple of weeks later there were mornings where another hour in bed sounded like a better idea. But I set that alarm, I got up and pushed through it. Now I miss my workout if for some reason I couldn’t do it in the morning. I’ll work out after work, before dinner. In the Summer we went away for 4 days to my brother in laws cabin; I took my yoga mat and workout clothes and worked out every day that we were there. It’s a habit now.
Find Inspiration: We all look up to someone whether its someone we know or someone online (celebrities..sigh). If there is someone that emulates the lifestyle that you’d love to achieve, follow their blog, subscribe to their channel, follow them on Instagram. I follow a couple of vloggers who I can always re-visit if I’m falling off the wagon and always get a reboost of energy when I do.
The Best Motivator: I feel energetic, balanced, grounded, strong, happy, successful, motivated and sexy. What better reasons to keep it up?!
I wish you the best on your journey and would love to hear from you. What works for you? What workouts do you enjoy or recommend? Do you have any questions for me? Drop me a line.
Until next time.