Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Transformation Part 2 - How I got started

Wowza! All you amazing readers turned out in abundance for my last post! So thank you for checking out my little blog and for all your positive feedback! It seriously means a lot. That last post was a difficult one to share - especially my dreaded “Before” picture (*cringe*) - so I really appreciate all the LOVE!
I also wanted to start off this post by saying that while I pride myself in making great strides towards health, wellness, and fitness I am in NO WAY perfect (and still very much on my own journey). My weight has fluctuated during the 7ish years since my initial weight loss. My resolve and motivation has definitely wavered from time to time. I still forego exercise to spend the occasional Saturday simply lying on the couch. And I will be the first to admit that food made with lots of fat, or sugar, or a combination of both tastes the BEST! I am certainly no expert, but the following are my top 6 tips and they have worked well for me. They are the bare bones I always go back to if I notice that the needle on the scale is beginning to creep up.
1.       Accept that this is a Process and Needs to be a Lifestyle
Okay so this sounds a bit like an afterschool weight loss special, but…If you are looking to make some changes, then the first thing you need to do is accept that this is a process. You will not become fit and fabulous overnight. It took time to put the weight on, so its gonna take time to take it back off. To make your changes in a healthy way give yourself time and acceptance. I do not believe in adopting extremes - they are unhealthy and unrealistic! Embrace a balanced lifestyle and make your changes stick!
Move More and Often
2.       Get Moving
So there are usually two camps in the healthy lifestyle world; Nutrition and Exercise. Some people think it is the foods and calories you take in that have the greatest impact – aka the Nutrition camp. And others think a healthy lifestyle is all about the calories burned – aka the Exercise camp. Because I like food, and some of the foods I like would not exactly be considered “nutritious”, and I would probably lean more towards the Exercise Camp. (Note: yes I know food is important too, but I will get to that) Exercise allows you some flexibility in terms of your food choices, and moving more allows me to indulge in those tasty treats without the guilt or the lbs. And I personally notice a way bigger difference in my body shape and muscle tone when I focus more heavily on my fitness routine.
3. Find Something You Love

This is why I suggest you find some form of exercise that you LOVE! To stick to any fitness routine requires a certain level of discipline and motivation, and you are much more likely to stick to something you enjoy. I am generally willing to give any type of exercise a whirl to keep things fresh and interesting. I started my exercise journey with Bikram’s hot yoga, because I sweat like crazy and loved the way it made me feel. I then moved to running, circuit training, and I have most recently been heading to weekly spin classes. The point is you won’t like everything. And even if you really like something, you might not want to do it all the time – variety is the spice of life after all!
4. Start a Food Log
Log Goals and Meals to stay Accountable
See I told you I would get to food...
A food journal is a good educational tool. When I first got started I had absolutely no food knowledge – how many calories should I have in a day, what was in my typical meals and snacks, nothing. So while this project can be somewhat time consuming it did help me gain an understanding of the nutrition basics. It also helped me recognize my problem areas – like late night snacking and drinking too many of my calories (aka my lattes and glasses of wine).
You need to start with a basic understanding of your ideal daily caloric intake. I recommend using Self’s handy Caloric Needs Calculator to help figure out a starting point. To lose weight in a healthy way cut 500 calories from this total. You should honestly log your meals for a week or so and review before you even get started though. What days were you more likely to go over? Were there certain times you ended up snacking more? Do you skip breakfast? Was something a lot more calories than you expected? It helps you recognize all that stuff. I still do this from time to time when I have been slacking and need a wake up call.
 5.       Get Rid of the Excuses
Post-Run + Happy
In theory this seems easy-peasy. But dragging your butt to the gym or for a run always seems less simple when you start thinking about all your other obligations. You know like work, school, family, friends, for some of you kids…LIFE! And in the past LIFE has always personally been my fitness downfall. Certain parts of life you can’t exactly reschedule. And I would pick spending the precious few hours I have left with my family and friends over any workout. To keep myself from getting stuck in this “hard-done-by people-pleasing” type of thinking I started thinking of exercise as something that I do just for me. My workout is my "Me Time". My runs are my time to clear my head, think things through, and reset. My spin classes are the time I use to rock out to all my favourite girlie pop anthems and really push myself. My yoga classes are my time set aside to really thank my body for its strength and working well for me each day. The moral of the story is that I am a happier person if I get my workout in. I am better able to handle all the challenges LIFE throws at me. (and goodness know there has been a few this year)

6. Start Loving Yourself

Remember that a number on the scale, or the size of your pants does not define you as a person. Do not tie your love for yourself to achieving these goals. I will confess that this is something I have struggled with in the past and am still working on. Despite being a smaller size I probably grapple more with the Body Conscious Monster than I ever did when I was bigger. So remember health trumps beauty everytime. And having a bangin' body does not make you beautiful on the inside. Your beauty shines from within!

So that's it! Those are my top 6 tips! There is no magic way to lose weight or to get fit. You have to simply eat less and move more. Boring and probably not the answer you were hoping for - but it is tried and tested and oh so true!

Love your Favourite Darwinian Fail,