A few weeks ago, John and I went on a beautiful Fall hike for our Friday night date. As we hiked and climbed around, I thought a lot about our fitness journey and a few things I felt I needed to share. No, I do not have any professional credentials, training, or health/fitness degrees. However, I am a mother of five children and have recently lost every last pound of “pregnancy” weight (73 pounds to be exact!) all on my own, WITHOUT stepping foot in a gym. (Okay, except when traveling!)I have worked incredibly hard and am proud of my progress. However, I am not going to talk about my diet, I don’t even want to talk about what my workouts look like (we can get to all that later if anyone is interested). I simply want to share some very do-able ides on how to achieve YOUR personal goals. We are all different, we all have different bodies and a different idea of what healthy and happy is…I hope the following thoughts will help you achieve your fitness goals, whatever they may be.
1: COMMIT TO ONE YEARAfter gaining over 65 pounds during my 5th pregnancy, I felt certain I would never be anything close to “fit” again. Here I am nearly two years later, stronger, healthier, and happier than I’ve ever been. How did I get here? ONE DAY AT A TIME. And trust me, there were many days or weeks, even months, (MONTHS I tell you!!!) where the scale didn’t budge…not even a little bit. How did I stay persistent when I often saw very little in the results department?
I had made a firm commitment to myself. I decided I was going to give this my all for ONE year. I promised myself that for one full year I would try my best. For one year I would workout hard and eat as healthy as possible. At the end of that year I could decide if it was worth it or not…if I would continue with healthy eating and exercising or just stop worrying about my body and enjoy life. One year. For 12 short months of your entire life, you are going to be committed to doing the best you can for your body. No matter what.
HERE’S THE DEAL! Yes, in the beginning you will hate it! You’ll hate it all, especially if you are new to exercising or dieting. It sucks. Change is hard. You’ll screw up. A lot. You may even puke and cry and feel very angry…but you’re not giving up…not for a year. And guess what? One day, long before you hit that year mark, you’ll realize you kinda don’t hate it as much as before. One day you’ll realize you feel really good. Like SO good. Strong, inside and out. One day, after lots of hard days, you will realize you kinda love it. And now, you’ve changed your life.
COMMIT. Commit to a year and see what happens.
2: TAKE BABY STEPSJust like everything else in life, learning something new takes time, patience, and lots of practice. We don’t teach our children algerbra before addition for a reason. You can’t go from a poor diet and little exercise to an Olympic athlete regimen and expect success. You are trying to change your life here, start small.
Typically, we decide we need to lose weight, and in order to do so we must: drastically cut calories, give up soda, give up sugar, throw away everything in our pantry, stop eating bread, stop eating cheese, pasta, red meat, oh and exercise our hearts out every. single. day. Who could ever possibly do that?
I decided to pick ONE thing to change at a time. ONE single thing I could do to improve my health. I started with water. I made a goal to drink 12 cups of water per day. I told myself that once I was able to do that for 7 straight days, I would add a new goal. It took me close to a month to be able to meet my water goal and really feel like it was a habit and part of my everyday life. Then I made a new goal.
Bursts of leaps and bounds are great for short term success, but rarely last. Baby steps make for lifelong results. Don’t believe me? Just ask the tortoise 😉
3: PLAN AND PREPAREWrite down your goals. Write down what you are going to do to achieve those goals. Decide when and where you will workout. Schedule your workout time on your calendar, on your phone, whatever you need to do. Hire a baby sitter, wake up early, whatever it takes. Find the time and do it. Choose the same time and the same place every day; you are creating a new habit. I typically sit down the first Sunday of each month and plan out a full month of workouts. I know what cardio I’m doing, what muscle groups I’ll work out and on what days. I plan every detail and then I do it.
Buy yourself some cute new workout clothes. It’s your uniform. Each night lay out your uniform, your socks, shoes, headphones, water bottle, everything you need. Plan your meals. Plan your snacks. Plan everything WAY ahead of time. Plan what you’re going to do when someone gives you a hard time about not eating birthday cake…or what you are going to eat/drink at the an upcoming event. Think, plan, and prepare. If you don’t, you’re planning to fail before you even tried. Prepare and plan for success.
4: DO YOUI hate running. I will never be a runner. Okay, I might try to change that someday, but right now, I just don’t like running. So I don’t. I walk on a 10 incline for 45 minutes almost every morning (while watching Netflix) because I enjoy it. I also like hiking and biking, boxing, jumping rope and of course, walking with my hubs. If you like yoga, do yoga. If you like to Zumba with friends, boogie away!
Do what YOU like and enjoy. If you have an awesome app or workout video you feel good about, go for it. Try new things, experiment and find a few types of cardio exercises you
like can tolerate. Most likely, what you enjoy isn’t going to be what’s trendy at the moment, or what your best friend loves, or your favorite fitness blogger…find what YOU enjoy can tolerate. And yes, you need to incorporate both cardio and resistance training!
5: PUSH YOURSELFAlright! Now that you’ve found a few types of exercises you feel good about, you need to make progress. In order to do that, you need to get a bit uncomfortable, PUSH yourself. So what if you can only do 1 push-up, and not even a very good one. Who cares if you can only jog for 30 seconds, that’s a start! Keep track of how you workout…the reps, the weight, the distance, the time…and then do more. Each day go a little further, a littler harder than you did before. You can. You’ve done it before and you can go just a bit more.
6: FIND A FRIENDFind someone, a friend, a spouse, anyone you can to be your person. The person you call when you lose a pound. The person who gets happy and excited for your success. Someone with similar goals and an understanding of what you are going through is so very helpful to have in your life. Lucky for me, my husband has also made some huge lifestyle changes the past few years and is always there for me. He listens with actual interest when I describe every tedious detail of my workout and gives me a high five when I can hardly move the next day. And yes, sometimes he reminds me of how hard I’ve been working and how those 5 slices of pizza I just pounded probably weren’t worth it. He’s there for the good and the bad. And I hope to be the same for him.
Of course, it makes it so much easier if your partner, the person you live with, is making the same changes you are striving to bring about. However, I know that is not always the case. Find anyone you can to listen, uplift, and support you. Look for an online group if you need to…or you can always email me! And I’m completely serious.
7: GOOD VIBES ONLYThe number one thing I have changed about myself in the past year and a half, is how I talk to myself, what I think about myself. Controlling the thoughts I allow myself to dwell on has made the BIGGEST difference in my life. I am working very hard on only allowing positive thoughts to linger in my mind…something that is definitely easier said than done!
We are human, we all make mistakes. Why in the world would we continue to punish ourselves by thinking and replaying over and over what we did wrong. I often eat emotionally and there are plenty of times when I “fall off the wagon”. Instead of thinking of what a sloppy pig loser I am (sorry, inside joke) and how I just can’t do it, I focus on ALL THE GOOD I’ve done. I think about the progress I’ve made, how hard I worked out that week, or that day, or how my pants are kinda loose…I think about the good I’ve done, and I forgive myself right away for anything I’m not thrilled with.
Don’t dwell on anything negative. Tell yourself over and over every single day that you can do it, that you are strong, that you are worth it and amazing and just awesome. I know it might sound a bit silly, but I promise you, it helps tremendously.
Be your own biggest cheerleader. If I can do it, anyone can. You got this.
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6 thoughts on “7 Steps to a Happier and Healthier You”
Inspiring and realistic! Thanks Melissa
You are darling and I love this!!! 💕💕💕
Why thank you!
Lovely read, very inspiring 💙
Good job mama! You’re nothing short of a superwoman doing all that you do with 5 kids ! Xoxo
Thank you…your words are so true and have deeply inspired me.
Best regards to you and your family. God bless!