The most frustrating thing about a weight-loss journey is the feeling that you’re starting over again. And again. And again. I can honestly say that in the past few years, I’ve never fallen off this journey. Not completely. Not 100%. But I’ve certainly had my ups and downs. I’ve had my hurdles to jump and my walls to knock down.
You know I’ve been struggling lately. Struggling to do what I say I’m going to do. Struggling to make better eating choices. Getting to the gym, going for a run … for some reason, it hasn’t come easily to me. And that’s the thing. Some days it is easy. Sometimes for weeks, even months, working out almost on a daily basis is a given. There’s no questioning it or forcing myself to make it happen. It just does.
Food is usually a different story for me. Food is my weak spot, my downfall. But there was a time, when this healthier journey really started for me, that I could go days and weeks without cheating, binging, giving in to the temptations.
I keep saying I need to get that motivation back. I keep saying that I need to find that willpower. The truth is, I have it. It’s inside me, and it has been this whole time. It’s up to me to tap into it, to use it, to push myself.
Trust me, I know friends and family, a support system, helps a lot. But when it comes down to it, it’s on me. My health is my responsibility.
This weekend, while I watched football and caught up on episodes of “Scandal,” I also spent a lot of time on Twitter (you can follow me @BhamJen). I read articles about weight loss and obesity (this article and this blog post were particularly interesting). I read inspirational stories and tweets from people who, like me, are trying to lose weight. I wrote back to them and said “Congrats!” and I really meant it. I know how hard this journey can be and we all deserve all the pats on the back that we can get.
I also reached out to a few local Birmingham friends who I admire for their commitment to fitness. Those women, Javacia, Tanya and Andrea, are among many women here who carve time into their daily routines to eat well and exercise regularly. They consistently break down walls when it comes to fitness challenges and they leave me in awe of what can be accomplished if you simply apply yourself — and don’t give up!
Here’s some of the advice these inspirational women passed on to me over the past couple days:
This is all excellent advice! Here’s what I plan to do.
1. Though I want to give up Diet Coke (again), drink more water, work out 5 days/week, eat only 1600 calories/day, do planks and push ups every morning, etc., I know that I need to build up to all those goals. So this week I am focusing on two things: Bringing my lunch to work each day and walking on the treadmill at the gym each day at lunch. If I add in some weight training or go to a spinning class on top of that, great. But those two goals are my main focus.
2. I will go back to eating the way I was when I originally lost about 50 lbs. a few years ago. Although I try to eat within that same calorie limit, I’m definitely struggling at that, and I’m not eating as many fruits, veggies or lean proteins as I was back then. I’m also going to make better choices when my sweet tooth comes calling. No more bowls of ice cream. Portion-controlled treats or yogurt with fruit only.
3. My goal. My why. There are so many reasons. When I first started this journey, my main reason was to move myself out of the diabetes danger zone. My doctor warned me that I was a prime example of the metabolic syndrome (high cholesterol, risky sugar levels, overweight), and when I lost some weight, all those levels improved. I want to get back there again. I also want to fit into all the new clothes I bought when I was down at that weight. But right now, I have one thing in mind. It may sound superficial, and ultimately my health really is my first priority, but my upcoming wedding is foremost on my mind.
4. Finally, to challenge myself I have already signed up for a 5k on Jan. 11. So I’ll be running/walking to make that race happen. I also want to participate in Run Eat Repeat’s “25 Days of Fitness Challenge.” Monica has a great calendar for the 25 days before Christmas that includes one challenge each day. It’s usually something nutrition or fitness related — the first day’s challenge is to do a plank — but it even focuses on internal/mental health. If you decide to do this, too, make sure you use the hashtag #25DaysofFitness to tweet about your progress!
So it comes down to these four things to get me started. It’s time that I make my health a priority again. It’s time I regain my focus and my willpower and I embrace that strength that I know I have inside me. If you have any advice for me, you know I’m all ears!