Arguably the most difficult thing about starting a new workout routine is staying consistent. To someone who hasn’t already adopted a “healthy lifestyle”, the very term can be off-putting and obnoxious. I’m speaking from experience here. When I first moved out on my own, I put on some extra weight. I had definitely taken my parent’s healthy, home-cooked meals for granted, and quickly figured out it’s a whole different ball game when it’s your own wallet you’re reaching into. When faced with the decision to spend $6 on two organic apples vs. 4 boxes of mac and cheese, judgement can get a little cloudy (plus I really love mac and cheese, Annie’s white cheddar shells are pretty life changing). Either way I was 15lbs heavier and not so coincidentally, the least active I had ever been in my life. Growing up, I was constantly playing sports, doing gymnastics, cheer, dance, etc., so I never had to go out of my way to work up a sweat regularly. Unless you play sports in college, organized physical activity is few and far between for most people in their late teens and early twenties. At least it was for me.
I get fitness/diet related questions all the time on my blog and YouTube channel, so I’ve made an effort to start incorporating it more regularly into my content. I posted this video last week sharing one of the at home workouts I like to do. My stepdad, Sheldon created it and it’s easily one of the best, most effective workouts when done consistently. Seriously, you should have seen my mom schooling me and Jordan when we all did it together a couple months ago. We didn’t exactly do ourselves any favors by partaking in that wine-fueled Samba dance party into the wee hours of the night before, but I digress.
I think of health and fitness as fluid and cyclical rather than rigid and concrete. What works for one isn’t always best for the next, or even the same person five years later. I wouldn’t necessarily say I’ve “achieved” the ideal weight or body, and I’m always trying to one-up myself and get in better shape than I was before, but I did manage to drop the extra weight and settle into a groove that feels pretty dang healthy. I gotta say though, the journey from those boxed mac and cheese, freshman 15 years to today was certainly a bumpy one. I pretty much tried every quick fix app, pill, diet, cleanse, self-help book on the market. At the end of the day, not a single one made even the slightest impact on me in the long run (although I will say the Sweat with Kayla app and My Fitness Pal are both great. I still use them today!) I didn’t start seeing results until I finally stopped focusing on what I hated or wanted to change about my body and found other reasons to make healthier food and exercise choices. Rather than watching from the couch, I would hop on the treadmill to watch my favorite show. If I needed some fresh air, I’d grab Mika and my ear buds and blast music while going for a jog. Portion control was my biggest food issue, so I made a conscious effort to slow down and eat only when I was hungry instead of slamming down meals during rushed breaks in between work and school. All of these small changes added up and I started noticing my face and arms looked slimmer. Before I knew it, when I would step on the scale (which was and still is, pretty rarely) it reflected these differences too. The little victories were motivating, and it suddenly became very easy to keep it up. Now I don’t even think about it, but I guess I have adopted a “healthy lifestyle” even if I still hate the term. I’m not a robot though, of course I still indulge in desserts, treats, lazy days and Netflix marathons. It’s all about balance.
I know today’s post isn’t exactly chalk full of tips, ideas or “how-to’s” like I normally try to provide. I believe finding that balance is going to feel and look different for everybody, and hopefully just sharing my own experience can be helpful in it’s own way. 🙂 I don’t have a ground breaking weight loss transformation to reveal, but I do feel one thousand percent better in my own skin than I did five years ago. I will continue to share whatever my latest food or fitness obsession is because it’s fun and I enjoy it, but at the end of the day, there’s no single tip or trick that will make you feel or look good. Those abs that people ask me about? I have no secret shake, crunch, or elastic contraption to share. It’s 99% genetics. They were there when I was an eight year old string bean, and five years ago at my heaviest, they were still peaking out! It just goes to show that you can never judge someone based on appearance, or judge yourself based on your perception of them. We can all stand to be a little easier on ourselves and focus on the things and people you love most. I hope you’re all having a great week!