Getting my "healthy me" back
Most of us have goals of being healthy and fit. Unfortunately busy lives combined with convenient, less-than-healthy foods often contradict good nutrition and exercise.
I’m an example.
Growing up, I loved to walk, play tennis, rollerblade, snowboard and bike. I ate well, but didn’t pay real close attention since I was so active. In my late 20’s, things changed.
Workouts started getting lighter and food choices got a little lax. Along with that, my pants started getting a little tighter. I also began using food as a coping mechanism for stress.
I reached a point where I knew I needed to get my former “healthy me” back. I wanted to physically and mentally feel whole again. I met with my physician and after charting my weight for the past six years, it was clear I needed a change. Within the week I had an appointment with a nutritionist.
The first thing I learned was how to eat properly. I not only needed to burn more calories than I took in, I wanted to do it in a healthy way and be sustainable too. I learned how to measure my portions and track calories, fat, fiber and protein to ensure I was eating a balanced diet that was not only healthy, but would keep me satisfied. I kept a food journal to make sure I stayed on track.
The next step was re-evaluating my physical activity. Fortunately for me, exercise was always in my life even when I wasn’t focused on my weight.
I learned that camping out on a treadmill three to four days a week for 40 minutes wasn’t enough. So, I increased my workouts to five days a week for an hour a day. I joined a tennis league and started participating in boot camps, cardio classes and weightlifting. I added strength and cardio to get the best results, and the variety kept things from getting boring. Soon the weight started coming off – one to two pounds a week, to be exact.
I started my journey two years ago in April. I’ve lost 70 pounds and have kept it off for almost a year. It hasn’t been easy. I still carry my food journal and every day is a struggle. I had to find a balance between healthy food and exercise while still occasionally eating "fun” foods. Do I eat pizza, cheeseburgers and fries? Yes, but I’m smarter now about when and how often.
My newest challenge is running races. Not long ago, I hated to run. But I’ve discovered what an effective workout it is, and I like the competition. To date, I’ve completed several 5Ks, two 10Ks and am training for my first half-marathon!
Along my journey, I’ve learned plenty about myself. Even if I don’t always feel great every day, if I try to feel better and do better every moment, it’s easier to make my way to great.
If I can do it, you can, too. Once you make up your mind to do something, you can achieve anything.