Friday, April 26, 2013

The Secret

So lately everyone's been asking me "what's your secret?". I laugh a little on the inside every time. I have no secret, being/getting healthy isn't some secret... It's pretty obvious actually: eat right and exercise. See, no secret! All too often we make excuses about why we can't so the simplest things, believe me, I know. I'm too tired, my foot hurts, I already took my bra off for the day (come on girls, you KNOW you've said this one a time or two!).

The truth is, you can either keep making the excuses or you can start to make the time to take care of yourself. It's a choice, you just have to make the right one. I made two choices: MAKE the time to exercise and find a useful way to keep track of what you eat.

EXERCISE: If you have an hour to waste on Facebook or Pinterest, then you have an hour to spend on exercise. Choices. "But I live like 20 minutes away from the gym or it's cold outside." Excuses. If you can't get to a gym or you aren't into/able to go outside, drop a little $ on an awesome workout DVD and some small weights. Jillian Michaels: crazy and scary, but awesome easy workouts! Or maybe use your late night Pinterest time to "pin" the links to the zillions of free online at home workouts (many require nothing but your body weight). BOOM, excuse is now invalid!

FOOD: fruits, veggies, lean protein... all good things you need, but how do you know at you're eating is really GOOD for you? How do you know you've eaten the right balance of calories, fats, carbs and gotten in the essential vitamins and nutrients you need? Now do you know if you've had too much? There are all kinds of ways people manage food intake. When I first started out, I became a huge fan of calorie tracking and thanks to smart phones, an app made it super convenient and easy!

If it goes in your mouth, it goes in your app. Every last little thing you eat or drink in the day. There's no sense in leaving something out so your "count" looks good. It went in your mouth, it's going to make its way to your hips, butt, etc... Put it in your log and learn from your habits.

About 2 years ago, after many years of constant digestive issues I finally found a doctor who put something real to my problems: a gluten allergy. I cut it out (well mostly, sometimes I cheat and eat something I shouldn't and regret it later- physical regret, not mental regret haha). Making that change really forced a change in my overall eating habits. Less unnecessary carbs, like pasta loaded with sauce, and more healthy foods, like fruits and veggies. (DISCLAIMER: I do not recommend a gluten free life as a fad diet, only go this route when medically necessary.). I really felt like my eating habits were fine. When I started using the app, I was shocked... At how much I was UNDER eating. Yes, under eating. Days when I barely had 1,000 calories. I didn't necessarily feel hungry on those days, but seeing those numbers made me realize how unhealthy can go both ways. I upped the calories and made sure I did it in a healthy way. I shoot for around 1,400 on average every day. That still seems low to me, but it's comprised of solid servings of lean protein, fruits, and veggies. 1,400 "good" calories feels a heck of a lot better in you than 1,400 calories of crap does! Each person is an individual and you need to research how much food YOU need based in your lifestyle, activity level, size, etc. keeping track of what you eat keeps you honest about what you're doing.

So there you go, there's the big secret! I'll post some of my daily food logs another day, check back!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Super Star!!

Gym Super Star, right here (toot toot my own horn!).  If you go to Golds @ Willow Lawn (or just want to go in there and see how awesome I am) check out the wall above the cubbies or the Personal Trainers desk and see your gal!

When I first started down this road, I planned to blog about it.  Well, actually I planned to keep a running word document to be posted later.  Like many other good intentioned ideas, I forgot to write anything more than my initial post.  So, I’ve gone back and put it into past tense and added my current reflection of life at the gym over the past 6 months.  It’s a long post, but I hope that someone who comes across it, friend or stranger, finds some level of inspiration and hope for themselves.  Here it is:

Back at the end of September some friends got together for a little visit, as always, we took the standard “girl group pic” and as always, someone posted it on Facebook.  I cried.  Seriously, tears rolling down my cheeks.  Why this picture, why now? I don’t know.  There are tons of pictures of myself I’ve hated over the past years.  In general I tried to hide in the back, no easy feat when you’re short!  In my head I knew what size I was and what I really looked like.  Standing in front of the mirror I could twist and bend and convince myself I wasn’t as big as I really was.  Pictures don’t lie and this one was staring me in the face.

After the tears dried up, I decided to join the gym.  Walking in that door was honestly one of the most difficult days of my life, but I had to face the demon.  All day I debated whether or not to sign up for personal training.  I really couldn’t afford it, but I decided it was worth the expense to get my life back together.  I was genuinely scared of the gym and a nervous wreck all day the first day I met with the trainer.  Pretty quickly during that workout I realized how truly out of shape I was.  Everything seemed impossible and at that moment I thought maybe I’d made a mistake.  Wouldn’t staying fat and unhealthy just be easier?  Of course my excessively logical side kicked in and I realized that it’s not.

Soon enough the training became fun and I really loved the weekly push to lift something heavier, do something better, and go a little farther.  Pretty soon the hard work started to pay off.  Each week got a little more challenging, in a positive way!  The area I dubbed “the man room” (aka the weight room) became my second home.  I was secretly motivated by all the crazy meatheads back there.  Not that I want to be a Jersey Shore-esque kinda gal, but seeing even the weakest looking guys back there made me want to push myself and be strong… for a girl of course! 

As I reflect back on the past 6 months or so, I think about the things that really made me feel like I made it and I could keep making it.  Making life better, making myself better, making this journey better.
1.      The 1st time I bought pants a size smaller
2.      The 2nd, 3rd times, 4th times I bought smaller pants!
3.      The day I took 10 bags stuffed full of clothes to Goodwill.
4.      The day squats became a piece of cake (so of course the trainer was like, oh let’s add weight to this… hm, great!)
5.      The day I benched more than just the 45 lb bar (65lbs, whoo, haha!)
6.      The day I ran 5 minutes without stopping.  Then the day I ran 10.  I’m by no means a runner, but I’m working on building up to being one!

I know my trainer will probably never see this, because honestly I’m a little embarrassed by just putting it out there in the blogosphere, I couldn’t imagine showing it to him.  Never the less, I am so grateful for him (and yes I've told him that!) and all his encouragement, motivation, and never ending faith that I could do it!  I am forever indebted to him to teaching me how to be an effective exerciser.  I’ve become a better person for it!  I can’t sing the praises of personal trainers enough for anyone out there who’s thinking about getting fit!  It is seriously the best investment you can make in yourself.

6 months, 40 pounds, 15% body fat, 4 dress sizes…. GONE!  The journey hasn’t ended yet, I’m just on to bigger and better goals.   Okay, now I’m crying again, but this time they are happy tears!

New goals for 2013:
1.      Do 5 legit pull ups all on my own
2.      20 good, easy push-ups not on my knees 
3.      Run a 5 or 10k

If the girl who complained her way through high school PE, makes every excuse in the world, and would rather be lazy can do it... you can do it!  Love, Anne :)