I learned something about myself today, I used to be obese. I knew I was overweight but I failed to realize that the weight I gained after my younger brother Scott passed away put me into the bracket that the CDC categorizes as obese.
It's really easy for me to sit here today, having lost the weight, and tell you that making a healthy lifestyle change isn't impossible. I realize that. When I was at my heaviest, I used to look at photos of people before and after their lifestyle changes and I wouldn't feel inspired or motivated. They made me feel hopeless and intimidated. I knew where to start, I just didn't believe I was capable of making any sort of change. I didn't believe that I would ever be a weight loss success story.
Losing over 75 pounds was anything but easy and it took months and months of work. I ate nothing but proper portion sizes of lean proteins, fruits, and vegetables, dragged myself to a gym 6 days a week, and I had to work on my own personal self perception. I'm not a Doctor or a professional in the industry. I'm just a woman who went through it but I wanted to give a few pieces of advice to anyone looking to make a change.
1. Set small, tiny, weekly goals.
A 75 pound weight loss goal felt impossible but goals like sitting on a stationary bike for 30 minutes a day, 6 days a week felt attainable. When I had my specific plan of attack, I only had to focus on each day at hand and I wouldn't feel discouraged when I realized how much further I had to go.
2. Plan for success.
Whenever I hear the word "diet", I immediately think about depriving or starving myself. When I say diet, I mean the foods you fuel your body with. Get specific and plan your meals and snacks ahead of time. I used to plan, prep, prepare, and measure every single meal and snack a week in advance on Sunday. That way, I didn't have to worry about getting too busy during the week.
If I'm being honest, I ate a lot of the same things. I'd make enough roasted veggies and grilled chicken to last me the week and I'd change the salads up with different types of salad dressing. Sometimes I'd have balsamic vinegar or pesto. It was a pretty boring diet but it tasted good and I knew it was working.
3. Stop dreading your workouts.
I wish I could go back in time and tell myself that running isn't impossible, it just isn't easy. When you're first getting active, regardless of what you're doing be it running, spinning, or spending time on an elliptical, it's going to be really, really hard. Don't be afraid to take walking breaks if you feel like you're dying. There's nothing to be embarrassed or ashamed about. EVERYONE has to start somewhere and the fact that you're showing up is something to celebrate. The hardest part about any fitness routine is getting used to the mental game. Give yourself time to adjust and develop those mental muscles. Be patient.
I love running because it's goal oriented. When I know I have a finish line as a deadline, I don't find excuses not to do it. Try a couch to 5K, 10K, or half marathon and sign up for an actual race. Start slow, finish strong. You can do it.
4. Start looking in the mirror and loving what you see.
It doesn't matter if you're trying to lose weight or not, every time you catch your reflection in a mirror (YES, EVERY SINGLE TIME) say something you like about yourself. Paying attention to the things that make you smile instead of the things you wish you could change will change your life. It takes time and it feels really uncomfortable and honestly slightly devastating at first, but stick with it. It's important. Treat yourself with respect. You already are the best version of yourself possible.
5. Start today.
Saying I'll start tomorrow is a death sentence. There will always be an excuse not to do something. Make it happen.
Don't be afraid to fail! Working out isn't something you should do to lose weight. It's something we should all do to make ensure that we're putting our strongest, happiest, and healthiest foot forward.
The biggest lesson I've learned is that your weight doesn't define you. It's not indicative of who you are as a person or how you treat yourself. Shit happens. Life is really, really, really hard. I don't regret the weight I gained after my brother passed away. If I could go back in time, I wouldn't do anything differently. I'm a stronger and more compassionate person because I've endured what I've experienced and today, I understand that weight is just a number. What's most important is how you feel.
Health isn't one size fits all. Never again will I aspire to look a certain way. I could care less about beauty standards, all I care about is that I feel strong, happy, and healthy. Chasing impossible goals may not be easy, but anything worth doing isn't going to be easy. Ready or not, just say yes. There will never be a right time to get started.
The Chicago Marathon is going to be here before we know it! If you've been enjoying my BQ Or Bust journey, I encourage you to show your support with a $10 donation to Save the Children, the charity I've teamed up with to run both the Chicago Marathon and New York City Marathon with. They help children both here in the United States and all over the world get medicine, food, water, and opportunities. I'm really proud to be able to help raise money for such a great cause because no child should ever have to suffer. Every kid deserves a fighting chance and Save the Children is making that possible.
Thank you for your donation and thank you from the bottom of my heart for coming on this journey with me. It hasn't been easy but I feel nothing but love and support from every single one of you and that makes me want to fight that much harder.
Until next time, #RunSelfieRepeat.