Tag Archives: Fitness

Start The Day Off Right

I say this a lot, but the brain?

It’s such a strange thing.

My brain beats me up all of the time. It’s one of my worst enemies and it doesn’t stop, not even when it fights against itself.

Lemme give you an example.

I love sleep. I actually lost friendships over it, in college, because I’d choose to go to bed at midnight so I could get a solid eight hours instead of staying up until 2 or 3 in the morning, like some people in my friend group did, which pissed a few of them off (there was more than that, but that was one of the main issues). That hasn’t changed. Getting a good night’s sleep is important to me and helps me function. As such, I’m sure it’s not a surprise that my snooze button and I are really good friends.

I also enjoy working out. A lot. I love how it’s improved my life, my physical fitness, my appearance and how my mood is improved after every workout. With the way my schedule works–and the way my brain functions–if I plan to work out first thing in the morning, then I have a better chance of actually completing that workout. Because even though I enjoy it immensely, my brain will still try and talk me out of completing it if I try and get a few other things done first. So I always strive to workout as the first thing I do after I wake up.

You can see where this post is going, can’t you?

The issue I’ve been running into is that I hit my snooze button so often, my entire day ends up being thrown out of whack. My goal is to get up at 9am. Getting off work at midnight, getting home and then getting ready for bed, the goal is always to get to sleep by 1am. There you go, a solid eight hours. If I do that, then the rest of my day (usually) runs really smoothly. I have time to workout, shower and do my hair. Time to make dinner to take with me to work. Not to mention a couple spare hours to run errands, pick up the apartment or play video games before I gotta head into work. That’s the ideal goal and accomplishing that sets my day up to be really awesome.

Usa Network GIF by Psych

It makes me feel like this.

Yet recently, I’ve been falling more and more into the trap of not only hitting the snooze button once too many times, but also turning off my alarm completely, so I end up sleeping until 10:30am or even 11am.

Which then, in turns, throws everything off balance.

Suddenly, all the time I had becomes really short, as I have to rush to get a workout in and make dinner, let alone showering, eating lunch and anything else I want/need to accomplish before work. Usually, days like that result in a half-assed or rushed workout, a different meal than I planned to make (because the new, forced choice is the quicker option), not doing my hair and then having no time to play any video games, which is how I like to relax before work. Sometimes, it even results in a skipped workout.

This might not seem like a terribly big deal. I’m still getting to work on time and, as long as I don’t skip my workout, I’m still making progress on all of my goals.

Yet it really changes my mindset and how the day goes.

This morning, for example. I really wanted to make an effort of getting up on time. And I did. I was out of bed by 9:15am, working out by 9:30am. Hell, I was already starting to cook dinner, having worked out, showered, folded laundry and picked up the apartment, by 11am–a time that, two weeks prior, I was waking up and just starting my day with. I had time to shave and do my hair, pick out an outfit that made me feel cute. I played Fallout 4 for over two hours on a nice, rainy day. I got to work feeling refreshed, productive and ready to take on the day. Not tired, regretful or beating myself up for missing another workout or wishing I had more time to play on the PS4 that I haven’t touched in days because I’ve been sleeping too long.

I know there will still be days where I’ll hit the snooze button and sleep in way too late. There will still be days when laziness takes over and, because of that, the rest of the day, I feel sluggish. But I’m hoping–planning–to keep making a conscious effort to purposefully choose to make the most out of every day. And one of the best ways I know to do that is to start the day off right–and on time.

Cheers.

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Just That Mental Game

I’m pretty sure I’ve written about this topic before, so I’ll try not to rant about it too much here. But, you know me: when I need to get something off my chest, half the time, if I don’t blog about it, then it ends up festering, and that’s not helpful or enjoyable for anyone involved.

I want to talk about losing weight.

Specifically, my journey to do that and how half the time, it’s a bigger mental game than anything else. And most of the time, it’s that mental game that is more detrimental or harder to deal with than any lifestyle change I’ve made since I started seriously pursuing this journey, a little over a year ago.

You see, I’ve lost 30 pounds out of my 40 pound goal. I knew the last ten pounds would be hard to lose, but they’ve been particularly troublesome, especially since I haven’t really gotten to work out much, thanks to the cold weather and the fact that I’m not to the point where I’ll work out, regardless of how cold it gets (and honestly, I’ll probably never get to that point). I’ve gain a little and lost it again, but mostly maintained. Which is a good thing, but I find myself getting frustrated that I haven’t really made any forward progress on losing those last ten pounds.

There are a couple of reasons for that, honestly.

One, I haven’t ran consistently since November, which is a huge aspect (and was the only element, for most of this) of my working out routine. I haven’t eaten less to make up for the calories I’m not burning, so it makes sense that I’m maintaining, instead of losing.

I also started doing some strength training, so even if I was stuck indoors, I wouldn’t just be sitting around and doing nothing. Not nearly as high in calorie burn as running, but after only doing that routine for a little over a month, I’ve felt my body change in the way it looks and is shaped. I’ve felt myself get stronger. So there’s a good chance that some of that weight I have now is muscle weight, instead of fat.

I also still have splurge days. Granted, I will admit I could do a better job at not going completely overboard, when those days come up (usually Saturdays, if not the entire weekend, when I don’t have a routine that I follow as much), but I do have those, because sometimes, I just want to eat a little extra and be a little lazy. And that’s totally okay, too, even if it slows down my progress a little bit.

All in all, I’m not doing too badly.

Yet I keep fixating on that number on the scale, how I still haven’t “truly” achieved my goal, since I haven’t hit the number I initially set out to hit.

You know and I know it.

That’s bullshit.

I may not have lost 40 pounds, but I have lost 30. My weight may fluctuate a little bit, but I have keep up a consistent workout routine and changed my eating habits to be healthier and more conducive to the lifestyle I want to live and the body I want to have. I have proved to myself that I can create this lifestyle and keep it up, even when I make mistakes or have to recover some lost ground when I slip up. I have developed a confidence and a self-love with my body that I’ve never had before.

I’d say I’ve achieved a damn lot, even if that number on the scale still isn’t exactly where I want it to be. Even if I have cheat days that sometimes go overboard, like last weekend. Even though my own brain tries to diminish my progress by pointing out what I haven’t yet achieved, thus also trying to derail my ability in attempting to achieve those lingering goals, before I make new ones.

I should be proud of all of that, instead of beating myself up for a bad eating day, a missed workout or that number on the scale. Because at the end of the day, I’m putting in the work, I’m creating a lifestyle I enjoy, I’m happy with who I am and I can look in the mirror without cringing.

And that’s pretty damn important, too.

Cheers.


A Reality Check, In Two Parts

There are a lot of reasons why I’m really excited for spring to get here: the warm weather, to not feel cold all of the time, not having to worry about trying to drive in the snow, getting to wear tank tops again, the huge fluffy clouds and feeling of renewal with the sun shining every day…

…to run again.

I won’t lie: ever since I started taking fitness and the shape of my body seriously, I got seriously concerned about surviving the winter months. Especially since I can’t afford a gym membership and running outside was just not a option, with how cold it gets here and the less than ideal pavement conditions. Over the holidays, I did really well, only fluctuating between a pound and two. I was still walking over 5,000 steps a day, which is not ideal, but it’s better than nothing.

Then, I got sick with the flu and hardly moved at all for two weeks. And this past week, I ate worse than I have in…well, a long time. Don’t get me wrong: the food was good, but I completely threw out all of the lessons I’d learned, through Naturally Slim, which were some key components to the healthier lifestyle (and weight loss that accompanied) I was creating.

I had to force myself to weigh this morning, because I knew it wasn’t going to be pretty.

It was, “You just gained five pounds in one week” kinda ugly.

I wasn’t that surprised, honestly. It reflected the time after being sick and not moving, not eating well and not taking the best care of myself, while also trying to get back to being 100% health wise to begin with. On top of that, there was also a lack of willpower, when I’d snack even though I wasn’t hungry, drink my calories and just eat poorly, even though I knew, mentally, that wasn’t what my body needed or had become accustomed to.

I’m absolutely 100% disappointed in myself.

Today, I returned back to the principles I knew. I’ve been drinking water, I got back to my normal eating schedule (and logging my food, something I haven’t been doing, either) and am back eating within my needed calorie range. I also did some indoor exercises today that aren’t going to help with weight loss, but I want to get stronger and strengthen some muscles, and these are exercises I want to incorporate into my routine, once I’m able to run again, so I’m doing cardio and weights. Plus, working up at least some sweat was needed.

I did all of this instead of beating myself up (too much) or giving into despair and diving even worse, abandoning everything I learned and worked for in the past year.

In that way, I’m proud of myself. The scale provided me with the reality check of how easy it is to let your habits slip between your fingers and how easy it is to slip up.

Yet I also got the reality check that I’m putting too much pressure on the number on that scale.

Honestly, looking in the mirror, I’m not seeing too much a difference, physically, now that I added those five pounds back. Granted, I still plan on getting rid of them (and more besides, to reach my end goal), but I’m not suddenly the whale I feel like. I do feel not as well, though. I’m getting hungrier easier and I can tell I’m wanting to eat more, even though I know I don’t need to. Yet I know, I continue to work and shape my body the way I want and that number on the scale was the same as it is now, I’d be okay with that, because I’m still looking and feeling the way I want.

So why am I beating myself up so much now?

I think about this a lot, this change I’ve made in my life. I stress about it often, as well; fearing going back to where I once was, where this wasn’t an important aspect of my life. I actually really enjoy it. I like being in charge of how my body looks and feels (as much as I can) and shaping it into something I’m proud of. Yet I don’t like getting stressed out over it; for beating myself up when I slip up or when my progress falters ever so slightly. Five pounds is a lot, yes, but it isn’t something I can’t conquer. Plus, I learned how strong my willpower will have to be in the winter (or how I’ll have to adjust my wallet to make having a gym membership a necessity, in the future), which is a good lesson to learn, too, even if it means I have more work ahead of me to reach my ultimate goal.

It’s always a learning process, deciding to take your health in your hands and getting into fitness. Honestly, though? Learning to be forgiving is probably the hardest lesson I’ve encountered so far. Right now, all I want to do is beat myself up for messing up, but really?

I’m still doing just fine.

Cheers.


Just Breathe

Sometimes, I just put way too much pressure on myself.

Losing weight is definitely one of those areas.

It’s been a really exciting feeling, seeing the pounds slowly slip off the scale. A first, for sure, especially of this magnitude. I’ve finally find a rhythm, though I’m still figuring out a few kinks. Testing different workout routines and stretching exercises, resetting my set point and hunger levels, adjusting to my constantly changing summer work schedule and still trying to figure out how to not go over my calorie goal on the weekends, are a few of those kinks I’m still hoping to hammer out.

Oh and not putting so much pressure on myself to continue losing weight.

I didn’t really realize how much pressure was weighing me down until I noticed a pattern, these past few weeks. If I miss a run, I immediately feel guilt. If I eat some mozzarella sticks at Sonic, I instantly feel like a cow. Every Monday morning, I have a sick feeling in my gut when I go to weigh myself. I’m constantly nervous that I’m going to gain the weight that I’ve lost back or that the progress I’ve made isn’t real.

And I’m not really sure why I’m feeling that way. Why I’m so scared if I gain a little weight back or if it takes me a while to drop down to 160 pounds. I’m putting so much pressure on myself to keep up this success, acting like if I experience one hiccup or one bump in the road, I’ll completely derail any forward progress and go back to hating the way I look instead of learning to love myself as I have these past six months.

But here’s the thing: my weight is going to fluctuate all the time. One day I could be two pounds heavier than I was yesterday and the next day, I could be a pound lighter than I was when I last weighed. That’s okay. That’s normal. So I shouldn’t be freaking out that it has taken me three weeks to lose one pound when I was averaging two-three pounds. I shouldn’t be so concerned or panicked that I’m going to gain a couple pounds back. I shouldn’t feel like, if I do, I’ve suddenly “lost” and it will be impossible to get back on track.

Because I’m smarter than I was before. I know about portion control and eating when I’m hungry and stopping when I’m full. I’ve come to love running again and enjoy the sensation of pushing myself to run a little faster or jog that extra mile (literally). I have a lot more control of what goes into my body and how active I am and I know how to live a healthy lifestyle. So even if every day isn’t the best example of implementing that knowledge doesn’t mean I’m not working towards creating healthy habits and choices for life.

Also, I need to take a step back and look at my real goal, here. Is it a number on the scale or is it living a healthy lifestyle? Is it losing X amount of pounds or is it working hard to sculpt a body I’m proud of and love in the mirror, regardless of that number? Though reaching 160 pounds would be nice, at this point, I’m just happy to be living a healthy lifestyle. If I continue living healthier and stay at 179 like I am right now, then that’s totally fine. Because I’m starting to love my body and the way it looks, even if there are still some things I’d change. And that’s an amazing feeling, too.

So a reminder to me, from me: just breathe. Focus every day on doing what makes you happy and keeping that happiness flowing. Stop focusing so much on weight and numbers and miles and steps and calories. While all those things are important, living life is ever more so. You’ll find the balance you need between the two. For now, just breathe.

Cheers.


Running Anxiety

I’m not sure how long you could actually label me a runner, but I’ve had runner’s anxiety for as long as I could remember.

It’s a really stupid feeling where you’re worried about what everyone else thinks concerning your own running style.

For the longest time, this anxiety was so intense, I would actually avoid running at all costs. I couldn’t run at the gym because it was always so crowded, everyone could see me, everyone else running would most likely lap me and inevitably everyone at the gym wouldn’t be focused on their own workouts or striving to achieve their own goals; no, obviously they’d be too focused on watching me and judging me. Running outside was off the table, too, because even though it’s less crowded, you never know when you’ll pass another runner and then you spend the rest of your run worrying about their impression of you.

Stupid, right?

Yet that fear was so real. For a very long time. So I wouldn’t run. And because running was my favorite form of exercise, this meant I just wouldn’t do any physical activity at all. I was too concerned with what everyone else thought. About my running form and whether I was doing it properly or not. About my physical appearance and how I was “too big” to run, how you can see my thighs jiggle or my arm flab shake, how my face gets really red, my breathing labored and my entire body just becomes a sweat bucket. About my running speed and how when I claim to be running, I’m actually jogging or fast walking at a really quick pace (which translates to running at a really slow one). On average, it takes me between 14-15 minutes to run a mile. Not very fast.

For years, I let all these concerns of fleeting judgments and the opinions of strangers stop me from achieving weight loss and strength building goals surrounding my own body that I had for just as many years as I did the anxiety, if not even longer.

But then last November, my heart was a little confused and a lotta hurt by this guy who ghosted on me. I’d cried too many tears, yet a mix of emotions was still raging inside of me and I just wanted to be rid of them, and crying wasn’t doing the trick. I had no idea how to release them. So I went for a run.

And for the rest of that day, felt amazing.

 running dogs puppy parade GIF

Not all of us can be this cute when running. Or smile and run at the same time. 

Granted, my heart still hurt and my body was sore as hell, but I experienced something I hadn’t in years, the main reason I love running in the first place: that natural, endorphin-driven high you get after running, i.e., the runner’s high. I didn’t realize how much I missed that feeling. So I kept running, for five weeks straight, before winter’s cold kinda ruined my groove. And though I haven’t had a streak that long since, I have been running more consistently since November, even if more consistently is only one or two runs a week.

It’s July.

If you read last week’s post, you’ll see there has been some progress made in my self-love journey thanks to that change. Progress that could have been made years ago, if I could have ignored my anxiety and pushed forward anyway. Because honestly? That anxiety was really pointless. Nine times out of ten, any other runners aren’t thinking about you at all when they pass you on the trail. If they do, the thought or judgment is fleeting, at best. At worst, it might be a comment like, “I saw this slow runner on the path today” they bring up to their family at dinner, but hopefully, it’s followed by a positive spin like, “but I was really impressed that I saw them on that trail. It’s obvious they were trying.”

Because here’s the thing, friends. So what if I’m a really slow runner? So what if my body jiggles when I run? So what if I don’t pump my arms enough or my strides are short instead of long? The only point is: I’m running. I am trying. Sure, a 15-minute mile isn’t exactly impressive generally, but for me personally, all I care about is that I completed that mile. And then ran another (and if I’m feeling really motivated, even a third mile in one run). It’s about completion, not speed.

The most ironic thing is, any time I see a runner, whether while I’m running, too, or just out on the street while I’m driving by, I’ve never once judged them. Usually, my reactions spanned from being super impressed, being super jealous or feeling guilt that I wasn’t out there running, too. Quite frankly, the larger the person, the more impressed I was, because I understood how difficult that was for them, yet they were doing it anyway. Who knows how many times I’ve motivated a stranger to push a little harder or impressed someone because I was out there running? Not to mention the number of waves, smiles or thumbs up I’ve gotten from other people during running. Or how amazing I feel afterwards. It’s gotten to the point that, when I didn’t run at all last week, my mood actually blackened and depression kinda took a hold of me again. That’s how important running has become to me.

Looking back at all the anxiety I felt–which was very real, but not very logical–I could almost laugh, but I mostly just shake my head and wish I’d conquered my own mind a little bit sooner and didn’t wait until running was my last resort and only option to release some pent up emotions. I can’t lie and say there aren’t times when I’m passed by a really fit runner or I’m just having an off-day, that anxiety doesn’t creep up again and whisper in my ear.

I’m pretty jazzed that I’m now able to tell it to shut up and keep on running.

Cheers.


One of the Neatest Things

Since last November, I’ve lost 19 pounds.

That’s something I never thought I’d write, let alone be my reality.

It is…one of the neatest things.

Part of me wants to apologize for even writing this post, because how braggy can someone get? Yet if you’ve ever stumbled upon this blog or have followed it for years, chances are, you’ve read a post about depression and self-hatred. You’ve read about the struggle I’ve had loving myself, most particularly the way I look. You’d know I’ve been fighting this battle for a long, long time.

You understand how monumental this feels for me.

So my apologies if I brag here for a moment.

 disney supernatural sherlock marvel dean winchester GIF

Like I have so many times before, last November, I told myself, “You need to lose weight. You need to become healthy. You need to create a body that you can look in the mirror and love.” For my height, the healthy weight range is 140-165. My goal has always been to get to 160 pounds and as the years have gone by, the amount of weight I’ve needed to lose to reach that point has only continued to increase. In high school, I was around 185 pounds, but by my senior year of college, I had finally hit that dreaded (to me) point and passed into the 200 range. I had reached the point where I had to lose 40 pounds to get to the higher end of my healthy weight range. I felt hopeless and discouraged in a lot of ways. That sort of weight loss was impossible to achieve.

Eight months later, I’m at 181 pounds. One more pound shed and I’ll be halfway to my goal. Two pounds and I’ll be in the 170s. If I lose a pound a week, I could reach my goal by Thanksgiving. Of this year.

Friends, I am floored at this progress. At this milestone. Of wanting the same thing for so long and finally actually doing something to achieve it. I’m floored to actually be able to feel and see the difference. I’m floored that, every once in the while, I look in the mirror and I smile at what I see. There is still plenty I want to change, but damn if I’m not stoked at where I’m at right now. The lowest weight I’ve been since I was in high school. Shaping the body that I want.

The journey itself has been a bit of a whirlwind. There were plenty of weeks where I gained weight or fluctuated between gaining and losing the same few pounds. There have been weeks where I’ve killed every fitness and eating goal I’ve put ahead of me and weeks where the only movement I got was reaching into the chip bag while sitting on my couch. It’s been a lot of trial and error to figure out what works for me and what doesn’t. There’s been times when I’ve had to forgive myself and times I knew I needed to push harder. I know that this journey will continue to change and evolve, as it’s one I’ll have for the rest of my life, because it certainly doesn’t end once I hit 160. I know there will always be hiccups and struggles and roadblocks and setbacks. That’s okay.

But for the first time ever, I’m confident that I’ll also see progress.

That is…one of the neatest things.

So thank you for your support. For encouraging me and challenging me in this journey. For telling me I’m worthy no matter what my size is (because that’s a capital T Truth). And thanks in advance for the future support and the understanding when I decline that dessert you offer or don’t go back for seconds, even though that food was bomb. It’s a lifestyle change that I’m so excited I’ve finally taken control of and I think it’ll always be a work-in-progress, but your encouragement, support and understanding is phenomenal. And I couldn’t do it without you.

Oh, and just for fun (and because I am so frugal and never spend money on anything), I also wanted to share my rewards for the next 20 pounds to lose. I think having a little extra incentive never hurt anyone, especially as I have a feeling the second 20 pounds might be harder to lose than the first.

  • 20 Pounds: New Tattoo
    • Granted, I’d already planned to get this one in August, but I’m going to cheat and count it as my reward.
  • 30 Pounds: Mass Effect Sweatshirt
    • This one might seem silly, but I’ve been eyeing this Mass Effect sweatshirt for many, many months. And it’s $60, which might not be a lot to you, but that’s always been unjustifiable to me. And I think losing 30 pounds is more than enough justification to get a kickass hoodie that I’ll never take off once I own it.
  • 40 Pounds: Die Hair
    • Again, I hate spending money, but especially on “frivolous” things like doing my hair (even though I feel so fantastic after getting it done). It gets expensive and a lot of the time, I just can’t let myself do it when I should be saving my money. But I’ve always wanted to die my hair darker professionally, even though doing so and getting it cut, too, is a bit pricey. But reaching the weight I never thought I’d reach and having my hair look amazing? Yes, please.

If you have some goals or dreams that you’ve always wanted to achieve but never seem to reach that finish line, I really encourage you to take a scary look at what you’re actually doing to achieve them. Before last November, while the dream of loving my body was very real, the actions I was taking to make it a reality were non-existent and thus, the dream was out of reach. And trust me: you want to know what it feels like to work towards what you believe to be impossible dreams and see yourself make progress, with the knowledge that you yourself are the reason you’re achieving them.

It really is one of the neatest things.

Cheers.


The Little Things

When you’re trying to change the way you’re body looks, it’s so easy to get caught up on the numbers on the scale; so easy to get frustrated when you fluctuate between losing and gaining, when you can’t get past that one number or, worse, when you trip up and gain everything back you lost in the weeks prior. It’s easy, when you’re still so far away from your goal, to still look in the mirror and notice all the ways you still need to change and improve; how much work is still ahead of you. It’s easy to maintain old habits and continue to avoid mirrors all together, to get discouraged when your weight goes up instead of down, to feel queasy when you weigh yourself to begin with or to wonder if you’re ever going to reach your goal.

It’s easy to focus and nitpick the little things.

The way your legs still look like cottage cheese. Those love handles that stick out over your pants. The stretch marks. The way your triceps are still flabby. How your calves only look slim at certain angles. Your thighs rub together. Your back fat. How no part of you looks good good in pictures.

You nitpick so much that those little things become something bigger, to the point where you get discouraged, you lose hope or you give up all together.

It’s not as easy to focus on the little things that matter.

Like how the scale went down .2 pounds since last time. How you cut off 10 seconds off your mile time or ran for five more minutes. Adding weight when you’re lifting. How you don’t breathe as hard walking up the stairs. The way you sometimes pause to look at how your jeans fit in the mirror. The slight definition you feel in your muscles, even if you can’t actually see it yet. The moment when you buy a pair of shorts instead of capris to wear over the summer or you wear that two piece despite how your love handles stick out. How you can wear a skirt and your thighs don’t chafe, even though they’re touching.

There are two paths of thought being described, here: the path looking at how far you need to go and the path looking at how far you’ve already come. The former can be dangerous, even detrimental, towards achieving your goals. It’s dark, and once you step onto it, it’s very easy to continue on until you don’t remember the light anymore. The latter is well lit and promising, encouraging you to push forward, no matter how long it takes or how small the proof of progress is. It’s also the harder of the two to choose, especially consistently.

But you must.

In my fitness journey, I get so caught up looking at all the ways I still want to improve that I forget to appreciate how far I’ve already come, only six months in. Sure, the progress is small and the journey is still long, but the progress is present. And if I quit now, I’ll have no second, hopeful path to strive towards. Instead, I’ll slip into a third path of regrets, laden with What ifs, as all I can notice is how I went backwards, instead of forward–even if going forward includes fluctuating numbers on the scale, cheat days with sweets, still avoiding the mirror and feeling like you’re never going to make it. Because if you push forward, if you continue to choose hope and work and effort, you’ll make it. You will.

I want to be excited for a year from now, two years from now, five years from now, to be able to see and feel exactly what traveling down the path of little things that mattered helped me achieve; to reach the goals I’ve had for most of my life yet never reached.

Here’s to the little things, both the ones that push me and the ones that try–and fail–to stop me.

Cheers.