Forget Diets – Work Out – Look Good – Get Healthy – New Year 2013

While driving to work this morning, I had already decided that our standard lot would most likely be full, so I decided to park in a different lot. Big mistake… The lot I chose was in front of a gym and it was full. Although I commend people for beginning the New Year with great intentions, I am well aware that in one month, the lot will once again be fairly empty in the morning.

I remember being unhappy with my weight. I recall having to buy “one size up” on shopping excursions. I also remember that I had 2 children back to back. After having my daughters, I never felt worse about my body. Although on the exterior, I may not have looked overweight, I was certain that I didn’t like how I did look. I do not like the term diet. In fact, I believe that when it is used, the word attaches a stigma to your psyche and everything you eat or do attaches itself to the word… DIET… ugh! Nothing about it sounds good and rarely does it bring a smile to anyone’s face (unless you are the type of person who enjoys other’s not being happy with themselves, in which case, you are a sadist in my humble opinion).

I decided pretty quickly that I could not stand the site of myself any further and was on a mission to lose the weight. I wanted to look and feel healthy again. I needed to do it for myself. Although I desperately wanted to go to the gym, I wasn’t ready. Emotionally, I felt that in order for me to feel good at the gym and want to work out, I needed to feel a little better about myself. I realize that may be backwards thinking for some but honestly, it is how I felt and that is what mattered. If I didn’t do things on my terms, I never would.

The first step I needed to take was to start eating better and losing some weight. My biggest problem… In my heart, I truly believed that I was eating well. After a bit of coaxing, my friend convinced me to join weight watchers. I joined on line because I didn’t have the time to go to meetings, etc. Joining on-line was one of the best things I ever did. Through Weight Watchers, I began to understand portion control and the fundamentals of healthy eating. Since I didn’t go to meetings, I did not feel compelled to purchase the Weight Watchers brand of food. The food I chose was generally fresh and not processed. I’m not discounting frozen food but know that I have a tendency to be lazy and if I went the frozen food route, I may never have stopped.

The first few days were the most difficult. Convincing my body that I would survive without consuming a small pizza by myself at lunch was not easy. After the first week though, my stomach shrunk a bit (yes, that quickly), because I didn’t feel so hungry all the time. I was learning portion control! I also gained a few pounds… yup! Fortunately, I had been speaking to another friend who told me that would most likely happen. He had mentioned that gaining a pound or two at the beginning of a new routine was not abnormal and not to get discouraged. The second week was the beginning of a slow and steady decline in my weight. Each week, I had a 1 to 3 pound drop in weight. After about 3 months, my weight seemed to plateau. Since I felt a little better about myself, I decided it was time to hit the gym. I stayed on weight watchers for 6 months although what I learned would stay with me and be incorporated in my diet forever.

Cardio was never something I enjoyed even though I knew it would help me. I started with the elliptical and an iPod. Then, I decided to learn how to use weights properly. I could have gone straight for the nautilus machines but I still did not “really” know how to work out. I scheduled a personal training session with one of the consultants at our gym. My first one hour session was free and I learned more in that one session than I ever imagined. The personal trainer gave me a routine to follow which targeted different body parts depending on the day. He informed me that my muscles needed to relax after a workout and the method I had in my head (full body workout every day I went to the gym), was not necessarily the best option for my goals. That was the key… he understood my goals and structured my routine based on what I wanted for an end result. I found that cardio was not the only thing that would get me skinny and fit and that lifting weights would work as well. I never took cardio out of my routine but did start switching it up and making it more fun. Rather than a 45 minute session on the elliptical, I started on the bike, switching to the elliptical. Rather than follow the same pattern daily, my cardio routine became more fun because I began changing the pace and intensity during my workouts. Working out became addictive. Incorporating cardio, free weights and nautilus into my daily routine brought enough variation so I rarely got bored.

Eating well and working out were became a huge part of my life. I remember disbelieving people who stated they never felt better or had more energy than when they took care of themselves. Well, they proved me wrong. I had never felt better, happier or had more energy than when I ate right and started working out. I promised myself and preached to the world that I would never stop working out, eating right and staying active… until I did. I stopped taking care of myself as well for just over a year. It’s amazing how easy it is to become lazy, stop working out and eat badly. Although I started prior to the New Year, I am happy to say that I am back on my health kick and I feel great again.

Below are some books that have kept my goal weight steady and given me great ideas for food plans, healthy eating and keep me motivated!

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