“From 0 – 100 in Ten Months”
While this is not so great when you are talking about a car, I’m pretty happy to say this describes my weight loss and fitness journey. 10 months ago I was 321.8 pounds, unhappy, tired, sore, and felt like garbage. I had bought a gym membership in January, but I had only used it once. I knew I wanted to change, and get healthier and more importantly, not develop Type II diabetes or drop dead from a heart attack, but I had no idea where to even start. I knew it was going to be more than just food that I had to control. I had to add activity; but where to start. This is what I’ve learned over the past 10 months:
- Ask for help – I knew 10 months ago I needed help…so I contacted a personal trainer, I joined weight watchers and I asked tons of questions and learned as much as I could, and I continue to learn new things every day. I work with my trainer 3 to 5 days a week, but for me that is what I need. He has taught me so much about fitness and strength and listening to my body. Best decision I have ever made!
- Set goals – little ones, big ones, audacious goals, downright scary ones… just set them. And then track your progress, share your victories, celebrate your successes. Nothing was more sobering than to admit I wanted to lose 171.8lbs or 53.4% of myself. But there were other goals as well that did not revolve around the scale – being more fit, eating better, drinking more water. Break the big scary ones down into smaller more manageable chunks.
- Commit to it – I recommit to this every day. I use positive self talk, I schedule my workout time in my calendar every day, I prep meals and food ahead of time so I have no excuse to not follow my eating plan and I make myself a priority. Commitment and motivation are an everyday thing.
- Own it – this is all about me and for me. Make it all about you.
- Reward yourself – but not with food – I’ve given myself new stuff for the gym, books, spa appointments, hair appointments, new tops, new outfits. It doesn’t have to be big, just something that will motivate you. My reward for hitting my 100 – I’m going zip lining while I’m on my vacation in Mexico!!!
- Give it your all – no half hearted attempts… you only cheat yourself when you do. Test your limits, push harder, do more, just try harder.
- Try it before you say you can’t do it – I had so many mental blocks when it came to fitness, and my personal trainer would say, “just try, and if you truly can’t do it then we’ll do something else”. And when you try, you may only get one done, but then later one turns into two, and two into four, and so on. Don’t give in to your mental blocks, just try.
- Diet and Exercise go hand in hand – best quote I’ve heard is “You can’t out-train a bad diet” I prep my meals days in advance, I schedule my workout time in my calendar.
- Be your own number one fan – While it is awesome to have people tell you how great you’re doing, they aren’t always going to be there or they aren’t necessarily going to be there when you need them. Love yourself, pay attention to the little changes in yourself, journal about it, facebook about it, blog about it.
- Surround yourself with supportive people – I have some great supportive people, some I see in person daily (my personal trainer, my family, my friends), some I just know virtually (the whole get fit faster family, my BB.com group). I do have some negative Nellies in my life, I just limit the amount of time I spend with them.
- Don’t give up – it’s not always about the numbers on the scale, there are days the scale won’t move or it moves in a direction you don’t like, or it doesn’t move fast enough… just don’t give up, you will get there. We always put so much importance on that number on the scale, but that is just one thing—how do your clothes feel, how do you feel, can you do more, or lift more or move more? If so, then cling to that and don’t give up.
- Measure using non-scale victories -Take your measurements, take pictures, track what you do in the gym. I have pictures from along the way, I use photo shop to string them together so I can see the changes. I have a spreadsheet that I use to track my workouts, I look back and see the things I did back in March and compare it to now and see how much progress I’ve made, how much my strength has improved, and my stamina has improved, and my fitness has improved. I look at my measurements and see how many inches I’ve lost and how many clothes sizes I’ve lost.
- Life happens – trips, dinners out, celebrations, sadness, arguments, losing family members; stress are all things I’ve had to deal with this past 10 months. This journey does not happen in a vacuum. The secret: planning. I am a big emotional eater, so for me I had to list what I could do to deal with life’s curveballs that didn’t involve food. Journalling, talking, going to the gym were all on the list. Running to the refrigerator was not. I travel a lot for work so planning became very important: booking hotels with fridges and microwaves, getting my bosses to agree to let me grocery shop at home and take cooked meals with me (which they agreed to), finding the gyms close to my hotel, etc. The important thing is to not let life sidetrack you from your goals completely.
There is no magic pill out there that you can take that will make this happen faster. It is hard work, and determination, and sometimes tears and frustration. But stick to it and persevere and you will get there. This year is my year. The Donna that has been hidden under layers of fat and years of self abuse is going to emerge… I see her more and more every day. I know when she gets here though, that the hard work doesn’t magically just stop… then the fun of maintenance begins, and I’m looking forward to that part too!