Wow, I can't believe it's been a whole five and a half months since I wrote this post. You guys were all so encouraging and that has seriously helped so much even to this day. Now that I've been doing this for awhile and especially now that we're in the beginning of a new year, I've been doing a lot of reflecting on how it's all be going. There have been some wonderful parts and some not-so-wonderful parts - such as a 6-week hiatus in from the gym (and let's face it, healthy eating) in Nov-Dec due to being sick, traveling, moving, and the holidays. Oops. Coming back has been an uphill battle, but pushing past the beginning is the hardest part before it starts to get easier and more hopeful.
With the new year, I made a couple of changes. First, because we moved, I had to switch gyms. This may not seem like a big deal, but it was hard to do. I had gotten very comfortable with my old classes and instructors. The routine was comforting. Now I'm the new girl again, but this time without the momentum/excitement of starting a whole new initiative. But I keep reminding myself that this feeling is temporary and I'm already starting to settle in and find my favorite classes (yoga, a "dancer's body" type class called Lean Line, and spinning as always).
The second and probably the biggest change is that I'm cracking down on my diet by doing Whole30. In short, it's a 30-day intensive "real food" diet with absolutely zero grains, carbs, soy, corn, sugar, dairy, legumes, or alcohol. Yep. You read that right. The crazy thing is that even though it's so strict, it's also the easiest diet I've ever done. It's very straight forward,, and focuses on good, wholesome, basic, recognizable foods (coconut, avocados, grass fed beef, almonds, etc). It's basically the Paleo diet with zero cheats allowed for 30 days. Today is Day 16 and while there isn't a day that goes by when I don't desperately want a glass of wine, I'm feeling positive and strong and Ian says I'm looking thinner. I can't tell by looking at myself, but hey - I'll take it! You're not supposed to weigh yourself while on it, so I'll keep you posted on that when it's over. A few of you spoke highly of Whole30 on my original post, so that definitely piqued my interest. If you've done it, I'd love to hear your tips! If you haven't, I highly recommend this. The best part is that there is an end in sight. That doesn't mean I'm planning to throw a sugar party when it's over. It's a diet that helps you form better, more sustainable habits. So while you can loosen up a little after the 30 days, you go forth with a better routine, lots of healthy recipes in your line-up, and a clear view of what you're actually capable of. Plus... you can have coffee! Huge plus.
Right now I kind of feel like I'm starting a new chapter of my journey. So although this post is approaching a dangerous overkill length, if you're still with me, I thought I'd share five lessons I've learned so far...
1. It does really get harder after your 20's. I was 25 when I last tried to lose weight. At that time, the pounds just flew off so fast with a little no-carb week or two (I still gave up on it at the drop of a hat, but that's a whole other issue). Now that I'm in my 30's, I can do solid work for over a month before I see even the littlest changes. This isn't meant to be discouraging, but rather a friendly warning of the reality that we have to work extra hard the older we get. So if you're a youngin', enjoy your superhuman metabolism! If you're in your 30's like me, let's help each other make this work and then meet for cocktails when it's over and all our clothes don't fit. ;)
2. Success comes from paying more attention to how you feel than how you look. This is such a key point for me. I used to obsessively weigh myself and look at myself in the mirror waiting to see a real change and if I saw anything I didn't like, I'd really beat myself up about it and want to throw in the towel. Waiting impatiently for visible change only caused me frustration and anguish. But there are so many more reasons to maintain a healthier diet and fitness routine. One thing that happens instantly is how much better you feel throughout the day after a great workout and healthy eating. I feel more alert, less sluggish, more positive, and filled with confidence. That's the feeling that keeps me doing it for the long term.
3. The scale lies. It really is not to be trusted. Aside from the fact that every scale seems to be different, it also doesn't take into account that you're building muscle while also burning fat. Plus weight can fluctuate so much within a few days. When I first started this back in July, I would check the scale every few days and sometimes my weight had gone up even if I had been working my butt off. Not a fun feeling. I have found it's best not to focus on the number and try to keep the weight-check to a minimum - say, every two weeks or so. This is another way to keep the attention on how your clothes fit and how your body feels.
4. There is no way around the hardest parts. Man oh man, this is a big one. The biggest. If you recall my plan from my initial post, I was so excited about the exercise but a little loosey goosey on the diet. I was taking a laid back approach, that's for sure. I simply could not give up certain things. Well, my friends, the weight has been much slower to come off for this reason. In addition to exercising, I seriously needed to cut back on a lot more grains, dairy, sugar, and alcohol (ughhh) before any real change can come. It's a harsh reality I'm still trying to cope with.
5. Finding a plan you believe in is key. Since I started out as a diet and exercise amateur, I used to look at what other people were doing and always think, "I guess that's what I should do." But for whatever reason, certain things just didn't resonate with me. Counting calories with Weight Watchers made me obsess over food too much. Going running made me not push myself hard enough. I'm a person who needs classes for workouts, and a diet that doesn't require me to buy weird groceries and eat weird meals I'll never eat again when it's over. I have found that in a whole big world of diet and exercise options, it helps to really ask yourself what works for YOU and then stick to it.
Thanks so much for your kind words and support, you guys! Anyone in the same boat for 2015? I'd love to hear what you guys are doing, and hey - if you need a little motivation, you got this! WE GOT THIS! Oh and be sure to follow me on Instagram where I give more regular updates at the hashtag #thelifestyledfit.
And LA folks, keep an eye out in the coming weeks for a little something I have up my sleeve with SoulCycle! Hint: Get ready to ride!