Some of the most common New Year’s Resolutions revolve around working out and losing weight. Making losing weight as one of your resolutions is stressful because many times if the right foundation for these changes isn’t established then it makes it difficult to lose weight and discourages people from reaching their goals. When it comes to having a healthier life and losing weight, there is no magic pill or one size fits all method. People’s bodies and genetics are different. There are, however, very basic things we can change about our lives that will usually help us get closer to our health and fitness goals than if we didn’t adapt them at all. Without lifestyle changes and consistency, we will be doomed to repeat our past mistakes and end up right back where we started.
Last year I lost almost 30 lbs before my graduation. I was so happy when I was shopping for dresses for my sorority formal and had discovered I went down a dress size. My confidence was high and it wasn’t just because I looked better but it was because I felt better. Since then, I have gained back a good chunk of the weight I lost. When I was in Ohio I noticed what had happened and was extremely saddened by my weight gain. “How could I let all of my hard word before graduation go to waste?” “What happened”, I asked myself. As I reflected on what I had done before graduation to lose weight I decided to make this post for me to refer back to whenever I fall of the wagon (which happens. Humans are not created without flaws). These are some of the things that personally helped me lose weight and feel good about myself and some of the things I was missing out on after I moved from San Diego.
Health + Fitness Journal: By keeping a Health + Fitness Journal, I was able to document my water intake, everything I was eating (clean food and junk food, no discrimination), my workouts or physical activities, and notes on that day. I think this helped me because I was able to notice patterns about my eating habits and make adjustments for the next day or week depending on how life went. I also feel shame if I write “didn’t workout today” too many days in a row. I would definitely recommend this for people like me who love to snack. Snacks don’t seem like a lot until you have to write them all down. It’s also a great way to notice if your body is hitting a plateau because you haven’t switched up your routines yet. This year I have two different Health + Fitness Journals that help me keep track of everything.
Meal Prep with VARIETY: One thing I noticed throughout the years is that if my meal prep doesn’t have variety, I will NOT be able to stick to it no matter how hard I try. There are only so many days that I can eat fish, broccoli, and brown rice before I lose MY damn minds. I’m a self-named Foodie and if my food doesn’t have variety, that is a sure fire way for me to rather eat out of the house than eat what is in my little square container. What I did back then and do now is try to make 4 or 5 different yet cheap meals that have various flavors so that I don’t get tired of them and switch them up each day. Pinterest has made this even easier now that I am a pescatarian transitioning to more plant-based diet. I’ve mastered the art of $40 a week Trader Joe’s grocery shopping.
A Workout I Love: This one is a very important one! It should be the first one but I already wrote the other two and I’m too lazy to copy and paste it as the first one. Judge me if you must. Anyways, nothing is more discouraging to your health + fitness journey than if you hate the workouts you have to do. It’s one thing if there is a workout you hate every so often like “Leg Day” or whatever but if you hate most of your workouts you’re going to have a bad time and eventually stop going to the gym and working out altogether. When I lost weight last year I was obsessed with the elliptical, Turbo Kickboxing, and Zumba classes. I could do those every day and never get tired of them. Once I realized I needed to switch it up I went to a Total Body Class that (implied by the name) put my entire body through the ringer. I hated the class during it but appreciated it once they changed the time and I couldn’t go anymore (I’m weird like that), haha. The point is, I had the workouts I looked forward to in mind when I was doing the ones I didn’t necessarily love. They also replaced the total body class with a hip-hop class so I was all for it.
Honorable Mention* Meal Replacement Shakes and Bars: These are a controversial topic but they worked for me and probably saved me from gaining back more weight than I did. I didn’t use them as the basis of my diet but I did like the have them for breakfast as opposed to warming up something from meal prep in the morning. This was a solution after one too many times of running out of the house and forgetting my oatmeal in the microwave and thus starving or having to get a bagel or some nonsense before going into the office, class, or work. They are very useful for people like me who don’t always feel like dealing with meals in the morning.
DRINK WATER: Period, point blank! I will not go into detail with this because it is the most obvious! Start with a smaller daily intake amount and keep increasing it until you’re drinking near a gallon a day. Not only will you not waste precious calories on sugar water but your skin will glow and you’ll feel better on the inside!
These are just some of the few things that helped me get on track last year and are helping me do the same this year. Another thing I noticed is I work better with a schedule of some sort when it comes to fitness. Once I had to cancel my gym membership and didn’t have set in stone classes to attend, I started to gain weight back. When I stop working out it’s easier to eat like trash because I don’t look at it as “undoing all my hard work in the gym” which is silly because everyone knows abs are made in the kitchen but that’s how my brain works sometimes. It’s just nonsensical. This time around I also have my Fitbit which helped me this summer when everybody was using it. I used to love having challenges with my friends. Besides my Fitbit, I am currently in an accountability group with some of my sorority sisters in different parts of the nation. We have weekly Google Hangouts to discuss our progress and daily check-ins. I think it’s working for me so far. Along with all of this I have my own personal fitsagram which documents my health and fitness journey. I’m barely starting to use it consistently though so I’ll let you know how it goes.
At the end of the day, our Health and Fitness Journeys are our own. What works for me may not work for the next person but one thing ALL people who want to embark on this journey is that they have to have the will and determination to do so. There are going to be rough times when you may fall off the fitness wagon for a few weeks or more but you can always choose to do better if you want it bad enough. Don’t wait for Mondays and New Year’s Day if you do fall off the wagon. Just get back on an keep on going. You’ll thank yourself later.
Do you have any health + fitness goals established? What are some tools you use to help you stay motivated? Talk about them in the comments!