When started trying to conceive for the first time, I knew that I first needed to get healthy. I was 29 and had never been an athletic or active person. But, I didn’t want to be a mom who would get tired out from playing tag for a few minutes or who loathed playing soccer in the back yard. I wanted to start to enjoy being active. I knew a big part of why I wasn’t fit was my diet at the time. I worked full time, and like many, I ate a lot of fast food or convenience microwave meals. I didn’t know a protein from a carb, nor did I know why it mattered. BEFORE Picture:
To start, I began to make simple changes in my diet that helped me get to a healthy weight. I was never a believer in doing something like Slim Fast or any fad diet. I wanted to create a life style that I could maintain long run. I knew I could never give up dessert completely or pizza now and again. I was a foodie, I loved food! Not surprisingly, I still do.
I know I am not the only person who has had to re-evaluate my habits. Many friends and family have asked me over the years during my transformation from someone who was very NON-active and un-fit to someone who now runs half marathon’s, how did I do it? How can THEY do it? And how do I manage to maintain, because it can be easy to lose weight, but it’s not always easy to keep it off.
First, you can think small, you don’t have to do everything at once. In fact, I wouldn’t recommend it. Pick a few things to start with, it is more manageable and you are more likely to stick with it. I recommend keeping a journal, with your starting weight and how you feel (are you tired, sluggish, have digestive issues etc.). You can log what activity you do each day. This gives you something to look back on as you accomplish your goals and gives you a sense of self-pride where you can see your improvements. You can start with small goals and as you accomplish them maybe choose one big reward for when you reach your final goal. My final reward was my first Coach purse. This helps with motivation! I can’t tell you how many times I thought about all of the reasons I was doing this and it helped me stay on track. I even wrote down these reasons in my journal and would read them if I was feeling like giving up and going back to old habits.
Here is what I started with and what has kept me at a healthy weight and lifestyle over the past 10 years:
I cut out pop and started drinking Vitamin water.
I started drinking more water.
I learned to get on a schedule and eat 3 meals and 1 or 2 snacks a day. This included a healthy breakfast each morning full of protein.
I made the switch to whole grains- brown rice, whole grain spaghetti noodles, wheat bread etc.
I experimented with fish; something I’d never cared for before, and found a few recipes I liked. Tilapia is a very easy fish to cook and has a mild flavor. One fish meal a week replaced a red meat dinner.
I tried ground turkey- and found I preferred that to ground beef! Even my husband liked it.
I found I loved Greek yogurt! I became obsessed with Chobani.
I started eating more fruits and veggies. Made the switch to mainly fresh veggies and started steaming, vs. canned options.
I stopped cooking with butter. Started using Misto which can spray a fine mist of olive oil.
I learned what a true serving size looked like for what I was eating. I started to use measuring cups and spoons. I even bought a small food scale.
I stopped eating fake sugars, and found that Stevia is a natural no calorie sugar- bonus!
I found a few good healthy snack recipes I enjoyed, including some brands that make good low calorie versions of snack food like Laughing cow cheese, Skinny Cow ice cream and VitaTops. These treats made my taste buds feel like I wasn’t being deprived.
I stumbled upon Hungry Girl cookbooks.
I tried new foods and got out of my comfort zone- I found out I liked hummus, avocado and even though I hated all beans growing up, that now that I was older I enjoyed black beans and chick peas. The more new healthy food I incorporated into my diet, that left little room for my old “comfort foods” which was mainly potatoes of any kind!
We stopped going out to eat so much- most noticeably I gave up fast food other than an occasional stop. And once a month turned into once every 3 months, to now maybe I go once or twice a year. Going out to eat less affords us the ability to eat at a nicer restaurant when we do go out. I’d rather have quality over quantity now!
I learned about calories and what was in the food I was eating.
I began researching calorie counts online for restaurants so that when we did go out, I could make a smart choice. I didn’t always get a grilled chicken and rice etc, however; by looking at all my options I could choose something “middle of the road”.
I started to STOP eating when I felt full. I also became conscious of what I put into my mouth. A few bites or nibbles of this or that through-out the day can really add up!
These were the main things that I improved in my daily diet and behavior. I found when you added them all up, it made a BIG difference! Of course, I added in some exercise as well, which I also recommend. It can be anything you find you enjoy that gets your heart rate up.
One of the things I’ve learned over this journey, is that I didn’t have to be afraid of being healthy. Healthy food doesn’t have to taste bad, I don’t have to be starving or feel deprived. I used to hate to be sweaty, I couldn’t even run ONE mile in High School, yet now I run 5 miles on the weekend for fun. Exercise and activity doesn’t need to be a chore, you don’t have to dread it. If you can find a friend to do it with you, even if you are doing it separately in your own homes and you just check in with each other each day, you’ll be amazed at how much more fun it can be. You can swap stories at how hard those burpee’s were! There are even Facebook groups you can join for motivation, inspiration and accountability, I actually recently started one called Inspired Health and Fitness.
I know so many of us are doing the best we can each day. Life is so busy, especially when you are a parent. Time is in short supply, yet in demand. It’s easy to forget about doing what is important and matters for your own well-being and instead easier to put everyone else first. But that’s an easy excuse that we use. That’s why I created the group, as a space for people who want to get healthy and fit yet may not know where to begin. You may need just that little extra support to help you along the way. Please join us if you do!
Recently, I became a Beach BodyCoach. My hope is that through this I can inspire others to reach their own health and fitness goals. There’s nothing more rewarding for me than being able to make a difference in someone’s life, no matter how big or small. I'd love to hear from you if I can make a difference in your journey.