Health Transformation – Losing Weight, Getting Fit, And A Personal Journey To Being My Best Self
If you’ve followed along over the years, you may know that I have experienced a lot of loss in my life (the deaths of my husband and both my parents). I quit my job, sold my things, traveled around the world, started this blog, traveled more, and then went freelance. Traveling became my first priority. One thing that became a low priority in my life was my health. The ups and downs of grief and my nomadic lifestyle affected me in many ways but one was weight gain. With that weight gain also came more depression and low self-esteem. When I did things I enjoyed like hikes or chasing after my nephews, I was out of breath. My life became one vicious cycle. Finally, in April 2016, I had enough. I decided to make a change and prioritize my health. And while this post has nothing to do with travel, I have been wanting to share more about non-travel things that I am interested in and love. Taking control of my health has been a huge focus for the last year. I thought by sharing my personal health transformation, I could offer some inspiration or insight to those who may be on a similar road.
Since I was in college I have always been trying to lose weight. I didn’t need to lose weight but we, especially women, always strive for an idea we have of ourselves and what we should look like. Getting older and the changes that come with it take a toll on us. I got over that idea in my early thirties and was finally was in a place where I was comfortable with myself. But then after losing Eric and my mother, things changed quickly. Depression came in full force and I stopped eating after Eric died and then after my mom died of cancer I couldn’t stop eating. I went on different diets and cleanses and I even signed up for a 10km race, trained for, and completed it. I thought that was my path to being healthy. It wasn’t. When my dad died in September 2015, shit hit the fan. A few days after my dad died, my car was broken into and 3 suitcases of almost everything I owned of value was stolen. Being robbed along with my dad’s death sent me into overdrive of depression. I ate my feelings and started only wearing sweatpants because I didn’t give a shit about life. All of a sudden every piece of clothing that I had left that hadn’t been stolen out of the car I owned didn’t fit. I didn’t look in the mirror because that was easier than seeing the truth.
I Always Gain Weight In My Face And So Therefore Take Less Photos Of Myself – Summer 2015
I woke up one day in April 2016 and was just tired of feeling miserable. And while I don’t care about society or media’s standards about how women should look, I do care about how I feel and my well being. My health was deteriorating and it would only get worse if I didn’t do something about it. Simple physical activities that I used to do were hard and caused me to be out of breath. I am not young anymore but I am not old. Basic hikes and exercise shouldn’t be so hard. Below are ways I got on track with my health. Hopefully, it can provide insight into your own journey about getting on track with your health.
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Here are some things that helped me along my health transformation journey:
Health Transformation Tip #1 – Accountability
When it comes to losing weight or being active, being left to my own devices, I fail miserably. I always make excuses and put things off. “I don’t feel like exercising today”, is a big one. That is just how I am and how a lot of people are. My sister in law joined Weight Watchers a few years ago and has had success with that. Checking in on a weekly basis encouraged her to stay on top of her eating habits and her lifestyle change. I’m not good at changing my eating habits. I love to eat and I can never say no to dessert. Accountability came into play for me when I went to the gym with my friend. When I first started going to the gym I would meet her during her lunch break and work out with her. After doing this for months, it became a habit. Now I don’t need to check in with anyone but I occasionally post on social media to check in with myself. If for some reason I am not feeling motivated to exercise, I meet up with a friend or do a group fitness class.
Health Transformation Tip #2 – Don’t Focus On The Big Picture, Focus On The Small Things
When I first started going to the gym, I had this idea of how much I wanted to weigh. Not that it would be impossible for me to get to what I weighed when I was in my twenties but it is just not how my body is at the age I am at now. Nor do I want to be there anymore knowing myself and my lifestyle. When we first start working out or dieting, we always say I want to lose XX pounds or I want to weigh this much and I’ll be happy. I didn’t go on the scale as much as I did in the past because it always discouraged me. This time around I just made sure I was active as much as possible and used other forms of tracking success like fitting into old clothes or photos. I have to say I am not even close to what I wanted to weigh when I started out but I am totally happy with where I am at because numbers don’t mean anything when you have more muscle!
Health Transformation Tip #3 – Do Something Active Every Day
For many years I would just sit on my computer all day. I knew I should do a bit of exercise daily, like go for a walk, but I didn’t. Why? Laziness. Also not prioritizing my health. I look back now I remember being on my iPhone and looking at social media but couldn’t go exercise for 30 minutes. Or I would lay on the couch every night when I could go for a walk. Why? How crazy! Most days I go to the gym but even on my “days off” I do yoga via a YouTube video or go for a walk with the dog.
I went To The Yukon On A Press Trip And Worked Out At 6:30 AM Because I Drank All The Caesars And Craft Beer
Health Transformation Tip #4 – Don’t Be Afraid To Try New Things
I used to hate going to the gym. The idea of it was hell to me. I would go on the treadmill, go on the Stairmaster, or even go to spin class but I wasn’t seeing any kind of results. All I did was cardio cardio cardio and the only thing I noticed is that I was hungry all the time. Going to the gym became pointless to me because I did not see any results. When we start a program we want results. So with no results, I just quit. When I joined the gym this time, I tried out almost all of the fitness classes and started lifting weights (nothing crazy but just using the weight machines at the gym). I used to hate yoga but learned through trial and error that in order to enjoy yoga, one must try different types of yoga as well as different instructors. I found the ones I liked and I went to those instructors and classes. Yoga helps with my balance and flexibility and my body feels better when I practice at least once a week. I popped into a spin class when I was feeling unmotivated so I wasn’t on my own. I was also always embarrassed to do new things at the gym because I thought people were watching me. They aren’t. When I’m at the gym I am pretty focused and I don’t notice anyone. I have a friend who sees me at the gym and he always says I in my own zone. It’s true! No one is looking at you!
This Bosu Ball Use To Scare Me – Now It’s One Of My Favorite Workout Apparatus
Health Transformation Tip #5 – When I Failed Or Hit A Road Bump, I Didn’t Give Up
I wouldn’t call myself a perfectionist but when I start a project or something new, I want things to go perfectly. So if I was starting a new diet and I failed, I would binge and then give up. In the past, if I wasn’t seeing any kind of results I felt defeated and would give up. This time around, I just kept going. Instead of focusing on results, I looked at things like how exercise helped my mind. I suffer from depression and anxiety and I noticed when I would exercise daily, I felt better.
Health Transformation Tip #6 – Know That Your Journey Won’t Be Linear
Like all things in life, there are ups and downs. And there are definitely ups and downs when trying to lose weight, learn a new sport, form new habits, or change your lifestyle. That is probably one of the reasons I stopped weighing myself. Somewhere along the way, I realized that the number on the scale doesn’t matter. What matters is how I feel, how I feel in my clothes, that I do something positive for myself on a daily basis, and that I am always being a better version of myself than the day before. I would often weigh myself on the scale and do so 4 times in a single day and the scale would say something different every time. So I said…enough….fuck the scale.
Health Transformation Tip #7 – Take Pictures Of Your Progress
Instead of using the number on the scale as a progress check, I started taking photos. I don’t think I took photos when I started because I hated seeing photos of myself. I still don’t enjoy taking photos of myself but I do love seeing the positive changes in my body. I have muscles where I never had muscles before and seeing those muscles remind me that I’m strong. Strong is what became my focus instead of being skinny. Somewhere along the way, it happens and I personally think this is when fitness and health sticks. It’s not about vanity for me anymore, it’s about being physically strong and being in control of my health. Having two parents die from cancer as well as almost all my female relatives, I realized that disease is in my blood. I cannot escape this fact. Doing what I can to stay healthy is what became important to me. Being more physically fit than I have my whole life at this age feels so damn amazing and I am really proud of myself for reaching these personal goals.
Didn’t take a photo when I started but this was in 2014 one of the many times I tried a new health regime
This Was In March 2017 (Just This Year)
In September 2017 – I Admit I Upped My Workouts Because I Was Meeting Friends In Vegas
Health Transformation Tip #8 – Be Honest With Yourself
One thing I am not good at is restriction or tracking. If I go on a diet and cut out carbs, all I can think about is carbs. If I have to measure out food or figure out things like my macros, I’m good for one day and then I give up. When I start new projects I want things to be perfect from start to finish and if things don’t work out, I give up. So instead of overhauling my diet and going crazy, I just make tiny changes. I stopped adding sugar to my coffee and started using coconut creamer because it had less fat than other creamers. Sometimes for breakfast rather than a regular egg, I would make egg whites so that I was getting a lot of protein but less fat and cholesterol. Instead of fries, I would SOMETIMES get a salad with my meal instead. Keyword SOMETIMES because I love fries. I was really honest with myself and I know that I can’t restrict food and go on some low carb or paleo diet. Once I say I can’t eat something, that is all I want. That is just me.
Health Transformation Tip #9 – Experiment To Find What Works For You
I realized that what worked for me when I was trying to lose weight in the past is not what works for me now. I’m older. My metabolism is slower. My body and mind have changed. So trying to find what worked for me was basically a big experiment. So what worked for me may not work for you and your personality but you can take away some ideas.
One thing was definitely always making sure that I got some form of exercise in daily. Also being a bit more mindful of what I ate. I ate out less and cook at home more. If I was going out to eat somewhere I tried to see what was on the menu so I could make better choices. Sometimes I did, sometimes I didn’t because of YOLO. But I tried different fitness classes at my gym. I started doing less cardio and doing more weights. (And don’t worry ladies!! Weights do not make you bulky! If anything I’m smaller than I’ve been since I was in college. I went from a size 8/10 in April 2016 to a size 0 now.) Instead of meeting up with friends to eat, I would suggest a hike or go to a fitness class together.
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Health Transformation Tip #10 – Balance
One thing I still struggle with is balance. I tend to go a bit crazy when I am interested in something. I noticed when I see weight loss success stories or even watched the Biggest Loser, that people just move from one addiction to another. So I am trying to allow myself days when I don’t do a hard workout. Days off are important too!!! I try my best to not guilt myself and make myself feel bad. We humans are really bad at this. I have guilt issues….must be because I grew up Catholic haha. But most of the time when I do a workout, I feel 100000000% better. But my body also needs to rest and recuperate. Balance will be an ongoing project for me since I tend to be an extreme person!
So there you have friends! My list of 10 tips that helped me transform into a healthier version of myself. This journey is not over. This wasn’t a diet or a temporary program. This is my life now!!
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