Being overweight has always been an issue for me. When I was kid and preteen, I was really fit and trim but too dumb to realize it. I hid my body behind a poor self esteem and really big clothes. When I hit high school my weight exploded, the trend continuing into college and way into my twenties. At first I was in denial about how big I was, despite the fact I was teetering around 240. I mean I always saw myself as a big girl even as a kid so I just accepted it, not changing my unhealthy lifestyle. Once out of college and into my first post-grad job I realized I wasn’t happy with weight, especially when I started dating my now husband. So I did a major crash diet (i.e South Beach), getting down to 185. I looked great and I felt great, getting rid of long-term unhealthy habits like eating out almost every day of the week and drinking tons of soda. It worked for awhile but didn’t last and my weight crept back up. I joined the gym, going hard and strong for awhile but it didn’t last. I tried South Beach again . It didn’t stick. Long story short, all the way up until my pregnancy almost two years ago I was still very much overweight.
What did it take for me to truly get serious about getting healthy again? A major health scare.
About three days after I came home from the hospital with my baby girl I was rushed to the hospital. I retained so much water between the pregnancy and the emergency C-section, it was backing up into my lungs and I couldn’t breathe. My blood pressure was also through the roof so I ended up staying in the hospital three more days before going home again. That scary experience taught me not to take my health for granted. It can go downhill in the blink of the eye. But how in the world can I do that? I just started working at home and I have a new baby. Fast forward to this past August and I realized what I had to do to make these healthy changes I wanted to make stick.
I had to change my way of thinking.
In the past, I thought I had to go all in, going from not exercising at all to exercising every single day for hours. I felt like I had to cut out all of my favorite unhealthy foods cold turkey, eating nothing but salad and lean meat forever. Sure that works for a little while but then there’s going to be a day you can’t make it to the gym or you cave in and have pizza. Then you feel like a total failure and you give up. This time around I couldn’t afford to give up. Not only did I have a little girl I have to be here for (and keep up with!) but to this day I’m still taking blood pressure meds that I want to get off of safely.
Now I’m extremely happy to say that I’m down almost 10 pounds and feel stronger than ever. That’s because I took a different approach to health. Like I do with blogging, I gave myself smaller, more achievable goals each week. I found an awesome group of moms to work out with and when I started, my goal was just to show up at least once a week. When I did, I patted myself on the back. After that, I upped those worke out dates to twice a week. Then my goal was to keep up with my work out crew (these ladies go hard! LOL) and once I had that down, I promised to work out at home at least once a week. That meant anything from the normal, hard core workouts to power walking my neighborhood for at least 30 minutes. As for diet, I’m a big advocate of moderation. If I want pizza one day, I make sure the rest of my meals are light and healthy. I also don’t eat out two days in a row or keep my favorite junk food in the house.
The key is to take baby steps. If you haven’t worked out in awhile, do little 10 or 15 minute exercises to start once or twice a week (my Fitness Board has a lot of great ideas!). Get your sneakers on and take a 20 minute walk before or after work. Focus on adding one or two healthy foods at a time instead of taking away all the bad ones.
After trying to get healthy unsuccessfully for so long, last week was the first week since August that I haven’t worked out at all, taking a break to get over a cold. And you know what? I’m ready to get back on it!
How are you getting healthy?