Do What you Love, Love What you Do
I want you to ask yourself a question. I’m being really serious. Do you love your body? If not, why?
Next, I want you to read this sentence: I want to be healthy because I love my body, not because I hate it. It’s completely different way of thinking about your body. Most people I know go to the gym or eat “healthy” because they want to change something that they dislike about their body. I constantly hear people talk about dreading the gym or disliking healthy food options. They always feel deprived and unsatisfied at the end of the day. Many of us measure our success by what the scale says or the size of our jeans. I’m not going to act like I have never experienced these feelings, but as I have learned more about health and keep setting goals for myself, my whole mindset behind the physical shell of my body has evolved into something beautiful. This journey should not be something that you dread, or makes you feel bad about yourself. It should be empowering and it should change your soul. Instead of looking in the mirror and seeing your flaws, you will see the power behind what you are building. Your body is your most precious gift, and I want to encourage you to start looking at it in this way. So here are some of the little things I try to incorporate into my life to always keep a happy heart and a positive mindset when I am reaching my goals.
1. Don’t make goals that involve your weight: There is no secret that I love to exercise. I remember being at the YMCA and literally counting down the days until I turned 13 and could go into the weight room. I used to exercise with a certain body in mind (a VS model); I would weigh myself and do a lot of cardio. My goals were always challenging, but the scale would be my validation. My mindset has taken a 180-degree turn. I still push my body to its limits on a daily basis, but with much different goals in mind. I do all of it to be strong. I have realized that when you make goals that are not oriented around weight, you are much more successful. I now challenge myself to master Pull-ups, pistol squats, box jumps, and push myself to lift heavy weights. My workouts are constantly evolving and pushing my mental capacity. This has lead to positive changes in my body that my old goals never would have. I can honestly say that I enjoy every single workout, and I leave everything I have at the gym. I give that place my heart every day. It’s amazing what the change in mindset can do. Which leads me to my next tip…
2. Get away from that scale. I am not joking. Quite weighing yourself every day. It is messing with your progress and getting in the way of what is more important. If the scale is the evil dictator in your life, throw it away. There are a lot of things that can cause weight gain on any given day. Here are some of them: different types of exercise can make your retain water temporarily (if you don’t believe me, just do a leg day- you wont wear jeans for a few days), the time of the month, hormones, what you ate the day before you weighed, how much water you drank, a high carb day, and the list can go on and on. My suggestion to you is that they weigh no more than one time a week. Personally, I hardly ever weigh myself (only at the doctor, and half the time I don't look). If weighing yourself makes you feel bad about all of the hard work you are putting in, or makes you have a bad day, don’t do it. I take progress pictures, take my measurements, and get my body fat percentage checked. These give me a more accurate depiction of my progress. Muscle is much more dense than fat, therefore will take up less space. With all of this in mind, you need to keep track of your progress in some way (that way you can be proud of your progress). Be consistent in your journey, and you will never get too far off track.
3 3. Eat healthy food you like. This is so simple. There are no magical weight loss foods, and there is no amount of a particular food that will make you skinnier than any other. Your diet is all about science. Everyone eats Fats, Carbohydrates, and Protein. Don’t get sucked in to the smoke and mirrors that are diet pills and quick fixes. “Quick Fixes” will just as quickly result in a rebound. If you are not eating in a way that is sustainable, then you are not making life long changes. You will never see me eating a grapefruit, a lot of people swear by them. I refuse to eat food that I dread, because I can promise you that it won’t be a lifestyle that is maintainable. Eat food that is healthy for you, eat whole foods that have fiber and make your insides happy. Then eat a little something that makes your brain happy every day. Whether that’s a piece of chocolate or some popcorn at night. I love almond butter (a lot); so most of the fat in my diet comes from almond butter. It’s so simple. Track your diet (I use Myfitnesspal), and fill up your fats, proteins, carbs, and fiber in whatever way makes you happy! Its science people! I will write a whole blog on how to count your Macronutrients soon.
4. Do exercise that you enjoy. Don’t get me wrong, if you ask my opinion on what has been most effective for me, I will tell you. But I am a firm believer in being active in whatever way makes your heart happy. I love to lift weights and do really high intensity exercise. I have also run marathons and tough mudders. So, I essentially like to find the most demanding and mentally challenging form of exercise possible. I realize that this isn’t how everyone else is. I have a lot of respect for the person who rocks a Zumba class (which I couldn’t do if I tried), or who enjoys a spin class. It just makes me happy to see people doing what they love! If you are being active and doing something good for your body (while pushing yourself), go for it! If running doesn’t make you happy, don’t do it.
5. Don’t compare yourself to someone else. This is something that is truly difficult, especially if you are going on your journey with someone, and they are having faster results than you, or they can eat more that you can without gaining weight. We are all so different in every other part of our life, why would we be the same in our health journey? I saw a quote one time that said, “Don’t compare your chapter 1 to someone else’s chapter 10.” This is so true; don’t be envious of someone who has put in years and years of consistency to achieve their level of fitness or physique. Just train your hardest and focus on your personal goals. The results will come with patience. We all learn this the hard way. Remember, a Rolls-Royce takes 13 months to build, while a Toyota takes 13 hours. Results will comes with consistency, and be proud of reaching small goals along the way.
6. Surround yourself with positivity (social media, friends, family). If someone were looking over my shoulder when I was scrolling through Instagram, they would probably think I had questionable moral standards (fitness competitors post a lot of ab and booty pictures). I follow hundreds of fitness accounts; I do this because it keeps me motivated throughout the day. I also have a lot of wonderful friends who are texting me about working out all hours of the day. My whole family meets at the gym for a sweat session on a regular basis, and we have a blast! I have surrounded myself with people who are helping me succeed and who drive me to be my best self. We are who we spend time with. Pride yourself in being a friend that pushes people to be their best; there is something to be said about being the friend who holds people accountable. So, go follow some awesome fitspo accounts on Instagram and get some fit friends!
7. Tell yourself you are beautiful. Short and to the point. Tell yourself this every day, and have people in your life to tell you this when you just cant see it. Ill even tell you right now, YOU are beautiful, worthy, talented, and you deserve the world! Don’t let anyone ever tell you differently!
I know that was a lot of suggestions, but this is a topic I feel so strongly about. I don’t want people to dread this process so much. It is the most wonderful thing you can do for yourself. No one ever regrets becoming healthy, and its not so overwhelming if you find a way that makes you happy and keeps you motivated. There is not perfect prescription, only trial and error. Believe me, I have changed my diet, means of exercise, and everything in between. Just don’t give up!
What’s that? Wednesday
I have a confession. I am not perfect (I know this comes as a surprise haha). I love French fries (and a few other unhealthy things). I don’t ever order them when I got out, and I don’t eat them from fast food. So I try to find wonderful alternatives at the grocery store. I make sweet potato fries on a normal basis, but I found these great freezer brand fries at the store yesterday! Alexia is an all-natural brand found in the “healthy” section of the grocery store. With minimal ingredients, it is the perfect solution to my French fry cravings (and simple for someone who has food allergies). My rule of thumb is the pick items from the grocery store with the fewest ingredients. This brand makes a lot of freezer varieties, all with simple ingredients! The lesson for today is that you can almost always find a way to conquer your craving with a healthy option. You just have to find it!