Let me preface this post by saying: I had a great time in D.C. in August 2017 when the first picture was taken. I did not consider myself as "needing" to lose weight, but I was certainly not in the best shape of my life. By the end of 2017, I looked fine - a good size for someone who is a little over 5'7". But I wasn't confident in myself or my body. In fact, this photo from D.C. is one of three - three! - photos I could find from all of 2017 where I was posing by myself (in a non-selfie). I simply never had the confidence to ask someone to take my picture.
That is why I decided 2018 would be a year that I discover confidence in my body. I didn't have a ton of weight to lose, but I did have plenty of confidence to gain. So I began a fitness journey to my best self:
1) I decided that my weight and my fitness level was about me.
Is my husband naturally lean with almost no body fat? Yes. Is my sister taller than me and did she run 5ks basically up until the day she had baby #2? Yes. But my decision to get in shape had nothing to do with them (or anyone else for that matter). I wanted to challenge myself to be my very best. Once I knew that the journey was for ME, I could stop worrying about disappointing anyone and, instead, hold my own self accountable.
2) I didn't "diet."
Look, I know there are a lot of options out there for diets, cleanses, and meal programs. I am sure that some of them are awesome, lifestyle changing options; and some of them are perhaps not sustainable for most people. Instead of trying to eliminate any particular food group from my body, I simply started monitoring my daily calorie intake, eating plenty of protein, limiting sugar and refined carbs, and drinking more water. Nothing fancy. Just good old fashioned moderation.
I am 31 and in the best shape of my life.
3) I found a workout routine that works for me.
Here I did some research. I still had a few exercises from the 4 session stint I did with a personal trainer when I first moved to Birmingham 6 years ago, and I supplemented those workouts with things I read about from reputable trainers. I mixed it up. I added new workouts, switched up how I worked muscle groups, and really began lifting. Some people love classes - for me, working out is intensely personal, and I like to be in my own world with lifitng and cardio. But if socializing helps you work out - do it! Find what works for you, your schedule, and your body.
4) I gave myself grace.
Y'all I have Halo Top ice cream in my freezer right now, and I fully anticipate eating the entire pint in one sitting. And that's okay. I've learned to stop guilting myself every time I break from "moderation" or whenever I simply need a night to sit on the couch after work instead of going to the gym. Getting fit has been fun because I've paced myself, pushed myself, and kept living during the process. These 12 pounds took 8 months. But I've lost the weight in such a way that I can keep it off. If I eat too many chips at Chuy's on a Sunday afternoon, it's not the end of the world. I'll just hit the gym the next day and maybe snack on something less fried during the week. If getting in shape becomes a burden, something you feel shame about, then I don't think you're doing it right. It's a journey. Give yourself a little grace and enjoy the process!