A few years ago, I was told I had hormone imbalances that would make it more difficult for me to lose weight than other people. You’d think a diagnosis would be the perfect motivation to start making healthier decisions. However, all of the previous year was a festivity for me, and I’ve never believed in depriving myself of good food (still don’t!). I graduated from college, got married, moved twice, and got a desk-oriented job.
I don’t remember the exact moment that triggered my get-healthy quest, but one day, it just clicked. I wanted to actually be healthy more than I wanted someone else’s body, for once. I realized that I needed tools, and I needed them to work for me where I am right now.
I’m such a gradual-change person; so, per usual, I continue to make small changes that build upon one another as I journey to become who I want to be physically. Following these main practices, none of which include total deprivation, dieting, misery, or lots of cash, helped me drop six pounds in a month (during the holidays). Also, I’m enjoying being active, which is a first time thing for this lady.
1. Change your mind.
Like I said before, deprivation is not my thing, but changing my mindset on how I view food and fitness changed everything. My eating habits now flow from this idea: Everyday meals are meant to nourish and fuel my body, not satisfy my cravings or make me feel a certain fullness. What I am putting into my body should be mostly natural and make it function well, not fill an unnecessary longing.
For fitness, if I’m jealous of someone else’s body or think that looking a certain way in a specific time frame is what will make me okay, I’m not in the right mindset and will be graceless toward myself and others. Being physical should be my way of enjoying the activities I love (even if I have to learn to love them) for the sake of treating my body well.
2. Get techy.
Two free apps have been my accountability (with help from my husband, too) for both fitness and food. Active’s Couch To 5K truly got me off the couch and able to jog for an extended time. Now, I still can’t run a 5K in 30 minutes, but I get to the gym at least three times a week. I’ve even started incorporating other workouts and intervals into my routine to the point where I’m asking myself, “Who am I?” when I want to work out.
Lose It! is what I use to log all the food that I eat to help me stay on track with my goals. It calculates your recommended calorie intake based on your age, weight, and desired weight loss. I recommend logging all the food you plan to eat at the beginning of the day, so you know how much wiggle room you have (especially for your afternoon coffee run).
The app has most foods (even restaurant meals) pre-loaded, but there are calorie calculators online for homemade items. Chain restaurants usually have nutritional information on their websites. The app also gives you daily and weekly nutrient breakdowns and calorie deficits, showing you where to make adjustments based on your body’s needs.
3. Keep it moving.
I sit at my desk for at least eight hours a day. Previously, I was then going home to TV-binge since my aching brain couldn’t take any more effort, only standing up while making dinner. While I do go to the gym after work now, I’ll take some researchers’ word for it that sitting for extended periods—such as when working a desk job—can be seriously detrimental to our health, even with regular exercise.
Try doing a Google search for “deskercises” to find ways you can fidget and mobilize your way to extra calorie burn. Personal favorites: seated leg extensions, squatting as pages print (I have a printer in my closed-door office), and a simple walk down the hallway.
4. Put on the blinders.
The girl on the treadmill beside you, gracefully running at an unwavering faster pace than you for a longer time than you, does not concern you (unless you want to compliment her!). She’s working toward her goals as you are working towards yours. Physical health goals become unhealthy when blended with comparison and feelings of not being enough. You were enough before this journey began. Give a cheer that neither one of you are still at home on the couch and maybe even make a friend!
5. DIY with food.
Cooking your own food is almost always healthier than store or restaurant bought versions. Thank the Lord for Pinterest, which hosts a healthy recipe for any meal and snacks for any level of cooking expertise. I recommend using terms like “clean eating,” “easy,” “for weight-loss,” etc. while searching. I also suggest reading through the recipe before pinning it so that you can see the ingredients and steps first. This will help you know whether or not you agree with the creator’s definition of health and so that you’ll actually enjoy making and consuming it. Going gluten-free? We’ve got you covered, here!
6. Try healthy substitutes, then keep trying.
Search for clean eating versions of indulgences for the days when you need a treat but want to stay on track. This has definitely helped lessen cravings for the bad-for-my-body, good-for-my-soul foods and strengthened me to pass by break-room trays. However, if the chickpea cookie dough tastes like clay and the zucchini noodles are watering down a sauce that’s supposed to taste like alfredo, don’t give up! Make adjustments to the recipes or try new ones to make healthy versions of beloved eats so that you eat more of what you love without totally ruining your progress.
I hope these tips are just what you need to take more steps toward becoming a healthier you. Just keep walking forward in grit and grace!
You’ll enjoy this podcast episode from This Grit and Grace Life: On Business, Happiness & Health with Burn Boot Camp’s Morgan Kline – 065