9 Honest Truths about Getting in Shape
First it was 7 Things I do every day for a healthier lifestyle, then it was 8 Tips for making a change, and now it's 9 Honest truths to getting into shape! Hope you enjoy! Please comment below if you have anything you'd like to add or you can always send me an email here.
When I gave birth to Teddy, getting back in shape was so much harder than I thought it would be. During my pregnancy, I ate whatever I wanted--sure that I could easily lose the weight. And after 9 months of all the pizza, all the bagels and all the cookies, I was actually really looking forward to first pushing that 8lb 6oz baby out of my body, and then to getting back to eating healthy, working out, and losing the baby weight. But, ohhhhh my. I had no idea exactly how much my life was going to change. All the sudden I was so overwhelmed with taking care of a newborn, that I had very little time to take care of myself. Before I knew it, four months had passed and I was unhappy, overweight, and unsure that I'd ever feel like myself again. I knew deep down I needed to get back to the gym and eating healthy, but at the same time just starting seemed so difficult. I didn't even know where or how to begin--and that's coming from someone with a lot of experience in and knowledge about working out. But, I decided I wanted to get back into shape and lose the baby weight and get back to feeling like myself. And so, when Teddy was at an age to be accepted to the gym daycare, I just started. Though I had mentally prepared myself for the fact that I wasn't going to have the strength or conditioning that I used to, I was honestly shocked at how much harder it actually was than what I had imagined. I could barely do one, single pushup, or complete just 10 minutes on the stair-stepper. However, I told myself that a new chance to prove that I could do anything I put my mind to. So, I kept at it. Month after month, day after day, workout after workout, I kept at it. And finally, 10 looooong months later, my clothes fit, my strength is back, and 40 minutes of cardio ain't got nothin' on me!
So, if you're looking to get back into shape too, the good news is you can do whatever it is that you want. You really can. But the bad news is, no one can do it for you. You decide what goes in your mouth. You decide if you go to the gym. You decide if you will be consistent. And that's the honest truth--it's all up to you.
And in echoing that truth, here are 9 more honest truths about getting in shape.
1. Ask yourself if you really want it. First, ask yourself if you really want to change your lifestyle. For me, the answer was YES! I really wanted to get into shape and change my lifestyle and so, nothing was going to stop me. So, if you want it, you will find a way. If you don't it won't. It's that simple. If you don't actually, really, at your core want to change, you will find excuses. If you do actually, really, at your core want to change, then you will change.
2. Believe in yourself. This is kind of embarrassing, but one time, during one of my quests to follow a fitness and diet plan, I reached out to an 'online coach' that asked me to fill out my current lifestyle questionnaire and to send her a picture of what I wanted to look like and a picture of what I actually looked like. I honestly scoured the internet to find exactly what I wanted to look like (minus the tan) and what I currently looked like (minus the tan). And I put that into my email along with my answers. She responded with a 'tailored' workout routine (that was basically what I was already doing) and a few diet pointers and the comment that I would probably not reach that goal. What?! I believed I could do that, and I actually did--eventually. Point is, you need to believe in yourself because sometimes other people won't. Even those people that are supposed to be supporting you. They won't believe you can do it. Or worse, they will tell you that you can't do it. But, if you believe in yourself, then that's all you need.
3. Forget a magic pill. Losing 50 lbs, and getting into the best shape of my life only took three things: eating right, working out, and consistency with both. That's it. There is no magic pill, there is no secret diet, and there is no quick-fix. Trust me. I tried a lot of them. Save yourself some time and money and just put that towards a gym membership and some whole, unprocessed foods. In the end, it comes down to what you put into your body, what you do in the gym, and what you see yourself accomplishing at the end.
4. Set a goal. If you don't know where you're going, then how will you get there? When I wanted to get back in shape, my goal was easy. I knew I looked and felt my best before I had Teddy, so I found a picture of myself then, and said I want to be just like that again. My goal was specifically to lose about 50 pounds, build my strength back to do tricep 20 pushups in a row, and I wanted to do it in 3-6 months. I said 3-6 months because though I worked out my entire pregnancy, I did not know how much strength I had lost, so I gave myself a buffer. Your goal should be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time-sensitive. For example:
- Specific (50 lbs)
- Measurable (You can measure 50 pounds and count 20 tricep pushups)
- Attainable (I'd been there before so I knew it was attainable)
- Realistic (for the most part, as long as you believe and are committed, I think any goal is realistic)
- Time-sensitive (3-6 months).
It won't serve you to just say 'I want to lose weight' -- that's too vague and doesn't give you anything to work towards specifically. You could lose 3 pounds and then you'd have accomplished your goal, right? No, you probably were thinking 13 pounds, or 30 pounds. You have to specifically state it, write it down, and visualize your goal. Honestly, I would get a picture of yourself if you have one at a weight you were before that you'd again like to be again (if that's possible). I think it's important to have a picture -- whether it's in your mind only or a physical picture --because it's important to visualize what you are working towards. And if it's of you, even better, because if you've been there before, you can certainly do it again! There's your living proof! Then write down your SMART goal and hang it somewhere you will see every day. Every time you start to doubt yourself, look at that picture and correct that shit! Tell yourself, 'self, STFU, I CAN do this because I HAVE done this.'
5. Ease into changing your daily habits--slowly. Chances are you didn't get to where you are now--needing or wanting to make a healthy lifestyle change--overnight. You probably have developed daily habits, and ways of justifying your daily habits (excuses), and now you're comfortable, and it seems to difficult to change. But pick one thing to change and start there. Maybe it's cut out cokes, or add in a walk, or not have a peppermint frappacino and get an iced coffee instead. So pick one thing, change it for a week or two, and then pick another. Do not try to do everything at once. Do not try to wake up tomorrow and eat egg whites and drink protein shakes and go to the gym for an hour. It's too much too soon. Ease into it. Once you tackle one thing, you will have built confidence and positive momentum to change the next thing. And so on and so forth until your entire lifestyle gradually altered in a positive direction.
6. Be open to giving. Notice I did not say 'be willing to sacrifice'. Think about what you're doing -- working out and eating healthy -- as giving rather than sacrificing. Giving is positive, and is something you want to do, whereas sacrificing is negative, and leads to resentment and the creation of unsustainable habits. Don't you want to give your body nourishment? Don't you want to give your body strength? Doing these things is giving in positive ways to your body! If you're like 'well I don't want to sacrifice my happy hour for the gym'. Think of it as giving your body a chance to build strength and shed excess weight instead of sacrificing the the empty calories of alcohol and sugar.
7. Have patience. Changing your lifestyle, or your body composition, takes time. A lot of time. And it could come down to how consistent you are. As I said above, you probably didn't wake up this morning overweight today for the first day ever right? So why would you wake up fit and in shape for the first day ever? It took time to get you to your current lifestyle, so it will take time to get you to a different lifestyle. It took me 10 months to lose 50 pounds. 10 months! That's a long time! And I'm someone who loves to workout and eat healthy! But, I can promise that the moment you think you aren't seeing any results, and that you are wasting your time--if you push through-- you will see changes. Now, I don't mean 1 week in and you're like I haven't lost anything. No, I mean 3 weeks, 4 weeks in, and you're like I haven't seen anything. If you are consistent and you stay focused and put in the hard work, by 6 weeks in or 8 weeks in, you will. If you are consistent, there's no way you can't.
8. Stop your excuses. This one is pretty harsh but it's necessary. When I first had Teddy and was trying to get back in shape, I thought 'well, I'm on my baby's schedule now, so I can't get to the gym'. Or, 'well, I have a kid and a husband to cook for, and they won't want to eat what I'm eating so I can't eat healthy,' or 'well, I am so tired from taking care of a baby.' But here's the honest truth: those were ways of justifying the fact that I wasn't quite ready to commit to a change. Because those statements are flat out untrue. I work around Teddy's schedule to get to the gym. I cook healthy, natural, whole foods for dinner, and my family eats it. And honestly, I want to feed my son whole, natural foods too, not chemicals and additives. My mom is a huge inspiration to me. She has multiple sclerosis and while this could easily be a reason she does not workout, she doesn't let this become her excuse. She goes to the gym three times a week and works out! Hell yeah! Learn to recognize your excuses and move beyond them. If you want to get into shape or eat better, but you have some reason as to why you can't go to the gym or can't make healthier eating choices, that is an excuse. And that's cool if you want to make excuses. But then you can't say you want to get into shape. You can have one or the other, but not both.
9. Take a look at the inside. Ok, I know this sounds like some hippy-dippy BS, but really, you have to look at the inside first. You've probably put yourself on the back burner for a while. You've probably been thinking you can't commit to a lifestyle change because you're scared you're going to fail because you've failed before. You've probably been thinking that you don't have what it takes to go workout or consistently eat whole foods. But why do you think those things? What's wrong with you that you can't? Really? I mean you can do these things if you want to, so why aren't you? When I had Teddy and was trying to get started to get back in shape, I couldn't. It felt insurmountable. I honestly, for a moment, thought I'd never get my strength back in the gym or eat healthy again. I thought 'that Lauren' was gone forever. Why? Because on the inside I had some personal issues with postpartum anxiety. There as something going on inside that I had to address first before I was able to tackle the outside. Dealing with PP anxiety was not easy, it was not fun, and it made me feel pretty weak and lonely. But once I overcame that, I felt like I had moved mountains and there was really nothing I couldn't do.
And so, those are my 9 honest truths about working towards a lifestyle change towards health and fitness goals. I hope you found something useful and I hope you have something to add below. You can always email me too if you have a specific question or if you'd like to know more!
The Ginger Ninja