When I started out two years ago (a better before and after picture is available on that blog post), my goal was to make it through 12 weeks. I can't believe I've made it through two YEARS of working out steadily, even with all of the craziness in my life. It's been tough at times to continue being active, especially when all I wanted to do was lay around and be sad or lay on the couch and just space out. But, it's been so worth it. For me, fitness isn't just about trying to make myself look or feel good. It's testing my life skills of perseverance, determination, and dedication. It has especially tested my quality of self-discipline, which I really lacked before. I was always super jealous of people who lost weight. I felt like I could never really have the self-control to do it. I just hoped that it would happen naturally after having a child and breastfeeding--yeah right. Now, I feel like I'm a success story!
Here's an updated picture of me last week, with some older ones to show the difference. It is a terrible quality photo, with shadows, but that's ok. And yes, if you must ask, I do have stretch marks. That's what happens when you're 15+ pounds overweight when you get pregnant and you carry a child very low in the abdomen. I'm not proud of them, nor am I ashamed, but I will never wear a bikini again (not like I ever did anyways).
Remember, this picture below is after I'd already lost 8-10 pounds. Just imagine if I had a picture from when I first started working out.
Here's a picture from today with a comparison from 7/2013 (again, after I'd already lost 10 pounds):
One of the biggest differences, however, is my face. I never thought I was unattractive by any means, but man, my face looks so much better now! I guess I was just used to it.. Like, when I was pregnant, my face got really puffy according to several other people, but I never noticed because it was such a gradual change.
This is definitely before I lost weight. See why I deleted so many pictures of myself? Yikes. Fat face.
Not so fat face.
I am holding steady at my current weight and measurements, but I'm definitely getting stronger. I'd been trying to up my cardio with more TurboFire during the week, with the goal of losing 5-6 more pounds, but I decided to try something different this time. I am now doing a training combo of RIPPED workouts at the YMCA for 3 times per week, as well as the Bar Method advanced DVD's 3 times per week.
I'm going to test out the Bar Method's claims:
1) sculpted arms,
2) flat abs,
3) lifted seat, and
4) long firm thighs.
I took before pictures, and I plan on doing this for at least 3 months to see if I get the results they promise. I can already feel the difference in my upper back and triceps. The 5-pound weights feel as heavy as bricks by the end of the arm routine. My legs are already super fit (no bragging here--they just are), but I'm hoping they'll lean out a little, with a nice lifted bum (which is what I'm hoping for most of all). My RIPPED workouts leave me feeling exhausted and fatigued, but there is no other burn in this world like the workout Bar Method gives you. The lactic acid builds up so much in your legs and arms, it is unreal. And then when you stretch, it helps to release it and you feel much better. My legs burn so much that they shake like leaves near the end of the leg section. The workout is much different than anything else I do because my mind needs to be in it 100% to get the positions right. I can't even talk through it. So, I hope this change in routine will work out for the best!
Yeah, so I work out 5-6 days per week, and I keep going. It's a lifestyle and a priority. Some of you may wonder how I KEEP going with being active. These are my top fitness tips (I apologize for the mild swearing, but if you've ever done a million push-ups and/or squats, those are usually the only words that come to mind):
1) Find a workout you love, whether it's running, cycling, Zumba, boot camp, pilates, CrossFit, etc, and commit to a certain number of days per week. When I started out, I could only commit for 4 days, then 5, and then 6. I found that I loved TurboFire, and now RIPPED, so working out is way more fun with these workouts than something I hate, like running or cycling.
2) Reward yourself for steps along the way, whether it's how many pounds you've lost, or just the number of weeks you've stayed committed to your workout routine. I didn't reward myself with food--kind of counterproductive.
3) Don't "DIET". Sure, you might see faster results if you limit your calories to 1200 per day, but it's not sustainable, especially if you're making huge changes to diet compared to your daily intake. Moderate your portion sizes, choose healthier options more often, plan your meals, and adjust your calorie intake depending on what you've eaten or what you're planning to eat. Set a measurable, concrete goal (a SMART goal if you've heard of those). I set a goal for myself to eat a salad for lunch at least twice a week. I would probably have better results if I ate better, but again, not sustainable for me.
4) Work HARD. I remember in my college days, going on the elliptical machine at the gym, barely breaking a sweat, and considering myself to have worked out. Dumb. What a waste. Commit your body to your workout and work your hardest. I was able to lose weight by gradually increasing my intensity in my workouts, to where I was jumping higher and squatting lower, and getting great results from this. If you're lazy like me, this was definitely the most difficult concept, because I kept thinking, "but I don't want to work hard...".
5) Set a time for your workouts; whatever time works for you. I cannot do high-intensity cardio in the morning. It's not in my genes. So, I set my workout schedule in my Google Calendar with a reminder to work out every evening at 7 PM.
6) One workout at a time, folks. That's my motto. Don't think about your next workout right after your workout. I don't know about you, but if I think about what I have to do the next night when my legs are jelly, my arms are noodles, and I'm totally exhausted, I'll tell myself that there is no way in hell that I'm doing one more gosh dang push up ever again. So, I have to actively tell myself to not think about my next workout.
7) Give it 5 minutes. If getting up off the couch is the hardest thing for you, something that works for me is telling myself that I'll just half-ass the workout. The first 5 minutes are always the worst, trust me. If it's a workout you love, I promise that 10 minutes into it, you'll be enjoying yourself and pushing yourself hard even though you told yourself you didn't have to.
8) Find accountability with someone else, whether it's your spouse, friend, trainer, or online communities. For a while there, I was logging onto BeachBody's website daily to track my workouts, monitor my progress, and chat with other TurboFire addicts. I also printed out a workout calendar for my wall, where I could cross off the workout I completed every day. It was a good visual reminder of what I've done.
Anyways, these are my tips to help keep me active and fit even though I'm a mom, wife, and work full-time as a Dietitian. I'm still a work in progress, obviously, but I'm now somehow down to the same size that I was when I was 21! I recently posted on Facebook about how I now fit into a skirt I bought 10 years ago. I can't believe I was this big back then.. Unfortunately, I still have body image issues. I remember reading Single Dad Laughing's blog about weight loss once, where he said, "the skinnier and more toned I got, the fatter I felt".. which is how I feel sometimes. It's hard to find a balance with trying to be more fit without obsessing about my body's trouble spots (stomach, upper back, love handles, etc). Sometimes I have to force myself to remember the good things about my body (good skin, straight hair) and not focus on the bad, but that's a whole different blog post in itself..
Let's focus on the positive: I have lost twenty-five pounds (and have kept it off for over a year!), I am fit, and my self-esteem has significantly improved.