A year and a half ago, I made the decision to make some big changes in my life. At the time, I was unhappy in my job and it was starting to filter off into my personal life. I had gained 18 pounds on my petite 4’11″ frame in four short years and I was constantly moody, crying or yelling at the drop of a hat. It was affecting how I treated those around me; I was simply very unhappy with myself, the way I looked, and the direction that it was taking me. That’s when I decided to take back control of my life and start the journey a happy and healthier me.
Now, a year and a half later, I’m the happiest and healthiest I’ve been in a very long time. I’m 22 pounds lighter; I’ve run six 5Ks, one 3.5 miler, one 5 miler, and completed my first triathlon. If I had to use two words to describe how I got here and how I plan on bettering myself in the future, it would be: Pace yourself.
I didn’t get to this point overnight, so I’d like to share some tips that helped me get to where I am now in my journey to a healthier me:
- Start slow - Whether it’s with starting up an exercise routine, losing weight, or improving your performance, make small changes. Nobody expects you to go from couch potato to long distance runner in a week or to lose 20 pounds in a week. Going slow will help you sustain changes in the long run.
- Appreciate the little things - Be proud of yourself for every 0.2 pounds you lose or every 2 seconds you improve on your exercise pace. Even if you don’t lose anything one week or you run a little slower some days, at least you’re still making an effort to do better.
- Keep a food diary - Weight Watchers worked for me, but it’s not for everyone. The key is keeping a log of everything you eat and how much. Write it down in a notebook or use a free online tool. This simple task will help you identify areas to focus on, whether it’s eating more vegetables or eating less sweets or scaling down your portion sizes.
- Don’t become obsessive - As humans, we’re inherently creatures of habit, so sometimes it’s easy for us to become obsessed with things, whether its counting calories/points or exercising. Don’t stress too much about trying to burn off that half a candy bar you ate. Like they say: Everything in moderation, exercise and eating alike.