Roughly two and a half years ago I received quite possibly the greatest blessing, okay one of the greatest blessings, of my life. I applied to be considered for a local weight loss competition and I was actually chosen. When I got the call I was having dinner with friends and I couldn’t believe it. I knew the 90 days that were ahead of me would be challenging but I also knew (well, hoped) that they could change my life. I had the most amazing trainer who was my coach, I made a wonderful friend (Mary, the woman who ended up winning the Challenge) and I learned so much about myself, the human body and the importance of a healthy lifestyle. So where am I now? I’m kind of right back where I had to start two and a half years ago. I could get incredibly sad about this revelation, understanding that I am one of the 80% of people who participate in a weight loss challenge and end up gaining it all back, or I could decide to see the brighter side of things.

What is the brighter side?

You see this time, I have experience on my side. I’ve done this before. I know I can do it again. Will it take 90 days? Heavens no, it’ll be longer than that and you know what? That’s okay. Two and a half years ago while I was doing the Challenge I was incredibly cognizant that the likelihood of me winning the entire shebang would be pretty slim. My goal during the Challenge was to learn as much as I could and make certain that what I was doing would be something I could do on my own IRL (in real life).

It’s good to go back and read the blog posts that I had written during that time. It’s even better to watch the results video that they made during the big reveal night. The company (despite my asking) never gave me a copy of my two minute video, nor did they share it on social media, but my hubby (God bless him!) recorded it during the reveal. I’ve never been happier to be able to watch an out of focus video in my life. It really puts everything into perspective for me now as I feel that I’m somewhat starting over.

 

When I started the weight loss challenge, as Emilie, my trainer said in the video, I couldn’t walk 3.5 mph at an incline without becoming out of breath. Shoulder presses with 5 lbs weights were a major challenge for me and planking for anything longer than 15 seconds was unheard of. Two and a half years later and I can feel my body finding its way back to health. Running is still something I enjoy. Lifting, while it’s challenging now, is easier and I can still easily do a minute plank (and I gave birth eight months ago too!). This road, while it’s long, is lifelong and to be honest I wouldn’t have it any other way.

On Fad Diets, Cleanses, & Other Unrealistic Life Changes

I get the rage on the sugar cleanses, juice cleanses, detoxify anything you can cleanses. It has to be done in moderation and without a whole list of rules accompanying it. You know the saying, “rules were made to be broken?” Well, there’s some truth in that and if you’re a Christ believing person like I am then you have to see how sin plays into this. Make something such as food a forbidden thing and all of a sudden you’ve got a Garden of Eden situation going on with some serpent slithering in your ear telling you it won’t really matter. You’re going to give in…eventually you will. So what do you do?

Learn to do everything in moderation and throw away the strict, unattainable rules. Learn to be satisfied with two bites of chocolate cake or french fries; better yet, if it helps you to not binge when you do decide to give in have a tiny piece of chocolate daily.

There. I said it. Throw the rules and extreme life-living rules out the window. Instead get back to the basics. Try to avoid eating from a prepackaged box the majority of the time. Save the meals out to special occasions (which should equal to something special every week..ahem, it’s not special if it’s weekly). Eat to nourish your body and by all means enjoy food! The Lord gave people amazing creativity and talented when it comes to foods and you know what? You can enjoy that; it’s meant to be enjoyed. Life is short and it is not easy living in this world today so I really do feel like the enjoyable things that we have here in this life should be…enjoyed. Hourly? No, especially if it’s a chocolate truffle. Daily? Probably not, particularly if it’s a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Chubby Hubby. Special, not weekly occasions? Yes. Most certainly yes.

What to focus on now when you’re starting out?

If you’re starting out on this little get fit in 2015 thing with me here are a few things I have for you to focus on, particularly if you’re starting out:

1. Find someone to be active with. It’s been proven that if a person has someone to be active with they will be more likely to stick with an active lifestyle. We were meant to live in community with each other. Find a friend or your significant other and get active together.

2. The first three weeks are the most challenging: Celebrate the small victories. I found that the first three weeks of adding workouts into my life are the most difficult. If I don’t have somethings or someone to push me through those I’m easily tempted to throw in the towel. Try doing the same thing every time you work out just so that you can see how you’re progressing. Hold a plank for as long as you can. Try starting a program like Couch to 5k. Keep track of those little victories because they end up pushing you to reach the bigger ones.

3. Take before and after photos; sure, step on the scale but pay more attention to how your clothes fit. You hear it time and time again: muscle weighs more than fat. It’s semi-true in a more complex way than the saying goes; but if you’re only going to pay attention to the numbers on the scale you will be sorely disappointed along the way.

4. Why on earth are you doing this? What’s in it for you? Why are you doing it? Why is this time going to be the time that makes a difference? Ask yourself those questions. Don’t set an end date or deadline, think of this as a lifelong journey and remember why you’re doing it in the first place.

If you want to keep up daily on this little get healthy thing of mine check out our Facebook page and Instagram. I’ve been trying to post daily on there but who knows if anyone’s actually seeing it! I want to leave you with a video I made where I basically came clean. First, you think about why you want to do this…I want to know. We can do it!!

 

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Bert Anderson is a blogger and social media manager mom of three living outside of the Twin Cities in Minnesota. She’s the author behind the blog First Time Mom, where she honestly chronicles the peaks and valleys of parenting. Even though she has more than one child, Bert maintains that whether you have one child or 19, there’s a first time for everything. She’s a lover of coffee, conversations, pop culture, healthy living and fitness.

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