Start the journey
It’s been six months since I started my journey to lose 100 pounds, and I’ve lost my first 50. I just want to take a moment and rest in those facts. 50 pounds. In six months. When I first started, it felt like I would never get where I am now. And now that I’m here, I focus so much on where I still want to be that I forget to celebrate the small, great moments. So in honor of reaching this halfway mark, I decided to do a series of short blog posts with a different focus word for the next 10 days.
Today’s word is START.
Don’t wait for the perfect moment
I struggled with depression and yo-yo dieting for about 10 years, and I absolutely hated exercise. Every time I decided I wanted to “get healthy,” I felt like it had to be at the perfect moment. Not close to my birthday–because…birthday cake. Or not close to Thanksgiving or Christmas–because…holiday food. It couldn’t be around the 4th of July, because all of the chips and barbecues just called to my soul. Or definitely not around Valentine’s Day, because those chocolate caramel Turtles were just a little box of sin waiting to be opened.
By the time I finished crossing out all the dates I couldn’t start my diet or exercise plan, there weren’t many dates left. And I just continually drifted, because I kept waiting for the perfect moment to start the journey.
Don’t let fear stop you
There were two things I was afraid of: fear of failure, and fear of what other people would think or say.
Don’t give away power
I control what decisions I make or do not make in a day. When I started worrying about what everyone else thought of me, I began giving away that control. Suddenly, what a stranger on the street thought of me had the power to control me. I worried that they would see me struggling in the gym and laugh. My nightmares were of people pointing and laughing at the bulges and bounces as I tried to exercise. I was afraid to run in my neighborhood, because I didn’t want anyone to video the debacle and make me an overnight You Tube sensation.
Why did I care? I was overweight. I was out of shape. There was no way to hide those facts. I looked ridiculous in exercise clothes. Again–no way to hide it. But why did I care? Most people don’t notice one way or another when they see you running down the street. The ones who do–the ones who snicker or make a joke–they are not worth knowing anyway. And they definitely aren’t worthy of making decisions for me that affect my life and my health. And every time I let my fear of what those people thought of me change my behavior, I was letting them make those decisions for me.
Don’t be afraid to fail
Don’t let fear of failure keep you from starting a new fitness plan.
Most people fail at some point when they start a new diet or exercise plan. In fact, one out of every eight women gives up on a weight loss plan within the first five days. So if you can make it at least through five days, you are doing better than almost 13% of all women. Just for showing up five days in a row.
Every day I succeeded–every day I showed up to exercise–every day I chose to put healthy foods in my body–I WON. I won, because I was beating the odds. I won, simply because I was on the path to health and fitness. Read more about those beginning stages here.
Every day wasn’t perfect. There were days I didn’t hit my calorie goals. There were days when my exercise effort was disappointing. But I was there. I was on the path. And simply being on the path pointed me in the right direction.
Get some workout clothes that fit you. You are not going to look like a supermodel. Heads will not turn simply because you walked into the room. But it’s important to get some clothes that fit you. Please, please, please avoid the whole baggy clothes trap. Those baggy clothes do not hide anything–they just make you look larger than you really are. Get some clothes that fit you. Preferably some heat gear that wicks away sweat, so you don’t feel gross when you are working out.
It’s also important to purchase the right pair of workout shoes. The type of shoes you need varies depending on the type of exercise you intend to do, and shin splints and other injuries can be minimized if you’ve been fitted for the proper pair of shoes FOR YOU. Because we are all unique–even in our feet and the style of shoes we need. You can read about my first experience purchasing running shoes here.
Find an activity you enjoy more than others
A lot of people hate running. Or they hate going to the gym. Or they hate aerobics. But there are so many different activities you can do that involve movement. The important thing is to get started with something you don’t hate. It needs to be something you at least partially enjoy, so that you’ll continue even when it’s hard or inconvenient. You can read more about how to make exercise something you love instead of loathe here.
Monitor the food you eat
During my decade of unhealthy living, I became extremely confused over what was “healthy” or “unhealthy.” There is so much conflicting information out there about nutrition that it can become overwhelming when a newly health-conscious eater tries to make balanced decisions. You can read about the rationale I’ve used for the past six months here.
I would highly recommend counting calories, at least in the beginning, as you try to monitor your portions and food choices. You can read more about what apps I used to help me count those calories here.
Make a decision…and then start the journey today
Make a decision that pursuing a healthy lifestyle doesn’t have to begin at the perfect time. Your eating doesn’t have to be perfect. Your exercise plan doesn’t have to be perfect. Living a healthy lifestyle, no matter your weight or your size, is a journey. It is a journey–and it’s life. Life is messy. It isn’t perfect. Sometimes we do everything right, and sometimes we do everything wrong. But you are on a journey towards a better, stronger, healthier you. It’s important that you start the journey.
So I implore you to make a decision that although this journey doesn’t have to be perfect, it does have to begin. And rather than promising yourself that you will start tomorrow–please make those first changes today. Because in this crazy, messy, happy, sad, glorious thing we call “life”–the only thing we have for certain is today. So make today count, and start the journey that takes you toward who you want to be.