When you see someone on social media or even bloggers like me- it can seem like we have our whole lives put together, and we do all the right things all the time, and we must be so motivated and it must be so easy for us…the truth is, when I write my blogs for you guys I’m preaching to the choir. Many of the words of encouragement and advice I give to you all I need to hear just as much as you!
I’m a human being too. And a healthy lifestyle hasn’t always been easy or even a priority for me. So this week I just wanted to share with you guys a few more of the ‘real’ sides of my fitness journey, how I’ve found ways to enjoy the journey and some encouragement.
A Little Background On Me
As most of you know I’ve always been on the fitter side, growing up as a competitive track athlete- worrying about my body wasn’t something I generally did.
Fast forward to when I quit Track my last year of college (2016), and all my habits started hitting me hard. That 3,500-4,000 calories a day I was used to consuming for Track?….Turns out normal people don’t need that many calories. Who knew?! (Apparently most people except me). My exercise schedule after track? Sporadic (due in part to my constant ankle sprains, but mostly to burnout). My diet? A little too much consumption of Chick-fil-A and multiple sugary alcoholic beverages (*Facepalm*).
And we all know where this story goes right? I gained weight quick. And honestly, I didn’t look terrible, but I did not feel good about myself. I would try to work out, but it would end in me spraining my ankle, or me just hating the whole workout and forcing myself to do it out of guilt, not because I actually wanted to. I was just discouraged. And also felt guilty because I was leading PK Challenges and writing blogs to you all at the time. I wanted to be a better example, I knew long term I needed to be healthier, and it was time to make some changes.
So last year, about this time, I committed to making some changes- clean nutrition, a complete exercise routine (that I enjoyed), time for self-care, rest, and relaxation.
Throughout this year I haven’t once stuck to a perfect schedule. I’ve failed, I’ve felt lazy at times, I’ve skipped workouts I didn’t feel like doing, I’ve eaten Fettuccine Alfredo a few more times than I should have, and sometimes I get home from Disneyland at 1:30 AM and get to work in the morning dead tired, and am literally a zombie by the time I got to my workout in the evening.
However, with practice and good intention, it has gotten easier. And while I haven’t been perfect, and I haven’t stuck to my guns 100% of the time, 9 times out of 10 I’ve been consistent. Do I regret the 10% I missed? Not really, I’m not perfect, and I deserve to enjoy a slice of cake at a friend’s wedding or skip my workout to journal or hang out with my roommate after a really hard day. That 10% of enjoying life, has made this whole thing sustainable for me. And, 90% has been enough for me to see the results I was after, and I’m healthier, I feel better and more energetic, and I look better.
So what’s been responsible for my 90% success over the last year? A few things. Consistency, flexibility,
Holding myself to my goals and my fitness, nutrition, sleep schedule as much as possible hasn’t always been easy. But being consistent most of the time has been most important in actually achieving my goals. That 90% has gotten me to a place that I’m proud of. Whatever I’ve done this year, I’ve made working out in some way, choosing to eat healthily and fueling myself with needed nutrients whenever possible a priority.
However, while those things were a priority this year, I was also very flexible in exactly what that entailed. If I didn’t feel like doing whatever workout I had on plan for the day, I would let myself come up with some type of physical activity that sounded fun for the day and let myself do that- whether that be tennis, a hike, a walk with a friend, yoga- I would get something in. Maybe it means I came home and hated the thought of the healthy food I had stocked in the fridge for that day, well I’d let myself run to the store and grab something else healthy that sounded good. If I did decide to stay out late with friends, I let myself sleep through my workout the next morning and just did my workout that night instead.
These little ways of making my routine flexible, made my routine possible and sustainable for me. I’m not one for sticking to an exact, set, rigid schedule. In fact, doing that, made me hate my healthy lifestyle- it got boring. And maybe you’re the kind of person where a rigid thing works for you, but now I know I’m just not that kind of person!
Finally, over this year. I feel like the mix of consistency and motivation, with flexibility allowed me to achieve a sense of balance in life that I’ve never felt before. I literally feel so good, and I feel good about myself too. And this sense of balance that I’ve developed in my life is something I love, it’s something that grounds my life and something I’ve come to depend on. And it’s what keeps me going.
I went into this journey wanting to look a certain way, and be more confident about my body again. But I’ve come out thankful for how good I feel, and with an overall positivity and a mental fortitude, I didn’t know I needed.
A Word of Encouragement
Wherever you are in your fitness journey, whether fit or lazy, strong or weak I just want to encourage you. We all need encouragement, and you can do this thing!
Maybe you’re not perfect, but that’s okay neither am I. Take the pressure to be perfect off your shoulders, and focus on what changes might be doable for you to make your lifestyle healthier.
Find what works for you. Find ways to be healthier you actually enjoy- healthy food you actually like, or workouts you find fun. There are many paths to fitness and health success. Many mass-produced fitness and nutrition plans may make you feel like there is one recipe that will get you the success you’re looking for when that’s an oversimplification. There are dozens of programs and ways to get to that result. There is flexibility there. So don’t settle for something you don’t enjoy, do some research and get creative. If you’re in this thing for life, enjoying the journey is important.