Hi hi hi hi hi 🙂
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve actually googled the title of this blog post. Searching for some kind of advice on how to give an actual fuck about my health. I’ve spoken a bit about my body and health on my blog before, but I’ve been overweight pretty much since I hit puberty. I was an athlete up until college, but I definitely wasn’t the picture of health. I ate fast food almost 100% of the time and struggled a lot with body image issues.
In college, I also struggled with body image and self esteem issues. I remember my freshman year comparing myself to the girls in my friend group. I remember thinking, the reason guys didn’t hit on me or want to sleep with me was because I hung around all of these attractive, skinny girls. I couldn’t compete. I am cringing so hard writing that because looking back I was so confused and just feeding myself utter bullshit to give myself a reason why guys didn’t “want” me.
I have tried many different diets and exercise plans and gimmicks to help myself lose weight over the years. But none of it stuck. I would commit to it for a few weeks and then mess it all up and quit. This time around, I decided I had to do something, ANYTHING. I was feeling so drained of energy every day and it was feeding my depression and anxiety. I was spending so much money on fast food and just not taking care of myself at all. My life was starting to feel like a cycle I couldn’t break out of. At the beginning of the year, at my heaviest weight I’ve ever been (and my unhealthiest), I decided something different needed to happen.
Even now, I don’t think I’ve completely cracked the code. But I’m fine with it because at this point in my life, I am giving a conscious fuck about my health. For the first time in my life. My advice might not work for you, but I feel the need to share this. Just in case there is someone out there reading this, hoping to somehow give a fuck about their health.
- Baby Steps
You have to go slow. You have to make small changes first. Every time in the past that I tried to get my health under control, I tried to make super dramatic changes all at once. I tried to cut out fast food and only eat salad and workout 7 days a week all at once. That is not how our minds work. We have to change overtime. We have to give ourselves time to adjust and grow into the changes we are making. It is so easy to be eager and ready to change, but you must make small changes first. Set a goal to eat vegetables with 3 of your meals a week. Set a goal to go to the gym at least once a week. Just to start out. Building a strong foundation is where it’s at. You can build upon that as you go.
- Make healthy living convenient for yourself
If it isn’t convenient, you aren’t going to do it. It’s as easy as that. I’m not saying you have to plan every little thing out, but make it easy for yourself to be healthy. I keep cut up veggies and fruit in my refrigerator for snacking. I pre-bag all of my pantry snacks so I don’t over eat. I meal prep every week, so that I already have food ready to heat up. I know that if I don’t, I am much more apt to go through drive-thru on the way home. The meal prep doesn’t actually take as long as it seems like it will either. I meal prep for the whole week on Sunday nights. Something else that I’ve found that has been great for me is choosing a gym that is right between my house and my work. I go right after work a few days a week and it is on my way home too, so there’s no going out of my way to get to it. I used to think that having a gym in my apartment complex was the most convenient place possible, but I never went to the gym in my apartment. Even though it was free. Find what is most convenient for you.
- Have a plan
Have some kind of plan and organization in place. I am by no means the most organized person in the world (even though I might sound like it). But I am a planner. I like to have a plan. If I don’t have a plan, it is very easy for me to make excuses. I plan out my meals for the week before I grocery shop, that way I’m not having a free for all in the grocery store. I plan my workouts the week before as well, that way I know when I get in the gym exactly what machines I’m going to and I can get in and out quickly. I know some of us out there are not planners, and that is okay. You don’t have to have a plan for everything, but it might make things easier for you.
- Find what works for you
For the past 4 months, I have been using Weight Watchers to help me track my eating. I’ve done WW multiple times in the past, the first time I think I was 16. I used to go to the meetings with my mom. I’ve always liked their set up, with the point system. I’ve used many other calorie tracking apps (My Fitness Pal, Macro counters, etc.), but nothing has worked for me the way WW has. I don’t weigh myself every week or go to meetings. I solely use it as a way to track my food intake, I just prefer using the point system instead of calories. It is easier for my non-math mind to comprehend!
- Don’t do things you don’t like doing
If you hate running, don’t run. If you hate spin class, don’t go to spin class. If you absolutely hate asparagus because it makes your pee smell so weird, don’t eat it. Doing things you don’t like doing is the quickest way to make yourself miserable. Find what you like and do that. If you hate the weight room, but want to build muscle, try a yoga class. If you only like weights and non-traditional cardio, try Crossfit. If you despise anything even resembling a gym, get your ass outside! If you aren’t sure what you like, take the time to figure it out. I promise the time it takes to do so will be worth it. I know at this point that I hate running for the first couple weeks, it completely sucks. But after I get past a certain point, I actually enjoy it and prefer doing that over many other kinds of cardio. I am a fruit and veggie lover, I could eat just plates of vegetables for dinner and be completely happy. Some people despise anything green near their meat unless it’s chimichurri sauce on their steak. Figure out ways to incorporate the things you need in your diet without sacrificing what you like. Know yourself.
- Routine, routine, ROUTINE.
I can’t say this enough. Get in a routine and stick with it. Especially for the first few weeks. Go to the gym at the same time every day. Do the same workout. Cook on the same day every week. If you know what to expect, transitioning to a healthier lifestyle won’t seem as drastic and scary. Of course it is great to have variety and without some variety we are certainly going to get bored and start to fall off the wagon, but starting out routine is important. Routines are how we make habits. Try sticking to something for a while and then switch it up when you get comfortable.
- Give yourself room to breathe and have fun
Absolutely do not get down on yourself if you eat unhealthy or skip a workout. Take it one day at a time. If you have a terrible weekend with eating, realize that every day is a chance to start fresh. You enjoyed yourself. No guilt should be felt. Do NOT punish yourself. In the past I would let eating poorly (slipping back into my old ways as I would call it) as an excuse for me to give up or fall off the wagon. If I skipped a workout because I just wanted to go home and lounge, it was an excuse for me to quit working out all together. I drink beer on the weekends because I enjoy it. I eat Chick Fil A (I know, I know I’m a terrible gay) because it’s some damn good fried chicken. And I’m going to continue to do that because I enjoy it and it makes me happy. Realize that you don’t have to be perfect. You don’t have to check off all the boxes you’ve drawn for yourself. Tomorrow is a new day. It is all about balance.
- Moderation is key
Bouncing off of the last point, you can realistically eat whatever you want in moderation. If you want to eat Chick Fil A once a week, you can do that. If you just can’t quite kick drinking soda, have one every other day instead of every day. Don’t use moderation as an excuse to go buck wild though. If you know you can’t just have one slice of pizza and call it a day, don’t put yourself in that situation. And just so you know, I can’t eat just one slice of pizza and call it a day. I’m still working on this moderation thing, OKAY.
- Define why you’re doing it
Figure out the core of why you want a healthier lifestyle. It is a LIFESTYLE change as corny as that sounds. You are changing lots of little aspects of your life. Whatever your reason is, make sure it is a long term goal. Not just to have a hot summer body (no shade for that, get it girl!). Make sure that you are doing this for yourself and not for anyone else. It shouldn’t be for anyone else’s approval. It should be for your own reasons. I don’t weigh myself every week like WW suggests you do because for me this isn’t about losing weight. I wanted to have more energy and feel stronger. I wanted to not get sick as often. I wanted to use my free time to make myself better. I told myself at the beginning of this that if I lost weight and looked better (in my own eyes) along the way, then that’s great. But this has never been about weight for me. My goals this time around have not been about weight. It might be for you, and that is totally okay. Just make sure you have a sound reason for doing this because if not, you might have a harder time sticking with it. And remember that your reason is YOUR reason, it is no one else’s business. Do you, shawty.
- Commit HARD.
This is something I have struggled with in the past in all my attempts to lead a healthier lifestyle and generally care about my health. I have never been able to commit for longer than two months (my longest stretch). You have to want to do this. If any part of you is doubtful or unsure if changing your lifestyle is the right thing to do, you aren’t going to make it very far. You have to set goals and keep going and jump back on the wagon when you fall off. You have to want to keep pushing through even when you’re stressed and all you want is a burrito from Chipotle. You have to take note of all the little changes in your energy level and body. It is sometimes difficult to see our own progress, but pay attention! It’s there, you just have to realize it. Commitment is difficult for a lot of reasons, but you have to be all in if you want this to work. You can’t half ass a healthy lifestyle and expect it to work out for you. Stay on your grind peeps!
Again, I don’t claim to know what I’m doing AT ALL. I’m new to caring about my health and actually trying at it. These are just some things I’ve picked up and learned throughout the past few months of doing this. It isn’t easy. It is something you have to work at. It is something you have to give your energy to. But it is a change worth making. Go out there and do the damn thaaaaang!