I was somewhat thin for most of my childhood. I did go through an awkward chubby phase that I didn’t realize until my cousin started calling me “elephant. At the same time, this boy on my bus would make fun of me and call me chicken legs because my legs were big at the top and skinny at the bottom. I’d just moved to a new state and started a new school, and I already have two new complexes about myself. Fast forward a couple of years, and I guess I had a growth spurt because now I am being picked on for being too skinny and awkwardly shaped. Apparently, I had no hips or butt and was shaped like a boy. Needless to say, I have never really had a positive image of myself. My weight has fluctuated my whole life. I would gain weight, lose weight, exercise, eat right, eat crap, and repeat.
Fast forward to 2020, I was 40, 50 pounds overweight, and recently diagnosed with non-alcoholic fatty liver. I thought to myself, what if I am not here for my family. I want to be here to see my grandkids. So I decided to do something about it. It was time to take control of my life and put in the work to live the life I wanted. Here is what I learned.
1. Get your mind right – We are all our own worst enemies. Just Stop; you know you have to put in the actual work to accomplish anything. Wanting to get fit or get healthy is only step one. You have to strengthen your mind for your physical body to do the work. When I am ready to make a change in my life, it takes me a couple of days to think about what I want and what it will take to accomplish it. Once I know my mind is right, I can do anything.
2. Start small – Rome wasn’t built in a day. You have to look at every goal in your life as a project, and you are the project manager. For example, If your ultimate goal is to lose 50 pounds, look at the big picture. What will it take for me to lose 50 pounds? Eat right, exercise, reduce stress. Looking at everything in those categories can be overwhelming and stressful, and I thought one of the categories was to reduce stress. So instead of doing all of the things right out the gate, say we commit to finding ways to reduce stress. As part of my stress reduction journey, I committed to taking time at the end of each night and doing something for myself. So I started a skincare routine. It was fun finding the products, creating a routine, washing off the day’s stress, at the same time building my skin (and myself) up for the next day. Once I felt more relaxed, I started to want to take care of myself in other ways, like with an exercise routine that I liked and a meal plan that I could live with for life.
3. Stay Positive – Whatever you do, don’t ever give up. One thing for sure is that if you give up, you will never achieve your goal, and that is a fact. It’s the tiny drops of water that turn into the puddle. You may not see the results right away, but small changes are happening internally that contribute to the process. I worked out five days a week for three months and did not lose any weight. But the differences in how I felt and the inches I did lose contributed to the finished project.
4. Be mindful of what you put into your body. I finally learned you can’t out-exercise a bad diet. Not from a lack of trying. When I started this fitness journey, I thought if I worked out hard, really hard, I should be able to eat whatever I wanted. I’ll just burn the calories off later. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that, especially at my age. I can’t be on a journey to better myself and still put toxic things into my body.
5. Get an exercise partner – or find something to make you accountable. No magic pill will make you want to do all the things you know you should be doing. Our brains are hardwired to covert back to what it thinks is normal. There will be days when you just won’t want to do it. And that is fine, but don’t let one day turn into two, which turns into 30. Find something or someone to make you accountable. This is just another tool in the resource box. Once my husband started seeing me make positive changes in my life, he joined the journey and became my accountability partner.
Everything I discuss here is something I have used to help me. My ultimate goal is for Breathe Chile to be a movement to help the world through mindfulness, physical fitness, and positive motivation. I hope you will join me on the journey!