I posted this update on my Facebook yesterday:
It’s been a hard, long journey, but also a life-changing, incredible one. I’m happy and healthy and the feeling of being an inspiration to others is really an amazing one. This past month especially I have received a lot of sweet words and questions on how I got in shape. Ergo, I thought I’d post some tips that helped me get where I am today! Ahem:
1. Oftentimes people will ask me about running, and proceed their question by a statement about how much they, in fact, hate running. That’s fine. Hate running! Find an exercise you do love. Try new things. Zumba. Yoga. Tango. (I’ve tried all three and they’re all awesome!) You’re expanding boundaries, having fun AND burning calories. Really can’t go wrong there.
2. Bargain with yourself. Throughout my life, I’ve lost weight and then gained it all back (and then some) in a matter of months. I knew I didn’t want that this time around, and that I’d have to make some major lifestyle changes to keep the weight off. At the same time, I knew I’d cut off my left big toe before giving up wine or coffee. So instead, I gave up fast food and soda. It was hard at first, and I occasionally cheated. Now though, I rarely crave either and feel so much better without both. Give up what you don’t have to have, but don’t constantly deprive yourself of your favorite guilty pleasures.
3. Cereal is your friend. When I’m craving something sweet between meals but don’t want to overdo it with a triple chocolate cake, I often go for a bowl of Cinnamon Life or Raisin Bran. It’s a filling, satisfying and healthier alternative to the sweets that I try my best to use sparingly. (But, c’mon, sometimes you really just have to go for that triple chocolate cake…)
4. Never ever ever ever say “I can’t.” If you say you can’t, you won’t. If you would’ve told me a little over a year ago that I’d run a half-marathon and lose nearly 35 pounds, I would’ve responded with something like this: “Hahahahahaha!” But I did run a half-marathon and I did lose almost 35 pounds. When I stopped saying that I couldn’t, a crazy thing happened: I did.
5. Be excited about your food. I absolutely hate the phrase, “Eat to live. Don’t live to eat.” I’d be willing to bet that a lot of health plans fail because of this mentality. I mean, how boring. Eating is among life’s many joys, and it should be something to look forward to, even in moderation. So instead of anticipating the double cheeseburger I used to eat for lunch, I’ll often savor my cup of coffee with butter-pecan cream and eat a much healthier (but still delicious!) lunch of hard-boiled eggs and toast (my latest kick). Then I’ll giddily peruse recipes for the dinner I’ll be making that night. Food is fun,and it should be. Don’t let the eat-to-livers tell you any different.
6. On that note, I can’t stress how great eating in is. Eat in more! I’ve come to love cooking and both the leftovers, health benefits and new experiences this brings. It also makes eating out such a nice, fun little treat. And I’ve learned that I can actually cook! Edible things! Who knew!?
7. If you run outside and find that you really need to take a breather, Give yourself markers to stop at. If I need a little break, I’ve learned to stop at signs that speak to me such as, “Slow: Kids at play.” or “Construction work ends here.” Clearly these are signs from the universe that I should also slow down/momentarily end my running. And if Demi Lovato’s “Give your heart a break” starts playing on your Ipod, maybe you should do just that. Eh!? At the very least, it makes for an entertaining exercise.
8. Up until a year or so ago, I just assumed I hated all healthy foods. This is..um, because I really never ate anything healthy– I just assumed eating right meant Lean Cuisines and broccoli. I was very wrong. You just gotta Find the healthy foods that work for you. Another reason to try new things! In the past year, I’ve become a huge fan of green beans, avocado, whole-wheat products, mushrooms, sweet potato chips, and raspberries. And, oh, asparagus. I’d marry asparagus if I could. Then I’d slather it with olive oil. This is getting kind of kinky, isn’t it?
9. Stop making excuses. Examples: “It’s too cold/hot outside to run.”,“I have to eat half of that pizza because my boyfriend/girlfriend/best friend/dog just ordered one and I don’t want him/her/it to feel left out.”, “I was going to exercise today, but then I remembered I sweat when I exercise and I don’t feel like sweating today!” Be honest with yourself. Say,“I am going to eat half of that pizza because I want to.” or “I’m not exercising today because I really don’t feel like it.” Making excuses today makes it a lot simpler to make them tomorrow too. Holding yourself accountable makes it much easier to choose healthier decisions the next time around.
10. Take it from me and what I haven’t always done–Take the time to feel proud of yourself. Once you start noticing real progress, it’s really easy to get caught up in the, “Faster. Thinner. Healthier. Stronger.” thought process. This motivation and improvement mentality is great, but it also makes it a lot easier to burn out. Pat yourself on the back every once in a while. Give your mirror a high-five. Call a friend and squeal your results. Do a happy-dance around the scale. Realize you are awesome, smile because you’re awesome and then continue to be awesome.
Ps: Some of the Sweat Pink Ambassadors have decided to start a video blog collaboration! I’m a day late but here is my introduction video (If for some reason you can’t see the video blog here, my Youtube name is ‘Tinabobinadreaux’):