From my own personal past failed experiences at attempting to lose weight, I believe one of the biggest reasons that we tend to fail is because we try to change everything at once or go hard from the very beginning and get burned out. I don’t know how many times I started some type of weight loss program, diet, or even join a gym and ended up reverting back to my old ways within a few days, weeks, or a couple times I lasted a few months. And no matter if I lost a few pounds or even about 10 years ago lost 50 pounds, it never lasted and I eventually gained it all back and then some.
I knew I was fortunate that the only thing I dealt with as far as medical issues were my allergies and asthma, considering I was 350 pounds. I was taking allergy injections once a week, on prescription allergy meds, and had two different asthma meds I took daily along with my back up inhaler and nebulizer just in case. But, I knew if I didn’t take my health serious and change my ways, I would eventually be diagnosed with much worse considering diabetes and heart disease run in my family. And the great news is, within the first 6 months, not only was I no longer receiving allergy injections, I was able to come off all my daily prescription meds for my allergies and asthma. And I haven’t had to use an inhaler or nebulizer since then either (this means I’ve been off all these meds for almost 3 ½ years).
So, what has made this time, with Fitness Together, different from all the other times I’ve attempted to lose weight and become healthier? Well, first, my mindset was different. Before it was about just losing weight, but the day I got on that scale and realized I weighed 350 pounds it no longer became only about losing weight, but about becoming healthier. I also knew I had to approach this differently, mentally, emotionally, and physically. And I think one of the biggest things I did was I didn’t try to do or change everything at once.
The first thing I did was I decided I would change a couple things in my diet, and I quit eating fried foods and quit drinking pop. Then after a couple months I realized I needed major help when it came to getting some type of exercise routine into my life, and this is when I found Michael Watkins and my Fitness Together family. But, when I went in I didn’t know if it was something I would stick with or not, so after talking with Michael I asked for the smallest package which was three months. And now, here I am almost four years and I’m down 153 pounds and stronger than I ever imagined! But, when I started, I didn’t try to go every day or try to change everything at once. In fact, they knew I was making healthy choices in my meals, so they didn’t even discuss a meal plan until about four months into it. I started out training with a trainer two days a week, and no cardio program. I think they were happy a 350 pound person was making it in twice a week to their sessions, so didn’t even discuss a cardio program until about two months into the program. When I did start incorporating cardio, it was only about three times a week for about 15-20 minutes. I gradually started to increase my cardio to more time, and then started to increase how many days. Next thing I know I’m asking about adding a third session and then I started doing cardio daily. At this point Michael started to offer small group (PACK) sessions, so I incorporated a couple of those, started to do cardio every morning and in the evenings I didn’t have sessions. And then BOOM, one year later I’m down a little over 100 pounds! That’s right! The first 100 pounds came off in that first year. It has taken me the other almost three years to get the 53 pounds off, but as they say slow results will be permanent results. And today, I train privately with a trainer four days a week at 5:15 AM, every Monday through Friday at lunch with a group, and then I get a minimum of four days where I spend an hour to two hours getting cardio in. Over all this time I’ve been with Fitness Together, I’ve learned so much about fitness and nutrition, that it now has become just a part of my life and how I live.
So, what are some of the changes I’ve made besides going from barely being able to breathe as I do simple step ups to working out like what some people would call an obsessed fitness freak? Well, I make sure I’m on time for my sessions and don’t miss for unnecessary reasons. Yes, a couple times I’ve overslept for my 5:15 AM session (even recently, but in almost 4 years that’s pretty good), I’ve been out sick, or work meetings cause me to miss a lunch workout, but when it comes down to it I make sure getting to my workouts and giving my all are a priority. I don’t cancel just to go out of town for the weekend, I leave town when I’m done with my workout. If I need to be out of town, or miss for some reason, I make sure to reschedule my session. I don’t just blow it off. I don’t cancel just because friends or family want to hang out or go have dinner, I meet up with them after my workout (it’s only 45 minutes people…sorry, just gotta keep it real). And when it comes to my meals, I stay focused on my meal plans. I not only plan ahead, but prep for the entire week so I have no excuses. And yes, my meal plans have reward meals built into them, and I have those for special occasions such as birthdays, family get gatherings, holidays, etc. But, even on my reward meals, I still make sure I’m eating sensible portions, I still don’t eat fried foods, and I also only make it a reward meal, not a reward day. It’s okay to enjoy a reward meal from time to time, but what you don’t want to happen is for that to become something you do daily or allow it to become a habit.
As I was eating my breakfast this morning, scrambled egg whites with veggies and Eziekel toast, I was thinking about some of the changes I’ve made in my nutrition that are just natural for me now. And this is a prime example of what I mean by gradual changes. I gradually changed from white bread to a whole wheat bread, and then tried Eziekel bread. And even after I tried the Eziekel bread, I didn’t just all of a sudden change to it. I actually ended up going back to wheat bread, but would incorporate the Eziekel bread from time to time; and now that is all I eat. But, not only that, but used to when I would eat toast it had to be smothered in butter, but now I’ll toast my Eziekel bread and eat it dry with whatever protein I’m having for that meal.
I can’t tell you how many times over the past few years I’ve seen people come in and from day one try to get a workout in every day and then try to just change everything all on once in their meals, and then start getting discouraged when they go off the meal plan or aren’t able to keep up with all the workouts. I’ve even had people say they are trying to keep up with me, and as much as I take that as a compliment, I then have to remind them that I didn’t start working out two or three times every day or change how I ate completely from day one. Despite the fact we live in a society of “I want it now”, it’s really important that we make changes gradually so we don’t become overwhelmed and discouraged. This might mean our progress may not be as quick as we would like it, but as the quote in the picture says above, “Small changes make a big difference”. What small changes are you making in your health and fitness journey to make a big difference?