How Fitness and Nutrition Changed My Life

Beginning:

It’s 2 o’clock in the afternoon during my senior year of high school and I feel like I’m ready for bed. I can barely stay awake in class, and therefore,  I probably won’t understand the homework assignment tonight. I look outside the window at a few girls running the track, one of which has defined muscles visible through her jeans. I remember looking like that once. I’ve accepted I won’t again, and I think at least I can eat what I want and not worry about it. Food is my friend, my safety net, just like my bed. It’s there if I’m bored, and gives me a chance to escape reality. Food isn’t my only problem: I never exercise to the point of breaking a sweat. After letting my body get out of shape, my anxious thoughts tell me my body won’t be able to handle a hard work-out. I try to convince myself I’m happy. Deep down I know two panic attacks a day, rushing through schoolwork just to be done, and acting like I don’t care about my body is anything but happiness.

Middle:

College was a fresh start. I still had similar habits from high school, but something was different-: my mindset. I knew my habits were unhealthy and holding me back. Adjusting to my new surroundings was hectic, but I finally got to put my plan in action when I went home for winter break. Wait, did I have a plan? I stuffed my face for the holidays after losing about 5 pounds from all the walking I’d done at school. I told my family how I wanted to make changes, and they were very supportive. After Christmas, I got rid of all the unhealthy food in the house (after Christmas) and made it a goal to exercise 5 times a week. That January (the start of 2016), I implemented a new lifestyle. At first, I couldn’t even jog a mile without pausing to walk. I could only lift the 7.5 pound free weights, plank for 30 secondshalf a minute, and it was hard to pull my body up when working my core.

 

Now (NOT the end):

I’m excited about life, and I enjoy waking up everyday. It isn’t a struggle to get out of bed in the morning, and I don’t crash in the afternoons, well maybe sometimes. Taking care of my body has increased my focus andfocus, and my grades have improved as a result. I’m more self-confident than ever, open to new things, and energetic. For me, it’s not about being skinny, it’s about feeling better and taking your life back. I am proof that you can make a change. It’s all about believing in yourself and having the will to want to do it (no excuses). What are you waiting for? Take it one day at a time, and never give up! You deserve this.

Nutrition Tips:

  • 3 BALANCED meals a day

  • Strive for 3-5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day (fresh, and the darker the greens, the better! And salad Salad is at it’s healthiest for you if you don’t drown it in cream- based or processed dressing)

  • One snack a day

  • No soda

  • One actual dessert a week, but make substitutes daily (greek yogurt, fruit, granola bars)

  • Limit carbohydrates: pay attention to portion size, and choose whole grains every opportunity you get

  • Protein, protein, protein (it keeps you full longer and helps build muscle- I usually try to only eat red meat once a week, fish is always a great option, also beans, nuts, edamame, tofu, and chickpeas)

  • Try to avoid fried and greasy food because those are unhealthy fats that can cause weight gain and make you feel sick during a work-out.

Fitness Tips:

  • Cardio is the most important because it boosts your mood and keeps your heart healthy

  • Strength training is empowering (you know you have the right amount of weight when you can do 10 reps, but feel like the last couple are hard)

  • Change it up and find what you like (your body responds when it’s not used to being worked a certain way, that’s why you feel sore)

  • Alternate leg and arm day (you can go even farther by doing a back/bicep day and a chest/tricep day)

  • Go at your own pace!!! It’s not going to be easy for a long time. You’re probably not going to want to go to the gym some days either. I promise it pays off, and it’s worth it. It took me over a year to get to where I am now.

  • Strive for at least an hour, 3-55 days a week (you can go more, but give yourself at least one day a week to let your body recover)

  • Rest up! Get 7-10 hours of sleep per night

  • Keep moving

Basic Tips:

  • Set goals for yourself (write them down)

  • Don’t compare yourself to other people (we are all on the same team)

  • Keep a positive attitude (follow fun fitness accounts on social media and keep quotes around to remind yourself that you are worth it, capable, and strong!)

  • Have fun! Eating healthy and exercising has been portrayed as work, it doesn’t have to be. (Hello... Zumba! Peanut butter and banana smoothies! Does that sound that bad?)

My progress:

Mile run:

Start- over 10 minutes

Now- 7:30

5K run:

Start- 34 minutes

Now- 26:30

Bicep free weights:

Start- 7.5 lbs

Now- 15 lbs

Tricep pushdown:

Start- 40 lbs

Now- 70 lbs

Leg press:

Start- 80 lbs

Now- 130 lbs

Plank:

Start- 30 seconds

Now- 1:30

Total weight loss: 32 pounds