That’s what my trainer told me when I started with her: “Remember: It’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle change.” And, in a way, she was right.
Now, don’t get me wrong… I trust her. She lost over 100 pounds doing just that – working out more, eating right, and dedicating her life to being fit. But, then she said something else to me: “I don’t eat for flavor, I eat for fuel.”
I thought about it and, for a moment, actually considered living my life that way, too. But, in all honesty, I love spaghetti & meatballs, barbecue sauce, quesadillas, and late night snacks way too much to only eat for fuel. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t get my eating habits 100% right.
I do eat healthy when I can. I bring a sweet potato to work for lunch, make a quinoa salad, or have chicken/tuna with asparagus. Or, I make hard boiled eggs for breakfast, have flax crackers with teddy peanut butter for a snack, and make cod with panko and a veggie for dinner. These are minor “lifestyle” changes that I made when it came to my diet, but they worked for me.
Then, I made a huge change when it came to my workout. I used to be a cardio and abs girl. Every day at the gym, I had the same routine: Run for 10 minutes, walk on an incline for 20 or more, and then…… be done. I thought it was working because I sweat a lot (sorry!) and the treadmill said I was burning 400+ calories. So, why wasn’t I seeing results?! I knew the whole “your body gets used to it” thing, but didn’t believe it.
But then I learned that for someone my size, it’s not all about cardio. It’s about working each of your muscle groups to become a person that looks – and feels – tone and fit. It was hard at first, and still hard sometimes, because I don’t know all the different muscles and what exercises work what. But I use Youtube, I call my brother to ask him about what exercise does what, and I just try it. I just do it.
So now I go 5 days a week, giving myself 2 days off (And walking for an hour Monday through Friday on my lunch break), and finally do some real exercising. I do biceps, chest, triceps, back, legs, and shoulders, along with 2 days of abs. I am aiming to go up in weight every couple of weeks, and I desperately want to be able to do a plank with a weight on my back… just to say I can.
I’m not heavy, and I wasn’t when I started this. I just wanted to be tone. I told myself that when I got engaged, I would hire a personal trainer. Well, my want for it came a little sooner than I thought and so I did it. Now, while the changes aren’t as great as they would be if I stuck to my “diet” 100%, I’ve still seen results. I look toner. My pants are looser. I feel better.
And, honestly, when you think of a positive lifestyle change, isn’t feeling better about yourself and feeling healthier at the top of that list? Well, for me it is.
I’m not writing this to boast about my accomplishments (though I am so happy it’s working and I’m seeing results!), but I am here to tell all of you who thought dieting was way out of your reach. Don’t diet. Make small changes, and try new things at the gym (even if you think you look silly. Trust me – I don’t always feel like I know what I’m doing, but I try!). And, most of all, be happy with yourself and even the smallest improvements you see. If you feel good, that’s all that matters!