There's a funny thing about finally making up your mind to lead a healthier lifestyle. Believe it or not, more people than you'd think will try to talk you out of it. Unless you're under a doctor's orders to lose weight, people around you -- people who you consider friends -- may do everything in their power to derail your journey. Quips range from "You don't even need to work out," to "Why are you eating rabbit food?" I learned this a few months ago when I joined a nutrition program. Full disclosure: When I began the program I was about 126 pounds, and I am 5'3". I wasn't overweight, but I did feel like I was out of shape.
As someone who was active in dance until adulthood, I'd always been used to having an athletic physique. Well, factor in age and a poor diet and you've got a recipe for belly bulge and a constantly-growing posterior. Don't get me wrong, I loved my shapely new rear end and sexy cleavage. What I didn't like was casting off pair after pair of jeans because I couldn't pull them up past my knees. I think the defining moment was when I drove my car over railroad tracks and I felt the meat on the back of my waistline vibrate. I gripped the steering wheel, mouth agape, eyes wide in sheer horror. I was on the road to back fat.
It was time for a change. I spoke to a few friends who'd done P90X and Insanity -- after a few discussions, I knew that route was not for me. I'm not the one to voluntarily sign up for abuse, no matter the outcome. I decided to take a different approach and signed up for Eating for Abs. Certified nutrition coach Be Moore partnered with a former student, Andre Fraser, to create a web-based nutrition education class focused on changing the diet of its students and burning fat in the process. Of course I wondered what I would (and would not) be eating in the course, but after seeing the photos of past students (including several personal trainers who were able to improve on their appearance), I figured I had nothing to lose except my gut.
After only a few weeks the commentary started: Are you training for a marathon; why are you in a nutrition class; why are you paying for that -- all you need to do is go Paleo; you don't need to work out; you're already tiny, you don't need to lose weight... and it continued. I wrote a few blog posts about why I chose to take a proactive approach to my diet (and thus, my appearance), but I tend to default to the short answer: It's called Eating for Abs and I want abs.
I'm about three months into my program and I've lost five pounds, and seven centimeters off of my waistline. It seems incremental, but here's the kicker: I'm back in the jeans I couldn't fit into in February, and several pairs of pants I bought last spring are now too big. I'm more motivated than ever. So, when you make your mind up to get fit -- whatever your reason -- beware of these roadblocks:
Coach Be explained that people may tell me that I don't need to change or improve my appearance because it forces them to look at themselves and realize there's room for improvement there as well. By and large, people don't want to accept that they've got changes to make. He's seen the situation unfold a number of times and so have other budding fitness enthusiasts in my class. People tell them they aren't fun anymore because they're cutting down on alcohol or shying away from too much bad-for-you food, and then the naysayers try to encourage them to break from their regimen.
Being a scale watcher, having inconsistent habits, and being impatient in your fitness journey is a sure way to revert to old ways. The scale is just a mechanism that tells you how heavy you are. It doesn't tell the full story of fat lost, muscle gained, and inches lost. Take girth measurements, watch how your clothes fit, and take photos to monitor fitness progress. As far as inconsistency goes, weight loss is like many things in life: you get out of it what you put
into it. If you only do 70% of the work, don't expect 100% of the results. Finally, patience is a virtue in many things, weight loss included, but documenting your progress on a weekly basis will help reassure you that progress is being made.
Sure those #FITSPO memes and the Gym Hotties Facebook page is full of inspiration, but it can also do damage to your own self-perception. When you compare yourself to professional fitness models, you're holding yourself to a standard that may be unattainable. It's like doing your absolute best to get ready for the day and then feeling disappointed that you don't look like Halle Berry or Ryan Gosling. Take your motivation where you can get it, but focus on being the best YOU, you can be. When it was time to decide on a fitness goal, I focused on older photos of myself, and a friend of mine who has the same body type (except she was in shape, when I wasn't).
When you make a commitment to change your life, in any arena, you'll encounter resistance. People don't like change, but you're in charge of you. Fitness is a journey, not a destination, and other people's baggage will just slow you down.
* * * *
Quia Querisma is a digital marketing professional by day, and freelance writer by night. She embarked on her own quest for fitness in January 2013 through Eating for Abs, and has documented the experience on MyJetSetStyle.com.
More from health