What’s keeping you from fitness?

My weight loss has really become noticeable to others over the last 10 months.  In that time, I have received a lot of feedback and have been asked a lot of questions like “how did you do it” and “I could never do that, I’m not an athlete”.  Five years ago, I was not an athlete either. I was overweight and very sedentary.  It took a lot of changes to become the person I am today.  Those changes didn’t happen all at once and they didn’t happen quickly…it was a process.  That process was long and had a lot of ups and downs.

 I have struggled with my weight for as long as I can remember.  I always wanted to get fit, but I just couldn’t seem to do it. Why? I made a lot of excuses…”I’m too out of shape to exercise,” “It’s too expensive to eat healthy,” “I’m too busy to cook all the time. Fast food is easier,” “I’m overweight, but I’m still healthy,” the list could go on and on.  As a medical professional, I was aware of the risks associated with obesity, I was just in denial that they could happen to me. After all, they hadn’t caught up to me yet.  Well, in the fall of 2014…it caught up to me.  Not only was I obese, but I had a family history of obesity, high cholesterol, heart disease and stroke.  Now, my bad cholesterol was high and my good cholesterol was low.  This is when I decided to make the change.  I didn’t want to become a statistic. I wanted to set a good example for my kids and enjoy an active life with my family.  My motivation has always been my family, but it shifted to ensuring I was around for them for a long time.

I started with small changes. I stopped drinking soda, limited my fast food, cut out the majority of refined sugar and started watching my portions.  These changes were difficult for me.  I craved sugar.  My life was very centered around food. I ate to celebrate, I ate to feel better, I ate out of boredom and I ate a lot. For me, fitness started in the kitchen. Even today, as I have achieved my weight loss goal, I have to be aware of what I’m eating. Slipping back could be very easy for me. When I reach for a snack, I have to ask myself if I’m really hungry. If so, is this a nutritional choice? I am a strong believer in a balanced diet.  We need healthy fats, we need carbohydrates and we need protein.   As my body became healthier, my weight decreased and my energy increased. This is when I started adding in exercise.  Just like with my dietary changes, I slowly added exercise. 

At times, it seemed the weight would never come off. At times, I just wanted to throw in the towel.  My mantra became “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” It took years to put the weight on; it took years to take it off.  When I become frustrated because I am not seeing the results I feel I am working so hard to achieve, I take the time to re-evaluate.  I spend a few days writing down everything I eat and drink, not only does this usually point out the source of my plateau and frustration, it keeps me accountable and helps me reset.

As spring is finally upon us, take this time to implement small changes to your lifestyle.  Each little step, each little change adds up and eventually, you will feel and see the results.  Set small achievable goals and as you meet them, set new goals.  Remember that change equals growth.  Find your motivation and follow your path.  The new you is waiting to be discovered.

Written by Ressie Stranaly, 2016 Fitness Ambassador