I’m once again here with a Friday post that expands the bounds of this blog. What can I say, I like to babble about whatever’s on my mind. I’m into it.
Anyway, today’s topic is health and fitness.
A few years ago, I began my career as a teacher and had not a thought in my mind about health and fitness. I was much too preoccupied with lesson planning, grading papers, and catching up on sleep. Plus, I was on my feet all day long and most likely hit at least 10,000 steps a day–not that I had the tracker to prove it. Regardless, my unhealthy eating and lack of thought in the fitness department wasn’t affecting me too negatively.
About a year ago is when I decided to take a step back from teaching, move back in with my parents, and find a new job. I was no longer getting all those steps in, but I had a ton more time to do my favorite free time activities–read and surf the interwebs. Neither activity is particularly active, as I’m sure you all know. Unfortunately, these activities, combined with everything else happening (or not happening) in my life, made me progressively less fit by the day.
Now that I’ve been working at the same job for four months, and am planning to stay on for longer, I have settled into a routine and realized just how gross I’ve been in terms of health and fitness. I’m not necessarily talking about weight here; just in general, I wasn’t thinking about what I was eating or being active. Simply put: I got lazy.
Then, a month or so ago, my best friend got engaged. I won’t say this was my motivation to start being better about health and fitness, but it may have been the catalyst. My younger sister and I both realized that if we wanted to look dang good in wedding photos, and feel good about ourselves in general, we would have to start taking action. And so we have!
How I’m taking action
I started by tracking my calories. Notice I don’t say “counting” like most others would. I like thinking about it as tracking, simply seeing what I’m eating, where the nutrients are coming from, if I’m getting enough protein and fiber in a day, etc. To start, I wasn’t even concerned with going over my “calorie limit.” I just wanted to get a look at what I’m working with and see if I could notice any trends.
I use the My Fitness Pal calorie counter, and you’d be surprised by how fun it is, especially if you get friends or family to do it with you. Yes, it can be depressing. It can be shocking when you learn just how much sugar is in that smoothie you just ordered, or how many calories are in a burger at your favorite restaurant. But it’s also extremely informative. It has helped me learn that I hardly ever get enough protein, I usually consume too much sugar, and I only get enough nutrients if I eat my fruits and vegetables. Sometimes easier said than done.
Finally, the fitness. My sister and I both agreed that we would be more motivated to get active if we had the opportunity to do things together and possibly take some classes. So, our conclusion was to get a gym membership. It’s expensive, but I already feel that it’s worth it. So far, we’ve been going three times a week–two times to do our own thing (walk, use the bikes and other machines) and once to take a Zumba class. I think it’s been going great.
The number one reservation people seem to have about joining is a gym is worry over making time for it and getting their money’s worth. I’ve found that somehow I feel like I have even more free time in my days now that we’ve been going to the gym–how does that work? I suspect it all comes down to scheduling and prioritizing. When you make the time for something, you don’t notice that a little bit of your free time is gone. You still fit in all you want to do at some point in the week. And when you start to feel restless and ready for another workout, it’s a positive, doable thing, not something negative that will take time away from whatever else you’d like to do.
My overall goals
As I’ve gone through this experience in the past month or so, some overall goals have shaped themselves. This has been a real discovery process for me, and I am so pleased that it began in the first place and that it began organically, if you will. For the most part, anyway.
My goals aren’t anything specific; I think that’s where I would start getting frustrated with myself and possibly too obsessed with results. I’m thinking of a broader picture, here. This isn’t just a thing I want to do to lose weight right now. I want to make a lifestyle change.
So, my goals are simple:
- Eat clean (aka cut out processed foods as much as possible)
- Eat balanced meals
- Be active (ideally, working out 3 times a week)
- Do what works for me
That last one is the kicker. As I’ve read blogs, watched Youtube videos, and started my own fitness journey, I learned one important thing: There is not just ONE way to go about being fit and healthy. There are many ways. It’s up to me to figure out what works for me, and that will take some experimentation.
Having this mentality is what will, I believe, give me perseverance with this life change. It has kept me positive and excited about it so far! I won’t deny that I’ve been stressed a few times, but I’m learning how not to be. It’s a process, and it’ll be a long one, but it will be worth it.
Do you have any health or fitness tips to share? And what are your favorite ways to eat veggies? That’s honestly what I need the most help with right now! Comment down below!
Until next time,