28 Days To Healthier Me: Becoming a Fit Girl

I lost a total of 8 lbs during the challenge and I feel awesome. It taught me some very good habits, I wanted to share what I learned.

fitgirl-1

For the last four weeks, I have been participating in the Fit Girl 28 Day Jumpstart challenge. This challenge came at the perfect time for me, I was struggling to eat healthily and felt lost in this whole “getting fit” idea. Fit Girl provided a meal plan for all 28 days of the challenge, a workout guide, a fitness journal and a plethora of tips and tricks to make it work for me. I think that was what I loved most about it all, the meal plans came with options to substitute foods that I didn’t like or even replace the whole meal. Even the workout guide was optional, if you chose not to follow it they recommended working out 30 minutes every day doing whatever you want. I lost a total of 8 lbs during the challenge and I feel awesome. It taught me some very good habits, I wanted to share what I learned.

  • Meal prep is your friend.
    Though it’s kind of a pain in the behind, prepping your meals on Sunday night for the work week is so worth it. I am a full-time student and have a full-time job so I am quite busy during the week. Fit Girl gave instructions for meal prep for all 3 meals. I often didn’t cook my dinner completely but I would at least slice up the veggies I’d be using so they’d be ready to go. I usually spent a couple hours in the kitchen on Sunday which was tough but, not having to put a lot of thought into what I was going to eat during the week was one less thing on my plate.

 

  • Cooking at home is best.
    I enjoy cooking, but I usually don’t feel like it. I am a fan of quick meals like Lean Cuisine or Stouffers but those things are high in sodium. I don’t think I’ve ever cooked as much as I did for this challenge. I now have a favorite knife and don’t sulk whenever a recipe calls for a food to be finely diced. Cooking at home gives you control over what exactly goes into your food. Also cooking your own food gives you a sense of pride. You put a little extra love in plating it and savor it a bit more when you’re eating it.

 

  • Treats are sweeter.
    When you’re not eating junk on a regular basis when you do eat it it’s so much better. I’m not a huge sweets eater my Achilles heel is salty stuff especially french fries. Two weeks into the challenge I treated myself to some french fries and it was so good. Not just because of the taste tasted but also because I had been working hard and deserved it. If you’re a sweets person Fitgirl recommended eating a little bit of dark chocolate that was at least 85% cocoa.

 

  • Cheat meals, not cheat days.
    Like I mentioned before I allowed myself weekly treats, these treats were usually a part of a cheat meal. Fit Girl recommended cheat meals over cheat days which makes sense if you think about it. So let’s say you decide to eat a big buttery and fatty food for each meal. You could easily go over 2000 calories in a day and be in danger of putting on a pound. That’s literally the opposite of the goal. If you instead have a cheat meal, for example, you have a big breakfast, you have the rest of the day to burn some if not all of it off.

 

There’s a still long a road ahead for me, motivation to exercise was a constant throughout the challenge. I was always glad I did it but the actual getting up and doing it was tough. I didn’t workout every day like recommended but I averaged 3-5 times a week which for me is a feat. Going forward I plan to diversify my workouts, so I don’t get bored and want to stop. I want to try cycling, kickboxing, and add some type of dance centered workout to the mix.
I wish I could say all my bad habits are gone but my serial snacking is still an issue. Laziness and lack of self-control are also still lingering. Fitgirl has given me a good basis on which to rebuild my eating and exercising habits. So when the New Year rolls around and everyone is making their fitness resolutions I will already be a step ahead.
As I go forth into this life change I will remember this one thing:

“Fit” looks different on everyone. So there’s no point in wishing and wanting to look like someone else or coveting another woman’s body because we’re all different. We all have different body types and carry our weight in different places.

I recommend the Fit Girl 28 Jumpstart Challenge for everyone who is new to fitness and needs a place to begin. They’re starting a new challenge January 2nd here’s the link!

What The Mountain Taught Me: The Climb To A Wake Up Call

This activity was supposed to bring us together strengthen our bond, make us more aware of each other. But I felt no bonds of sisterhood, I just felt fat.

wp-1468683553407.jpg

 

I am overweight. I’m not just saying that because I’m insecure, it’s a fact. According to BMI (body mass index) a woman my height, which is around 5″7 should weigh a max of 153 lbs. Well friends the last time I got on the scale I was way past that, actually according to those numbers I’m obese. I have been since probably about 7th grade. In school I felt my weight really limited me, I was always last in gym class. Always the most out of breath, even the girls who smoked seemed to be more fit than me. This is why I was so glad to leave gym class in the past once I graduated. Since then I never felt like my weight kept me from doing anything. I was actually starting to love my “curves”.

About a month ago my confidence took a big hit. I am a part of what some would call a “life group”in my church. We are a group of girls in our 20’s who study the Bible together, spend time together, serve our community together, we just do life together.

stone-mountain-background
Stone Mountain, GA

On this particular evening we were climbing Stone Mountain. For those who don’t know Stone Mountain is an enormous boulder sitting just east of the city of Atlanta. When I found out this is what we’d be doing I paused some. It had not escaped me that I was bigger than all the girls that were going, but since I knew most of the group was not attending I decided to go in support for our leader who is a good friend of mine. I would come to regret this decision.

When we got there I found that not only were we climbing the mountain we were going to be doing an activity as we climbed. Our group leader pulled string from her bag saying that we all had to keep one hand on the string as we climbed. We were going to be forced to stay together the entire way up, if one girl stopped we all stopped. The point of this was to strengthen our bond because of one of struggled it was all our job to help her.
My stomach dropped, no doubt I would be the slowest person. I had climbed the mountain once before and it was not easy for me, I stopped multiple times.

It became very clear to me about 15 minutes into the climb that this was not going to be good experience. The girls had gotten to a pace that was too fast for me. I knew I had to stop and take a rest soon. Stone Mountain is not a smooth climb, the trail is rocky and is consistently uphill. It’s an ideal cardio workout, I knew this because my chest was tightening the higher we got. I had to stop a few times and even have the girls slow down. I could see their frustrated expressions and I was filled with humiliation. I prayed our leader would let them go out in front of me so I could go at my own pace and not slow them down but no that would undermine the whole activity.

The girls-bless their hearts-tried to give me words of encouragement but I didn’t want to hear that. I wanted to be left behind so I could do this on my own without their attention. As we closed in on the steepest part of the mountain I felt as if I was going to pass out at any moment. But I was determined to get to the top, I had suffered so much already I would get the reward. Half way up the steep area I found myself unable to catch my breath. My breathing became very rapid and labored. “I think I am having an asthma attack!” I thought to myself. I regained my breath eventually after sitting and sipping some water.
With that scare the majority of the girls thought it was time to go back down. I and a few others wanted to keep going. They let me be the deciding factor, I relented and started back down. No longer required to hold onto the string we all scattered as we went back down.

This activity was supposed to bring us together strengthen our bond, make us more aware of each other. But I felt no bonds of sisterhood, I just felt fat.  All the confidence I had gained in the years since high school had dissipated in an 1 hour time span. I had never felt so limited in my body or so low in a long time.
Unintentionally I had become the example the activity was meant for. I was the girl who was struggling, who needed “help”.

The rational side of me knew that I had nothing to be ashamed of, we are all at different fitness levels. And if some of the girls were frustrated who cares? This is what I had to hold onto as I nursed my wounds when I got home that night.
One thing though nagged me more than anything, I had to get serious about my weight. I obviously needed to be more active.

Since then I have started working out more often and researching different ways to be active. I am discovering that finding the time is harder for me than the willpower. But I am determined to live a healthier lifestyle. My confidence is not what it was. Most days I’m fine others day I’m not, I’ll get there.

~

I want to hear your thoughts! Have you ever felt shame because of your body? Or felt like you were unable to do the same things as your peers?

 

 

 

*photo credit

Yoga Gangster

 

 

yoga 2

 

During the month of January I took a 21 yoga class challenge, 21 classes in 31 days. It was an awesome experience, here’s a few things I learned along the way.

1. Listen to your body

Maybe you didn’t get a lot of sleep last night, or you had a very stressful day. In that case give your body a rest. I don’t mean just stay home though. Test yourself see what you can do and if you’re struggling, do some modified poses. You’ll thank yourself later when you leave the class not more exhausted but rejuvenated.

2. Every “body” is different

All body types come to yoga, tall, short, fat, skinny, old, young. So you never have to feel like you stick out. And also everybody is in different places in their body. Some people’s balance isn’t as good as others. Some people are more flexible. So don’t fret if you can’t do a certain pose and others can, it’s okay. Sometimes even your proportions can hinder you. If you have long legs or a short torso, you can’t control that, so no sweat.

3. Flatulence is normal

In one of my first classes a woman let out a loud and long fart. I was shocked! What was even more shocking was that no one said a thing, not even a giggle. I later found that certain poses put pressure on your stomach and that urge to “let one go” will come, it’s normal. Better out than in, isn’t that what they say?

4. Downward dog isn’t the devil

I bet if you ask any yogi they will tell you that they hated downward dog at first. It’s supposed to be a resting pose, but I felt no rest when we did it. Now I can say I struggle less with it and sometimes it actually feels like a resting pose. It comes with time and practice.

5. But frog pose is 

I don’t care what anyone says frog pose is the worst. Imagine laying on the floor with your legs out to the side bent at the knee looking like a frog. Yes it stretches the hamstrings but it’s also extremely uncomfortable. And getting out of the pose? “Fuh gedda about it.” You will think you were 100 years old and arthritic as you try to get off that floor

6. Some people like to talk through their pain

So as I previously stated sometimes you hurt in yoga. When I’m in pain I’m quiet as I try to breath through it. Not everyone is like that, some people have to verbalize their pain in groans, complaints, and bad jokes. To be honest it annoyed me, I mean who wants to listen to that while their calves are on fire. Everyone processes pain differently though, so you got to suck it up.

7. Stay on your mat

What I mean by that is focus on you and what you’re doing, don’t stare at others. Watching others is a distraction that can prevent you from successfully doing a pose. I found that my closing my eyes or just looking straight ahead helped me keep from getting distracted.

8. Thin does not mean fit

None of the yoga instructors had these perfectly toned “yoga bodies”. Some had booties, or a little belly, or even some extra flab on their arms. And these are people who do yoga everyday multiple times a day. The people you see on fitness videos are not the norm.

9.  Wear fitted tops and a sports bra

This is something only the busty girls of the world would understand. When your bending over and are up and down off the floor the “girls” tend to fall out of your bra and then your shirt. Attire that is actually made for working out is recommended.

10. I can do anything I set my mind to

21 yoga classes in 31 days was a daunting task for me. It meant I had to do yoga 5-6 times a week, something I had never done before. I’ve never been an active person. But I did it, I rose to the challenge. I am a strong woman, even if sometimes I don’t feel like I am.

 

One month into 2016 and I’ve already accomplished a goal. #crushingit

 

*Photo source weheartit