In 2016, I truly started my fitness journey. I took things one step at a time. I had tried losing weight and getting in shape before, by doing many things all at once and getting overwhelmed. This time I was determined to make things work for me, I wanted to make a lifestyle change and not go on any fad diets or lose weight quickly to then gain it back in a few months. I decided if I lost 5 pounds a months that sounded good, it seemed do-able and healthy. I started 2016 weighing 280, my goal for that year was to lose a total of 60 lbs. I was really motivated to lose some weight and get in shape because I had my 1st cruise in February of 2017 to look forward to and I wanted to look and feel good in a swimsuit.
Though I had my goal weight in mind, I did NOT weigh myself every day of every week. From December to April, I did not weigh myself once because I told myself that if I was losing anything it was probably water weight and I didn’t want to be discouraged if it was only a little weight loss. When I did weigh myself in April, I was shocked because I had lost 30 pounds! I knew I had lost some weight but didn’t think I had lost that much. By the end of 2016 I can say I was successful of hitting my goal of losing 60 lbs in 2016, but it was more than that. I had made a lifestyle change, was healthier and more active and seemed to be enjoying life more. I wanted to share a breakdown of how I went about making changes in 2016, I hope that my story can encourage others to make their own changed – if that is your desire. I am a VERY strong believe in loving yourself for who you are now and how you look today, not what you will be down the road.
January 2016 – Diet Change
- There were a few little changes I made in January with regards to my diet. Though water is the main thing I drink, I decided I was going to try to up my water drinking – you can never be TOO hydrated, right? My goal with drinking water became drinking two 24oz bottles at work and another one after work. It took time but now that is pretty easy for me to do. I also cut pop out of my diet for the most part; when I do go out to eat I will order water or on occasion an alcoholic beverage. I not only drink maybe 2 cans of pop a month. As water gets boring and I wanted to add in flavor I found my few favorite go to drink – mixing 4oz of cranberry juice from Trader Joe’s with 8oz of orange sparkling water, YUMM. With regards to what I was eating, I tried cutting out as many carbs as I could, meaning I would only have pasta or bread 3 meals a week, tops. When I did have pasta or bread, I was making sure it was whole wheat. I also increased the amount of veggies I was eating and tried new ones, my favorite was Brussel sprouts.
February 2016 – Gym Time
- Now that I was eating healthier it was time I started working out. For the month of February I took it easy and just wanted to get used to going to the gym. I am lucky enough that in the building I work at there is a free gym – it only took me a year of working there to finally use it, oops. So 3-4 days a week after work I went to the gym for 30-45 minutes and spent my time on the elliptical. The workouts were kind of boring but I was slowly getting used to being active again.
March 2016 – Shakes & More Workouts
- Now that I was in the habit of going to the gym and eating heathier I wanted to try something new. Breakfast is the hardest meal for me, I HATE mornings and don’t care to wake up earlier to make something. I found it hard to come up with low calorie or sugar breakfast, it’s hard to do a ton of fruit and veggies in the morning. So I decided to try protein shakes, a few co-workers were doing shakes through Isagenix so I decided to order them. I tried both the vanilla spice and strawberry. I did not care for the vanilla spice but strawberry worked for me. The “proper” way to drink these shakes is with 8ox of water, ice and 2 scoops of the protein mix which totaled only 240 calories and 24 carbs. I changed it up to fit me, what I do is 1-1.5 scoops of protein mix, 6oz water, 2 spoonful of plain Greek yogurt and a ½ a frozen banana. I March I also added in going on the treadmill when I was at the gym, so now I was up to using 2 different machines.
April 2016 – 5K treadmill training schedule
- One day a week at the gym I scheduled myself to be on the treadmill walking 3.1 miles, which is a 5K. My goal was to do my 1st 5K on Thanksgiving of 2016 – a few days before my 25th birthday! My 5K training schedule was very simple- I made a word document that had the number of weeks until Thanksgiving (33 weeks), aka the # of times I had to do the treadmill before the 5K. Then I left open spots to record things: the day I did the 3.1 miles, what setting and speed I used, if I used a the incline what was it set at and for how long, and how long it took me to walk the 3.1 miles on the treadmill. When I started in April, my 1st treadmill time was at about 53 minutes. By the time Thanksgiving came around, I was down to 40 minutes and 30 seconds! I ended up getting sick the week of Thanksgiving and not doing the 5K, however I was proud of the time improvement I made working towards it. One day I WILL do a 5K!
May 2016 – Bike and Weights
- At this point I was fairly comfortable being in the gym, it was definitely a habit for me to go there right after work. I knew that to be successful in losing weight and building muscles you have to not only switch up your workout routines but also use weights. In the gym at work we have a few strength training machines, I started using these and over time have been able to increase both the weight I use and also the number of reps I can do. The gym also has some stationary bikes, I prefer the ones where your sitting down level compared to up in the air. With this though I found my arms weren’t getting much of a workout. So I decided to add weights into my biking working. I would grab free weights (5lbs, 8lbs, or 10 lbs.) and I would do different arm exercises with them while I pedaled.
June 2016 – Lunch break changes
- Walking during my lunch break: I am someone who works in a cube, sitting at my desk all day long. Most days I would take my 30 minute break either in the break room or at my desk. However, now that it was nice out, I figured I would walk outside. I had timed it so that if I walked 3 laps around my building I could typically complete that in 35-40 minutes (including the time it took me to get outside and back to punching in). Any day I was at work and it was nice out, I was walking during my break. I did these lunch walks from June through September. Even though I was walking during my break, that didn’t mean I was done exercising for the day, most days, after work I hit the gym for 30 minutes to an hour still.
- Breaking up lunch: I am not a big “snacker” when my hands are busy, but when I am bored, I can definitely be caught eating. I work on a computer so my hands tend to be busy. Because I knew trying to have more snacks and smaller meals throughout the day was going to be hard for me, I decided that if I was going to not be eating during my lunch break I could at least break my bunch in ½ to get 4 meals a day compared to 3. The meal I prepared for lunch was still the same size as before, however now I was just eating ½ before I went on my lunch walk and the other ½ sometime in the afternoon.
July 2016 – New walking/jogging tracker
- This required me to do the treadmill twice a week – I was still doing the 3.1 miles on the treadmill every week, this was just another thing I had to do once a week. For this tracker, instead of choosing the distance and having everything else be undecided variables each week, I did something a little different. I choose the time I was going to be on the treadmill, the speed in which I was going to walk, and then my intervals for walking vs. jogging (ex. 4 min walk, 1 min jog), what I left undecided was the jogging speed. This naturally increased each week but at my speed. I then recorded the jogging speed and the distance I was able to complete in the time allotted.
December 2016 – Workout Classes
- After Thanksgiving I enrolled in 3 workout classes in the gym at my work. Each class was only offered once a week for 3 weeks and was only 45 minutes long. These classes were great though! They were the extra push and workout change that I needed, especially that time of year with all the Holiday treats that kept appearing. I took some of the different exercises I learned in those classes and incorporated them into my own workouts.
After many months of slowly adding in new things, I finally had a fitness routine down. I was doing protein shakes for breakfast when I was at work (allowing myself cheat days), drinking more water and less pop, and I had a habit of going to the gym most days after work now for 45 minutes to 1.5 hours. It was very exciting to see the transformation that occurred last year, it wasn’t easy but it has been worth it. Below is a side by side comparison of what I looked like at Christmas in 2015 and 2016. It may be hard to tell for some people, but I see a HUGE different and looking at these pictures motivates me to keep going. This is just my story and what worked for me. I am still learning more about eating healthy and doing diverse workouts to continue my fitness journey.