I recently had some photos pop up of me on Facebook from four or five years ago and had a bit of a moment. You see, sometimes I forget that I haven’t always been the healthy person that I am now. I forget how unhappy, unhealthy and tired I was. I forget how my appendix was rotting away in my body and I just ignored the pain I was having because it wasn’t too far from my normal.
I could post one of those before and after pictures, (and I love seeing other people’s transformations, so maybe one day I will) but there’s always something about them that nags me. Everyone looks at the before and thinks “oh god that is bad.” It is definitely not good to be unhealthy and sick and tired, but neither is it an experience you have to be ashamed of.
I am one of those people who really need a “why,” as in, “why am I doing this?” If you don’t know why you’re making huge lifestyle changes that are hard at first, you won’t make them; let’s be real. And my “why” didn’t really hit me until I was sitting in a hospital bed. So I’m grateful for that. And I’m grateful for the person in those pictures that was still kicking ass even though she was so, so, tired. A lot of you may know that I’m studying to be a health coach, and this is why. Because I really want to help people get to this place with some support and someone else to read all the health articles – because I’m doing that over here anyway, haha. So here is my first stab at telling you what I did to get healthy, so try them for yourself and see what happens. And always feel free to reach out to me if you need help. But first, figure out your why.
1. Read ingredients
Start small – buy bread that has ingredients you can pronounce instead of the one you usually buy. If you don’t know what a word is on the ingredients list, I promise you it is bad for you. U.S. standards for food ingredients are so lax, and that is sad, but it just means you have to do a little work yourself. You do not have to go all crazy and make everything yourself; just pick things that are closer to whole food that is grown or picked or raised and farther from lab experiments (sorry folks, but soda is one of the worst offenders). Good food changes your body chemistry, your whole system will work better for you, and your cravings for artificial foods will start going away (promise!). In the near future I’ll do a food swap post and post some pictures because pictures are always better.
2. Eat when you are hungry
Eat real food, and lots of it. No more calorie counting or 100 calorie cookie packs or swearing off carbs until you’re shaking, please. Get the protein and rice and veggies and yogurt or whatever you feel good eating, and then fill yourself up with it. Your body is smart and it uses hunger to tell you it needs nutrients. It is way smarter than you so stop thinking it is wrong. Pack in the nutrients. If you’re working out and building muscle you are going to be hungry! Good food does not make you fat.
3. Lift some weight
This is where the easy part comes in, no joke. I didn’t do this when I started working out and I worked out so much more. Hour long classes at the gym multiple days a week. Mind numbing treadmill sessions. Building muscle changes your body composition fast. It doesn’t have to be much. At my peak I was doing at least 30 minutes a day at the gym five days a week and that was manageable for me because I am more of a bust my ass for a few minutes and then get out of there type person, but do whatever fits into your schedule and do it with some weights.