When I started working out and eating healthily a few years ago, I was pumped and excited and maybe a tad naive. I believed that if I exercised and ate healthy food, I would be able to lose weight whenever I wanted to. That is how things worked I happily told myself. How hard could it be? I had heard of the dreaded plateau but having never experienced it myself, I had no idea what these people were referring to. What did they mean when they said they had hit a plateau in their weight loss? Clearly, they weren’t doing something right I haughtily said to myself. Well, karma has a way of being a b*itch so trust and believe that I have completely refined my thoughts on the plateau and know exactly what this means.
“Progression: the process of developing or moving gradually towards a more advanced state”
My fitness journey has been a long one. I made the decision to live a fit and healthy lifestyle about six years ago and have gradually made that decision a reality. It took time to change many years of eating whatever I wanted and to scoff at the idea of working out. I stumbled many times and had to start over and many many times thought of giving up because the process was too hard, but with perseverance and motivation, I stayed steadfast and kept moving forward with my journey.
Why is this taking so long? I workout everyday. I burn calories. I eat healthily. I run half-marathons, I lift weights. Why don’t I see the results of my hard work? Why is is taking three months to lose five pounds? Why don’t I see the definition in my arms that I am working so hard to achieve? These are all questions I ask myself and you probably ask yourself too and for good reason because when you think you are working really hard, you expect the results to reflect your hard work, that’s how it’s supposed to work!
Well, it turns out that it takes a lot of hard work and a lot of time for you to see the fruits of your labor when it comes to working out, be it for losing weight or for toning and sculpting. If you are trying to lose weight, you have to realize that 3500 calories equals 1 pound of fat, so you have to create a deficit of 3500 calories just to lose a pound a week. 3500 calories!!! Can you believe that. You don’t realize how hard that is until you start to log your food and calories burned and realize how fast the calories you consume add up. It takes no time at all to consume 3500 calories which is why it is so easy to gain weight if you’re not eating properly or exercising.
I used to always want to join a gym. I had this fantasy of waking up on Saturday mornings, putting on my matching workout clothes, pack a gym bag with a towel, headset and protein bar and head off to the gym where I would run on the treadmill or elliptical, lift some weights, looking awesome doing all this of course and at the end of my workout head to the nearest Panera Bread for breakfast. Well, this fantasy never became a reality because when I did walk into a gym with the intention of getting a membership, I looked around at who would be my “workout buddies”, and I felt so intimidated that I walked right out. Now, this was no fault of my fantasy “workout buddies”, all they were doing was getting their workout in. This was completely me being so self-conscious and insecure that I knew there was no way I would be comfortable there.
I have so far still been unsuccessful in my search for an additional six hours in the day but as promised, the second I find the hours I will for sure share this with all of you. I have made a lot of changes to my lifestyle and routine in order to maximize the time available to me and save time whenever possible and one of the changes I have had to make is to somehow fit my workout into my day.
I don’t have time. My schedule is packed. I don’t feel well. It’s too hot. It’s too cold. Its my birthday. It’s too expensive. I’ll do it tomorrow………these and many many others are what we use to talk ourselves out of making the effort to be fit and healthy. There’s always something standing in the way of working out and eating healthy it seems but I have one word for this…Excuses!
Making the decision to workout and be healthy is not an easy one. Working out, if you’re doing it right, hurts because you are making your muscles work in ways they may not be accustomed to, or you are pushing them past their limit. Eating healthy is hard, the best tasting food is usually not healthy, if you have a choice between french fries and carrot sticks, of course french fries will win if you have no will power. To add insult to injury, losing weight takes a long time, in spite of what you may have heard, there is no quick way to lose weight that is also healthy and sustainable in the long run. It could take you years to reach your goal weight and this is with consistency and a complete lifestyle change. So of course it is simpler to take the easy way out and succumb to excuses.
When I started running a few years ago, I knew that I needed a good pair of running shoes and comfortable workout clothes and that’s all I thought I needed. I started running and as I talk about in my “Just Keep Running, Running, Running…” post, I started off with a 5k and gradually increased my mileage. Well, one of these Saturday’s, I was running along, happy with the progress I was making when I stepped onto the curb with one foot and felt a weird pain in my right knee. It was just a brief, sharp pain and I was able to shake it off and finish my run. I came home, went about my business and forgot about the whole thing. The next day I wake up to pain in that knee. It wasn’t a terrible pain and I could still walk but I feared I had injured myself and would never be able to run again and maybe even more importantly, I would never be able to wear heels again!
I’ve mentioned before that I wouldn’t say I’ve ever had an actual issue with my weight. I’ve always been within my BMI and when I do decide to lose weight it is usually due to vanity. I look in the mirror, don’t like the way my arms or abs look and I decide I need to lose 10 pounds or be more toned. Or I buy an outfit, try it on and it’s a bit snug and I make it my goal in life to make sure it fits. I started exercising because I wanted to make sure I stayed the same size, because again, I’m too vain to have a bigger dress size in my closet. Say what you want about my confession about being vain, but my vanity is what motivates me to wake up at 4 a.m. and workout and push myself to my max.
Selfish—adjective–(of a person, action, or motive) lacking consideration for others; concerned chiefly with one’s own personal profit or pleasure.
My husband and I have been married for seven glorious years. I would like to believe we are soul mates, if that is something that exists. We have the same goals for our future and we have so much in common that it’s weird. The one thing we do not have in common is exercise. When I wake up at 4 a.m to workout, he remains blissfully asleep. When I leave at 6 a.m. on Saturdays to go running, he kisses me good-bye, gives me a hug and wishes me good luck. I could easily lose motivation and give up on working out, after all it is way more fun and motivational to exercise with a partner than by yourself. But my motivation for being fit is greater than that, so I decide to be selfish.