I was replacing the empty five-gallon jug on our water cooler at work last week, when I thought to myself:
“This feels like 50 pounds. Even if it isn’t, this has to be close to the amount of extra weight I carried on my body going on four years ago. And I could never put it down.”
Now, I’m a strong person. I can safely lift heavy objects and put them back down, but, as I lugged that jug down the hall, I couldn’t help but think about my vitals. My heart was probably beating a little faster. I was probably breathing a little harder.
Every time I think of my body carrying 50 additional pounds on it, I feel a lot of different feelings.
Amazed… about the types of activities I pursued anyway as an early to mid 20-something. Cardio, spin and weight training classes. I also took up road cycling. I even took advantage of living on the National Mall and often jogged three or four miles.
Frightened… about the impact this had on my body.
Even sad… that I had to work so much harder to move my body than I do now.
As many of you know, in 2012, I lost 50 pounds through healthy eating and exercise. While both lifestyle modifications contribute to weight loss and a healthy lifestyle, I primarily attribute my weight loss to healthy eating, simply because my eating habits are what changed before and as I lost weight.
I’ve managed to keep the weight off through various life events, including changing jobs, getting engaged, earning my master’s degree while working full time, getting married and moving from the health-conscious city of Washington, D.C., to Augusta.
So how did I do that?
The initial weight came off as a result of behavior change, but what kept it off was changing my attitude and values surrounding healthy eating. I’ve learned the value in trading instant gratification for delayed gratification, because the effect of making healthy decisions lasts longer than the moments spent indulging in more calories and less nutritional value.
Here are five healthy eating tips, which I shared with WJBF December 28, to get you started:
- When shopping for groceries stick to shopping the perimeter of the store as much as you can;
- Keep your fridge stocked with healthy food, and make sure that you have healthy snacks on hand at all times;
- Prep your meals for the week to save time and take the guesswork out of healthy eating;
- Focus on making healthy swaps, because:
- All of those small changes add up to a big change;
- This is a lifestyle and, therefore, it needs to be sustainable over time; and
- Be accountable – I recommend doing so through an app and people who support you and your goals.
Regarding accountability and social support, that’s where my gym, Oxygen Fitness Studio, comes in. It’s a community of people who care about each other and our goals and aspirations.
Wellness instructor Susan O’Keefe will talk about what’s trending and how to build a better body, as well as offer tips on spring cleaning the pantry! Attendees can also sample juices and nutritious bites from local restaurants. The 90-minute workshop takes place at 11 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 27, 2016 and costs $50 per person.