Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Work It Out! (Topic Tuesday on Wednesday)

I once wrote a jingle for a fitness boot camp as a trade for participating in said boot camp.  I don't know if it ever got used, but I can tell you that I had a blast doing it. The song that is...the boot camp made me wish there was some quick and easy form of getting healthy and strong without having to watch what I eat and rip my muscles to pieces so they can rebuild themselves into machines capable of lifting tall buildings. I have often started and stopped programs because I realized that I simply don't like how much effort you have to put into them. At times I've succeeded in getting healthy, only to find myself in the swing of unhealthy living again, thus discouraged and defeated and not wanting to start the process all over.

About four years ago, I got serious about my health. I decided, with the help of some of my friends, that it was important for me to pay attention to what was happening to my body. I was having serious and chronic bouts with acid reflux, my cholesterol was rising, and my wallet was getting lighter because I was having to buy new clothes, as my old ones were getting a little too snug. I wasn't sleeping well, getting chronic migraines, and was emotionally unhappy. So, I bought into the Nutrisystem world. It was fantastic. I had figured that I would lose about 25 pounds and that would be enough. I was on Nutrisystem for 6 months and ended up losing 39 pounds. I had no idea that's what my body needed to lose. I was truly shocked. In that 6 months, my skin cleared dramatically, I was sleeping better, my acid reflux was curbed (for the first time in my life), my cholesterol dropped, and my self-esteem rose. I felt amazing. Now, I need to mention that I did not exercise at all during that time. I ate 5 meals a day, and I had an abundance of energy. I even cut back on my coffee intake, which was soooo good for me. It was truly an amazing experience. I felt for the first time in my life that I really could take care of myself and beat that little voice that tried to tell me I couldn't do it.

Fast forward to two years ago. I slowly put almost all of that weight back on. I had lost a bunch of my muscle mass (women lose up to 6% of their muscle every ten years), the issues started coming back, and now I was experiencing back and neck pain. I didn't feel like I wanted to go back to Nutrisystem, because I realized that I was missing the understanding of how to eat well without someone cooking and pre-packaging my food for me. I started researching ways to establish healthy eating patterns, read books on estrogen and progesterone and how that affects how your body metabolizes as we age, what foods we should eat and avoid in order to inspire our bodies to work the way they're supposed to, yadda, yadda, yadda. Then I started looking at the exercise piece. I started to get overwhelmed. There is so much out there on how to get healthy and whose method is more correct. Meanwhile, I was making small changes, so I felt like I was at least on the right track. I pushed through the information but wasn't feeling any better or losing any weight. I was simply staying the same. So, last spring, I joined some friends and took on Beach Body's P90X program. I figured I just needed to commit to something and see it through. I didn't lose any weight, but I did get stronger, and a few injuries that had plagued me over the last few years were suddenly remedied. Even with all of that I was discouraged. I couldn't get a handle on how to get to be the healthiest version of me without someone doing the work for me.

That's when it hit me. I was constantly saying "I can't" and "I won't." I was inconsistent, because I gave myself the room to constantly make exceptions. I did this mostly because I was afraid I would "never get to enjoy _____ again." (Fill in the blank in your own world.) (And, let's face it, I was busy and no two days look alike in my world. So setting a schedule including workouts and meal plans can be more difficult when you have no idea what the next day is going to need from you.) I knew I needed to make complete lifestyle changes, but I'm a zealot by nature, so changes tend to mean all or nothing. I wasn't considering the moderation piece after a focused time of withholding. That brings me to today.

I am, smack dab, in the middle of yet another program. This one is called Insanity. And, yes, it's insane. Forty Five minutes of the most intense cardio you can imagine, six days a week. It's incredible. So is the meal plan. Why? Because like all of the Beach Body programs they help you to understand the balance of what every meal should look like, and how to figure out the caloric intake YOUR body needs. They also provide recipes to help you so you don't have to think about how to plan your meals from scratch, hoping to get it right (unless you like that sort of thing, and then they give you a list of food options to choose from). So, how am I doing? 4 Weeks in, and I have clearly lost some poundage, everyone has noticed my clear skin, I'm sleeping better, my chronic issues have again disappeared, and I feel really good about me. 

Why am I sharing this with you? Because we need to understand that we're not alone. Getting and staying healthy is hard. There is nothing easy about it. It requires discipline, sacrifice, and a healthy dose of self worth. You have got to believe that you're worth it. You have got to believe that your life is important enough to be taken care of, by others and by YOU. You are important. It's not okay for us to give into our cravings and indulgences 100 percent of the time, because they will eventually hurt us if they are the rule and not the exception. As we age, we become more susceptible to diabetes, heart disease, strokes, and whatever else that comes with age, and if we don't flippin' take care of ourselves we are basically opening the door for those potentials to make themselves at home in our bodies. If I value the lives around me, then I have to value mine, because I know my friends and my family would all be devastated if I wasn't here anymore and there was something I could have done about it in my life right now. Plus, if I want to be able to go about the life that was intended for me to have, and make change in the world then, again, I need make take care of my body now so that I can do all the things I am called to do. And. So. Do. You.

For those of you who are taking care of yourself, I say well done and thank you. You are the ones who help inspire the rest of us to keep going. And when you need, we'll be here to help encourage you to keep going as well.

For those of you who don't know where to start, I will list some resources for you to check out, but remember this: You. Are. Not. Alone. It's hard work, but you are more than capable of overcoming that voice of negativity. You absolutely can do it, and you will. Activate the "I Will" inside of you and don't look at the failures. You might fail a few times. You might get discouraged. But there WILL come a day, when you'll suddenly notice that you won. We don't yell at babies when they're learning to crawl, or walk, or talk, so remember that once you've decided the steps to take in getting healthy. And remember IT IS NOT ABOUT HOW THIN YOU CAN GET. It is about being the HEALTHIEST version of you that you can be. Grab a friend, join a gym and make friends, find a way to get inspired, but don't give up. Never give up. If nothing else, find someone who can tell you simply that they believe in you.

RESOURCES:


Beach Body
Jillian Michaels
Nutrisystem
Weight Watchers
General Health Help
Women's Health
Men's Health


5 comments:

Karen Mayer said...

WOW Amber this is a wonderful post. THANK YOU for sharing. You really got down to the heart of exactly how I feel and have struggled for years. I know I need to work out. I know I need to eat better. But i still continue to tell myself, it's ok to have _____ just this once (but its never just this once). When i start programs, I get frustrated and distracted easily. it always seems like too much work. I have been trying lately to get back into a routine but am still putting it off for whatever reason. This post really has me thinking and I WILL get back on track tomorrow! No excuses -- i'm going to start AGAIN.

I'm glad that you are having success with insanity! Keep up the good work! Can you come to PA and be my gym buddy?! lol, jk -- but I will keep you in mind and hopefully your message will keep me motivated.

Thanks again!

Xo Karen

Haleyjames29 said...

Hey Amber ! it's the greatest post i read in your blog (don't worry i loved the others too lol )! you gave me strengh with your post ! you're very brave and so true !! a few years ago i had some weight to lose due to a unhealthy life and i started Weight watchers and it was the best thing i ever done !! it's healthy you can eat whatever you want u just have to count points. i lost the weight i needed to lose and never get it on back ! i need to be careful cos i have some hereditary cholesterol but it's hard really hard to eat healthy food all the time by lack of time or just laziness but you're right when you say that you're feeling better when you do someting for your health ! and your body will remember that later !!
Thanks for sharing a part of your life with us ! we know that famous or not people are having the same troubles that everybody and it's important to know that we are not alone :)(and sorry if my english is not perfect :))

Big kisses Amber !

bérengère said...

This is a GREAT blog Amber! Thanks for sharing it!!
I love that you wrote about what/how you felt 4 years ago… it shows that it takes time to be aware of what is good for us…
I won’t write too much about me here, but 2 years ago I struggled with food… I didn’t eat enough… you wrote “I realized that I missing the understanding of how to eat well without someone cooking and pre-packaging my food for me”. I can relate to that sentence… when I’m alone I don’t like cooking for myself, and then I don’t eat well… I’ve understood that and I work on it! I owe that to myself.

You also wrote : “I was constantly saying "I can't" and "I won't."” OH! That little voice inside us which often says unpleasant, pessimistic, negative sentences!! I try to fight it!! I try to say to myself “you will, you can….” It’s not easy but it makes me feel so much better to think in a positive/pleasant way!
Step by step, right?…

But I think that what I love the most in your blog is “It is about being the HEALTHIEST version of you that you can be”. You’ ve already wrote “not compare ourselves to anyone else. We're trying to be the best version of ourselves! » (in : I Heard It First Watching Saturday Morning Cartoons, 06/29/2011). You put words on how I feel!!
No matter what, it’s always about being the best of ourself!
It’s not about being like someone else, or being what others expect us to be… it’s being us, the best we can, accepting, respecting, loving who we are…
And it’s not selfish at all!!

So, for all that you wrote : THANK YOU!
Good luck with “Insanity”!

(I hope that I’m understandable even though my English is not perfect)!

Bérengère.

imeldaodonoghue123 said...

OMG Amber u literally just summed up my life, lost 4 stone 2yrs ago and put it all back on and a bit extra, joined weightwatchers a few weeks ago and down 7 and a half pounds, but kinda gettin stuck in a rut, bad habits creeping up on me i like ur attitude of, I can and I will cos I dont have any of that, feel like ---- most of the time, no energy would literally sleep for a week if it wasnt for my son whos nearly 9 and has an abundance of energy wish I had the get up and go like some of my friends but some days i could'nt care less! Reading your blog really inspires me and sounds like you go through things most of us do so keep up the good work and i'm gonna take your advice and believe I can :):):)
Thanks Amber your great :)

94a37126-51bb-11e0-ad40-000bcdcb2996 said...

Encouraging post. I think a lot of us are in the same boat with wanting to be healthy yet feeling after a couple of days, "I can't do this!" My friend and I are committing to a half marathon in November so her encouragement has helped me to get off of the couch!
Best wishes as you continue your healthy journey! --Kelly