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Weight Loss Goals + Getting Fit

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I mentioned in my February Goals post about how I’ve been working to lose weight and get fit and some of you have asked me to share what I’m doing specifically. So, I wanted to share some background so everyone knows where I started.

As I approached the age of 30, I’ll never forget looking at a photo of myself and thinking, I have a roll of fat around my middle!

Y’all I became a vegetarian in 1998 when I was just 23 years old. But being a vegetarian doesn’t mean your healthy if you’re not exercising and eating healthy foods! Actually, looking back, I think I ate a fairly healthy diet, but I ate too much food. I had no self control when it came to food and I would eat way too much.

related: 5 Tips for Transitioning to a Healthier Diet

It’s funny because I never thought I’d ever struggle with my weight. I was always very thin as a girl and into my twenties. But with each pregnancy, I failed to lose all of my weight and after my fifth child, I think I got back down to around 115, but within a couple years at the age of 30 I had put on another fifteen pounds.

Ten years later, in the summer 2016 I was soooo tired of squeezing into my jeans and I bought a pair of size 12. I weighed 150 pounds. I’m 5 feet 5 inches tall and very small boned. This was a lot of weight for me! Everyone’s bodies are different and we all carry weight differently. So much of my weight was in my belly – I can’t count the times I was asked when my baby was due! It was so embarrassing and I hated it.

I also realized I had a pattern – I would gain weight in the winter months and work to lose some of it when the weather was nice and I was more active. But that summer in 2016 I hadn’t dropped any weight, I’d actually gained. I knew it was time for a lifestyle change. I didn’t want to crash diet. I wanted to change the way I eat, the way I live so that I could be healthier, feel better, and look better in my clothes (not to mention naked).

So, in October 2017 I walked into Kohl’s department store because my size 8 jeans were loose and I walked out with three pair of size 6 jeans. It had been years since I was able to button up a pair of size 6 jeans! It felt great! In all honesty, for me, it’s not about the size jeans I’m wearing. It’s about my body and how I carry weight. I still have a little weight to lose, but I’m almost where I want to be. I’m 42 years old and I knew that if I didn’t get fit now, it would be a lot harder a few years down the road. I wish I had made this decision for myself years ago!

Also, there’s a difference between being skinny and being fit. In the last few months, it’s become very important to me that I am physically fit. I’ve been feeling very motivated by my teen girls – they are both so athletic and have great toned muscles!

I still struggle with self image. But not like I used to. My outward appearance isn’t really the problem- although it seems like it is when I look in the mirror. I’m very critical of myself and I’m working on loving myself and being okay with myself. Being in my 40s isn’t really a big deal to me. When I turned 40 I didn’t suddenly feel old or like my life was ebbing away. I don’t mind my aging face or my aging body. In fact, I feel better about myself now than I did 20 years ago!

So here’s how I’ve done it.

Finally Getting Fit

#1 I made a determination to stop overeating. No piling my plate high – I need to be able to see my plate between the food. No more second helpings – even my favorite foods. Food can be so comforting. I love good comfort foods. I love the way food feels in my mouth. I love the way good food tastes. I love the way it smells. I even love arranging food on my plate so it’s pleasing to the eye. My daughter Laura always asks me, “How come your plate always looks so pretty!”

But I don’t overeat any more. I began eating smaller portions and only ate what I needed to eat to be nourished and have energy.

#2 I stopped snacking on high calorie foods. Sometimes I want to eat when I’m bored. Sometimes I eat just because I want something to snack on. Other times I actually feel hungry. For the last year and a half I only snack on fruit. And it’s almost always an orange. If I feel hungry in between meals, I usually grab an orange. Some days I’ll eat three or four oranges. Other times I’ll eat a cucumber or blueberries, but I usually snack on oranges. I haven’t been sick in a really long time either! I don’t know if all of the oranges have anything to do with that, but surely it helps!

#3 I made the decision to be active everyday. I try hard to do something – anything – to be active most days of the week. In the beginning, doing something often meant I took a walk or spent fifteen minutes on the floor stretching or exercising with the girls. Making the decision to be active as much as possible made a huge difference.

#4 The Lose It! app. During 2017 I never counted calories which is really what made my weight loss more of a lifestyle change and not a diet. I went from a size 12 to a size 6 without ever counting calories. Because I’m so close to my goal, in January I decided to start counting calories to help me reach my goal before summer (swim suit season).

The Lose It! app has been great. I track all of my meals, snacks, and water intake in this app and it helps me make good choices through the day because I can see how much I’ve eaten and if I eat a higher calorie lunch, I know I need to scale back for supper. I’m currently on a 1350 calorie a day limit. For the most part it hasn’t been hard for me to stay in that range. I eat a lot of fruit and raw vegetables, but also enjoy eating some good healthy fats too.

#5 Drinking more water. Apparently increasing your water intake helps you lose weight even when you’re not exercising! I’ve always been one to drink a good bit of water – I tend to guzzle and my family jokes about it – but unless I’m tracking it I don’t always drink enough. I rarely drink other types of beverages. I don’t like drinking my calories!

#6 Taking it even further. In January we went on vacation to Florida for three weeks. I had just bought some new work out clothes and I took them with me on vacation because I knew it was likely that our hotel would have a fitness center I could use. And y’all for the first time in my life I can honestly say I’m motivated to work out on a regular basis. Within a couple weeks I noticed that my abdomen was already feeling stronger.

When we came home from Florida, we got a family membership at the YMCA and the girls and I go three or four times a week to work out together. We usually go in the evenings and spend 1 or 1 1/2 hours in the gym. Do I think you need to work out that long? No. But we’re enjoying the time together and the girls have major fitness goals of their own.

With Hannah’s figure skating her coach has told her she needs even tighter abs – and I can tell you she’s pretty amazing and strong already! Hannah also wants stronger arms – her shoulders are amazing because she has to hold her arms up for the longest time when skating, but she’s not focusing much on her legs because she works those out everyday on the ice and her thighs are incredibly strong.

Laura is focusing on her abs, legs, and arms, too. She says she’s going to get a six pack. We’ll see! Me? I want a strong core, toned arms, and toned legs.

This week at the gym I decided to take some cool, retro looking photos of my girls. Our YMCA has this awesome vintage vibe to it. I had seen a photo on Instagram of two girls sitting and it had this fun retro feel to it. So I had Hannah and Laura pose in a similar fashion. I’m so pleased with how the photos turned out. We plan to take more in different poses and even recreate these {below} when they get even more toned.

I’m so excited about the progress I’m making – however slow. I’m very thankful I have Hannah and Laura to help motivate and encourage me. They are so supportive and fun to be with!

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