Challenges along the way…

It is now officially May, which puts me at almost the one year mark since I started this fitness journey (I only wish I started this blog sooner so I could have looked back at my year of progress…sigh). Along the way I have hit many forks in the road, a lot of bumps and a few fallen trees that could have stopped me in my tracks but I have managed to navigate through all of them and kept pushing on.

One of the biggest challenges for me as someone who has  always been overweight is food. I never  learned balanced, proper nutrition as a kid. My mom has always had weight issues, and as a single working parent she always just stocked the fridge and freezer with what was quick and easy. I grew up on pizza rolls, frozen pizza, microwavable hamburgers, taco night and all kinds of soda, chips and junk. I am sure this had a huge impact on my eating habits as an adult and now as a mom, I myself face the fact that while these quick and easy options may help me daily, it is not going to help my children. I do not want them to go through life as I did and have to face the same issues.

Last May something clicked in me. I did not like the person in the mirror and I decided it was time to make some changes. I started by cutting back on my sugar intake as I was a huge sugar junkie. No more Pop-tarts (which I love and I swear they stare at me when I walk down the aisle they reside in at the grocery store), no cookies just cause they were there, no more late night ice cream and no more snacking out of boredom after 7pm. I was never a big chip eater so I had no issues cutting that sort of stuff out. I also cut back on my caffeine intake which was TOUGH but I survived it and rarely feel the need for a late afternoon pick me up anymore. (However this past week I have my fair share of late night coffee and I have been paying the price for it with a wacky sleep schedule!)

After a few hard weeks of sticking to these diet changes I added daily exercise to the mix. I have NEVER been an exercise person. The idea of getting up and driving to the gym never appealed to me and the thought of purposely making myself sweat and become sore didn’t either. If it wasn’t for a friend of mine who was doing P90X at the time and busting his butt daily I probably never would have done this. He was an inspiration to me and I felt that  if he could do an hour of hardcore intense exercise everyday I could at least do some yoga and cardio.

Oh, by the way….did I mention that I am a part-time cake decorator at Coldstone Creamery and we get complimentary cups of ice cream on every shift? Yeah…tell me about it….major challenge there!

A few weeks in my changes & hard work began to pay off and soon enough the weight started coming off. I was feeling good about myself for a change and I liked it! I found new ways to keep myself motivated, like an upcoming to trip to Disney and a friendly bet with a friend as to who could lose more weight before the trip. I found I was able to go longer on the bike and the treadmill and I began adding new workout dvd’s to keep myself challenged. I didn’t crave the same types of foods I once ate but I would occasionally over indulge on a weekend or feel that I earned a major “cheat”.

Looking back now I think those cheats were stupid of me but it’s because of how much I have learned, how much I have changed and how much I value the importance of nutrition now. At the time I thought I needed those cheats to succeed and you know what….I probably did. I am so glad I took baby steps so I didn’t psych myself out and set myself up to fail as I did so many times in the past.

A year ago I would have never imagined myself working out for an hour a day let alone being a P90X graduate. I would have never even entertained the thought of trying Insanity, or a 21 day clean eating challenge. You would have never caught me reading books about Crossfit or Paleo eating and I NEVER thought I wouldn’t mind bathing suit shopping (well…I still don’t like it but it’s not as awful as it once was). I also never thought I would be helping others to reach their fitness goals by sharing my story and what I have learned along the way.

I still face temptations on a daily basis and I suppose I always will. I’ll be at work and think about having a cup of ice cream or eating a left over Kit-Kat or Oreo cookie.  I have to stop and think about how far I’ve come and realize it isn’t worth it. It’s so easy to just mindlessly eat. (That’s not to say I don’t every now and then….I’m human afterall!) Those darn Pop-tarts have been taunting me lately as well but I’ve told them to “fuck off” cause my ass doesn’t need them!

Before you think I deprive myself of everything or have this super strict diet I don’t. I enjoy pizza and beer and stuff like that. I just try not to have them often and limit how much of it I have. I’ve also become a fan of thin crust veggie pizza and light beer which allows me to enjoy the stuff I love but be smarter about how I eat it. I’ve come to love and enjoy new foods that are actually good for me.

I love to cook and have been making a better effort to cook healthy meals for my family instead of ordering out all the time. The best part is that by my eating healthy items it  makes my kids want to try them too.  They have even begun taking an interest in exercise which makes me so proud!

The lesson here is that there will always be an obstacle in the road to reaching your goals. It may be a fork in the road, a few rough patches or a bag of Doritos screaming for you to eat them. Don’t let them trip you up and stop you from reaching your destination. If you stumble and fall along the way, dust yourself off and keep moving forward. Take baby steps, pace yourself and every now and then look behind yourself to see how far you have come.

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