I received the pictures from a significant event recently and all I could see was my chubby face. It was slightly disappointing. For years, I had been telling myself that I needed to work out and eat healthy. I also told myself that I looked good and I would lose weight eventually. Looking at those pictures though made me say, “it is time for a change!”.
I was ready to once again begin my weight loss journey. The difference this time was that I was determined to stay consistent until I reached my goal weight. I went to the gym a couple of times and was bored out of my mind. I knew I would not stay committed if the gym was my only option. I reached out to my network and asked for help. This was a first for me as well because I usually struggle in silence, but I was motivated to make a change. I tried a few workouts with friends and then one of my friends invited me to sign up for a small group personal training class that she was attending. It was costly but I figured if I paid for a class that would be added motivation to attend regularly. I was not going to waste that kind of money. Therefore, twice a week I dragged myself to the most difficult class that I have ever taken in my life. It started at 4:45 am and I’m convinced the instructor was a drill Sargent for special operations officers in her former life. Luckily for me, I had enough willpower to survive the 5-month class! Committing myself to working out not only caused my body to change, but I learned lessons that changed my relationship with working out. Below I share some of the lessons that I learned during this process.
- Challenge and Consistency made me love working out.
I have never in my life liked to workout. Never! I worked out on and off to lose weight, but never have I fell in love with it, until now. As I mentioned earlier, working out bored me. This changed when I started working out with the trainer. No two classes were the same. Every time I rolled out of bed my goal was to survive whatever military style workout was thrown at me. I believe the variety of the workouts and the fact that I went even when I did not want to helped keep my mind active. In addition, working out on a regular schedule helped my mind accept the pain. When my body started changing, I began looking forward to the challenge. I was no longer in survival mode but now I was in competition mode. I went from rolling out of bed trying to fight the fear of the unknown to looking forward to trying to do even more so that I could see more change.
- I can’t just do one type of workout.
After working out for a month or so, I felt like I wasn’t losing any weight. It is one thing to workout on your own and not lose weight but when you are paying someone and not losing weight, that causes another level of frustration, but I did not stop going. I started talking to people about my frustration and I learned that people who workout do not focus on one class or type of workout. They may have a personal trainer, go to the gym on their own, and take a spin class. I was struggling with one class, but I had goals, so I started searching for another workout that I could add to my repertoire. I wanted something that included more cardio and was less stressful. I found kickboxing!
“I love kickboxing” was everything that I wanted in a workout. There was cardio, loud hip hop music, and the instructors were helpful but not overbearing. Since I signed up for a 6-week weight loss challenge, I had to go to the kickboxing studio at least 3 times a week. Before I knew it, I fell in love with kickboxing! Once again, consistency helped my mind stop producing fear and start producing endorphins. I started to crave the energy of the kickboxing class. It was like going to a club every day. I also loved it because I did not have to think about what workout I had to do. I just showed up, followed the instructor, then went home. Most importantly, I was losing weight and still am. Every week, for the last 5 months, I have lost weight.
- I can’t wait for anyone.
While I was reaching out to people asking for recommendations and help, I realized early on in this journey, I like working out by myself. This might seem strange since I signed up for two different workout classes, but nothing is more demotivating than planning to workout with someone and she cancels. It is hard enough to go workout when you really do not want to but when you depend on a friend to give you that extra push and they cannot go, it makes you not want to go either. To avoid the possibility of skipping my workouts, I did not call my partner until I was in my car on my way because that reduced the probability of me not going if she cancelled.
- Working out on vacation does not require a lot of time.
I had been working out so consistently, my body was changing, and I was not going to let vacation set me back. Therefore, when I was packing for my 6-day vacation, I packed 4 workout outfits. I decided that I would commit to an hour a day for at least four days, so that I could stay on track. On vacation, I accomplished my goal by starting each of those days with a workout. It really was not as time consuming as I thought it would be. Getting started early made me feel accomplished the rest of the day and when I got back home, I was happy to not have gained any weight even though I did not eat as well as I was eating at home. Just 30-60 minutes a day helped me maintain my weight and I did not feel as guilty when I ate.
- Five workouts a week is what my body requires.
By trying different workouts and staying consistent, I learned that 5 one-hour workouts a week is what my body requires to lose weight. Every week I felt like I was in a friendly war with my body. I wanted to lose weight, but my body thought I was cute. By consistently working out at least 5 times a week, I learned that I could win the internal war I was fighting. That may sound like a lot but learning what worked for me helped motivate me when I did not want to work out.
These last 5 months have really been enlightening for me. It has helped me shift my focus from dieting and working out to lose weight to changing my lifestyle so that I never have to start over again. If there is anything that I want you to take away from the lessons that I shared, it is that consistency is the key. I wish you luck on your journey whenever you are ready to begin it. Also, shout out to my personal trainer Tosha (http://www.bodybytosha.com/). I’m grateful for her getting me started!