Like many of you, I embarked on my fitness journey as a means to lose weight I had gained over a few years. I have had ups and downs in my journey, the weight came off, the weight back. I experimented with different diets and workout programs.
I got overwhelmed with Beachbody coaches telling me I had to drink Shakeology and really just not knowing where to start!
In the end though, the growth I have gone through in learning and challenging myself has served me far better than the weight I’ve lost.
Then I decided to get my personal trainer certification and am now working through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition to be a Holistic Health Coach. So, it’s safe to say my fitness journey is nowhere near finished, it just keeps progressing! In fact, I’ve steered away from focusing on weight loss, and now my goal is to be strong enough to compete on American Ninja Warrior!
Here are some things I wish someone had told me before I started my fitness journey! Not sure how much I would’ve listened to be honest. Some of these you just learn for yourself after experiencing it first hand 🙂
1. You don’t have to give up all the food
Raise your hand if you’re tired of dieting! *shyly raises hand in the back of the room*
When I initially began my fitness journey, I was giving up ALL the foods. I was practically living off of chicken and asparagus. Occasionally I’d eat eggs and add in some cottage cheese. I stopped eating all “the bad foods.” From doing that, I did lose weight quickly. I lost about 10 LBs in the first month.
What I quickly learned was, that kind of eating isn’t sustainable! I reverted back to my old ways in no time and the weight came back on.
Restricting foods just isn’t feasible, unless you have some serious willpower, and it isn’t fun.
I ditched the dieting and learned how to create a more sustainable way of living that is scheduled around my lifestyle.
When it comes to weight loss, what we really mean is burning fat. Fat loss takes longer than weight loss.
2. Restricting calories can actually lead to weight gain
In the beginning stages of my fitness journey, I was trying to restrict to 1000 to 1200 calories a day. AND I was cutting out carbs and not eating enough fat to ensure my body had enough energy to function.
- I was hungry all the time
- My cravings intensified
- I was tired and lethargic
- I got cranky
- I’d binge even more than usual on the weekends
What happens when we restrict calories, our body naturally stops burning them. The body goes into starvation mode and actually stores fat, instead of burning it. If you are not eating enough you confuse your body and it doesn’t know when it’s going to eat again. The human body is designed to hold onto fat stores, this relates back to our primal ancestors during times of feasts and then famine.
We don’t live in those times anymore. We need to eat.
3. It isn’t just about weight loss
Remember above when I said some of these you’ll just have to experience for yourself? This is one of them, but I do feel it’s important to mention anyway!
It’s not just about weight loss! Weight loss is actually a by-product of taking care of your body. Eating foods which are nutritious and doing some physical activity have more internal benefits that we can’t always see or measure. Weight loss is an easily measurable tool you can use to see progress. And it’s easy to get discouraged when the scale doesn’t move.
But don’t make the number on your scale your main priority. If you do, you will miss out on these other great benefits:
- Sleeping better
- Having more energy throughout the day
- Lower blood pressure and lower cholesterol
- Being able to play with kids/grandkids
- Clothes fitting better
- More muscle definition
- Radiant and glowing skin
- Improved joint mobility
- So much more
The most important one of all is learning more about yourself, what your capable of, challenging yourself in new ways, and accomplishing things you never thought possible!
4. Don’t take unnecessary weight loss products
It seems like 2020 was the year that multiple Multi-Level Marketing (MLM) companies popped up and started selling weight loss supplements!
I have seen
- skin tightening gel
- red or blue pills
- pink drinks
- skinny coffees
- 3 day detoxes
- Fat burning pills
The only thing these products will burn is a hole in your wallet. You aren’t doing anything for your actual health by using these products unless you are combing them with exercise and nutritious foods. But if you’re looking for a quick fix anyway, my website is not for you.
Not all supplements are bad. I want to make that clear. But when you are taking a pill or drinking a coffee and expecting it to manage your weight, without looking at your eating habits or physical activity, that can become a problem in the future. Magic pills do not exist. It isn’t just about weighing a certain number, go up and read paragraph 3 again!
If you want a sustainable lifestyle in managing your weight and health, learning how to eat to fuel your body and finding physical activity you enjoy is imperative. No supplement will do that for you.
Weight Loss Products I do endorse
- Pre-workouts. These are good at giving you an energy boost prior to working out and preparing your muscles for exercise!
- Protein Shake. Easy to drink after working out, especially if you add some fruit, spinach, a healthy fat like peanut butter to be used as a meal.
- Collagen. Excellent for joint, ligament, tendon health, especially as we age.
- Probiotics. Essential for gut health if you don’t eat fermented foods.
These products don’t directly assist with weight loss, but they help you with your physical fitness goals, which indirectly can aid in weight loss.
5. Health and Fitness is a journey, not a destination
I spent the first 30 years of my life eating high amounts of processed foods and completely pigging out, As a result, I gained weight and I have some stubborn fat areas along my outer thighs and lower abdomen. I’d get so frustrated that I couldn’t tone those areas despite eating better and working out.
The thing I didn’t realize is it’s not an overnight process. I didn’t gain the weight overnight, it was overtime. So, It’s going to take time, commitment, and consistency to get where I want to go!
The journey is the best part! It’s a time to explore and learn more about yourself in the process. Experiment with new foods, create some small accomplishable goals, try some different workouts, and challenge yourself in new ways!
I’ll let you in on a little secret too. As you embark on your fitness journey and grow, your goals will change! You’ll always be working towards something. You will reach your initial destination, but there will be somewhere to go next 🙂
6. Don’t be in a rush to increase your weight or intensity level
There’s a difference in pushing yourself by going heavier and going way to heavy because you think you have too. I went way too heavy way too soon. I went from 15 lb dumbbells to 20 lbs in a short amount of time and injured myself, resulting in a very painful 9 months of de Quervain’s Tenosynovitis.
Though, if you do suffer from tendon pain, especially in the wrist, I share my experience and how I healed it HERE.
Tendons and Ligaments will gain strength as you progress but it’s slower than muscle strength. So even though you can lift heavier, it might not be the best choice for your joints.
And that’s ok! It’s not a race, it’s a journey.
7.Rest and Recovery days are just as important as workout days
Back in the beginning stages of my fitness journey, I was working out 3 times a day, 7 days a week. Looking back I don’t know how I had that much energy. But I was doing no good for my body. It was all about “how can I lose weight in the quickest way possible?”
The body NEEDS rest and recovery days to heal and recharge. Muscle growth actually occurs during the rest period not when exercising. Calories continue to be burned up to 48 hours post exercise, depending on the type, duration and insenity level. There is no need to overwork yourself. I’m talking to my past self there.
Not giving your body time to rest and recover can lead to serious injury!
Are you ready?
You’ll learn more and figure out more things as you embark on your own fitness journey, but I hope this has helped you in some way.
At the end of the day, you have to make the best decision for you and your body. You know you best!
And if you need any help along the way, let me know 🙂
I’d love to hear about some of the things you learn as you go and answer any and all questions you may have!