I don't know what was different about this January. For the past two years I'd wanted to get healthier to work off the 20 pounds I'd unknowingly gained.
It felt slightly New-Year's-resolution-ish, but I think that just seeing more and more pictures of myself and realizing how much I'd gained, I knew I wanted to do SOMETHING. Either way, I just decided to START.
For me it was all about the babysteps. If I was going to create a more healthy and lasting lifestyle, I knew it wouldn't happen overnight.
P.S. I pretty much went through my Instagram to remember what my journey was like--if you want to see more food pics, etc. my Insta is @bethanyjanae, and I'm going to go through and add the hashtag #bethanyshealthyliving
I'd somehow come across Blogilates on Instagram, and decided to join in on a simple "30 Day Flat Abs Challenge" (a quick daily workout calendar that I often did just before jumping into bed). I started doing some other workouts on the Blogilates YouTube channel, and didn't want to ruin that with eating crummy food.
I also read this: "Weight loss is.... 80% what you eat, 10% training, 10% genetics."
I'd never heard that before, and was shocked at how much food had to do with weight loss!!
So I started buying more fruits and veggies at the grocery store and looking up snack and recipe ideas on the Blogilates website and on Pinterest. I also reached out to friends for their fav healthy snacks, and made another attempt to shop at places like Trader Joe's and Sprouts (fortunately we moved down the street from both of these, which made that much easier to do!!)
I started being more intentional about food in general and making healthier choices, like these -
-Instead of endless potato chips... A few veggie or sweet potato chips.
-Instead of syrup with high fructose corn syrup... 100% Maple syrup.
-Instead of white rice... Quinoa.
-Instead of Goldfish... Snapea Crisps.
-Instead of white bread... Whole wheat (or Ezekiel) bread.
-Instead of white pasta... Quinoa or whole wheat pasta.
-Instead of cereal and milk... Oatmeal.
-Instead of sugar... Stevia in the Raw, Agave, or Raw honey.
-Instead of margarine... Kerrygold butter.
-Instead of sour cream... Plain Greek yogurt.
-Instead of ground beef... Ground turkey.
-Instead of Ranch dressing... Olive oil and vinaigrette.
I also started looking more at ingredients before putting things in my shopping cart. I especially looked for things without added sugar--like in peanut butter or spaghetti sauce.
It might sound silly too, but it was also super helpful for me to stop following my favorite baking blogs on Instagram (I love making cupcakes and cakes), or other food bloggers with tantalizing things that are only good for the taste buds! Instead I started following accounts that would inspire me health-wise and keep me on track!
Here are some of my fav Instagram accounts to follow that keep me motivated and give me great ideas for food (first 6 are pictured above and are tagged on my Instagram):
@toneitup (and @karenakatrina), @blogilates, @livylovestorun, @cleaneats_cleantreats, @yogalynzi, @hellodayblog, @simplysadiejane, @caliabycarrie
I came across those first two accounts mentioned when I kept coming across the hashtag #tiuteam or #tiugirl. So when I looked that up, I found Tone It Up (another fitness and health brand). I started adding in some of their workouts, would snag more recipes from their website, and would watch their YouTube videos with their nutrition tips and snack ideas.
The other thing that made a huge difference for me was when I joined Tone It Up in April, right when they were kicking off their 8 week Bikini Series (it was a one-time purchase of $150 for the membership and has been completely worth it!!). Tone It Up was started by two besties, Karena and Katrina, who both have backgrounds in health and fitness. I learned sooo much from their nutrition plan. I loved how they "combine exercise with the right nutrients at the right time of the day, to boost energy levels and your metabolism." (They also have an awesome and informative book out called 28 Days to Fierce, Fit, and Fabulous that you can snag at Target for $17.)
They recommend 5 meals a day (breakfast, mid morning snack, lunch, mid afternoon snack, and dinner), and had awesome recipes for each of those meals that helped so much. Being a member in time for the Bikini Series, I got 8 full weeks of grocery lists, meal plans, recipes, and workout schedules all laid out for me. It was glorious. A guy at Trader Joe's asked me where I got my awesome book (I'd printed out all the pages and had hubby bind it for me), and my response was, "Wellllllllll, first you have to become a Tone It Up girl." He said he'd have his wife look into it... ;)
I've also loved the mantra sprinkled all throughout Tone It Up that has guided my grocery shopping and eating for these past 8 months... "Lean, Clean, and Green." Lean proteins, clean foods and ingredients, and lots of veggies and nutrient-dense foods. It's made all the difference!!
All in all, the main things I've tried to put into practice since January include...
*Drinking lots of water. (Take your body weight, divide in half, then drink that many ounces per day.)
*Making sleep a priority.
*Writing things down like workouts, water intake, hours of sleep, mealtimes, that day's weight, etc. (I didn't keep this up, but it helped me with getting on track.)
*Taking pictures of my plates (it made me think about what I was putting on it, and gave me ideas of what to eat later). I even made albums in my phone for Plate Pics and Progress Pics!
*Being intentional about what I was eating, and when--like not eating fruit or starches after 3pm, and trying not to eat past 8pm.
There's also nothing more motivating than getting new workout clothes, a Fitbit, a new kettlebell, or even a fun new water bottle. :)
I've loved my Fitbit Charge HR (it even vibrates when I'm getting a phone call and shows the person's name and number on the tiny screen!), and the Fitbit app that it sincs with is awesome, too.
The other app I highly recommend is My Fitness Pal. Plugging in the food I ate for a few days helped me realize how many calories I was taking in, and helped me with portion control. It also shows my weight loss progress, and it has a circle graph that shows my daily breakdown of consumed protein, carbs, fiber, sugar, fat, etc. So helpful to know what I'm putting in my body so I can be more intentional about it!
In my first two months of making changes, I lost 10 pounds. It was really encouraging seeing a before and after in pictures, wearing the same clothes. (I wouldn't have seen the difference as much otherwise!) I had fun doing daily weigh-ins cause it kept me more accountable and motivated me to keep going as I saw the numbers go down.
|Right pic was after I'd lost 20 lbs (After 4 1/2 mos)|
It might sound cliche, but I really feel like I've striven to keep it all about balance, being intentional, and practicing moderation. I still love my chocolate, and enjoy at least a square of dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa) each day. I don't feel bad eating half a slice of cake at a birthday party--and I don't feel bad throwing away the other half either. I might skip out on the side of potatoes at a restaurant, but have 3 slices of French bread. :) And if I'm having wine I just have one glass.
My goal was to make sure what I was doing was manageable, and that it wasn't so much a diet as it was a lifestyle. And though I've exercised more often than I ever have before, I'm still not that consistent. It's mostly been about the food, and I can't believe that in the process I've lost 30 pounds!! It just keeps coming off, and I'm still not sure when it'll plateau. (Right now my goal is just maintaining this current weight.) I hit my pre-Ellie weight and then some (the last time I was this weight was 5 years ago!), and it feels great. I even fit into my wedding dress again!!
Now if only I could get pregnant so I could gain all that weight back... ;)