Make. It. Work.

makeitwork

I’m not an athlete by nature.  I never excelled in any sports and I wouldn’t know my way around a gym to save my life.  I admire people who have skills on the court and stamina on the treadmill, but neither of those things have ever truly been a desire of mine.  However, being healthy yet balanced is a goal of mine.  In certain areas of my life, I tend to be all, “Go big or go home,” but in the arena of food and fitness, I’m working on being more mindful and balanced while also increasing my strength and enriching my health.  With all of that being said, here’s what has been working for me.  I think when we make a goal to be stronger or healthier, it’s tempting to look all around at others to see how they are getting those results.  We will often so desperately want to try to mimic them, but I think it’s important to remember that we are not them.  We can get results too, but the steps to get there have to be steps that make sense to us in our lives.  Below are some ways I make it work for me.

  1. I work out at home.  I knew that in order to gain strength and have a healthier lifestyle, I would need to exercise.  The problem is that I don’t always love to exercise.  When I look at others on social media, I see people going to Orange Theory, joining a gym, hiking outside, running 5k’s and marathons, doing Cross Fit, etc.  All of those things are great, but none of them are practical for me in the season of life I’m in currently.  I’m learning that what is ideal for someone else might not be ideal for me in my situation, and that’s totally ok.  It doesn’t have to keep me from reaching my goals.  My “gym” is my living room.  It’s ideal for me because I can throw in a load of laundry right before I work out and I don’t have to include travel time in to my daily workout time.  I researched a lot of different work outs to do at home and there are waaaaay more out now than ever, with great results to back them up.  I chose to do P90X3 in my home.  I don’t have to find childcare to get to a gym, I can work out in my ugliest, nastiest state and not a soul sees me, I don’t have to pay big money for a membership anywhere (I purchased P90X3 on eBay for around $25), and I like that the workout has variety.  The last time I did this, I followed the “Classic Schedule.”  I lost 20 pounds in 6 months with this combined with macro dieting.  Right now, I want to maintain (or even increase some of) my weight through building muscle.  I’m doing the “Mass Schedule” and I’m loving it.  I’m currently in week 3.
  2. I wake up early.  This one is going to be dependent on personality.  I have friends who love to run on their elliptical or treadmill while watching a show after their kids are in bed at night.  I have other friends who do group classes at a gym right after work.  For me, I don’t have the time to go to a gym consistently and my evenings are usually crazy.  Each week in the evenings, Ike has speech, Isla has gymnastics, Adia has dance, I teach both girls piano, I lead professional developments, I have faculty meetings, etc.  Add on top of that a full time job and you’ve got yourself a busy mom.  I can’t imagine being able to consistently fit in a workout each evening while still allowing time to make dinners, spend time with my kids and my husband, clean, and get ready for the next school day.  I also have no energy at night because I’m so tired from a full day’s work.  I find it difficult at times to wake up at 5:30 AM, but once I’m up and I’m doing it, I enjoy the peace and quiet.  I also get that workout knocked out early so that I don’t have to worry about when and where to squeeze it in to the rest of my day.  If waking up early is unimaginable for you, then when is your prime time?  I don’t suggest that we all wake up at 5:30 AM to exercise, but I do suggest finding your best time within your schedule and devoting that time to your own fitness and well-being.  I don’t think you will regret it and it does not have to be all or nothing.  Personally, I value progress over perfection.  A few years ago, I rarely worked out at all.  My body will never be perfect but I’ve had progress and that motivates me.  Just working out 3 times per week for 30 minutes a session is 78 HOURS of time you are committing in a whole year to take care of you.  78 hours is way better than 0.  (Look at that math!  I amaze myself!)
  3. I count macros.  I’ve talked about this before, but it’s the easiest and most efficient healthy eating I’ve ever been able to stick with long term.  I’ve done Paleo and though there were parts about it that I loved, I found it hard to navigate with so many foods having to be off the table.  I love counting macros because I can eat what my kids eat and I can eat whatever I want as long as it fits my macros.  A lot of people call this “Flexible Dieting,” and that’s exactly why I like it.  Most of the food I eat is really healthy, but I can enjoy a late night donut with my friends or a scoop of ice cream with my kids and maintain my weight and results.  I’ve just learned how to balance what I eat so that I CAN indulge at times.  The MyFitnessPal app makes it incredibly easy to adjust your macro percentages and then plug in the foods you eat each day to track how much protein, fat, and carbs you are consuming.  I have goals for each (protein, fat, and carbs) and I try to reach those goals by the end of the day.  I’ll link more about that here, but I highly suggest contacting Kim Waits to help get you started if it is something you are interested in doing.  I owe the bulk of my health and success to her wisdom and assistance.

So, there you have it.  3 tips for how I make it work for me.  Please understand that I’m not suggesting that everyone out there ditches their gym membership or wakes up at 5:30.  What I am suggesting is this: have a goal, decide on what behaviors you’re going to change/continue/or begin in order to meet that goal, and make some commitments so that you can actually do the behaviors you need to do in order to meet your goal.  Maybe you’re going to take a kickboxing class and you’re going to commit to plan out your schedule each week so you can attend.  Maybe you’re going to run a 5K and you’re going to commit to laying out your running clothes the night before and waking early to run.  Whatever it is, have a system and hold yourself accountable to your system.  Reflect on your system and do what you need to do to make it work.

Macro Dieting

It’s January 1st, which is probably the most popular time of the year for people to begin setting goals.  I was at a training a few weeks ago for work where I heard a very obvious quote, but it stuck with me and I couldn’t get it out of my head.  Chris McChesney, Sean Covey, and Jim Huling wrote a pretty powerful book called “The 4 Disciplines of Execution,” all about setting and achieving your goals.  In it, they write, “To achieve a goal you have never achieved before, you must start doing things you have never done before.”  Sounds pretty obvious, right?  However, I think so many of us have these big desires and we want to get to them, but our strategies to get there are often based on hope, chance, or uncertainty.  It’s also kind of the punch in the gut we need in order to stop making excuses and to change our behaviors.  Behaviors influence our success.  Period.  If our behaviors aren’t leading to success, (no matter what our goals are), we won’t reach our goals, meaning we have to change our behaviors.

Flash back to January of 2018.  The niece I had given birth to (yep, you read that right….  read about my surrogacy journey here) was 4 months old.  I had just quit pumping breast milk and the baby weight did not come off so easily this time.  That pregnancy was a huge blessing and growing period for me (both literally and figuratively), but I entered the new year ready to shift my focus from the health and nourishment of this sweet baby I birthed, to taking care of the body that carried her.  My word for the year was “stronger,” and I can tell you with 100% certainty that I became exactly that.

I set a goal.  My goal was to go from __________ pounds to __________ pounds by June 26, 2018 (which was my pre-baby weight.). I had to lose 20 pounds to meet my goal.  Here were my behaviors I knew I had to begin in order to reach my goal:

  1. Do P90X3 5-6 times per week.  I chose this because it’s only 30 minutes.  I bought it off of eBay, which was very budget friendly and the workouts had enough variety and the research to back up it effectiveness.  I chose to wake every weekday around 5:30 AM in order to get my workout done.  This was a huuuuge behavior change for me, but I knew that getting it done first thing in the day would set me up for success and I wouldn’t have to worry about it the rest of the day.
  2. Macro Dieting: I signed up through Kim Waits and gave her all of my info including my height and weight, my goal, etc.  She set my macros for me in order to set me up for success.

What is macro dieting?

Macros are carbs, fats, and protein.  Kim set my macros so that 40% of my diet was carbs, 30% was protein, and 30% was fats.  As for my calories, she set those for me too, but I don’t want to list that here simply because that is a number that needs to be very intentionally customized based on your height, weight, and goals.  This is why I think it’s so important to work with Kim.  She is the expert, and I am not.

How did I track all of that?

Easily and efficiently.  I work full time and I have 3 kids.  I don’t have time to count things constantly or do a ton of work to keep track of it all.  Fortunately, the myFitnessPal app does all of this for you.  For many foods, I could just scan the label on the package and it would go straight into my daily diary.  If I can figure it out and have time for it, then it must be easy and efficient!

How do I figure out my macros and calories?

Contact Kim Waits!  Click on this link. Her pricing is super affordable, and your health is worth the price.  You can also look up a lot of research on the benefits of macro dieting and how to set goals by doing a simple Pinterest search, but I would definitely recommend working with someone like Kim who can tailor a plan for you.  I initially tried doing the research myself and found that I had set my calorie intake too high.  I wasn’t gaining weight, but I wasn’t losing either, meaning I wasn’t going to meet my goal.

What are the benefits of macro dieting?

  1. Learning about food.  To me, this was the most impactful.  Prior to macro dieting, I didn’t realize how little protein I was actually consuming.  I thought I ate a lot of protein because I like meat and I thought I was being super healthy by eating a ton of fruits and vegetables.  What I learned was that I was too heavy on carbs, which I would burn and then get hungry again.  Even eating healthy foods in excess is still excess.  I was overeating and not getting enough protein to sustain me.  Once I learned about ways to get more protein, I was content and I wasn’t hungry all the time.  I also just felt better.  I didn’t eliminate carbs, but I learned how to use them to fuel me instead of comforting me.  I didn’t have to eliminate all sugar, I just had to learn how to balance out my foods so that I wasn’t overdoing it.  It taught me a ton about moderation.
  2. Nothing is off limits.  I still had Moonrise Donuts, I just preplanned and balanced the rest of my day so that I could have that treat in the evening with my family.  There’s not 1 thing I ever had to give up in order to do this.  I just had to be mindful and intentional about what I ate and when.  I never made separate meals for me and m family.  I just learned about proportions and balance.
  3. I can do it forever.  It’s a way of life and I don’t have to cut out bread for the rest of my life.  I can sustain.

So, how is it going now?

I met my goal weight in June and I have lost 2 pounds since then.  I’ve maintained that weight without tracking my macros in myFitnessPal, but I still apply what I’ve learned about macros daily.  Over the holidays, I ate what I wanted, just like I ate whatever I wanted on my cruise back in June.  I just get right back into the swing of things as soon as those holidays or vacations are over and I get right back to the weight I was before all of the excess fun.

I’m starting a new challenge to maintain my weight and have more muscle tone beginning this new year.  Over the past couple of months, I haven’t been diligent in my workouts and I can tell.  I’m excited to get back to it and to focus on my new word this year: BALANCE.

Here are some of my before and afters:

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