I am so excited to share with you my 1 year fitness progress! From food prep to training this is what I did to get in shape and feel amazing. I must give you a disclaimer first. I am not where I want to be just yet. I am very close to hitting my goal weight and moving towards maintaining it but not quite there yet. I am still in the process of shedding some more weight off and adding muscle definition. The only difference now is that working out is so fun for me and I love the challenge! It has become the best part of my day.
Also, I must say that I am not a nutritionist or a fitness professional. All of what I am about to share with you is what has worked for me personally and all of the research that I have done.
How It All Started
In 2018 I was determined to get in shape. I wanted to be strong and healthy for my young age of 25 (I am now 26). I craved the feeling of being at peace and being happy with how my body looked, felt and worked. I was not even close to being in that place because I knew that I was not treating my body right. I was not fueling it with the proper foods and I was definitely not moving at all. And lets be real, I knew that I had to drop some weight to feel and look better in my clothes. I am not gonna sit here and lie to you and say it was 100% for my health. I wanna be a hot wife for my husband too!
It all started in March when my friend Brooke asked me if I wanted to train for a 10k with her. At this point I had been working out about 3 times a week and running here and there. I accepted the challenge because I needed a goal. I was also at the heaviest I had ever been, and that was an awakening for me. I knew that I needed to do something about it.
I am super goal oriented and almost always need a goal for everything in my life. I get home and think, “Ok my goal is to be in bed by 8pm”. Or I get to work and I think, “I have to finish this task by 2pm” etc. you get the point. I just love and need deadlines, and I know that’s kinda weird.
So in March I had 2+ months to be able to run 6.2 miles and not die. That was all that I needed to focus on, but then something amazing happened. I fell in love with running! I ran my very first race in May of 2018 and although it was hard, it sparked something in me.
After my first race, we went on a 2 week vacation to Europe and ate and relaxed way too much. I don’t regret it really because I had the time of my life but it definitely set me off track and kicked me out of my routine. I didn’t really get back in the gym or running until July.
I got on the scale again around the 4th of July and had gained some weight back and lost any progress I had made from earlier in the year. From then on I told myself that if I was going to be in this for the long haul I would not quit and take long breaks out of the gym or from eating healthy. If I really wanted to get in shape and live a healthy lifestyle I could not make it a diet or a goal for my next vacation but really truly make it a life change. I got in front of the mirror and said, ” Not this time Karen. This time it’s going to be different”.
I got serious about my food intake around July and purchased the 28 day meal plan by Fitness Carli. The meal plan basically teaches you to stay under a certain caloric count to lose weight. It gives you a grocery list and tells you exactly what to eat everyday and I loved it. It thought me portion control and how to add a variety of food groups to my day to get the best nourishment.
At first, I started with 1500-1600 calories a day. I did not make very much progress for 2 months eating that many calories. So I cut down to an amount that was a stretch but still kept me full and not starving. I love food so much and I knew that I was eating healthy but I was eating too much. I did not grasp the concept of eating the right amount of food for my body until I did the meal plan. So I cut down the calories and kept doing the meal plan with some adjustments and boom…the weight started falling off!
I used the MyFitnessPal app to determine how many calories were safe for me to eat and also to track my meals. When I share that I have been counting calories some people think that its a bad thing. I get why they say not to do that because you can become super obsessive and crazy about it but at the same time I did not realize how much food I was actually eating! I was eating way too much and that’s what was halting my progress.
The formula to loosing weight is simple; burn more calories than what you consume. That does not mean it’s easy at all! Counting calories everyday is no way to live and by no means am I perfect at it. I still had my cheat days or those days where all I wanted to do was eat everything in my pantry (if you are a woman you know what days I’m talking about). I just had to get strict and keep a food log for myself and see what and how much I was eating. The app helped me to track my food and see what and how much I was consuming.
So from January to August I maybe lost around 5lbs at the most because I wasn’t consistent with my eating or my work outs. In September I started training for the Dallas Half Marathon, running a couple more races here and there (one 10K and one 8 mile race), following my meal plan, tracking calories and sticking to a consistent 5 days a week work out routine. From September to December I lost 17lbs! I would say that in 2018 I lost a total of 20lbs that I had been carrying around for a while.
I ran the Dallas Half Marathon in December and that was by far the coolest most amazing fitness accomplishment I have ever done! I was and still am so incredibly proud of myself for the discipline and love I have developed for running.
I made the most progress the last 4 months of the year when I finally learned what worked for my body food wise. It’s so true that loosing weight and getting in shape is 20% gym and 80% food. Once I got control of my food intake, I started seeing results.
So where am I now? Right now I am still in the loosing weight stage. I am kind of in the middle of the process. I have a couple more pounds to go before I relax on the counting calories and closely monitoring what I’m eating and how much I am working out. The last thing I want is to gain all the weight back. I have also intensified my work outs a bit. This is what my work out schedule looks like now.
Work Out Schedule
Monday: Run 3 miles
Tuesday: 45 minute HITT work out from Popsugar Fitness on YouTube.
Wednesday: Run 4 miles
Thursday: 45 minute HITT work out
Friday: Run 2 miles or Rest
Saturday: Long run 6+ miles
These are some of my absolute favorite work outs I do on Tuesdays and Thursdays:
- Burn 600 Calories with Jeanette Jenkins
- 45 Minute Boxing Workout
- 30 Minute Cardio Boxing Workout
- 30 Minute Hip-Hop Tabata to Torch Calories
- 4 Minute No Weight Arm Toning Workout
- 30 Minute Cardio and Strength-Training Workout for a Mood Boost
I try my hardest to follow this schedule so that I can stay on track but to be honest I may skip a day or do something different if I get bored but the point is to have a plan and pencil it in. I use this calendar below I found on Google to track my work outs. I keep it on the fridge to keep me accountable.
5 Things I No Longer Eat
- Cereal – Too much sugar and a terrible way to start your morning. I now have a smoothie for breakfast instead.
- White Potatoes – No health benefits and can get better carbs from sweet potatoes.
- Granola Bars – Same as cereal, way too much sugar and not filling at all. I normally had these as a snack mid-day but I rather have Wheat Thins or an apple and a string cheese.
- Juice – I didn’t normally drink too much of this but I have completely given up juice. I rather eat an orange than have a glass of orange juice.
- Cocktails – You’ve heard the phrase, “Don’t drink your calories” right? This one was/is the hardest because I love fun cocktails with friends but man the calories on them are crazy.
My Everyday Breakfast Smoothie from the book Body Love by Kelly LeVeque
Every morning I eat the same smoothie for breakfast and I love it. Occasionally, if I run out of an ingredient, I will eat oatmeal with chia seeds and a tablespoon of almond butter and cinnamon or 2 egg whites with salsa and a slice of whole wheat toast.
In her book Body Love, Kelly teaches that we should have a serving of fat, protein, fiber, and greens at every meal to stay in satiety (satisfied and full). There are a lot of different varieties for the smoothies and I think she has over 50 recipes in her book. Here’s the Fab Four Smoothie Recipe I use because it’s simple and does not require for me to buy different groceries every time.
Fab 4 Smoothie
- 2 handfuls spinach (greens)
- 1 tablespoon almond butter (fat)
- 1 scoop vanilla protein power (protein)
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds (fiber)
- 12 ounces of almond milk and water. I usually do 1 cup almond milk and half a cup water.
- If I went for a long run that day, I add half a frozen banana.
More Than Physical Changes
I am truly so happy about the changes my body has gone through these past couple of months. I feel so much better in my clothes. I feel confident in what my body can do physically and that is an incredible feeling. I feel strong and the high I get after running is my favorite. All the physical changes and weight lost is great but the best thing that has happened has been internally.
Before I would get mild waves of depression and anxiety. I would always feel sluggish and so tired, I felt like I never had a good nights sleep. I was also eating a lot. I truly do mean a lot to where I would be so full and feel so guilty and ashamed. That was the worst part. The food guilt and the drama I was accustomed to was not healthy in any way. Emotional eating is a real thing and I was rewarding myself for getting through a rough day with food. Food is social and it’s mean to be enjoyed with friends and family. That’s why we celebrate life with food. I’ve learned there is a fine line between celebrating something and completely overeating for no reason at all.
Maybe you can relate to this. The biggest lesson I have learned is that food is for nourishment first and then for enjoyment. Don’t get me wrong, I still love junk food so much! LOL I don’t think that is going to go away. The difference is that I enjoy those things more sparingly rather that everyday. The wait and excitement for a date night at one of our favorite restaurants is all the encouragement I need to have a healthy week.
I am still learning a lot about food and how it affects us in every way. How food can become a stronghold in our lives and have a such great power over us. I am still leaning self control and moderation in many way but I now feel like I have control over food and not the other way around.
Best Advice for Starting Your Fitness Journey
- Start today. Just start! Stop saying “I’ll start on Monday” or “I’ll start when I come back from vacation”. Stop putting it off and just start.
- Make a game plan. If you’re going to start eating healthy make yourself a meal plan and prep. If you’re going to start running, schedule a run 3 times a week. Hope is not a strategy.
- Drink at least 1 gallon of water a day. This is not as hard as it sounds. Buy this jug and it will help you out so much!
- Be patient. This journey is not a quick fix. If you want a quick fix there are plenty of fad diets that will make you lose weight really fast but I promise that you will gain it all back and then some. When something takes long it conditions you to be patient and you will think twice about quitting because of how far you’ve come. Don’t quit because it’s taking too long.
- Give yourself grace. Eating healthy and working out is not a punishment for your body. Give yourself grace and think that you are doing this for your own good. Don’t put yourself down because you can’t run a mile. Everyone starts somewhere.
Well friends that was long and if you’re still reading…thank you. Seriously though I hope that this post encourages you and motivates you to reach your fitness goals. I hope that you found something on this blog post that helps you start, continue or keep pushing yourself towards a healthier happier version of yourself.