My 'Get Healthy' Lifestyle and Weight Loss Experience
Back in January 2012, the Chick staff all wrote down their resolutions for the upcoming year. My own resolution was to take better care of myself. This wasn't exactly coming out of nowhere. Over the past few months, I had started to notice changes in my body. At first, it was just that my jeans were a little tight but before I knew it, I couldn't even get them on.
I've never been a thin girl and my weight has always fluctuated but for some reason, this felt different. Looking in the mirror, I began to see that it wasn't just a bit extra weight here and there, but my body was actually beginning to look different. Like most people, I have always dealt with body image issues but for the most part, I've always liked my slightly plump, hourglass shape. Suddenly though, my slim waist line was beginning to disappear and for the first time, I felt truly unhappy with my body. It wasn't just the physical changes either, it was the mental ones. I didn't feel the same way about my body as I had before. I didn't feel as attractive as I once had and I felt like I didn't have any energy.
When I got the email about an opportunity to try out a weight loss program called Newtopia, I was definitely intrigued. Newtopia focuses on creating individualized programs, tailored to suit the needs of each person based on your genes and your lifestyle.
As part of the program, I sent away some of my DNA to be analyzed (sciencey!) for genetic markers that help determine your weight gain. All sounds pretty 'Star Trek Next Generation" right? I would show you exactly what my genetic testing experience looked like but it involved saliva and I feel like that might be verging on TMI (i.e. too much information). Instead, I'll give you a snippet of the diagram I was sent for instructions:
From my test results, I found out that I was at risk for diabetes. This wasn't a huge surprise for me since my dad is as well but it was a good reminder to take my health seriously.
Next, I determined where I was, weight and health wise and then where I wanted to be. Making goals is a big part of Newtopia and it's definitely one of the things that helped me keep on track. I was given a plan to follow for exercise and eating that would allow me to reach my goal. My eating plan focused on increasing my protein intake, decreasing my carbs and portion control. My exercise plan was left pretty open to me in terms of what I wanted to do but I was given suggestions. I had a caloric value of how much I had to burn as well. They keep track of activity with a pedometer and I also had weekly chats with a coach to discuss progress.
If any of you chicks have ever attempted to lose weight or get healthy, you'll understand what a challenge it was/still is. I actually have seen the physical results of my hard work which makes me feel awesome, but it doesn't change how hard this journey is and has been. I wanted to share a few of things I have learned and experienced along the way for anyone who is where I am, has been where I am or is thinking of embarking on a similar. Of course, I'm not a doctor or an expert and if you are thinking of starting a weight loss program, be sure to consult your own physician.
First of all, I am truly convinced that the so called 'runner's high' you get is a made up tale of fiction designed by running shoe companies. Jogging is not a good time. I guess I do feel a bit better after I run, but I think that's mostly because I am finished. Okay, rant over.
My first piece of real advice is: have a support system. It helped to have someone (my Newtopia coach) to be accountable to and to ask questions to. You may find that some friends or family members aren't as receptive to hearing about your exercise plan as you'd like them to be. Who can blame them, calorie counting isn't exactly a thrilling subject, right? So it helps to have someone to go to and talk about these things with. Having a work out buddy was a great idea too. It forced me to get my butt to the gym and exercise.
You're going to have cravings. And once in a while, it's okay to indulge in them. If I wanted a taste of ice cream, I would give myself a spoonful. It's hard not to go any further but when I did stop myself from enjoying any of my cravings, it only made me want them more and then I would relapse. While we're talking relapsing, I need to tell you, it will most likely happen to you. But, it's nothing to fret over. Don't make it into a big deal, pick yourself up and start again. Don't give up.
Get healthy foods you love. I ate a lot of the same foods over and over again because they were accessible, easy to prepare or good for transporting to work. It was really important then, that I genuinely liked the foods I was eating. You can check out this article for a few of my snacking faves and this article for a recipe on my delicious and nutritious kale chips!
This brings me to another point, don't be afraid to keep living your life. At first, I was apprehensive to go out with friends because I thought it might compromise my diet. Then I realized I didn't have to keep restricting myself, as long as I chose healthier options; a side salad instead of fries or a glass of red wine instead of a fruity and sugary cocktail (every so often). Above is one of my favourite meals from Sense Appeal, a local coffee shop. It contained healthy veggies, protein packed fish and sweet mango. Drool worthy, chicks (and it was nutritious too!).
On the subject of health; not eating, is just as unhealthy as eating too much. I get really into my work sometimes and I forget to eat. Or, I eat very little because I am so concentrated. My calories and my calorie content of fats, proteins and carbs would be all out of whack. My coach really helped me to understand that I needed everything in moderation.
Plan ahead. When I planned everything out the night or even a few days before, whether in food or exercise, I had more control and it helped me stay on track. Newtopia has a great system where they lay out your week in meals and give you recipes. I didn't always use the recipes given but the idea of planning my meals really stuck with me. I had more time and I could easily make sure that I got all my required foods.
Lastly, I want to say that you need to be patient. One of the most frustrating things for me was to hear from friends, "Oh, you've lost weight? I can't really tell the difference. But don't worry, that's just me.". Me, in my head: 'What do you mean you can't tell? Do you know how many hours at the gym I have put in? Do you not realize that I haven't had chocolate in three months?!?!'. As much as you're going to want to yell at them, don't. It will show eventually and if you can tell, see and feel the difference, then that's what really matters. You're doing this for you, not for anyone else. I'm still working on getting healthier but I've shifted my focus to becoming stronger rather than thinner. One of my proudest moments was when I flexed my leg and I could actually feel my thigh and calf muscles, something I truthfully I hadn't felt in a really long time.
Have you ever embarked on a weight loss or 'get healthy' journey? What were your results? How did you find the experience? Leave me a comment and let me know and be sure to comment with any words of wisdom or sage advice you might have for me!
More by Alexandra C.
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Alex, you are beautiful. Period. Any weight. Good for you for finding something that works for you and sticking to it for all these months. Its always easy to start... its harder to stick with it. I know! It sounds like you are feeling amazing... and that is what matters! CONGRATS!
Such an inspiration! SO brave of you to share your journey with us!
Congratulations! You look amazing! As for the runner's high, I ran in high school, and I remember it when I was running ALOT, once I was already in shape, and on a good day. Again, not something that comes quickly or easily. Now I stick with pilates to stay in shape.
You looked beautiful before and after! But congrats for being so successful with your transformation.
good for you!!!
You look great, Alex! I can definitely see a difference. I must say though, you were beautiful before and are still beautiful now.
You look amazing!!! I agree with the shoe companies lol there is a runners high unfortunately I don't experience until I'm lighter and it feels like I could run forever (right now I can run like 3 mins flat lol) I have switched my goals again, I've decided that even with health issues (osteonecrosis of both my hips) I will train to compete next spring again, I loved it and miss that part of my life... Although this time I'm going into it understanding this is a life change and I will stick with cleaning eating and only have cheat meals every so often.
For Becky.............it's not about loosing weight........no, no.....it's a lifestyle change! You have to make the change permanent like a smoke who stops smoking or an alcoholic who stops drinking. A lifestyle change!
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