It has been my desire for some time now to live a lifestyle of fitness. I’ve purchased my share of workout DVDs and equipment, and I have downloaded several fitness apps. However, one very important aspect was missing. And that was commitment!
I still had not made a commitment to get fit.
Until recent months, my desire to be fit was a weak one. It was in fact more of a wish. “I wish I could do a couple of squats and have the perfect buttocks." I wish I could do a couple of high boat to low boats, a few planks and rock my new and improved abs.
My weak desire turned into commitment all thanks to Facebook.
About two months ago, there I was attempting to scroll down my newsfeed when Facebook decided to show me a “Your Memories on Facebook” posting. This particular memory was a flashback from 5 years ago. I just so happened to be rocking a two piece swimsuit poolside at the Gaylord Opryland Resort Hotel for the 2011 International Junior Miss Finals.
As I looked down at my 2011 waistline and then at my 2016 waistline, I was in disbelief. Yeah, sure I had baby number two since then, but I had to face the fact that baby number two was two! In that very moment I decided to get my stuff together. I told myself, “Jess, it’s time!” No more wishing, no more hoping, no more complaining, and most of all, no more spanx!
I live in New Orleans where heat and humidity reign and sometimes, it’s too hot to wear a darn spanx!
There is no gray area when it comes to getting fit. It is very black and white.
Either you are going to push and do away with excuses as to why you can’t or haven’t made fitness a priority, or you are going to stay in what I call “wish mode”. As in, I wish I had a body like hers. I wish I could rock a crop top. I wish I had a workout partner. I wish I had the time to work out. Any of those sound familiar? They sure do to me. I found myself quoting a few of them. I’ll share with you the steps that I begin a few months ago that is working for me.
I started with conquering my diet.
A few additions and subtractions to my daily eating habits jump started my journey in shedding the unwanted inches from my waist.
1. CONTROL YOUR PORTIONS
I had to learn to decrease my portions. Being a Southern Belle, this was hard for me. In the south our portions are large and tasty and from birth, we are encouraged to eat until our heart’s content. And boy, do we love to wash a meal down with an ice cold glass of sweet tea. On top of these calories, it is a must to save room for dessert, from cobblers to homemade ice cream, pecan pie, pralines, doberge cake and more. Also, my travel schedule made it a challenge to eat healthy on the road, but it had to be done. Exercise would be in vain if I could not get my eating habits under control.
2. LIMIT YOUR SWEETS
I had to suppress my sweet tooth and limit my sweets. Not only did I cut back on the sweets, but when I craved them I opted for fruit, fruit smoothies, yogurt, flax seed cookies, the healthier sweets. Leave those processed sugars on the shelf. Trust me, you will be glad you did!
3. LIMIT AND TIME YOUR CARBS
I began to decrease my carb intake. In the process I became more mindful of the carbs that I chose. I switched to wheat pasta, brown rice (a lot of brown rice) and wheat bread for starters. I also timed my carbs. I decided to eat them during my most active times of the day, either at breakfast or lunch. For dinner I only ate protein and vegetables.
4. DON'T SKIP BREAKFAST
Eating breakfast kick-starts your metabolism. This will help you burn calories throughout the day. The last thing you want to feel is super hungry from skipping breakfast. This could cause you to snack on high-fat, high-sugar foods as you impatiently wait for lunch.
Now that I had started to get my diet under control it was time to conquer my all-time struggle.
The next thing I did was come up with a workout regimen.
My schedule involved working long hours from home and caring for my toddler and pre-teen, so I knew I would increase my success rate if my plan involved working out at home.
1. SET A GOAL
The first thing I did was set a clear goal. My goal is not to lose a great amount of weight. My goal is to be generally healthier, lose inches from my waistline, build my glutes and to add definition to my legs.
2. GET STRUCTURE
For this to work I knew I needed structure, so I downloaded a workout app. I personally use the Nike+ Training Club App. It provides me with 15, 30 and 45 minute workouts which come in beginner, intermediate and advanced levels. Each workout outlines what areas you will be targeting if chosen. This was so awesome for me because I knew I wanted to target my abs, glutes and thighs and therefore, I was able to choose a workout that was customized to my goals.
3. GET EQUIPMENT
Buy whatever you can afford that will aid you in reaching your goal. The hubby already had a treadmill, so I purchased ankle weights, arm weights, a medicine ball, resistance bands, and a workout mat (a very thick, comfy one).
4. BUY WORKOUT CLOTHES
There are so many cute workout clothes out there. Some expensive, some not so expensive. Forever 21 has some very affordable workout gear. Surprisingly, the quality isn’t too shabby either. Fabletics is another one of my favorites. I would consider them to be a “print guru”. And though on the pricey side, Ivy Park offers some very trendy options. It also helps that somewhere in your mind you will feel closer to Queen Bey if you wear it. (Lol, okay maybe not). All jokes aside, wearing workout clothes puts you in the mindset to workout.
If all of this was going to work, there were a few more miscellaneous areas that I had to tackle.
1. GET PROPER REST
None of this will work if you do not allow yourself to get the proper amount of rest. According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults ages 26 – 64 need 7- 9 hours of sleep every night. I strive for at least 8 hours per night. And I can definitely feel the difference when this goal isn’t met.
2. REDUCE YOUR STRESS
Stress can be a natural part of life. We may not be able to live a 100% stress free life, but we can manage our stress in effective ways. What works here will depend on the person, but I do have several things that I feel are extremely effective in managing my stress. Along with my workout regimen, I make time for yoga and pilates. I have found this to be very relaxing! I also manage my stress by studying and meditating on God’s word regularly. Winding down with a nightly movie with the kids has also proved to be relaxing. And one of my most favorite stress relievers is activity with the husband.
3. STICK TO YOUR PLAN
Make your workout a priority. Don’t plan your workout around your day, but Include your workout within your day. Make it as much a part of your day as brushing your teeth. For ultimate success, your workout has to become a necessary routine in your eyes. Otherwise, you will fall off.
4. STAY POSITIVE
Sounds simple and more like a no brainer, right? But nonetheless, this is VERY important to remember. Always speak positive about your goal. Repeat positive affirmations daily. And never, I mean never, downplay your progress and success to make others feel better about their lack of progress or success. You deserve to speak about all the hard work you are putting in toward your goal. Those that truly care about you will want to hear it all.
I hope this helps to give you a starting point or inspires you to find your path to a lifestyle of fitness. Be sure to check out my blog on how strategic I am when it comes to making my workout playlist. What you stretch to can make all the difference in motivating you to push hard through your entire workout.
Let us see a glimpse of your progress. Use the #heynikkiandjess on instagram with your favorite workout photo or favorite healthy snacks. Keep up the good work Sunshines!