The last time you heard from me, I told you a little bit about my background with obesity and the psychological, emotional and physical struggles that being overweight has brought into my life.
Today, Iâ€™m going to tell you how Iâ€™ve been fighting that fight, and how Iâ€™m winning it a little more every day. This is just what worked for me, and the small steps I took. What works for you may be different, but remember that every success story starts with a lot of failures. No one is immediately successful at anything. Even Michael Phelps had to take swimming lessons at one point.
I have been trying to figure out exactly what a â€śhealthy lifestyleâ€ť means for me over the last five years. I have tried, and failed and tried again. Through this process of trial and error I have found a balance between clean eating and indulging in my favorite treats (moderation truly is the key to everything). I combine this with a newly developed passion for heavy weightlifting to achieve the goals I have set for myself.
Unfortunately, the lessons I learned and the goals I reached while I was first venturing into the world of proper nutrition and exercise were only temporary. I would give up after a few weeks, or months, and the weight slowly crept back up. But with every trial I achieved, I held on to something I could never loseâ€¦the knowledge that I was capable of change. If I did it once, there was no reason I couldnâ€™t do it again. Every error, every failure, just taught me how to improve in the future.
I started joining online weight-loss communities and began a weight-loss blog. I poured over forums and read hundreds of accounts from people of all ages and backgrounds who had already conquered the challenges I now faced. I made my struggles â€śpublicâ€ť and reached out for support. The response I received from other men and women who shared my frustrations and struggles was overwhelming, and humbling. The accountability and support I found through these venues was truly irreplaceable.
That support gave me the courage to really pursue weightlifting. If my experience with multiple at-home workout DVDs had taught me anything it was that I loved resistance training and weights. I was dying to know what my body would be capable of if I really dedicated myself to it, but terrified of trying to weight lift in an actual, public gym. At first, it was intimidating. I walked into my gym, an out-of-shape woman in a sea of buff, sweaty, grunting men, and almost ran away. But I found a bench and diligently curled my five pound barbells in the middle of a crowd of men curling 50 pounds or more. The more frequently I showed up and fit myself right into the middle of the weight room, the less intimidating it became. I quickly realized that the only person looking at me and what I was doing, was me.
Weightlifting changed my life. It changed my body, it changed my mentality, and it gave me a confidence and an energy that nothing else did. I became smaller, more muscular, and even though the scale wasnâ€™t reflecting any or much progress, my body certainly did. I learned to rely on other methods of tracking my progress â€“ like pictures, measurements, how my clothes fit, and how I felt â€“ instead of being ruled by the number on the scale, and that was the single most liberating lesson I have ever learned.
In the course of one year, I lost 35 pounds, three pants sizes, and can proudly squat and dead lift more than my body weight. I try to eat clean and stay within a healthy calorie range of 1,700 to 1,900 calories a day (I know that sounds like a lot, and itâ€™s counter intuitive, but adding the extra 500-700 calories of healthy food per day to my diet jumpstarted my weight loss more than any 1,200 calorie â€śdietâ€ť ever did). But Iâ€™m not perfect. I love pizza and chocolate as much as the next person, and Iâ€™ve learned to not shame myself for enjoying food. One bad meal wonâ€™t undo your progress, just like one good meal wonâ€™t fix years of bad nutrition.
While heavy lifting may not be what works for or interests you, the universal lesson that I try to convey to anyone who asks me my â€śsecretâ€ť is this: Over the years, I have learned that every tool I need to be successful, happy, and healthy I have always possessed. I just didnâ€™t know how to uncover them. You are the only secret you need.