What I did wrong, and what I’d do again [in my health journey]

Hello friends! How’s the morning going? I hope you’re having a great time so far! Today I’m cleaning all the patio furniture and getting it ready for swimming season. Go ahead! I’m also excited to go to a yoga class in between client calls.

For today’s post, I wanted to share more about my initial journey to health. New reading friends (hello, hello!) may not know that I lost 40 pounds in college. This was long before I became a group fitness instructor, personal trainer or Integrative Health Practitioner…and I had to learn everything on my own, the hard way. This also happened in ancient times, when blogs did not exist. Everything I learned (good and bad) was through fitness magazines and stacks of health books I bought at Barnes and Noble.

When I reflect on my initial weight loss journey, I remember the struggles (like getting so sick after eating a package of cooked chicken and a can of cold black beans lol), but I also feel proud of myself. I stuck with it, wasn’t afraid to pivot when I realized things weren’t working out, and did a lot of things right.

What I did wrong and what I would do again [in my health journey]

These are some of the things I did well and are fundamental habits that I recommend to all my clients:

– More proteins and whole foods. I started emphasizing protein in my diet and paying attention to processed foods. I used to eat almost completely processed foods (except for dinner) and I felt much better eating foods from the earth. I was still a poor college student, so I was on a very tight budget, but I opted for inexpensive options like apples, yogurt, frozen vegetables, bananas, jerky, and wraps that I could make at home.

– Add walking to my routine. Walking made me feel better almost instantly and I also got the benefits of the sun and a better mood.

– Strength training began. I had NO idea what I was doing, but my friend and I hired a personal trainer from LA Fitness. He gave me questionable nutritional advice, but he taught me the basics of strength training.

– Pay attention to a balanced plate and portion control. I learned that my plate couldn’t be exclusively carbs and actually be satiating, so I started incorporating more

I think it’s easy to remember that classics are classics for a reason: they work! Simple changes that you can maintain for a long time will make the biggest difference.

Mistakes:

Here are some things that were difficult for me and it took me many years to unravel the damage of some of them.

– 3-5 hours of sleep per night. It wouldn’t be unusual for me to go to school all day, teach at the dance studio until 8 pm, drive to the school library and study until 2 or 3 am, and then come home, take a nap and repeat. I did this for almost all of college. Weekends were for work (I alternated between two or three jobs), study, parties… this girl didn’t sleep. No wonder she was exhausted, hormonal, and craved sugar and caffeine all the time.

– Not addressing stress. I was under a lot of stress and didn’t realize the impacts stress can have on immune system function, hormones, hunger levels, skin, sleep and well-being. Stress management is huge and can often play a role in preventing changes in body composition.

– Fear of fats (even healthy ones). “Health magazines” taught me that eating fat made you fat, so I avoided it for a long time. Nowadays, it is NBD to eat a whole avocado.

– Took hormonal contraceptives. I now know that it was a horrible situation for me and masked many of the hormonal symptoms I was experiencing. When I stopped taking it, I felt like the clouds had lifted from my life. (<– read this old blog post so you can see how short they used to be and the horrible photos. You have to start somewhere though!)

– I didn’t focus on fiber or digestion. I would eat maybe one vegetable a day.

– I jumped without a solid plan. This can be one of the hardest things for friends who want to change their lives. There is a LOT of conflicting information out there and what works for one person may not work for another.

– Many fake sugar substitutes. I ate so much Splenda that I’m embarrassed to think about it.

My body composition has changed since then, but I also feel much better! Before making changes for my health, I had no confidence, had deep acne on my cheeks, slept poorly, and had digestive issues. I don’t have any of those things now.

It’s been a learning journey (you can read about everything I had to do and change last year!), but it’s always interesting to look back, evaluate, and plan for the future.

So tell me, friends: how bumpy has your journey to health been? What are you working on now? If you’re curious about working together as we head into summer, let me know (gina@fitnessista.com) and we can schedule a free discovery call.

hugs and kisses

gina

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