On every journey there will be setbacks, and my road to wellness has been no exception. Four years ago, a twenty six year old me stared at these Beachbody DVD’s that had come in the mail for Kristin after our first son was born. “Shaun T’s Hip Hop Abs,” I read aloud as I thought about how ridiculous it sounded and how I would never be caught dead doing at-home-DVD-workouts. I saw these programs as an infomercial scam that had clearly found their way into our home. As I thought about how to best encourage Kristin with her post-pregnancy fitness, the reality of my own growing belly began to set in. Was it sympathy pounds from the pregnancy? No, just a lifetime of bad habits and a poor relationship with food. I had spent hundreds of dollars on gym memberships over the course of two years, and had tried multiple times to make running fun, but my health was deteriorating. As I took another glance over at the DVD’s, the second title reaffirmed my suspicions of a scam when I read, “Rockin’ Body” –Yup, this was not going to be the answer. As a couple months went by, one day I decided to challenge my own assumptions and give this hip hop dance workout a try; after all, maybe I would learn how to dance? Well, not only did I complete Hip Hop Abs (multiple times) I worked through much of Shaun T’s Rockin’ Body as well. “Who was this guy– Shaun T,” I thought to myself, “and how in the world did he get me to progress through two at home-workout programs? And did I actually just have fun doing them?!” By following the programs and eating healthy (what did that even mean), I lost nearly 40lbs over five months and felt like a new man. Beachbody had completely changed how I viewed at-home workouts and I saw these as the silver bullet for weight loss: My plan was to do intense cardio five days per week and eat “decently” by counting calories– and it was working!
Sustainable change would require me to learn more about nutrition, and develop the skills needed to handle the inevitable setbacks along the way.
Well, as time went on, I plateaued with my weight loss (as EVERYONE does). After an old knee injury flared up and kept me from jumping and lunging for a couple months, I lost my routine. I had felt triumph and success over the course of the five months by incorporating intense workouts which motivated me to eat well, but I never thought much about my nutrition or about setbacks. Fast forward seven more months, and I had gained most of the weight back and I felt awful.For two more years I continued to struggle with eating well, getting the odd workout in when I could, and biking to work in the summer and spring. Although I did not reach my all time max weight again, the number I saw on the scale in the mornings told me that my efforts were not enough. What I did not know at the time was that the ultimate key to changing my life was not just about intense workouts and drinking smoothies everyday. Sustainable change would require me to learn more about nutrition, and develop the skills needed to handle the inevitable setbacks along the way.
What you put in your body, and at what times, will have the biggest impact on your health and well-being, period.
I am going to fast forward a bit now and If you have read this far, I will encourage you to pause and read the post I wrote in May of 2017, How I lost 50lbs and Found Myself Along the Way. This post describes in detail why I recommitted myself to getting healthy, my biggest learns (at the time), and most importantly HOW I did it. Since sharing my journey with the world, I have learned so much more about fitness, health, food and most importantly: myself. Although my first post catalogues the hows and whys of my first 50lbs, this is now my attempt at expressing the most important parts of losing the next 25lbs and developing the right behaviours and mindset to keep it off.
What you put in your body, and at what times, will have the biggest impact on your health and well-being, period. Even the most intense and sustained workout program is no match for excess sugar, processed foods and simply too much food. The human body is more complex than simply calories in/calories out, and things often become more confusing when we start to talk about timed nutrition, fasting, carb cycling, etc. There is so much conflicting data out there and it can be hard to know who to believe, but this is exactly why I believe that wellness is a journey and not a destination. One of the best things I did was to find a system based on eating real whole foods and avoiding processed sugars, as well as being willing to challenge my own assumptions along the way. I started by adopting a paleo diet in 2016, and as I learned more about my body, I began to do intermittent fasting, keto, carb cycling, and have recently been experimenting with plant based eating.
The road to positive transformation in all areas of life is littered with mistakes, and the growth that comes from owning those mistakes.
Each step along the way has served me as I have listened to my body and learned to make adjustments based on how I feel and what my body is telling me. As I have refined my nutrition over the past year, I have made conscious decisions to change how I eat, but there are commonalities between every diet that I have embraced: eat real food, and not too much of it.
Get Back Up Again
But let’s be real, everyone is going to overeat sometimes. I did, and I still do. Sometimes the chocolate, cheesecake or cookies are just too good to pass up (I have a sweet tooth), and you’re going to give in. It’s okay, but what’s not okay is seeing small missteps as total failure. The road to positive transformation in all areas of life is littered with mistakes, and the growth that comes from owning those mistakes. Being willing to forgive yourself and develop the positive action to get back up, will ultimately define where you end up! The most important actions I have taken to create sustainable healthy change in my life, have been to get back up every time I fall down. Whether it be that extra drink you decided to have, the second dessert you wrestled with, or the workout you decided not to do, you have to believe that tomorrow is another day and another opportunity to take a step forward. And if tomorrow comes and you don’t feel like working out again? Do it anyway– a bad workout is far better than no workout. If there is something I have learned time and time again, it is that falling down is not failure, but choosing to stay down is. When it comes to eating perfect, let me be the first to say that “I do not,” but through practicing the skill of getting back at it with positive action, I can enjoy that brownie and still know I am going to crush my next workout, and follow it with a plate of steamed broccoli and sweet potato.
Thanks for reading! Have questions about my fitness journey or nutrition? I’m no expert, but am happy to share. I post my experiences hoping that I can help someone else get back up again.