Back to Basics: When You Have to Start from the Beginning

888EF16F-6E9C-4FDB-832E-F6D0989FD4AFAbove Picture: Left I was 200 pounds in 2011. Right: In 2013 weighing about 130

Starting with the basics. It’s a common idea when you’re trying to learn how to do a new hobby or learn a new skill. But when you’ve been there before it’s hard to go back to the beginning. That’s been my biggest struggle with my weight loss.

Many of you may not know but I have been through the weight loss process before. I lost 70 pounds back in 2011-2012. It was through running I learned how to love exercise. It also taught me how hard work really does pay off. It wasn’t long before I was hooked. I did a number of 5Ks, a 10K and 2 half-marathons. Sadly, I stopped running and quickly fell back into my old habits.

running meIMG_1156IMG_1155

It’s a little embarrassing now writing about me starting over again. Why? Because I see it as a huge failure on my part. I stopped believing in myself. I stopped reaching for new goals. I felt like I had reached the finish line so I stopped. But life and exercise is not like that. Just like our spiritual walk with God, it is a DAILY battle.

“Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” – Luke 9:23

Luke 9:23 is a reminder how God says we must take up our cross daily. We have to remind ourselves every day why we are here and what our purpose is. This is the same in exercising, relationships with others and our walk with Christ. Why did he say this? Because God knew we need to go back to the basics to keep ourselves on track.

Like in my workouts. In my mind I have run half marathons before. I should be able to walk out of my house and do it again. But because I have not strengthened my running muscles in so long I am starting over. It’s hard to humble yourselves back to the beginning. But when we go back to the basics that’s where we can renew our strength for what’s to come.

famCurrent Photo of me

Whether you’re starting over in your spiritual walk or your physical exercise journey, know going back to the basics does not mean you’re a failure. It just means you’re renewing your strength. Slowly growing into that person you once were. Take the time to refine what you may have overlooked before. Train smart. Progress is progress.

What part of your life are you starting over? Exercise? Spiritual walk? What have been the hardest struggles so far?

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8 Ways To Not Overeat Thanksgiving Dinner

IMG_0275Thanksgiving is next week and I bet you’re already thinking about the yummy food. All while worried you may throw your “new eating lifestyle” out the window. Instead of worrying about overeating, here are some tips to take with you to Thanksgiving Dinner.

  1. Eat before: If you’re having a mid-day lunch or dinner, make sure you eat before. Don’t skip breakfast in hopes to have more room for food. It will cause you to gorge yourself later. Eat a healthy breakfast. Also a snack and maybe lunch depending on what time the meal is. That way you’re not regretting the amount of food you consume.
  2. Eat smaller portions: I use this tip in my every day life. Instead of grabbing the big dinner plate. Grab the small to medium plate. This will allow you to keep your portions small. Especially, if you want to taste everything available. So when your eyes are bigger than your stomach you can actually enjoy the meal. I would say do the same with desserts. You can still taste all of the pies but make sure to keep them at a small portion. Remember, a little goes a long way.
  3. Don’t stand near the food: A lot of times we all gather around the buffet of food and have conversations with our friends and family. So when someone else is talking you start snacking in between. Instead, take the conversation to the living room. Relax and enjoy time with your family.
  4. Go for a walk: A great way to burn off your Thanksgiving meal before getting dessert is going for a walk around the block. This could be great time to talk more with family you haven’t seen in a while. And get away from those driving you crazy. Include the kids as well. Maybe ride bikes together. Anything to get you moving while growing closer with your loved ones.
  5. Workout before the Thanksgiving meal: If the meal is later in the day then it’s a perfect time to grab a quick workout before you leave. It doesn’t even have to be long. A 30 minute HIIT workout would be great. Especially for all of those cooking Thanksgiving this year.
  6. Drink water: A good rule of thumb I follow is drinking water with my meal. Sometimes I’ll even drink a big glass before. That causes me to fill up quickly while maintaining my portions. You can always grab that glass of wine later. But for dinner stick with water. You will eat less and stay hydrated.
  7. Bring a healthy dish or dessert: This is a perfect way to make sure there is something remotely healthy at your Thanksgiving dinner. Yes, it’s the time where you eat all things unhealthy. But you can incorporate healthy foods that taste just as good. Maybe even bring a healthier dessert than Pecan Pie. That way you can share a new recipe with family and make sure something healthy gets on your plate.
  8. Enjoy your meal: Thanksgiving is about coming together with the ones you love. So don’t stress too much about the food. You can eat that slice of pie, but just be smart about it. Life is short. Enjoy the amazing foods that come with this holiday. As long as you use these tricks then you’ll find yourself happy about the choices you made. Not regretting every calorie you ate.

What are some things you do to make sure you don’t overeat on Thanksgiving?

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9 Things Keeping you From Your Goal Weight

You eat healthy and exercise 5 days a week, but the weight isn’t coming off. You’re frustrated and want to quit. Maybe you’ve lost a lot of weight but can’t seem to shake those last 20 pounds. Or maybe you’ve been working out and haven’t seen your weight budge. Here are some reasons why you may not be seeing results.

  1. Skipping Breakfast: Breakfast needs to be your largest amount of calorie intake of the day. You should be getting about 4oo calories from breakfast. I don’t mean a couple of donuts. I mean good quality food. Studies show that if you skip breakfast you actually gain weight. When you’re asleep at night, your body basically goes into fasting mode. When you eat breakfast, it kick starts your metabolism. But if you skip breakfast, your body will store fat because it thinks it’s preparing for lack of food.

Here’s an example of what I eat that rounds out to about 400 calories. 

2 eggs

2 slices of turkey bacon

Ezekiel Toast with almond butter

10 ounce cup of coffee with creamer and sugar

2. Not Changing Your Routine: It’s said that after about 6 weeks your body gets used to a workout. That’s why you need to switch it up. Change up the arm routine. Add more weights. Stay on the treadmill longer. Find a class that challenges you more. Your body wants to be challenged. Don’t be afraid to take it to the next level. If you always stay at an easy routine or pace you’ll never see what your body can really do.

3. Working out too much: Maybe you’ve been working out 5 days a week. You’ve dropped about 20 pounds but now you’re stuck. You may need to back off a bit. Sometimes our bodies need time to heal from our workouts. We tend to workout more when we don’t see results. Try only exercising 3 to 4 days a week instead. See if that will help your body start shedding those pounds.

4. Not using enough weights: When you want to lose weight many people think of cardio. While cardio, like running, does help you burn fat; weights actually do a better job. I use 10 pound dumbbells when I workout. They’re not too heavy for me to use but they challenge me to push through. Weights help you burn as much fat as cardio. They also help you start toning your muscles. Ladies, don’t be afraid to pick up the weights.

5. Sitting down too much: I struggled with this one. All thanks to Netflix. I would go to the gym and workout for 2 hours. Then, I would come home and sit and binge Netflix. Of course while watching tv I wanted to snack. I saw no changes in my weight. If you’re not moving then you’re not going to see results. Find a way to stay active. Create a to-do list of things you need to get done around the house. If your job calls you to sit a lot, then get up every 30 minutes to walk around. It doesn’t have to be long but taking a quick lap around the office will help you lose weight. Maybe even throw in 10 squats for every time you get up. (If you don’t want to do the squats in front of your coworkers, then do them in the bathroom stall.

6. Over Eating: This was my biggest struggle. I eat healthy foods but I found myself eating more than I should. One way to help you see how much you’re eating throughout the day is by counting your calories. Don’t worry, it’s not a longterm thing. You can download apps like Fitbit where they will help you keep track of your calories. It will also give you the total of how many calories you need to consume depending on your weight, exercise routine and how much you want to lose.  If you eat a lot of the same things then you may only need to do this for about 3 days. It gives you the idea of portions. Eventually, you’ll get used to how much serving sizes are and won’t need to count the calories. Like I said, it’s not a longterm thing. I don’t believe you should always count your calories. It’s just not a fun way to live.

7. Lack of Sleep: Our bodies need sleep to recover. If you’re getting only a few hours of sleep at night then you may not be seeing weight loss. It may also be impacting the way you do workouts. If you’ve been consistent, I can imagine it’s a struggle with no energy. If you’re not getting at least 8 hours of sleep then you may need to go to bed earlier.

8. Not Drinking Enough Water: Water is your friend. It helps clear your system and keeps you hydrated. The more active you are the more you need. If you hate the taste of water then try squeezing fresh lemon juice in it. You can even add fruit like strawberries to improve the taste. Lemon water is a really great way to restore electrolytes compared to the sugary sport drinks. You should be drinking 8 glasses a day. I personally try to drink a gallon a day when I’m really active.

9. Too much Alcohol and Sugar: These two are some of the top things that will keep you from meeting your goals. A glass of wine every once in a while is okay, but if you’re drinking margaritas every weekend then it’s going to be hard for you to see major changes. Also, sugar is another bad habit. Often times it’s in food we don’t even know about. If it says “low fat” then it has tons of sugar to keep it preserved on the shelf longer. Avoid anything “low fat.” Read labels on items you buy in packages. You will be shocked to find out how much sugar there really is.

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