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On Friday, February 5, 2016, I decided I was finally ready to do something about the extra weight I had been carrying for the last six years. I know what you’re thinking, what a strange day to start something new.  Wouldn’t a Monday be a better day?  Not for me. That is one of the single most important pieces to making any change, personalize the process to what works for you.

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The catalyst

For every person, the trigger to change is different. We can be uncomfortable for quite a long time until eventually, the pain of staying the same becomes greater than the pain of facing change. Honestly, I was just tired of being unhappy with my body. There was no single moment or event that inspired me to do anything, but more of a culmination of years of unhappiness.

Getting ready

Diet was never really the issue for me, but incorporating exercise had become a challenge. Sure, I was strapped for time just like everyone else, but the real challenge was my back. Six years ago I had herniated a disc in my lumbar region. Even after surgery, the site was aggravated easily. When my back would flare up simple daily tasks like getting dressed became nearly impossible. I had to find ways to safely exercise.

Over the years I had tried all kinds of workouts: running, HIIT, yoga, Pilates, Insanity, 21-day fix. I would stick with each workout until my back would become inflamed. Even certain physical therapy exercises would end up in a few days of intense pain. After a while, I learned that it was bending at the waist that triggered flare-ups. I searched exhaustively for workout programs for people who have similar issues but could only find physical therapy type moves, nothing that would help elevate my heart rate enough to lose weight. I realized I would need to design my own regimen.

I searched the internet for exercise ideas and stumbled upon a great book, The Women’s Health Big Book of 15 Minute Work Outs.  Because I had already spent money on exercise plans that I couldn’t complete, I decided to see if the book was available at the library and it was. After going through the book, I marked the exercises that would be kind to my back and began to plan workout mashups tailored just for me. Some of my personal favorites were the Metabolism Workout, Stability Ball Workout, Elliptical Work Out, High School Reunion Workout.

While searching online I also saw site after site of people selling workout and diet plans, but then I stumbled upon Emily Skye. Emily is an Australian model who posts free exercise routines to her facebook page. She sells a program too, but I use what she shares for free. Her ab workout is one of my favorites (4 ROUNDS bicycle crunch x 10, and arm workouts (6 ROUNDS should press x12, bent over row x12, bicep curl x12, tricep kickback x 12.

Doing the dang thing

Every article about working out says its best to get your workout done in the morning. That might be true for other people, but definitely not for me. I tried like crazy to get up early and squeeze my workout in, but it just did not happen.  Getting up earlier or taking time away from my morning coffee/reading routine was not very enticing.  I found working out in the evening when I got home from work before dinner was easier. My workout schedule changed with the seasons. When my sons were in soccer, I worked out after dinner and homework were finished.

My exercise goal was 30 minutes 3 times a week, but most weeks I exercised at least 15 minutes 6 times a week.

 

Typical Daily Consumption

10 oz coffee with 1T butter and 1t Coconut Oil (AKA Bullet Proof Coffee [BPC])

10 oz coffee with 1T hazelnut flavored creamer

 

1 cup of a simple salad, usually with kale as a base (It’s my favorite green!), sometimes cottage cheese

1T vinaigrette dressing or ACV (apple cider vinegar)

Handful of nuts/seeds, usually almonds/sunflower seeds

 

A conservative portion of whatever we made for dinner (nothing from a box)

1 cup of spaghetti with meat sauce and simple salad

2 crunchy tacos with 1t taco meat (for flavor) and filled with corn and lettuce

Baked pork chops with ½ sweet potato

 

Results

Start                                                                     2.5 months later                                        3.5 months later

Weight 158 (my heaviest)                               Weight 142 (16 pound loss!)                    Weight 133

BMI 24 Normal                                                 BMI 21.6 Normal                                       BMI 20.2 Normal

Jean size 10                                                         Jean Size 8                                                 Jean size 8

 

It has been nearly a year since I began this healthier lifestyle and I am happy to report the weight has stayed off. The holidays have come and gone without any effect on my weight. My habits have become a little more relaxed working out 4 times a week now and cheating occasionally, with sweet treats. Small changes made a big impact over time. The biggest impact has been how I feel about myself.

What small change can you make and stick with over the next 3 months?

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