Disclaimer: I’m not a professional athlete/trainer nor am I advocating to be one. This post is written with my personal experience in mind & in motion – what might work for me might not work for someone else. But my goal is to (hopefully) inspire someone to follow a similar path if s/he finds themself in a relatable position & interested in working towards a personal goal/change.
This post was originally drafted in early March of this year, but the struggle has been ongoing for months prior. I chose to keep the original content written in this draft (i.e. thoughts/feelings/emotions) at the time; since returning to this pending post, added a brief update on where I am now, after implementing the below action steps I’ve set for myself. My intention in writing this post was in hopefulness that it would hold me accountable for the progress I intend to continue to share on this platform. This might seem & read like a diary entry in the beginning, but I feel it’s important I include all the feelings/emotions/thoughts here as they are from the start – honest, real & raw; so when I look back in months time from now, I’ll see the positive change in myself I’m striving to reach.
Early March 2021
I’ve always been a confident person, as well as an athlete. From riding horses/competing my entire childhood & young adulthood, if I wasn’t in the saddle then I was probably in the gym or running a half-marathon based on my training regiment. Even when I quit competing & began my life in NYC, I was so good about sticking to a workout routine for years. I can honestly say the hiatus began in October 2019 when I moved to Hoboken & struggled to find a local gym/workout class I liked until late Feb/early March.
Then the Pandemic happened shortly after…
Needless to say, it’s been an on-off again challenge maintaining a workout regiment I sincerely look forward to since moving out of the city. I have a handful of gyms nearby in my hometown/suburbs of our house, but I feel like it’s been such a tolling effort to try them out (if I’m even lucky to get a spot in one of the busier morning classes.) I know it’s very much a mental block fueled by making excuses – ranging from whether it’s that the dog requires attention, I have too busy of a work day (even if I’m up at 6am to get a head start) or telling myself I’ll do it later in the day (I rarely do, if ever.) I’ve gotten into such a slump of not finding the time to workout routinely that it’s become part of my routine itself – waking up and avoiding something that used to give me so much joy.
I’d be lying if I said this mentality didn’t hurt me emotionally & here’s why:
Maybe it’s because I’m only a few months out from the start of my Bridal festivities, but I’ve noticed a significant gain in my overall face shape as well as changes in my physical appearance (primarily my hips/waist/thighs) that I’m not happy to see in the mirror. I’ve been waking up with the puffiest, roundest face along with dark eye circles that refuse to disappear despite my topical efforts. This is the first time in my life that I’ve personally struggled with lack of identity & missing confidence simply from my reflection in the mirror and not recognizing the person staring back. Out of everything, the shape of my face has given me the most grief lately.
Then I did something I’ve purposely avoided for years — step on the scale (that Thomas recently purchased) and watched the numbers fluctuate between 138-140 lbs. As someone who’s been consistently 127-130 lbs all her adult life, this moment was a true wake up call I equally despised & felt oddly motivated from – kind of like an “I’ll Show You, You F*cking Scale” anger.
*Please understand that no matter the number on the scale, how you FEEL about YOURSELF is ultimately the priority to focus on. For me, this 10 lb weight gain isn’t surprising given the year we just lived through, but it wasn’t something I wanted to embrace or get comfortable with considering how unhappy I’ve been with my lack of motivation. If gaining 10 lbs while still feeling my best self was the situation, I’d be fine with the changes in my body. But because I know the gain is a result of hitting a low point, that’s all the more reason why I want to lose it – my happiness is my #1 priority & I’ll do whatever it takes to get it back + maintain it.
That being said – I’m starting slow & steady. It’s not realistic for me to change my entire lifestyle I’ve grown used to over the last 1.5 years overnight. Baby steps are key & here’s how I intend to implement them into my June Fitness Routine:
Wake Up at 6:30AM + Resist The Snooze Button!
I’m guilty of snoozing until 7:30, sometimes 8AM… which is simply not ok during the work week. Thankfully the dog gets up at 6:30AM on the dot, so I’m going to make it my responsibility to take care of the morning shift with her instead of Thomas doing it every time; on the days it’s his turn, I’ll make sure to get up at the same time even if I’m exhausted. I used to be a morning person and absolutely love having those quiet 2 hours to drink my coffee & get ready for the day, so this can only be a positive habit to enforce with time.
Workout First Thing in the Morning
Knowing me, the chances of working out get slimmer with each passing hour of the day. Therefore, it’s mandatory I get my workouts in first thing before I can use the excuse of a busy work day to not get it done. This is just a starting method, as getting a workout in every morning might not be feasible overtime. But if I can get into the habit of it now, it’ll make finding the time to fit it in later on much easier.
To start off: I’ll be responsible for working out 3x during the work week. Right now, it’s MWF mornings from 7-7:30AM. I signed back up on SWEAT and started the 8-week program, which consists of 3 workouts that take approx 28 minutes each to complete. The app makes it easy for me to track my workout progress each week & even allows me to set reminders when it’s a workout day. Anything that will keep me accountable helps!
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Eat Breakfast, Even if it’s Something Small
I’m so bad about eating breakfast, but I know how important it is to implement into a routine. Like my coffee, I have to approach it in a simple manner – something that doesn’t take longer than 10 minutes to make & will hold me over until lunch or longer. I’ve been eating these Kind Breakfast Bars & love them as an easy ‘grab-and-go-right-to-my-desk option but I’d get back into making protein smoothies post-workout, as it’s more likely to hold me over on mornings I’m ravenous. I recently purchased myself a personal blender & got these reusable glass tumbler cups with straws to help make my smoothie routine easier and fun to maintain. Once I have a few recipes under my belt, I’ll be sure to share them in the next monthly update!
(Try to) Drink a Gallon of Water per Day
Now that it’s practically summer, the thirst is at an all-time high. I consider myself pretty good at drinking water, but I feel like I could definitely consume more of it. Plus, I’m sure an increase in water intake would help my skin tremendously, especially those dark eye circles. To help keep myself accountable with this goal, I got myself that jumbo motivational water bottle that holds a gallon of water & is designed to encourage you to drink it all throughout the day. I’ll follow up with my thoughts on this too once I have the month to try it out & see if it makes drinking more water a feasible goal.
Update: I haven’t found the bottle to make the water taste ‘plastic-y’ if that makes sense, but it’s a beast of a job to fill up from our fridge filtered water… hopefully you have a sink to leave it in while filling up lol.
Wear Activewear That Makes Me Happy
Without a doubt, wearing cute workout clothing has a lot to do with my overall motivation on a given day. If I love love love the ‘fit I’m in, then the chances of me following through with the workout itself is much a much higher probability. I’ve recently gone through all my active attire and tossed/donated pieces that no longer ‘spark joy’ nor I reach for on a given workout day. There’s simply no reason to hold onto anything that doesn’t serve a purpose (in general) but in terms of workout wear, not something I’d willingly choose to sweat in.
All (4) workout sets I’m wearing in this post are from Ellie Activewear, one of my favorite activewear subscription brands out there. Every single thing I’ve ever received from them has fit me so comfortably & performed with excellence (i.e. sweat stain resistant & zero itch/chaffable fabric.) You can learn more about their size-inclusive monthly collections & their flexible membership details here.
SURPRISINGLY, I’ve become a big fan of working out in biker shorts – not just wearing them in an athleisure-lounging situation. I truly never found them flattering or comfortable to wear, especially in sweaty situations, but I’m happy to report a change of heart – probably because I’ve finally found high-waisted pairs that actually work for me.
Update – June 23, 2021
I started the month of March weighing 137.8 lbs and can officially say I’ve met my goal of weighing 129.8 lbs as of this morning! It wasn’t easy at all but I feel like a lot of it had to do with burning more calories than I was taking in. I’ve stuck to my routine & outlined steps above for the most part (give or take some mornings) but overall, have been very conscious of my activity level throughout each day. Even if my ‘workout’ was taking care of the yard & garden, it was still a sweaty 1 – 2 hours of being on my feet & moving around.