How to Start the First 30 Days of Your Weight Loss and Fitness Journey
October 25, 2018
Long-time client Chelsea Templin knows what it means to truly stop starting over. Below she shares her journey with weight loss and getting fit. 🔥
I used to be the person who thought, “This is who I am, this is my body and there is no changing it, this is just how my body is built.” I told myself I was happy with where I was and who I was, even though I never felt that way deep inside. I was stuck in this place of “This is just my body’s happy place and this is how I’m supposed to look. I’m not meant to be thinner/leaner/healthier”—denying the fact that I was heavier than I had ever been before. But I am no longer that person. I took control of my health and, more importantly, took control of my happiness.
My Wake-Up Call
I fell into the habit of eating out for lunch almost daily, eating out for dinner often and only working out occasionally. And to be honest, my version of working out was just a light walk here and there to stay semi-active. The weight crept up on me slowly, and I didn’t really realize how much weight I had gained until I stepped on the scale to find I weighed 220 pounds—the heaviest I had ever been in my life. What happened? Where did this come from? How did this happen? I sat there wondering, “How do I come back from this?”
After years of accepting my weight gain for just how my body was, I watched someone I knew who was about the same weight as I was go through a lifestyle change. That was my big “aha!” moment that showed me I wasn’t stuck where I was and I could change this!
I woke up one morning in 2014 and finally realized this was not who I am. I wasn’t happy and I didn’t want to lie to myself anymore. I hated getting ready in the morning, spending most of my time pulling my clinging clothes off my body to loosen them just a little bit more. It was time for me to make a change in my life.
The Beginning of My Weight Loss Journey
After my “aha!” moment, I made huge changes to my lifestyle. I signed up for a gym membership and started to be more consistent with my workouts—more than ever before. I began to watch those around me to pick up pointers, lift weights, do cardio and attend workout classes. I focused on switching up my reps, weights and exercise to ensure my body would continue to evolve. I was dedicated to eating as clean as I knew how, which personally I found to be the hardest part when starting my weight loss journey. You think, “All I can eat is chicken, rice and vegetables”—and I’ll be honest with you, that’s exactly what I did at the beginning! The combination of working out consistently and eating nothing but chicken resulted in me losing 30 pounds within just a few months.
Unfortunately, that only lasted until chicken made me sick to my stomach and I couldn’t handle it anymore. I fell down a hole: I saw the inches coming off and told myself, “Girl, you’re doing great! Eat this, eat that, you can have this, you can have that.” I couldn’t do the chicken anymore, and before I knew it, I had put back on all of the weight. I was completely devastated.
I Started Over
I cried a lot after I gained my weight back. I didn’t want to put myself back in my old shoes. I didn’t want to have to start over. What I was doing wrong? What do I eat? How do I eat? It was one of the hardest things I’ve had to overcome.
Did I overcome it fast? Definitely not. For all of 2015, I sat again at my heaviest weight—confused, questioning every day if I’d ever get to where I wanted to be. Finally, in early 2016, I said “enough is enough,” and I put on my big girl pants, wiped away the tears, stopped crying and fighting with myself, and realized nothing was going to change unless I made the changes myself. This time around, I fell in love with working out versus feeling as if working out was a chore. I learned to push myself and do things I loved! I finally found my happy place and I finally stopped starting over!
My Top Tips to Start the First 30 Days of Your Weight Loss and Fitness Journey
1. Just Start
My number one piece of advice to start your first 30 days is to just start! It is as simple as that. Just start somewhere; it doesn’t matter where, just start!
2. Never Give Up on Yourself
Not giving up on myself was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. My second time around, I learned to be more compassionate with myself, especially in the beginning. I constantly told myself that if it were easy, everyone would be doing it. I needed to be patient, because change doesn’t happen overnight. I would remind myself of what I felt like at my heaviest weight and how I promised myself I would never be there again—I would never give up on myself again, and I suggest you do the same!
3. Count Your Macros
As much as the idea sucks, start counting your macros. This doesn’t need to be a lifelong habit, but a short-term tool. It puts your eating habits into perspective. It shows you how much you are currently eating versus how much you actually should be eating. I suggest doing this for your first 30 days, or until your brain learns and understands what your body really needs and in what amounts.
4. Be Creative
I started introducing myself to new foods, and I didn’t live off chicken, rice and veggies. I started eating a large variety of foods, like eggs, tofu, sweet potatoes, avocado, bread, chicken, ground turkey, lean beef, cabbage—the list is actually endless for healthy foods. I promise you don’t have to live on chicken and broccoli!
Eating clean does not have to be boring, and you definitely don’t need to force yourself to eat things you don’t like. For example, I don’t like beans, so anytime I make chili, I load it up with veggies instead: corn, zucchini, yellow squash, carrots, celery, even edamame. I tend to keep things simple. I’m not a person to spend a lot of time on cooking. I’ll cut up some lettuce, throw in some extra veggies, some kind of protein and light dressing, and that’s a quick simple meal for me. Just find things you love and throw them together!
5. Find Healthy Alternatives
I learned I didn’t have to cut out the foods I love, but to limit them as well as make healthier alternatives. For example, if you want pizza, make two-ingredient dough—it’s so simple! It’s just Greek yogurt and self-rising flour, that’s it! You want spaghetti? Indulge in a big bowl of spaghetti squash and turkey meatballs.
6. Meal Prep
One of the biggest things that can help you eat clean is to always be prepared. Spend a day meal prepping, where you plan out everything you’re going to eat for the week, or even just for the day. Going into your day with an established plan of exactly what you are going to eat motivates you to stay healthy the entire day and sets you up for success.
7. Listen to Your Body
Your body is a tool—listen to it. Observe how it reacts to different foods and cut out those that don’t make you thrive physically, mentally and emotionally. For me personally, once I started listening to my body, I realized my body does not react well to dairy. It sucked at first having to eliminate it from my daily diet, but I soon realized eating it wasn’t worth how it made my body feel.
I’ve also learned how important it is to listen to my body when it’s hungry. I now know that when my body is hungry, it is giving me a sign to fuel it properly. My hunger is not a sign that I need to starve myself and restrict my eating. Listening to my body seriously has been one of the most important tools I have used to change my lifestyle, and I suggest you take advantage of it, too!
8. Don’t Let a Cheat Meal Turn into a Cheat Day
It’s really easy to let a cheat meal turn into a cheat day or even a cheat weekend. It’s fine, we’re all human, we all make mistakes, we all have done this time and time again, I promise. Almost every cheat meal turns into at least a cheat day for me, and sometimes it spills over into the next day. The best thing you can do when this happens? DO NOT BEAT YOURSELF UP ABOUT IT. You can’t change what you’ve already done, so why punish yourself mentally by bringing yourself down about it? That’s silly.
Instead, after you realize you make the mistake, don’t let it happen again an hour or two later. It happened, move on. Just because you messed up once, it doesn’t mean you do not have control over the rest of your day. You can make the rest of your day successful. It’s hard to get in that mindset because sometimes your brain really does want that food, but your body does not want that food, and will not thank you for it. Remind yourself of the difference you feel between when you eat whole clean foods and when you eat greasy, sugary foods. You feel better with the whole clean foods, right? So remind yourself of that and your body will thank you later.
Just remember: You do have control of how you spend the rest of your day. Just because you ate that donut this morning, it doesn’t mean you have to overindulge the rest of the day and start over tomorrow—because you will feel miserable mentally and physically. Take each day at a time and try not to hyper-focus on the overall picture of a week from now or a year from now. Look at it this way instead: “This is what I’m going to do today to create a better me.”
9. Overcome Binge Eating
I used to be a huge binger, and to be honest, I sometimes still can be. I am not nearly as bad as I was in the past, but it is something I am still fighting to overcome.
I’ve found allowing myself to enjoy “bad foods” from time to time helps limit my bingeing. By restricting yourself and saying, “You can’t have this until the weekend,” you are setting yourself up for a binge session when the weekend comes. Why do you have to wait? What is special about the weekend? Why do you think the weekend is a free-for-all? It isn’t special, and it isn’t a free-for-all. Calories still count on the weekend. This is a mindset you have to change.
For example, the other night I wanted ice cream even though it was Tuesday. Instead of thinking about ice cream and fighting my craving all week long, I went and ate ice cream and I moved on with my life. I was able to enjoy a small cup to satisfy my craving instead of letting my craving build and build throughout the week and bingeing on a whole carton over the weekend. Stop starting over and stop thinking you can eat whatever you want on the weekends.
Morgan Kline’s podcast, Coffee & Kettlebells, really put that in perspective for me recently. In the episode called “How to Stay on Track Over the Weekend,” Morgan taught me that the weekend contributes to 42% of my overall week. My mind was blown! If I allowed myself to overindulge my entire weekend, that is equivalent to overindulging for 42% of me week. Do yourself a favor and listen to this inspiring episode to overcome your weekend desires!
10. Focus on Developing Small Healthy Habits
Creating healthy habits for yourself helps lead to greater success for losing weight. Take the stairs; when that becomes easy, skip every other stair. I almost always double my stairs—it’s like walking lunges. Every morning when I wake up, the first thing I do is drink a glass of water. It gets my body ready for the day, replenishes any dehydration that might’ve occurred overnight and adds to my water intake for the day. Also, I make a healthy protein mug cake every night to curb my cravings (find the recipe at the bottom of the post!). Since I’ve begun adding these small habits into my life, the inches just started dropping from my waistline because it helps me not binge anymore.
11. Work on Yourself Mentally
Throughout my whole journey, I had one goal: “I need to weigh 160 pounds and then I’ll be happy.” I did hit that goal and yes, I was happy. Actually, I was ecstatic when I hit it, but I’ll tell you that feeling doesn’t last forever. Eventually I got in a downward spiral where I had worked on myself tremendously physically, but the entire time I did that I didn’t work on myself mentally. Every time I looked in the mirror, I still saw this 220-pound girl. I never saw me, I saw numbers: “I weigh this much. I need to eat this much.” It was a very unhealthy time in my life. I didn’t get obsessive and restrict myself, but I wasn’t truly happy on the inside.
Recently, I’ve learned to let go of that “number goal.” I’ve learned to let go of this unrealistic image I had in my head of what I am supposed to look like and learned to love what I actually look like. And it’s been life-changing, to say the least. I’ve fought a long and hard battle to get to where I am now. It no longer matters what that number on the scale is or how many calories I should be eating. I’ve learned to actually live life, love life, enjoy life and love me. I’ve learned to make healthy eating a habit and not a chore and that I have the privilege to fill my body with the nutrients it needs.
12. Leave Your Comfort Zone and Never Go Back
Push yourself outside the limits you believe yourself to have because the truth is, you have no limits! When you let go of your limiting beliefs, you’ll realize the world is a beautiful place outside of your comfort zone. And once you step outside, never go back and never give up on yourself! You already know what that feels like, so my advice to you is to find out what not giving up feels like.
13. If I Can Do It, You Can Do it!
Since my journey started the second time, I’ve lost 70 pounds. I started at 220 pounds and now sit around 150 to 155 pounds. I’ve successfully kept my weight off and have been maintaining my weight for the last year.
For the first time in years, I am in a place where I love who I have fought so hard to become, and I know you can get there too! I’ve opened up about my weight loss journey in hopes that it empowers at least one person who is currently fighting the same battle. I want you to know that it is possible to become who you dream to be. I challenge you to find out what can happen when you don’t give up on yourself and actually believe in yourself!