Lifestyle Sundays! A Healthy Lifestyle: My Personal Story.

Hello everyone,

Welcome back to Lifestyle Sundays! Today’s post is a very special one and a very long one too!

Before I proceed with my writing, I want to begin with two important disclaimers:

1. I am not a certified fitness trainer or nutritionist, any information that I share with you is information I have read and heard from fitness trainers and nutritionists. I am just summarizing this information for you all, so it is easily accessible. 

2. I am in no way whatsoever, trying to tell any of you that you have to look a certain way! We are all born with a specific body type and that’s what makes us all unique! I am not a size 0, in fact when I buy pants I have to look for size 4, 6 or 8, depending on the type of pants I buy. I am 5’8 and the normal weight for my height is 135, so I have no desire to fit into size 2 jeans. There were times when I felt insecure about not fitting into size two jeans, but now that I am getting older I have learned to love my body. Also I want to address one important point: being fit doesn’t mean to be skinny! You can be the skinniest person and still be unhealthy, so to anyone struggling with their body image, please remember to love the body God gave you. Working out and eating healthy is not about becoming skinny, it is about becoming physically stronger and healthier!

Happy New Year everyone, it is finally 2015 which means that it is time to start making your resolutions a reality. This post will consist of two parts: My Workout Routine and Healthy Lifestyle Tips! I have a lot of content to share with your, so beware that this will be a long post. This will be my personal story of how I began living a healthy lifestyle and I’ll be sharing what I did that worked well for me. I’ve been wanting to write a post about this topic for three years, but I felt like I’ll be hypocritical because I didn’t do any of the things that  I’ll be talking about in post. Now I do, so it is time to finally write this post!

I cringe when I think about how unhealthy I used to be, I would drink a 2L coke in a day, ate lots of chips and ate Mcdonalds every day (gross, I know). I’m surprised how I’m not suffering from diabetes or clogged arteries, I wouldn’t even eat fruit and vegetables. However, I started to see that I cannot go on like this and in 2013 I made a solid decision to embark on a healthy lifestyle journey. I would like to point out that a healthy lifestyle is NOT a diet, diets are a big waste of time! If you want to feed your body good food, rather than treat it like a trash can,  so embrace the healthy lifestyle. Of course, I have my YOLO meals days when I eat the greasiest deep fried foods I can find. I still live pizza and chips, but I chose to have it once per week rather than every single day.

Now it is time to introduce you to my first part of this post, my workout routine! Enjoy.

MY WORKOUT ROUTINE

The first and most important point you need to remember when you want to start working out is that it depends solely on you. No one can tell you to workout and if you force yourself to exercise you will quickly lose interest in it and not feel motivated anymore. It is essential to find the workout that suits you i.e. Zumba, yoga, Pilates, weight training, running and many more. There are so many options, but you have to take your time to figure out which one is the best one for you. A few years ago, I tried to workout on own, but I didn’t have any clue what exercises to do. Eventually I gave up, but one day I discovered Blogilates and everything changed.

It was the summer of 2013 and also the time when I started to seriously commit to a healthy lifestyle change. However, I knew that if I didn’t have any fitness guidance I would eventually give up again. One day I was browsing for the Great Gatbsy soundtrack on YouTube and I came across the Blogilates Great Gatsby Cardio video.

I thought it looked like a fun workout, but I ended up not paying too much attention to it and moved on. Eventually, I came back to Blogilates thanks to one of my followers on Tumblr, who shared Cassey’s “Victoria Secret Ab Workout”. I was intrigued and I thought of checking it out, little did I know I made my way back to Blogilates the channel I initially ignored. The workout seemed hard, so I decided to see what other videos she had on her channel that were a bit easier. The first one that caught my attention was the “Gangnam Cardio Dance Workout”, I love dance cardio and this was right up alley.  Afterwards, I decided to take baby steps and do 1-2 of her workout videos per day. I didn’t want to overdo it because I know how I gave up before when I pushed myself too hard. I wanted this to be a gradual process that will lead to a long term life style change and commitment to fitness. For about two weeks I was keeping up with this pace until I found out about Cassey’s monthly workout calendars. Basically, each day is designated to workout a different part of the body i.e. abs, core, arms, butt, back, legs and thighs. Cassey combines cardio, pilates, HIIT – high intensity interval training which is perfect for toning up your body and shedding off that unnecessary fat. Here is an example of this month’s workout calendar that I am currently following:

She also has a beginner monthly workout calendar, but I wanted to challenge myself so I began with her advanced calendar. I started following her monthly workout calendar in September 2013 and it was super challening. I did the workouts for the first two weeks of the month and then I stopped because I felt discouraged. My stamina was awful, I was not flexible at all, so I felt like I’ll never make any progress (not good to have such a self-defeating attitude). Time passed and it was already mid-October,so I decided to try again. I used to be type that I would give up whenever something seemed intimidating and difficult, but if I set my mind to something I want to achieve then I won’t stop until I am successful. That’s exactly what happened when I decided to continue with Blogilates! Now I am doing her workouts every month without skipping any days and I have become more toned and strong. She has really hard workouts that I couldn’t do before and now I can. A few examples of her challenging videos are “The 100 Burpee Burnout”, “Can I do 1000 Squats” (yes I actually did this one without stopping) and “Playa Del Plank” (you basically have to do different plank moves for 7 minutes without putting your knees down). I am proud of myself and I’ve come a long way since starting Blogilates, I still need to work on some problem areas like my abs and thighs. I also want to improve my stamina as much as possible because I still get tired easily, but not as much as I used to. I am grateful for Blogilates because it has transformed my life and me, I’ve ditched the unhealthy foods and I focus on staying active.

If Cassey ever comes across this post, I just want to say thank you Cassey for being a huge inspiration and one of the best fitness instructors I’ve come across!

Aside from Blogilates, I go to yoga classes weekly, I go out running and biking! I want to stay as active as possible and continue improving! I also want to add that I’m not working out to lose weight, but to become stronger and each day that’s exactly what happens.

Now it is time to introduce to the Healthy Lifestyle Tips section of this post! Enjoy.

MY HEALTHY LIFESTYLE TIPS

1. Sleep. 

Have you heard of the expression “I need my beauty sleep”, well this expression is true, but it is also true for having a healthy body and mind. The hours of sleep recommended by doctors is 8 hours, getting less than 6.5 hours is linked to higher body fat. Therefore, if you get more sleep you will have lower body fat! If you make your sleeping schedule consistent, then your body fat will be regulated. I have become better at sticking to a strict sleeping schedule, but from time to time I have the problem of not following through. However, I don’t fall asleep at 2am anymore and I feel more refreshed and rejuvenated.

2. Drink Water.

This should be a no brainer, right? Wrong! So many people go through their day without drinking enough water, they only drink it when they are thirsty. Drinking water throughout the day is important to stay hydrated and it helps suppresses your appetite. When I drink water my belly feels full and I don’t feel the need to go and eat unnecessary snacks when I had a good meal. Drinking water also helps to burn stored fat and it flushes out any toxins. I drink one glass of water in the morning and before I go to sleep, throughout the day I drink lots of water as well.

3. Bye Bye Sugar. 

Sugar is your enemy when you are trying to shed off that unnecessary fat or to become toned. Staying away from sugar is extra hard for me because I have a huge sweet tooth. I had a little bit of a setback around the holidays, but that’s common for everyone around this time of the year. But now it is time to stop consuming the bad processed sugars and eat the ones that are good for you. Fruits have natural sugars, therefore there are a much healthier and better for your body. As for the bad sugars, that means not drinking juice and carbonated drinks and not eating too many sweets. Juice and carbonated drinks have a lot of sugar and your body does not so much. If you do need sugar in your coffee or tea, substitute it for stevia or splenda, some people also use a little bit of honey. I do not add sugar to my drinks, I don’t drink juice and soda anymore, but allow myself to have one sweet treat per week. Enjoy these things in moderation, remember it takes 21 days to get used to something new and making it a habit.

4. Do not skip meals.

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Skipping meals will not help you lose weight and become fitter, it actually does more damage than you think. Skipping meals will slow down your metabolism because the body shifts into starvation mode in order to conserve energy. When your metabolism slows down the food you consume is not burned off the way it should. Hence, why you may have some extra fat that’s not burned off properly after eating. Your metabolism is not the only thing that suffers when you skip meals, your brain will suffer too. According to nutritionist Maggie Moon, when you do not consume the nutrients your body needs there will be intellectual and emotional changes. You may feel moody and irritable, so it is very important to eat as much as you can. Plan three meals each day: breakfast, lunch and dinner with snacks in between those meals. Hopefully this will make you think twice before you even think about skipping a meal.

5. Do not count calories.

This is personal point for me and I’ve always been against calorie counting. I do not approve of this because it can lead to an obsession, every time you eat or every time you buy food you will want to know the calorie content. I don’t think that’s healthy for the mind to obsess over calories, you want to be able to enjoy your food without this constant fear whether or not you’ll gain weight. If you are eating the right food and do not eat junk food, you have nothing to worry about. Even if you do unhealthy sometimes, you still shouldn’t count calories. You will only stress out your body and mind, then the cortisol levels will go up and your metabolism will slow down. According to recent studies, the cortisol hormone has been linked to abdominal fat that is hard to lose. Be kind to yourself when you are trying to get in shape, don’t be so obsessed with those pounds. If you are eating right and working out, everything else will fall into place!

6. Eat more vegetables and fruits.

The best food to eat is the food that mother nature grows for us! It is full with nutrients, vitamins and minerals that are so so good for your body and fill you up. According to nutritionists, it is beneficial to eat more greens and fruits that the indicated 5 servings per day. If you are not a big vegetable lover, one thing that help you become one is making green juices. The good thing about green juices is that you can put some fruit in the blender and you will not even taste the kale or spinach. This is how I started liking to eat vegetables, I’ve never hated vegetables, but I went through a phase when I didn’t eat any at all. In the past year, my vegetables and fruits in take has increased drastically. The vegetables I like to eat on a daily basis are kale, spinach, tomatoes, avocado (it has the healthy fats that you body needs), radishes, beets, broccoli and so much more. I mixed them up and try to be creative with my salads and I also like making steamed vegetables with quinoa. As for fruits, I like every kind of fruit except for kiwi and pineapple. So long story short, eat your vegetables and fruits, your body will thank you for it!

7. YOLO Meal Day.

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You might ask me, how will that benefit my healthy lifestyle choices? I remember when I tried to cut junk food out of my diet right away, I always failed at staying on track with my healthy eating. The YOLO meal day was actually something Cassey from Blogilates suggested and it is a really good idea. When you have that one day where you can enjoy your Big-Mac or poutine, the likelihood of going back to your old eating habits will be low. I eat healthy six days of the week and then I have one day to indulge and eat one unhealthy meal. Since I’ve been doing this, I haven’t felt the need to eat junk food 24/7 (I was eating really bad, you guys have nooo idea). Don’t be afraid to have one junk food meal per week, you will not gain weight from one burger.

If you guys made this far and read everything, thank you for have the patience to do that. Instead of telling you what you need to do to become healthy, I want to tell you what I did and from there you can decide to try the same method. Not everything will mentioned in this post will work for everyone, but if one person found this post helpful then my job is done. Now it is time for you to decide what to do, are you going to try to be healthy or not try at all? Remember, only you have the power to create change in your life and it will require a lot of work and effort. I’ll be cheering you on, so believe in yourself!

See you soon 🙂

Resources! 

http://www.forbes.com/sites/melaniehaiken/2013/11/21/easiest-weight-loss-tip-ever-change-your-sleep-schedule/

http://www.fitday.com/fitness-articles/nutrition/healthy-eating/5-little-known-benefits-of-drinking-water.html#b

http://www.womenshealthmag.com/weight-loss/skipping-meals

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