Wednesday, December 21, 2011

losing it

For the past year I have been attempting the always difficult task of exercising consistently, meaning I try to work out 2, 3, 4 or 5 times a week. I would like to say that I began this journey because I wanted to train for a marathon or be my healthiest self, but in all honesty, it was because of vanity: I did not want to look fat in my wedding dress! So I decided it was time to drop the extra weight that had been hanging around me for too long. It only took me about 20 years to finally make this decision. 

I have been battling self-esteem, body image, and weight issues for as long as I can remember. Even late in elementary school I knew that I was bigger than most of the other girls, and even some of the boys. Throughout middle school I grew more and more aware that I could not wear some of the clothes the other girls looked so pretty in. By high school I accepted that I would never fit into a size 2 and focused on my grades, extracurricular activities, and being a normal kid. I tried running on treadmills throughout college, but never committed to a lifestyle of fitness. And by the end of graduate school I found myself heavier and more out of shape than I had ever been.

Then my wonderful boyfriend popped the big question and I immediately envisioned myself plump and puckered in a white dress too small for me. I did not want to look back at my wedding pictures and realize how unhealthy I had been. I knew something had to change, and what better motivation than your own wedding! I began this exercising journey at 150 pounds. That might not seem like a whole lot, but on my 5’2” frame, I was clearly in the “overweight” BMI category. So my goal before the wedding was to drop 15 pounds. I ended up losing 25 pounds by the wedding, felt beautiful in my wedding dress, and could wear clothes in sizes I had never even considered trying on before. And I did it all by 1) eating more sensibly (meaning smaller portions, less dessert, and more fruits and veggies) and 2) exercising. I found Leslie Sansone’s Walk At Home exercising system and fell in love with working out. Her work outs are approachable, adaptable, fun, and they work! She’s also an inspirational walk leader. I highly, highly recommend her DVDs. And the best part about her system is that you can do everything in your own living room, at any time of the day.

But I have to tell you that although I like the way I look a lot more now than I did one year ago, I like how I feel now even better. I have realized that there are more important reasons to exercise and eat right than fitting into a size 2 pair of spandex pants and looking good (which, by the way, I still cannot do and do not really want to do). Exercise and healthy eating help prevent diseases, maintain mental, physical, and even spiritual health, and fight depression and emotional slumps. I love that I feel strong and fit. There are still parts of my body that will never see the light of day. I will most likely never wear a bikini. But I can probably run a mile or two or three and feel pretty good afterward. I know that I am taking care of my health and preparing myself for a long life that I will be able to live to the fullest. I know there will be ups and downs. I don’t always feel thrilled about working out, and I am often tempted and often indulge in yummy desserts, but I am committed to a healthy lifestyle and enjoying it!

If you’ve been wanting to lose some weight and get healthy, but you’re not sure where to start, I definitely recommend Leslie Sansone’s Walk At Home program. She is incredible and her work outs work! Here are some of my favorites…

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