Happy Friday girls! Today, we're going to discuss exercise and fitness. I've gotten a lot of comments in the past couple months asking how I've lost weight and toned up to get ready for the wedding. First, I do want to point out that I am not a nutritionist or a personal trainer or a doctor. This is just what has worked for me!
Until recently, I've never had trouble staying it shape. I'm not one of those people with a fabulous metabolism and a lot of my family members have a history of struggling with their weight. I've just always been really active and have stayed pretty fit because of that. I feel like I've always been on the go - with regular workouts during college and yoga classes and of course lots of walking. About a year and a half ago, I started to gain some weight. It happened when I was traveling really frequently to visit Corey and eating lots of airport meals. I was also working in Charlotte but finishing my master's degree in Greenville, South Carolina. This meant 18 hour days and 15 hours a week in the car commuting, which made it really easy for me to make poor choices regarding my diet and also made me really tired which didn't exactly motivate me to go to the gym.
When we got engaged, I knew I wanted things to change. I'm only planning to do this once and I want to look my very best in our wedding photos. And when I saw this picture of my butt from our engagement pictures, I knew it was time to get off my butt and back into the gym. Ha!
I read somewhere that it takes 30 days to form a habit and I definitely think this must be true. It took about a month of going to the gym every day before I got excited about working out again and it took a month of eating better before the wraps at our local health food restaurant started to taste good.
One thing I highly recommend when trying to lose weight is hiring a personal trainer to work with you weekly for at least the first month. Personal trainers are super expensive but if you can make it work financially, it is an investment that will pay off. I think its necessary to meet with them at least once a week to monitor your progress and they really help motivate you because they generally push you harder than you're willing to push yourself. And you learn new exercises you can later do on your own!
Here's a look at what my summer workout routine looks like. Keep in mind that I've been able to step it up a little because I am off work and because it is crunch time before the wedding.
My workout routine is very cardio heavy. Weight training and exercises like lunges and crunches are necessary for overall strength and for toning your body but cardio is really the only way to knock off the pounds. I like to take classes because they are fun and motivating and there are some really great ones that combine exercises to tone your body with intense cardio. vBarre, zumba, and Power Yoga are great examples.
I also like to add a little choice to my workout so that if one day I don't really feel like doing Zumba, then I can just go on a long walk with Riley instead. Its important to give yourself rest days. I don't schedule "off" days into my workout routine but I don't feel guilty if something comes up either. For example, if a faculty meeting runs over at work and I get home late then I think its ok to take a day off from the gym. Or if we're traveling or have something planned with friends that takes the whole day.
I wish it weren't the case as I'm a lover of food (its my Southern heritage) but weight is not lost in the gym alone. Making a significant change in my weight also meant making a significant change in my diet. I have to say I feel so much healthier now that I've been eating better for the past several months. That doesn't mean that I instantly loved grilled chicken and spinach wraps. It took some getting used to - remember it takes 30 days to form a habit?
I think the number one consideration in diet and nutrition is portion control. I was raised not to be wasteful so I've always struggled with not finishing what was on my plate. Its taken practice to realize that its ok to take my leftovers home from a restaurant or even to let them be thrown out.
I recently watched something on tv that shared the calorie content in popular restaurant salads, which was insane. Anything you make at home will be more healthy than what you eat out so I always try to look for healthy recipes from Cooking Light and on blogs. One of my favorites is Eat Yourself Skinny, which is great because she shares the calorie content of each recipe.
I don't think its necessary to go on a crazy restrictive diet to lose weight. I think its just necessary to make choices that are slightly more healthy without denying yourself all the things you love. Here are some of my favorites for meals and snacks:
Frozen yogurt. The original tart flavor with fresh fruit, fruity pebbles, and a little honey.