So recently I have posted a lot about my fitness journey and it has raised a lot of questions. I have tried my best to respond and help anyone who asks for my advice but I figured writing a blog with all of this information would save everyone a lot of time!
For the past few years since I had Elijah I started this healthy lifestyle journey. It started out as an emotional roller coaster for me. I had very low self esteem from not knowing my identity in Christ and allowing a toxic relationship to give satan a foothold in my life. After getting pregnant at 18 and having an extremely rough (emotionally) pregnancy, my weight was a whopping 154 pounds. I am 5'4 and that was definitely not any kind of muscle weight. I ate because it made me feel good. Food had become my comforter, when God should have been. I started reading the book "Made to Crave" and God used it to transform my mind. Another book I read during this time was "Captivating". Both of these books had a tremendous role in forming new thoughts about myself and how truly precious I am as a woman and as a daughter of the King. God showed me my value and had I not had these revelations, I would not have the discipline and motivation I do today to keep going and improve. It is because of His unfailing love for me, and his constant pursuit of me, that I know I am worth all of the effort I apply to being the best I can be. If you have a problem going back and forth and back and forth in your healthy lifestyle changes, please take a look at the condition of your heart. It is the most frustrating thing wanting to change but not being able to figure out what is holding you back from staying consistent.. YOU ARE WORTH IT. I can tell you that all day but you have to believe it about yourself before change will stay.
With that being said, I need to get a few things out of the way.
1. I am no fitness/health guru. I have not had schooling. I had a trainer for 3 months last summer and that's it. I am not a super chef. I don't know everything.. Shoot, I don't really feel like I know much at all. Everything I am about to write is not anything other than what I have tried and what has worked for me. Everyone is different and everyone's body responds differently to different things. I have tried things I have seen work for others with little to no results for myself.
2. Be realistic. I have been the absolute worst at following all of these SUPER ripped and toned fit tanned fitness people on Instagram expecting my body to look like theirs. Is it possible? I honestly don't know. But if I compare each of them to one another, they all have differences. You have to expect the same for yourself. Not any persons body can look exactly like another's. God just didn't make us that way. Learn to see your body for what it is, yours. You cannot go into this expecting to look like someone else because you just won't. You might get a tighter lower abs faster than you grow your glutes. Your biceps might come in sooner than you notice your quads or lose that bra bulge. Only compare yourself to you. Don't expect thing that are unrealistic for you but also know you can ALWAYS improve. Also, understand that it takes time. Like I said I started this journey December 2011. It's not an overnight thing. Be patient. Be realistic. Love yourself.
NOW for the other stuff:
I do weight training at least 3 times a week. If I can go more I do. The most I go in a week is 5 days because it is important to let your muscles rest. Some days I will just do cardio if I go that many days out of the week but I never do more than 20 minutes of intense cardio on weight days and 30 mins on non-weight days. I do a minimum of 45 minutes on weights on a low energy day but typically I go about 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes. That amount of time has grown the more addicted I have become to the results of how great I feel after working out. When I started in the gym I would do weights for about 30-45 minutes and 30-35 minutes of cardio. I liked cardio because it was comfortable and easy and it didn't take much thought. But building muscle is absolutely key to burning fat long term and seeing muscle definition. Hours of cardio will never have you looking defined and cut. YOU MUST GET UNCOMFORTABLE AND LEARN TO LIFT CRAP.... and when you see how strong you get you will love it! I use a polar ft4 heart rate monitor when I train. It lets me know when my heart is in the appropriate zones and tracks my calories burned. I absolutely love it and I bought it on amazon. I wear a neoprene waist trimmer ($5 at Walmart mart) when I do cardio. It helps you sweat more and sometimes I go ahead and wear it when I am doing weights too. I also suggest weightlifting gloves if you plan on using barbells or dumbbells. If you can't afford a trainer get on bodybuilding.com and check out all of the workouts on there. Plenty of instructional videos from trained professionals and it is all free. Also, don't be intimidated to ask someone at your gym how to use a machine. I love when people ask me about an exercise I'm doing and I love asking others about what they are doing too. Always seek knowledge from people who inspire you! I have met some of the most genuine and nicest people in the gym and they are full of advice and encouragement. #FitFam is a real thing!!!!
This is where it gets real. FOOD. LOVE FOOD. Food is not your enemy! Food is your fuel. just like you won't get fit eating 2500 calories a day full of chips and soda, you won't get fit eating 800 calories of spinach and carrots. You MUST fuel your body and not only with foods that are healthy for you, but that meet your goals. If you are trying to lose fat but you are consuming too many carbs, it's never going to happen. Everything about food is definitely scientific and you will have to tweak it as you go. For me, currently, I changed my diet from a "clean eating" approach to what all the fitness freaks call "If It Fits Your Macros". This intrigued me because all of these Instagram fitness people are posting froyo and donuts and they have banging bodies. It made no sense to me. so I started my research. I started paying attention to what I was eating not relizing HOW MUCH CARBS AND FAT TOOK OVER MY DIET!!!! They were complex carbs like brown rice and sweet potatoes and wheat grain bread which are good for you but the percentage of them that I was consuming was sabotaging my fat loss. Also almonds and cashews and peanut butter and avocado. All okay in the right place, but I was not eating them accurately. I got on some websites and found out I needed to be eating 1250-1450 calories per day to be losing weight. Based off of that number I got on another website (bodybuilding.com) and found an article that helped me understand that for my body type and for FAT LOSS I needed to wayyyyy change my diet. I decided to start eating for my macronutrient needs. For my body this is 50% protein, 30% fat, and 20% carbs. I've been doing this for 2 weeks now and my results have blown my mind. I try my absolute hardest to meet my protein goal first. 175 grams of protein. 70 grams of carbs. 47 grams of fat. I use myfitnesspal app to keep track of everything and it has been a lifesaver.
Currently I eat a lot of egg whites, hard boiled egg whites, low fat cheese, fat free cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, asparagus, turkey, chicken, tilapia, salmon, broccoli slaw,
tuna, spinach, avocado, shrimp, salsa, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, and whey protein. I use salt free Mrs. Dash to flavor a lot of my food and I always try to get the leanest meat. ground turkey instead of beef, etc. I throw in some wheat thins or a wrap or pretzels or almonds just depending on what I need to meet my needs that day. the great thing about it is you don't have to feel guilty eating a donut as long as it fits into your macros for the day so I SUGGEST PLANNING ALL OF YOUR SNACKS AND MEALS IN THE MORNING. That way you are on track for the entire day! Keep in mind the cleaner you keep it the better results you will have BUT it won't kill you to have a donut and make sure it fits in to your macros. I cook and prepare my food in advance so it's ready to go. I also use a food scale that was about $5 at Walmart mart to get accurate measurements on the food I am eating. Also drink a lot of water! Fruit tends to have way more carbs than you expect so plan on cutting wayyyyy down on them.