Photography: Finding Joy Photography
^Sometimes you just gotta sweat your tan off am I right? (on my tattooed arm) Ugh.
Alright so I’m obviously not a health + fitness expert. I’ve been “healthy-ish” my whole life much thanks to my parents, playing sports, and my metabolism. Well I have to pay for + make my own food now, I don’t practice a sport 2 hours a day, and my metabolism slowed down LIKE CRAZY 2 years ago so here I am. I realized that I needed to make a real lifestyle change and treat my body how it deserved about a year ago. I started making real changes this year though. I’ve developed a workout routine that works + is fun, I don’t hate drinking water anymore, and I’ve developed a realistic diet. All I know is what works for MY body and what makes me feel good. 2017 has been the year of discipline for me so it’s carried over into my health + fitness (thank goodness). At this point, I feel like I’ve tried some version of the popular fitness routines – cycling, BBG, running, kickboxing, yoga, barre, etc. Through all of the experimentation, my favorite form of exercise is through classes at the gym. The YMCA’s in Dallas HAVE AMAZING CLASSES Y’ALL. The YMCA of all places. They have incredible instructors for barre, pilates, yoga, Zumba (not for me), and a bunch of different weight + cardio classes. I can’t tell you enough how much I love them. The group atmosphere is fun and makes me work harder than I do on my own and I love having an instructor telling me what to do. Ha!
Finding what I love and what works for my body has made working out one of my favorite things – endorphins are addicting! Learning what foods work for my body was more challenging. Foods upset my body more than they used to, so I’ve had to try a lot of different things to make me not hate food haha. Maybe I’ll write a post about what I eat in a week sometime, but for now I’ll just recommend eating foods that make you feel good and energized. With some research and trial + error – it’s easy to find food that actually tastes good, you feel?
If you’re struggling to apply self-discipline with your health + fitness routine, here are some tips that helped me:
Healthy self-esteem comes first
You’ve got to be making changes for the right reasons and with the right perspective. An unhealthy perspective of yourself and your body should NOT be the motivator. You should respect your body the way it is first. Otherwise, the whole process of changing up your health + fitness routine will be miserable, might not work, and will definitely be unhealthy. It’s okay to recognize that you could prioritize health more – honestly we all probably could in some way. Loving your body from beginning to end is crucial, though.
Set realistic goals
This needs to happen without comparison to others. Your goals should never be to look like someone else – to have her legs or abs. You’ll never be that person and there will always be people who were somehow born with 6-packs. THAT AIN’T US. Your goals should reflect you and your body. Your goals will be different than everyone else’s. Maybe you’re training for a marathon, or you have joint problems (like my sweet BFF), or you’re just trying to tone up a bit. Your goals and your progress should never be compared to someone else’s. Make your goals realistic to your body, your schedule, your resources, and your abilities. Your goals will change as you improve and find routines that work. Give yourself a chance to succeed with goals that you can actually accomplish.
Be willing to try things out
This is the hard part because it takes time and it takes trying awkward classes and suffering through some runs. You’ll see some people love a certain type of exercise that you don’t love or literally just can’t do. THAT’S OKAY. It takes time to develop any kind of routine – fitness related or not. You have to be willing to try things. There are truly 1,000’s of things you can do everyday so give yourself some time and if you love something – stick to it! If you’re having a blast while exercising it’s probably worth keeping around. I think I’ve tried every kind of class the YMCA offers, but it took me about 6 months to narrow it down to the 4 or 5 I love. The cool thing is that while you’re testing things out you’re still exercising so it’s a win-win. Holla!
This is so important! The gym can be scary and lonely. Going with friends makes it so much more fun! Obviously, we can’t workout with our BFF’s every single workout, but we can make a pact with a friend or spouse that we’re going to try our hardest! This may seem silly, but it’s not: ask your people AKA your community to be praying for you! A healthy body can do a lot of amazing things so pray that you use yours well. Ask for prayer with discipline. Don’t be afraid to put your people to work.
Get the right tools
What I’m wearing has a pretty powerful affect on my personality when it comes to motivation. Is that weird? Slouchy clothes that make me feel frumpo make me not want to workout. Throwing my hair up in a cute pony and putting on some cute-ish workout clothes make me want to go workout. It’s crazy how just putting on workout clothes motivates you. OBVIOUSLY clothes aren’t deal breakers to a good workout, but they can make a difference. Get the right tools! Make sure your clothes are comfortable and get a fancy water bottle if you have to. Getting to the gym is hard enough sometimes, so set yourself up with the “extra stuff” that comes with working out. I use an app called Lifesum that tracks calories and water intake. I’ll enter in things I eat and my workouts and it tells you how much protein you have left for the day, how many calories for dinner, etc. Clothes, apps, headphones, etc. aren’t necessary, but they sure can help! I personally will take all the help I can get.
Give yourself grace
I live by the 80/20 rule. 80% of what I eat is fuel, 20% is not BUT makes my life awesome. Ryan eats to live – he’s literally not interested in food. He said if he could not eat ever again and be fine he’d be so happy. Y’all what. I’m not like addicted to food or anything, but watching the waiter walk towards you with your food is unlike any other feeling, yes? 80/20 for me. We are going to go through phases of killing the fitness game and sitting on the bench. Life gets crazy and our health takes a backseat and it’s so important to give yourself grace. If you ignore the gym for a bit or go cray cray on some foods that looks great but feel terrible, IT’S OKAY. Give yourself some grace, move on, and try again the next day.
Thinking about health + fitness can be hard and depressing – I get it. Instagram is filled with “fitness models” who look fit + tan in every photo. It’s hard. We can all have a body that we’re proud of, though. We can love ourselves the way we are right now. Our bodies are vessels for work, so we owe it to ourselves to treat them with respect. Make small changes, give yourself realistic goals, have some encouragers in your life + smack some discipline in with all of that and you’ll be good to go.
I believe in you, sister!
– Caitlin –