New Year, Same Me (my health & fitness journey)

Happy 2018 my readers! I cannot believe how quickly 2017 flew by and also how many changes have happened in my life during that year. Some were huge and monumental and others were slower, more gradual ones.

One of those slow and gradual ones for me was putting my health and fitness first. Right around the beginning of summer I realized that while I was taking care of everyone else in my life, I wasn’t doing a good job taking care of me. As a new mom (and really as a human) I was tired, I was stressed, I wasn’t eating right and I certainly wasn’t getting the exercise and rest I should have been. And while some of these things are par for the course of being a parent… I just was no longer OK. I wasn’t happy in my own skin and I was just so exhausted. My skin was breaking out and my hair was falling out and I was stressing over everything. Most days I felt very much like a hamster in a hamster wheel just flying by the seat of my pants and getting as many things done as humanly possible without really slowing down to do them.

It hit me then that the best thing I could do for myself was to stop making excuses and take responsibility and control of my health and fitness and make a change that I could live with long term. I think even then I didn’t realize I was on a health journey to change some bad habits. And because it happened gradually and slowly over the last 6 months I only realize it now when I look back. Whatever it was that caused me to wake up, I’m sure glad it happened.

Things progressed slowly at first, replacing one bad habit with a good one, and so forth. The very first (huge) thing I did? I quit eating dairy. I took all dairy out of my diet save for my morning yogurt a few times a week (I really and truly tried to find a non-dairy substitute to enjoy and failed) and replaced everything down to my ice cream choice with non-dairy milks and products. And cheese? Well I said a tearful goodbye to it entirely. And the surprising part was after a week or so of mourning my dairy treats… I didn’t really miss it all that much. My stomach was happier for it, my caloric intake lower, and my skin clearer after a few weeks of dairy detox. Now since then I have reintroduced small amounts of dairy and can handle a sprinkle of cheese when it’s unavoidable (I mean, has anyone had Mexican food without cheese? it just isn’t the same) but for the most part I have parted ways with cow’s products and honestly haven’t looked back since.

Shortly after that I began working out more regularly. Gone were the weeks where I would start off fresh and motivated only to fizzle out after my first work out of the week and be totally off the healthful wagon by Friday. I also changed my perspective. I had to motivated myself and if I continued to treat exercise like a punishment and chastise myself each time I quit or didn’t work out long enough I would go nowhere fast. Instead of feeling like the workout was a punishment I tried my best to imagine it as a treat or a treatment, like a facial, but for my muscles. I would tell myself over and over that I was giving myself something, something good, something positive and I was the only one who could give this gift to my body. I was giving myself energy, muscle tone and strength. And I would remind myself of that sweaty, satisfied post workout endorphin high that awaited me at the end of each grueling exercise. And I would focus on getting through this set, this circuit, this workout without looking too far into the future.

During this time I mostly did at home resistance workouts twice per week and Pure Barre once to twice per week. Then around October I hit a mental rut again. Although I was feeling stronger, my at home workouts just weren’t cutting it and I wasn’t seeing a lot of results. That was when I decided to give BBG another go. Now if you haven’t heard of BBG (where have ya been?) it’s been making the rounds for years and has gained a cult like following. BBG stands for Bikini Body Guide, cheesy the name is, but easy the workout is not. Created by workout guru and superchick Kayla Itsines it is basically a 28 minute resistance training circuit you do 3x per week while doing light cardio such as jogging and walking during the “off” days of the week. And the program runs for 12 weeks, changing slightly each day. Once you complete it you simply start over again from week 1. Each workout day targets different muscle groups and the moves are basic ones (think lunges, squats, burpees, sit ups, etc.) with minimal equipment required. Perfect for a tired mama with no time for the gym.

In the past after I had my son I had started and quit the workout twice, never making it past week 2 using the free PDF download. But this time around I was feeling pretty strong going in to it after a few months of self training and I decided to give her Sweat with Kayla app a go (check it out in the app store) and what a game changer. After the free 7 day trial I knew I had found a great workout that not only would give me amazing results (no joke look up #bbgprogress #bbgtransformation on instagram) but also left me with no excuses about fitting in a workout. It’s 28 minutes after all. 28. If I have 28 minutes in my day to devote to myself then you do too. I promise.

And so here I sit, typing this long winded and hopefully somewhat motivating little post as I plan to wrap up my 11th week of the workout. And while I’m not exactly where I’d like to be and I do slip up and “fall off the wagon” at times (suffered from a long cold followed by a stomach virus in November/December- ugh!) I find that instead of chastising myself I just get right back on and keep chugging along. In fact, I have become so used to my workout routine that I genuinely miss that muscle soreness and sweat that follows a good session, and it motivates me to jump right back in, no excuses. Besides seeing results of my labor in physical changes, I will say that I have noticed even more mental and emotional changes. I now know I am stronger than I think I am. I am more committed and capable than I sometimes give myself credit for and I can hold myself accountable to show up and get the workout done.

I also have never been more proud of what my body is capable of. Truly proud. Sure I’ve been in good shape in the past: I was in great shape before my wedding, I worked out and I ate well and found all the time in the world to focus on me…but this is just a different feeling. Becoming a mother and going through all the physical changes and challenges of growing a human and then having said human and taking care of them at the cost of your own self care is the most amazing, life altering and self sacrificing thing I have ever experienced. And to gain 60 lbs. (let’s just say carbs really called to me during that time) and have my body forever changed and find a way to be fit again, well it’s just a huge accomplishment for me. Every push up I do, every crunch and lunge, I feel so strong because of all those changes and there really is a beauty and gift in that that only you can give to yourself.

Anywho, motivational chat over. Here is a super cute workout outfit that you can also totally lounge and travel in as well. My favorite workout brands are: Zella or Athleta for leggings (only high rise styles so they don’t roll down), Lululemon for tops and most recently I have loved the new Target line JoyLab. I also love Zella sports bras, they are super comfy and that is super important, ha. For shoes I’m a classic Nike girl through and through even if I have strayed to Adidas or New Balance in the past I always find my way back into a Nike. As far as accessories, I highly recommend wireless Beats by Dre. There is a reason LeBron and other athletes and celebs alike use them – they’re amazing and will 100% change the way you workout. I have also toted around my s’well water bottle for a year now and bring it with me on trips, car rides and runs alike. It’s amazing and can be used in lieu of a thermos for coffee or tea in a pinch. 😉

So whether you are trying to start your year out right or just need some motivation to keep pushing forward with your health, I hope this post helps. I know if I can do it, you can do it too and I’m so rooting for ya!

Also if you have any questions about BBG or the Sweat with Kayla app, shoot me a comment and I’ll do my best to answer it!

Happy New Year, new chapter. xo, jules

similar Zella mesh leggings // Athleta mesh insert legging // Athleta legging {on sale!} // Zella gray legging {these are in my cart for spring already} // Lululemon knot front tee {love how casual and soft this tee is} // JoyLab neoprene jacket // Similar Nike Air Max Thea {mine are from 2 years ago sadly!} // Beats by Dre {you can also search older models for a lower price} // S’well smokey gray bottle {there are honestly so many other cool patterns, I want them all!} //