Where do I start

Where to start?  I should be a pro at that question since I have started over 10 times or more in my life.  To be honest, there's no simple answer to that question.  It's all about where do you feel comfortable BUT uncomfortable enough to start?

Here are the things that I did within the first couple months of my truly successful go.

  1. Take the pictures

I know.  I know.  This is the last thing you want to do.  You don't want to see it there.  Neither did I but I needed to.  I needed to see how much I had let it go.  I needed to be honest with myself and yes, it hurt.  It hurt a lot.  I put on a bikini, snapped the pictures and then cried.  When I was done crying, I swore to myself that would be my before picture and just to ensure that... I posted it on here for the world to see.

2. Begin logging all of my calories in MyFitnessPal

I cannot stress to you how incredibly important this one was to me.  It is not necessarily to start counting your calories but to form a habit.  You are making a habit out of consciously logging (therefore choosing) certain foods over others.  This is a means of educating yourself on what you are doing throughout the day.  Are you drinking enough water?  Are certain foods hidden sources of crazy high sodium?  Are you forgetting to eat?  Are you grazing throughout the entire day and overeating?

3. Switch from flavored beverages of any kind (except my 2 cups of coffee a day) to water

Water has never been my drink of choice.  I'd much rather a diet Pepsi, cream soda, sweet tea or a coffee.  It was not until I started doing #1 that I realized how many times I was drinking my calories away.  I do not know about you but I like food.  No, I love food and the thought of wasting away calories on drinks killed me.

4. Stop adding excess ____ to my meals

I LOVE salt, bacon, and cheese.  And ranch.  And ketchup.  And salad dressing.  I had a horrible habit of dousing my meals with a {insert yummy thing here}.  When I say dousing, I am talking about using maybe 2-3 servings of whatever it is.  Go big or go home style!  I never realized how quickly that all added up.

5. Stopped artificial sweeteners

After a lot of different books, I decided to go from white sugar to sweet n low to sugar in the raw to no sweeteners.  It has taken me a while on this one because it was in my coffee.  My coffee is sacred to me.  That was how I survived newborn baby nights and toddler days.

6. Say "yes" to the dress

My ideal goal in the beginning of this was to fit in this little black dress that was a size 10 I believe.  Bikinis were still miles away in my mind but this dress... once it fit, my hubby and I were going out!  I kept reading about how mini goals were much easier mentally to stick with so this was mine.  Funny side story... I never got to wear that dress.  The hubby and I went to a wedding weekend out of town.  I put on the dress and the zipper broke halfway up LOL.  It wasn't because of me... the dress was literally broken.  We laughed so much that night after a last minute trip to TJ Maxx and missing the ceremony.

7. Smart substituting

This process took a little more adjustment than the previously stated items.  There are some things that you grow up using and honestly, that is all you know.  Take brown rice for white.  Brown rice or quinoa is so different from yummy, sticky white rice!  Or how about real butter for margarine?  It took a little bit of time convincing my brain that I should use something with more fat.  That seems to go completely against what I was trying to do BUT I do love being able to fully pronounce the ingredients.

8. Fresh veggies > Frozen veggies > Canned veggies

Buying fresh vegetables gives me anxiety.  I never know whether I bought that one batch that is about to turn on me until I am in the throws of a toddler meltdown, after school hungries and my own belly rumbles.  And it seems to go bad so quickly BUT I love fresh veggies crispness.  Most of the time, we buy veggie steamer bags though.

9. Swap frying for baking or grilling

This took adjustment.  I love breaded and fried chicken...even more so I love Wendy's Spicy Chicken sandwiches.  After making the switch though, I noticed that my taste buds began to change.  I could taste the grease in some meals.  It would cover my mouth with a film.  I couldn't believe it.  How did I not notice this before?  I never paid attention...that's how.  I was a mindless eater.  I would eat while doing other things and not really be intentional with what I put in my mouth.

10. Hold the sides when indulging

I still indulge.  I do it often actually.  What I did change about my indulging was the size.  Instead of having that entire meal of 3-course indulging like an appetizer, dinner & dessert, I minimized down what I was doing and planned the rest of the day accordingly.  I would be sure to eat well during the other meals.  Sometimes I would ensure that it was on a longer workout day so my metabolism would happily take in the excess.  But more times than not, I would hold the sides.  I would get that double bacon cheeseburger but leave the fries and soda.  Have a huge piece of smothered chicken with steamed broccoli instead of onion rings.

11. Rest!  Your body needs 7-8 hours of sleep.

A lot of people do not believe that this is such a massive part of healthier living.  Your body needs to reset.  It needs to recover and rebuild.  The gains you make during your workout do not actually show up without the rest to rebuild that muscle.

12.  Finally, get moving.

Weight loss does not require much when you really think about it.  You need to use more calories than you eat.  You need to not throw yourself into starvation mode by simply putting yourself at insane deficits but you do need to get up and move.  Whether it is getting in your step count for the day, going for a walk or heading to the gym...you need to be active.  At first, it is going to hurt.  I know that.  It hurt many times as I went through this but your body will be functioning the way that it was made to function.

"It's never too early or too late to work towards being the healthiest you" ~https://gethealthyu.com/