Category: Losing Weight

8 Healthy Living Journal Prompts

Journal prompts can be a ton of fun, and help us learn more about ourselves and our direction in our lives. I especially love the self-growth and healthy living topics when doing journal prompts myself so I came up with a few that might appeal to you. Some of these are perfect for the New Year as well! Do one, or do them all, it’s up to you!

#1: Write a letter to yourself a year from today and call yourself by a confidence-building name, such as “beautiful lady” or anything that means strong, powerful, beautiful, etc. Try to write a minimum of 3-5 paragraphs.

What do you want your future self to remember about you and what has been happening? What do you hope to have accomplished by next year? How do you think or hope your life will be then? What will you do to reach your goals between now and then?

#2: Think about what you want to be remembered for in your life. Make a list of at least 10 things you would like to be remembered for, whether you have done them yet or not.

Are these things you’ve done, how you treat others, your family, or something else? Is it something you have yet to do and how do you plan to accomplish that?

#3: Write down your three biggest dreams. Think about what you would do in the here and now that would get you closer to those dreams.

Are you willing to do whatever it takes to make those dreams a reality? If they are important to you, work on it one day at a time. You deserve to make your life the way you want it to be.

#4: Describe yourself as you are right now. Think about how that compares to how you would like to see yourself.

Can you change that for the better and work on it now? Brainstorm ways to improve yourself or your life that will get you there.

#5: Imagine how much better and more fun future events will be if you are living healthier. Keep looking to the future, there is always something to look forward to in the near future that will help you focus on your goals.

What is one thing you’re really looking forward to in the next three months? If you were to lose weight, get healthier, or gain muscle, would it make that event easier and more fun for you?

#6: Make a list of three things you’re good at. We all have strengths that we can draw on in our day-to-day life.

Why do you think you’re good at these things? Is it something in your personality, skills, talents, or something you have learned in life?

#7: Create a list of ten things you have learned in the past year, good or bad!

Why were these things important for you to learn and how will it carry to the future?

#8: Think about your biggest victory lately and write about what you accomplished and how it made you feel.

What did you do to achieve this? Do you feel all your work to achieve this victory was worth it? Will this give you the confidence and/or motivation to do more in the future?

If you liked these journal prompts, feel free to print them out: Healthy Living Journal Prompts.

 

~Bonnie~

New Year’s Weight Loss Coaching

Officially announcing that Inspire the Best You is open for weight loss coaching!

Do you have trouble going it alone in your weight loss journey? Would you like personalized help from someone who has been there, done that and is still moving forward with their own weight loss and healthy living goals?

Why should you choose me?

I have been there, done that with a lot of things in the over two years I have been living healthier. I have dealt with many different challenges during this time and empathize with so many more! Now, I don’t have all the answers and I’m not afraid to admit that, pointing you in the right direction to a resource or person who has more experience with whatever you’re struggling with. I will also always do my best to help you achieve your goals and live a healthier life.

My stats:
*80+ pounds lost
*2+ years in my own journey
*knowledge on many topics
*experience with different struggles
*resources at my fingertips

What is included:

Six weeks of email support.
Six weeks of weekly coaching appointments lasting 45 minutes to an hour.
Six weeks of resources, sent directly to your email.
Six weeks of encouragement and individualized help.

Just a few of the resources:img_5007

Check it out here:
Inspire the Best You in 2017 Coaching Package

What can you expect?

What you can expect from me: I will be there to cheer you on, provide personalized advice and tips, give much needed support and encouragement, and even be there as a listening ear. Whatever you need!

It’s like having a coach and an accountability partner rolled into one! While we will have “live meetings,” you will also have the ability to contact me via email or text message any other time as well. So if you have one scheduled meeting with me per week you could use it to ask me for specific tips or tell me about your week ahead so I can help you find ways to prepare and/or cope with upcoming events. You can also tell me about the week leading up to the meeting, to report your food, exercise, or water intake to me as well to help you stay on track or anything you want.

Then the rest of the week you could send me an email or text message here and there, as needed to help you stay accountable or to ask for help in the moment. Knowing someone is there to answer questions or give advice as needed can be invaluable to you. I had someone in my house that I could do that with most of the time, or call my sister. However, sometimes our family and friends aren’t the most supportive of our goals even if they are well meaning or they are supportive but give in to your whims because they love you. It can be a great tool to have someone who is objective to help you along the way.

Personalized Coaching can be anything you need: video support, messaging by text or through an app, or email chatting. It could be a mixture or just one of those options. We can figure out what will work best for you after your initial consultation.

The Inspire the Best You in 2017 Coaching Package starts as early as Sunday January 1st, 2017! It is the perfect way to start your new year on a healthy note that will get you moving in the right direction!

Check the package out here: Inspire the Best You in 2017 Coaching Package. This is a pre-order page. When the official date comes around you will get an email with instructions on how to set up an appointment and you will also receive your VIP Getting Started Weight Loss Workbook and 30 Day Best You Challenge!

 

~Bonnie~

25 Top Gifts for Healthy Living

Do you have someone in your life who would love a fitness or healthy living gift for Christmas? Here are some fun ideas for them:

1. FitbitThese fitness trackers are just wonderful, I know so because I own one myself. They track steps, distance, fitness minutes, floors climbed, calories burned, and much more. Some of the models are quite expensive, but even the Zip ($50-60) and the One ($100) have many benefits! There are also other fitness trackers that would make just as wonderful of a gift for your friend/loved one. Check out them out here: Fitbit.com.

2. Dumbbells or resistance bands: Strength training is an important component to weight loss and fitness efforts. Being strong and working on building strength is a point of pride. The kind of dumbbells or resistance bands that you should get for someone else depends on their level of fitness. Here is a great article on how much dumbbells should weigh for various fitness levels: SparkPeople: How Much Weight Should I Lift? It may be difficult to tell, but I would say definitely no more than 5lb dumbbells for a beginner. Even if they’re not there yet, they can certainly use them when they work their way up!

3. Coffee mug with healthy living quote: There are so many places selling coffee mugs with cute sayings or pictures on them that will inspire your friend/loved one to workout and continue with their healthy living goals. So if they like drinking a hot beverage such as coffee, tea, or hot cocoa, then this could be an awesome gift idea for them and also very meaningful!

4. Gym membership: Gym memberships can be a big commitment that an individual doesn’t want to make but when someone else is helping and motivating them simply by initiating the membership, it might just be what they needed. For better success, choosing one near where they live and one they can afford the monthly cost would be a great idea!

5. Running or sports goods store gift card: A gift card to their local running store or sports goods store will allow them the freedom to choose a custom gift for themselves, one they really want or need for their journey.

6. Workout clothes: Workout clothes are almost always needed, or at the very least can be used in the future if they’re not needed right away. Quality workout clothes with drymore or wicking away moisture capabilities are best. Be sure to include a gift receipt in case the size isn’t right, so they can exchange it for one that fits!

7. Cookbook: A book full of healthy but also tasty recipes that they can try can be a huge asset for someone trying to lose weight and live healthier. It gives them more ideas and choices, as well as some good things to try. Cookbooks with simple recipes might be best for someone who doesn’t like to cook or prefers those simple recipes over others that are more complicated, but someone who loves to cook might want more complex recipes. Weight Watchers and Biggest Loser have great cookbooks with healthy recipes inside!

8. Mini trampoline: Trampolines are a fun way to get exercise in and make an excellent gift! They also have a great bonus of reminding the person jumping on them of what it was like to be a kid!

9. iTunes gift card: A person can never have enough workout music! An iTunes gift card would allow them to download specific music that they can listen to while they workout, music that helps them feel motivated and inspired to exercise. The gift of music is never wasted! Check out options here: iTunes gift cards.

10. Gym bag: A gym bag such as a small duffel bag or a backpack, can be mighty useful if they exercise outside of the house. It allows them to carry what they need simply and easily with them, like water bottles, towels, gym clothes or after workout clothes, workout shoes, power snacks, etc.

11. Bike maintenance gift certificate/card: For the bike rider in your life, get them a gift certificate or gift card to a bike repair shop. Bikes need maintenance from time to time and it can get expensive. Gifting them with something that they can put towards that would likely be very appreciated.

12. Exercise ball: Exercise balls are simple but useful things. They can be used for core work to strengthen one’s abdominal muscles and can be used as a chair to strengthen one’s back and abs as well. They are multifaceted.

13. Roller blades: These would make a fun choice as a gift since they provide an entertaining and enjoyable way to get exercise in. They will even help the user to gain balance, endurance, and strength!

14. Pedal cycle: The compact exercise pieces that are great for those who need low impact exercise options or simply who can’t stand for long periods of time to get activity in yet. Some choices include: Gold’s Gym upper and lower body cycles and Stamina InStride cycles. They can be used with the lower and upper body to gain strength and cardio health.

15. Reflective gear: Do you know anyone who runs, walks, or rides their bike in the dark? Reflective gear is very important in those cases to keep them seen by drivers and as safe as possible. There are many different options for reflective gear as well: tape, paint, jackets and other clothing, hats and gloves, shoelaces, and much more!

16. Fitness or accomplishment related jewelry: There are race distance necklaces and bracelets for that person who does races. There are also run shoelace tags, charm bracelets that they can add charms to that represent their personal journey, and inspirational quotes or words on necklaces and bracelets. All are good choices and help symbolize all their hard work! Here are a just a couple options: run shoe tag “Keep running” and “She believed she could so she did” necklace.

17. A hat or sunglasses: Those who exercise outdoors could certainly use a hat or sunglasses to protect them from the sun and help them stay focused on their exercise sessions without getting blinded!

18. Workout DVDs: Workout videos can be insanely useful for those who exercise at home. There is always a need for variety because for someone who works out at home, things can get boring or stale very easily. So having many to choose from and change things up from time to time is useful.

19. Phone armband: This is handy for taking their phone with them while they exercise and being able to listen to music easily while they workout. It frees up their hands and they don’t have to worry about the phone dropping from out of their pocket.

20. Bluetooth earbuds: Earbuds that connect to their phone without cords are so very helpful for listening to music without the cord getting tangled up in their hands or arms while they are exercising!

21. Nordic walking poles: These poles are used while someone is walking to add intensity and muscle work to their exercise. They may also add a level of stability that isn’t there without them! Here are some: Nordic Walking Poles.

22. Edible Arrangements bouquet: An Edible Arrangements bouquet is a beautiful, pleasing, and healthy gift for someone focusing on their health. Not only does it look pretty and make them feel special to receive, but it is also meant to be eaten and is like a treat! Here’s their website: Edible Arrangements Bouquets.

23. Running medal display: For that race lover in your life to display all their medals in one place, to showcase in pride and style! These come in a bunch of different styles and arrangements as well. Trust me, nearly everyone who loves doing races would enjoy a place to hang their medals for all to see! Here’s a cute one with a place to write their personal records for each race distance as well: PR race bib and medal holder.

24. Top with workout inspiration: There are so many different choices of tank tops and tee shirts with workout inspiration on them. Some have a quote or saying on them that inspires the feeling to just get out there and do it, and some have pictures or funny sayings on them. There are also shirts that have special designs when they get wet with sweat, which can be awesome!

25. Punching bag: A punching bag is a great gift because it allows them to get exercise in and also workout any tension or stress they may have, win win! There are standalone ones as well as ones that can be hung.

 

If you’re focused on losing weight or living a healthier lifestyle, what are some gifts that you would like to receive that would help you reach your goals?

 

~Bonnie~

How to Stay Motivated to Lose Weight

Staying motivated to lose weight can be so hard, so much so that it may be a mental workout on its own! It sometimes is such a struggle that it becomes an actual hindrance to losing weight. Focusing on the things in weight loss that are most important helps though, and remembering that even when your motivation is waning, you still have your self-discipline to fall back on!

Here are some motivation tips that have helped me in my quest to lose weight:

Focus on Your Goals

Make goals and focus on them first. I would suggest making more non-scale goals than ones that revolve around weight loss, since those are the ones you have most control over. It gives you something measurable that you can consciously put effort into. By non-scale goals, I am speaking of things such as getting a certain kind of exercise in or an amount of sessions per week, eating a certain amount of veggies or fruit, hitting your step count goals, being within your calorie range, and much more. There are so many goals that can fall under this category, all you have to do is pick the ones that work for you and move you forward with them in your weight loss journey. This method of focusing on your tangible goals, ones you can check off your list and continually report your progress on, gives you a much more rewarding way to track your progress! So don’t let the scale get you down, there are so many other ways to show how far you’ve come!

Be Positive

Positivity will carry you so far! The more positive you are, and attempt to be, the happier you will overall be. So put emphasis on the good in your life, your day, and especially the progress you’re making! Trust me that you are, and will continue to make, progress whether you see it right now or not. All of the things you’re doing to live a healthier life and lose weight will add up the longer you keep doing them. There are other ways to put emphasis on the positive as well, such as thinking about what good things happened each day and what good has come out of anything bad that happened. Looking at the silver lining of a bad situation can be very beneficial! Not only that, but everything that happens brings you to where you are at right now and there is always a reason for it! Sometimes it may take a while to become apparent but the reason is there somewhere.

Grow and Love Yourself

Showing love for yourself and growing as a person are wonderful ways to help yourself stay motivated. The more you get to know yourself and treat yourself well, the more inspired you will feel. Getting enough rest to do what you need to do, finding the time to pamper and enjoy yourself, practicing forgiveness to yourself as well as others, and surrounding yourself with positive and supportive people are all ways of showing yourself love and helping yourself grow! Providing support for other people, such as encouraging them, letting them know you care, and providing constructive feedback, can also boost your morale and overall motivation. Pay it forward for their sake and yours! However, don’t forget to seek help when you need it too. There are always people who will want to be there for you and help you when you need it, so reach out to them!

Reward Yourself

Rewarding yourself can be something super simple or as elaborate as you want it to be. Sometimes it means simple self-care tasks, such as having time alone, watching a movie you’ve really wanted to see- whether at home or in theaters, taking a bath, or reading a book. Making periodic rewards for yourself is a good tactic to keep motivated. Some methods are to reward for a certain amount of weight loss or a certain amount of time dedicated to living a healthy lifestyle, or simply just making a priority to do something when you’re able to. Some ways you can do this is getting your hair done or even colored, going shopping, getting a pedicure/manicure, going to a concert or show, and taking a vacation. This practice of rewarding yourself will give you something pleasant to look forward to instead of focusing on the less-desirable aspects of weight loss! I would also like to share with you one of the articles that helped spur ideas for myself as I got started in my weight loss journey: 50 Non-Food Rewards for Fitness and Weight Loss on SparkPeople.

Keep Things Fun, Exciting, and Interesting!

As long as you’re able to keep things fun, exciting, or interesting in your weight loss journey, the easier it is to keep moving forward. The more you enjoy the process, the more motivated you will be to achieve your goals. If you find exercises you enjoy doing or at least aren’t a total drag, healthy food that tastes delicious and entices you, and ways to drink your water that makes it an enjoyable experience, you may even start to feel excited and look forward to doing these things to lose weight! So, what interests you? What do you find exciting or fun that can serve a purpose in your healthy lifestyle? Do these things first and the rest will come a bit easier to you because you’re enjoying yourself much more than you could imagine!

Dream Bigger and Reach for Those Dreams

Don’t be afraid to dream bigger than you have before. Reach for the stars! Then go for those dreams by making a plan that you can follow, no matter how long it takes you to get there, and then take the steps needed to achieve your dream! You are worth every step of the process! Is there any dream that you’ve been thinking about for a long time or that popped up recently that you want to pursue? Those are the things you should go after. It is so invigorating and makes you feel so alive! Remember that you can do it and that you are far more capable than you think!

Stay Active Every Day

Staying active in your everyday life is beneficial to help you stay motivated and keep your eyes on your goals. Seek ways to be active throughout your day, that you’re capable of doing without injuring yourself or getting discouraged. Housework, yard work as long as you don’t overdo it, going for leisurely walks, playing with the kids in your life, playing with your pets, and so much more! Even just keeping your hands and mind active can help tremendously: reading a book, writing in a journal or as a hobby, playing games, doing word searches and crossword puzzles, putting together actual puzzles, and coloring or drawing can help you continue to move forward by keeping you occupied and away from temptations! The more active you are, the more motivated you feel to keep being active!

Remind Yourself

Remember that this is all a process and you are learning along the way. None of us are perfect and this is all a learning process as we move forward. We never have it all figured out! Enjoy the ride and take pride in learning. You will get there, little by little! Also, be sure to remind yourself what a wonderful person you are and all that you are accomplishing in your weight loss journey, or otherwise. The more you boost yourself up, the better you will feel!

What helps you stay motivated to lose weight?

~Bonnie~

(Shared to the #MotivateME link up on the Salads4Lunch Blog, and Run Mommy Run)

Top 8 Apps for Healthy Living

There are many apps that have helped me along the way in my weight loss journey. Some have obviously helped me more than others, but the ones I mention have all helped a lot in some way. Most, if not all, of these that I mention here are free apps. Like most of us, I didn’t and still don’t have money to spend on a bunch of apps so that comes in handy!

1) SparkPeople

SparkPeople is the app I used the most. When I first joined the website, I did not have a mobile device that allowed me to download the app. So I was using the web browser on my iPod Touch to log into the mobile version of the site to do things like log my food, water, exercise, and weigh-ins. I also read their articles from there. That practice helped me feel motivated and inspired much longer than I would have otherwise because there was a lot of good information in the articles. I read any and all of the articles that applied to, or that interested, me. They have the articles broken up into groups such as nutrition, fitness, motivation, wellness, and more. Once I was able to download the app, I was able to post on the mobile chat, read other people’s blogs, and see what my friends were up to on their pages via the friend feed. I became more involved in SparkPeople because I could access so much more, and that in turn helped me stay even more focused.

(A similar app is MyFitnessPal, it just depends on your preferences).


2) Pep

Pep is an app created by SparkPeople in early 2015 as a photo sharing platform. It is a place where you can share pictures about your healthy living choices. For example: what you’re eating, what exercises you’re doing, Fitbit stats, inspiring quotes, and your exercise scenery. I enjoy posting to the app with pictures of my healthy meals and snacks, quotes I find particularly inspiring or motivating, screenshots of my Fitbit stats, and scenery from my walks. The app is kind of like Instagram in a way, but specifically for those striving to live healthy lifestyles.



3) Fitbit

Since I use a Fitbit One, I also use their app on my phone. It syncs my Fitbit’s steps, calories burned, floors climbed, fitness minutes/exercise, water intake, and also sleep quality and amount if I choose to do so. It can also sync nutrition information from SparkPeople or MyFitnessPal. That is an awesome bonus if you use either site for your nutrition tracking.

(Another alternative if you don’t have a Fitbit or other step counter gadget is Runtastic’s Pedometer app).



4) MapMyRun

This is another app I’ve used time to time for tracking the distance I walk or run when out training for races or simply getting exercise sessions in. It has an option to save your workouts in addition to tracking distance, time, and speed. When you get done with your workout and need to stretch, rest, or do something else, you can take a peek at your workout information when you’re done!

(Some other apps that do similar are Nike+Run Club, Runkeeper, and Runtastic GPS Running).



5) Pinterest

Browsing Pinterest for inspiration has become a great tool for me as well, as long as I’m careful to avoid any of the unhealthy or unrealistic weight loss solutions advertised there. I personally like to use this app to find inspirational quotes or pictures, tasty healthy recipes, workout ideas that will work for me and that sound exciting, and much more depending on what I’m looking for at the moment. As anyone who uses it knows, it is a very visual app which can be very pleasing! Sometimes I just browse and don’t really find anything that strikes out to me, yet I leave it feeling inspired and motivated to live healthier.



6) iHeartRadio

iHeartRadio has allowed me to listen to good music while I workout or just to help improve my general wellbeing by reducing my stress levels. My favorite station on there is K-Love, which is a Christian music station, because it helps me feel inspired and reminds me that God is always with me. Sometimes I will listen to the “workout beats” station as well while I’m taking my walks, especially when the K-Love station isn’t getting good reception, but I vastly prefer it over any other.

(Pandora is very similar, it just depends on your tastes!).



7) YouTube

On YouTube, I can search for workout videos or ideas when I need to change things up or find a new workout routine without spending money on them until I know if they work for me or not. Some of my favorite workouts ever are Leslie Sansone’s walking videos, Biggest Loser videos, and kickboxing workouts. Trying new videos of these types allows me to change things up and challenge myself while still doing a workout that fits my needs. Not only that, but I can watch music videos that help me feel motivated or keep me entertained while I exercise.



8) Google

At this point, you may be wondering what Google has to do with healthy living. I personally use their web search app to research things last minute, in the moment, or to prepare ahead of time for various happenings. Some of the ways I use it is to see how to cook things healthier such as how long to bake chicken for example, find out how many calories is in something when I can’t find out that information on SparkPeople, and much more. I’ve always preferred Google so it’s been pretty easy for me to use it when I need it!


What are some of your favorite apps that help you live a healthier life?

~Bonnie~

My Morning Self-Care Routine (That Sets Me Up for Success)

“When you arise in the morning,
think of what a privilege it is to be alive-
to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.”
-Marcus Aurelius

Having a morning routine for myself is what helps me get my day off to a good start. I’m still playing around with what I do in the morning to accomplish this, so it is a work in progress right now. However, there are a few tasks that will need to stick because they are just that important to me. I adopted this routine by piecing together things that help me start my day off on the right foot and that’s so important to me and my goals. My life has been very chaotic the past few years, until very recently, and I was never able to set up a morning ritual that benefited me during that time. So this past summer, I started thinking about what kind of things that I could do after first waking up each day that would make me feel good and more positive and more centered.

#1: Reading my Bible. Admittedly, I don’t do this as often as I should. However, I try to remember to do it every morning and when I accomplish this, it helps me get into a better mental space. It sets the tone for the rest of the day as it helps me spend time with God and get centered with the right priorities. Right now I’m working on a “read the Bible in a year” plan that I picked up from church which doubles as a bookmark, helping me keep my place. I’ve fallen behind already but I am determined to do my best to keep up and am already noticing the difference it makes for me each day. Reading the Bible each morning reminds me that God always has a plan and is always with me.

#2: Making a to-do list or daily plan. This usually happens the night before, but sometimes won’t happen until the morning of. Either way I do it, I can still consider it a part of my “morning routine” because it is a task that helps me see all the things I need to do each day, in one organized place, which in turn helps me get more things done.

#3: Coffee! Caffeine is necessary for me most mornings in order to get me going. It helps me wake up and is just a tasty, feel good morning drink. My favorite way to drink it is with some creamer that I find delicious such as hazelnut, peppermint mocha, or anything with chocolate as I’m a total chocoholic. Coffee, coupled with a satisfying yet healthy breakfast, can also set the tone for the rest of the day. If I do it right, it makes me feel successful, healthy, and content. Some of my favorite breakfasts lately are oatmeal with banana diced and mixed in, a small cinnamon raisin bagel with a banana or oranges on the side, or Special K Protein Plus cereal. I like to make sure I get some kind of good protein and/or fiber in my breakfast because it contributes to the satisfied feeling. If I were to allow myself to eat whatever I wanted for breakfast and it wasn’t healthy, it would leave me feeling icky and cause my whole day to be off nutritionally, and I can’t have that!

#4: Watching an uplifting show/movie or browsing online for uplifting and positive posts. It helps me wake up more and set my mind up to feel positive throughout the day. If I’m careful about avoiding negative messages that may appear, this can be an invaluable tool in my morning routine. It sets the stage for a positive mindset. For example, when I’m on Facebook I focus on funny posts, Bible verses or other positive spiritual posts, and maybe even leaving positive comments on friends’ posts if I can.

#5: Exercise. This is one that is a hit or miss kind of thing for me right now, as far as mornings go, but I definitely want to work on it as I move forward. I know that when I do get a walk or something else active in during the first hour or two after I wake up, it helps me to feel refreshed and on top of my life.

#6: Writing. Since I am a writer through and through, with a lot of my working from home involving writing of some sort, getting it in soon after I get up and moving is beneficial all around. It helps me get started and feel more productive as the day begins. I need to be able to write my blogs and book(s), make notes to plan blog posts and other projects, and much more. It can be a great way to stretch my writing muscles, which is just as beneficial to me as stretching my actual muscles, each morning.

“You’ll never change your life
until you change something you do daily.
The secret of your success
is found in your daily routine.”
-John C. Maxwell

Even though I’m still working on making this into a more steady routine, it is proving good for me so far. Whenever I’m not able to perform this routine, I am more likely to be grumpy and simply feel off. It is my morning me time and is very valuable to me for that reason as well. Without it, sometimes I will feel loss and less in control. Therefore, it’s good for me all around to keep up with most, if not all, of these morning tasks.

What is your favorite part of your morning routine, or the part you can’t do without?

 

~Bonnie~

What Inspired Me to Start Losing Weight

“New beginnings are often disguised
as painful endings.”
-Lao Tzu

Ever since I was a young child, I have battled with being overweight. It was nothing new to me. Most of the time it wasn’t that big of a deal. However, a lot of the time I wished I was skinnier, but who of us doesn’t? I had tried many times to lose weight by eating less or exercising, and sometimes both at the same time. Nothing had ever clicked for me though, even when I knew that it had to be a whole lifestyle change. That is indeed a big part of losing weight, and should never be discounted, but it isn’t the whole battle. There is a big mental change that needs to happen in order for us to realize that it is a permanent lifestyle change, no matter what happens or what we do from that point forward. What ultimately brought me to choose to do it now and got me going on the best journey of my life were my three big wake up calls.

Wake-up call #1: Flying cross country to California and needing a seatbelt extender both ways in March 2014.

Talk about embarrassing! It wasn’t only the seatbelt extender aspect either, it was also the fact that I felt as if I were overflowing in the plane seat. It was very uncomfortable, to say the least, simply because I was afraid to encroach on my neighbors’ space. The flight back home was an overnight flight and I was so tired. I had to rest my head on the seat in front of me in order to go to sleep. That sounds about as restful as it actually was. It’s hard enough for me to sleep while flying but to be leaning forward, against the seat in front of me in order to sleep without risking leaning to the side, made it that much more difficult. Flying gave me the wake up call that I had not realized how big I had gotten in the past couple years. I was horrified! I knew I needed to do something to lose weight and started to get myself on board with walking a lot and cutting back on my dinner portions over the summer to lose about ten pounds. I thought that would make a world of difference at the time.

Wake-up call #2: Returning to the hectic life I led, rarely coming first, and hitting rock bottom by applying for social security disability because I truly felt I needed it.

A lot of things happened between the time I returned from my trip and the time that I actually started my weight loss journey. I feel as if these events helped cement the fact that I needed to do something about my weight and wellbeing in general. Shortly after I returned, my brother took an agreed upon trip to California as well, while I took care of his two young sons. I had at least one of the boys the whole eight days he was gone, but most of the time I had both. Then in April that year, my mom had her second major surgery. It was scheduled and we had been expecting it for a couple months, but surgeries are stressful and difficult for everyone. This surgery was on her neck and her last one had been on her back, so it was also new territory for us. We all got through it and her healing process wasn’t as extensive as we had thought it would be. Not long after her surgery, my brother ended up sick and in the hospital for a few days. That left me to take care of his boys again. This time it was unexpected and that much more stressful, especially after the previous events we had been through. Finally, in May I applied for Social Security disability. I had been considering it for years due to mental disorders, a joint problem, and some other issues that I had had for many years. I truly felt like I needed it at the time but knew it would be a long process. Only a couple weeks after applying, I started my weight loss journey. I had hit rock bottom, providing me with no choice but to work my way up from there!

Wake-up call #3: The big, dreaded, weigh-in!

We had gotten a double stroller after searching and searching for one, about five days before I started my journey. It was my way to take my nephews out for walks and get more exercise and activity in while I babysat them. It was also a step towards independence and even entertainment for all three of us! One evening, I just decided that enough was enough, and if I didn’t weigh-in right then, I probably would never start my weight loss journey. So I stepped on the scale and stood there staring at the weight I had reached, a whopping 309 pounds! That was the final push to get me started. I had vowed to myself to never get over three hundred pounds, yet there I was! I immediately joined SparkPeople, a weight loss support website that I had been a member of twice before, and plugged in all the information it asked for to set up a plan for me to lose weight. Then I eased into the healthier living journey of losing weight, cutting calories in a healthy way, adding in exercise, and starting to drink more water.

“Sometimes the smallest step in the right direction
ends up being the biggest step of your life.
Tip toe if you must, but take the step.”
-Naeem Callaway

All of the things that happened following my return from my trip to California showed me that nothing was going to get better in my life if I didn’t make a decision to make my own life better. I didn’t realize it at the time, but it helped push me in the direction that I needed to go, to get to the mental place to lose weight and make it a lasting journey!