Monday, February 18, 2013

My Journey To Well Being

I thought sharing my weight loss and healthy lifestyle journey may somehow encourage those who may have struggles in this part of their lives as I have in the past. Not only that, but we all could use a pick me up now and again through others experiences and stories, which I hope this delivers that for you in some way or another.

Growing up I never really was athletic. Being homschooled in rural New Mexico never really rendered to the possibilities of sports or constant physical activities. So, needless to say I've never viewed myself as outgoing in a physical way. I did play outside, hike and that sort of thing, but I guess being 'active' wasn't always something that came easy for me or something that I naturally leaned towards. I didn't really wrestle with my weight up until I was in my early 20's. I think I just liked to eat and eventually as I aged, my metabolism slowed and the weight gradually came on. I was at my heaviest of 160 pounds last summer. I wouldn't have ever considered myself obese, but I was definitely not in a healthy place. I had low energy all the time. I didn't care what I put in my body. It was all about convenience and cheap food that I choose. I just didn't have the drive or the motivation to really care about my well being. Like many, I had tried other diets, Weight Watchers, low carb diets ext.... However, those were only short term diets that never lasted. I think I lost about 20 pounds on Weight Watchers several years back, but the minute I stepped out of line with the program, the weight came back on pretty much right away. So, that was a downer. I think for me what really worked was the combo of both exercise and appropriate eating habits. I really hate calling what I did a diet or a quick fix from being heavier. Rather, it has become a transformative life change from the inside out. Trust me when I say, losing weight didn't happen over night, nor was it a walk in the park. It took more dedication and determination that I even had to make it to where I am today. It really was a change of heart and mindfulness.

It all started for me last summer. June of 2012 to be exact. I don't know if I had an epiphany one morning when I woke up or what. I started noticing many individuals in my life during the time that had this immaculate determination to get healthy. As unnatural as that kind of lifestyle was to me, needless to say, it was contagious. I wanted to change my physical appearance and that became a huge push in the beginning. Then it became more about being mindful in how these new healthy foods and fitness lifestyle made me feel.

My body stopped craving sugar and fatty greasy foods after sometime. I normally focused on eating a lot of hummus, whole wheat flatbreads and all the veggies in the world. I would eat some chicken but stayed away from dark red meats. I turned to boca burgers for my protein. I guess if I had to name this eating habit, it would be called the Mediterranean diet. Where olives, basil, hummus and veggies were on my plate in every meal except breakfast. Breakfast foods became essential to my success of my goals. I would never miss breakfast and would only eat either greek yogurt or fat-free yogurt with a little granola and fresh fruit, and/or multi-grain oatmeal with a little honey for sweetness and fresh fruit, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries. I would just cook the oatmeal with water, and no added sugar or cream. I got used to eating it this way and I love it. I still eat my oatmeal like this. Instead of honey, I have switched to agave nectar. Little changes in the way I eat have made all the difference for me. Portions even of this kind of food made a huge difference. Suddenly, the weight started falling off. I found a lot of awesome healthy recipes on Pinterest and also many different substitutes were found for butter, milk products and the like. I replaced butter completely out of my diet and cooked with Olive Oil instead.

But I have realized from diets and trying to lose weight in the past that I could not do this without exercise. So I began to walk about 3-5 miles a day, EVERY DAY. I think in the course of 2 months, I missed like 3-5 days of walking/jogging. It was summer, so it made it a lot easier for me to get out and walk. I was working a lot during the summer too, which made it complicated to find the time, but I was so dedicated to walking that I would get it in my day somehow. I was determined to get at least over 2 miles in a day regardless if I had the energy or not. My motivation turned into increasing my metabolism, which after time my body craved and earned that time to walk/jog. That made it easier as well to find the energy to get out and move. It became just apart of my every day routine and if I didn't get out, something was missing in my day and that alone kept me going! During the summer months I also dedicated to going to yoga at least 3 times a week. I would actually go like 5 times a week because it was my stress reliever and it really helped me increase my focus to lose weight. In September, I joined a local gym. I had a friend who's hobby was lifting weights. Lifting weights was very foreign to me and completely took me out of my comfort zone, but she motivated me to give it a shot and she coached me through it, and she has been my gym buddy ever since. We now have a weekly workout routine that I hardly miss. Its such an important part of my life that I can't go through the week without going to the gym at least 6 times. Mon/Wed/Fri I lift weights, Tues/Thurs/Sat. I focus on cardio. Sunday, I usually take off unless I already had taken a day off during the week then I will switch it out.

When I started this lifestyle, I was 160 pounds as of June 1st 2012. I now weigh 115 pounds. I am currently in the process of just maintaing my weight and toning my figure. It's been such a great experience for me and I refuse to ever go back to where I was before. That is not an option for me. I've always wanted to be skinny, but to me its more than that now. Its a way of life. A way to live wholeheartedly well in what I consume and how I treat my body. Learning new things about healthy eating and fitness has really broaden my horizons, life and hopefully lends to inspiration for others.


Anonymous said...

I love you! You inspire me!!! -Love, Martha

Steve said...

Nicole, I have loved reading your blog and seeing your heart unfold. I am on a similar journey out of religion into grace and love that I never known for so many years!

So many changes, transition and rethinking from all I knew before.

Have you ever heard of Kirtana? ( Her music speaks so much to the heart of what I am going thought Especially the songs Blessed Life, Church in the Pines and Pulling in the Oars - she is not what one would define as 'Christian' (before that would have worried me - LOL) but now I am in tears as I listen to her songs.

Grace and peace - and yes the God Journey is a life transforming series of podcasts that strip so much of the fundamentalist religion from our souls...



Nicole Hebert said...

Hi Steve, and thank you for reading! My blog has a been a reflection of where my heart has been and though it may seem messy at times and out of control, it is who I am and where I've been... Its nice to meet you!

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