As of May 2021, I’ve lost about 35 lbs. in my journey to become the healthiest version of myself. To be clear, my mission is to be healthy, not just to lose weight, so I’m doing the work and part of that process does include losing weight. Here’s what I’m doing to stay motivated.
How I got started
I think to make long-term lifestyle changes, you have to start small. I started doing small things each day to help me feel like I’m accomplishing something. I first started with stretching each morning for about 15 minutes when I woke up in the morning. Stretching each morning not only helps me wake up but also gets my body ready to move and be active.
I also started planning all of my meals so I’m not tempted to eat out or overeat from unintentionally skipping a meal. This also helps me make sure I’m having a balanced diet. I now eat breakfast before I leave for work in the morning after I stretch. Having a good stretch and a good breakfast helps me ensure I start my day off great.
I also walk every day after lunch and dinner. This keeps me from catching the “itis” after a meal. Of course, walking frequently has many benefits, but it makes me feel like I’m being active.
These small things added to my daily routine have changed my life completely. And being transparent, I didn’t start at once doing all of these things. I added them to my routine, one week at a time. Some things I spaced out just to make sure I can be successful in doing one thing, before having an unsustainable routine. I believe that by being patient with myself and giving myself grace, I was able to transform my daily routine.
How I’m keeping the momentum going
So each week, I evaluate my progress. I’m checking how many steps I did during my walks and try to challenge myself to get more until I “max out.” Right now, I’m maxing out at 12,500 steps a day which is close to six miles. That’s right, I’m walking about six miles a day. I didn’t start there. I started walking about 30 minutes a day for about 2 weeks to see how many steps I can do at a regular pace. When I started challenging myself, I slowly increased my time outdoors to 45 minutes, then an hour over the course of about 2 months. I think setting small goals and constantly challenging myself is helping me progress faster than I imagined.
For my meals, I’m now trying to be meat-less during my weekday lunches. I doubt that I will ever be completely meat-less in my diet, but considering I’m hypertensive, going without the extra sodium in meat is a good small change. I also cook more often. I’m making my meals Sunday through Tuesday, and have the leftovers for the remainder of the week. On the weekends, I allow myself to eat whatever I want within reason. I’m trying to stay away from overeating, but I will eat out or pick up something that may not be as nutritious as my other meals during the week. I also use pre-portioned meal kits such as Home Chef from Kroger to make it easy to decide on what to cook for the week.
Now I work out every Saturday morning for about 45 minutes. I started doing low-intensity things with my kettlebell and resistance bands, but once again, each month I’m challenging myself and I’m so proud of my progress. And if I’m ever feeling completely exhausted (and sometimes I have) I allow myself to rest. I’m not trying to be a fitness guru here. Just a guy that cares about his health to take action.
This chapter of my journey is very aspirational. I have many goals, but I’m not in a rush to accomplish all of them. As long as I'm consistent and continue going in the right direction, I’m confident I will get to where I want to go.
What I’m looking forward to in the future
There’s so much to look forward to. This is the longest I have been consistent with any wellness goals so I’m very happy to keep going. I would like to reach my target weight by the end of the year. After that, I can evaluate myself and see if there’s a particular physique that I want. I also hope to get off some of the medication I’m taking for my blood pressure and diabetes. Prescriptions add up over time and even with insurance, I could be saving that money if I stick to being healthier. I look forward to meeting the healthiest version of myself. I know he is going to be here soon and that’s keeping me motivated now more than ever.
What do you do to stay motivated to reach your goals?