Recently I completed Tone It Up’s Bikini Series and saw the most dramatic results from any one challenge of theirs since starting to follow them consistently back in 2013. There are a lot of reasons for this — one being that I began laying the foundation of healthy habits long before diving into the 8 week challenge. In addition, I finally came to several realizations that I had heard so many times before, but had never stuck with. I figured I would share them because my only regret in this journey was that I didn’t fully embrace it earlier.
[Two Year Transformation Photo!]
Tough love is self love. There is absolutely nothing wrong with believing you deserve to hit all of the goals you set for yourself. It doesn’t matter if anyone else thinks they are vain or silly — if this is something you want GO. FOR. IT. But you will have to hold yourself to a pretty high standard to reach some. Are you really consistently working out? Are you eating the things you know you should be? Are your “celebrations” becoming too frequent to be aligned with your goals? Be honest with yourself. If you need an accountability buddy for this, set some clear guidelines with someone you trust who understands what you’re trying to achieve.
[Rainier Runners with some of my babes!]
You will have to say no. Similar to the note above, there is also nothing wrong with enjoying wine, pizza, beer, burgers, pasta, etc. while on your journey; but if it’s happening more often than not or with little to no intention behind the decision, it will be pretty tough to hit those goals. Remembering that you are worth it and why you are doing it, don’t be afraid to pack your own meals, ask for adjustments at restaurants or simply pass on the store-bought cookies someone brought to the office for the third week in a row. Trust me — after a few weeks of eating clean, you’ll realize they taste like garbage any way and waiting for one of Mom’s fresh basked when you see her in a month is wayyyyy more worth it 🙂
Your palate will change. I never thought I would be the girl who ditched her sweet tooth cravings around 3 PM for a green juice. I also never thought I would enjoy the taste of black coffee and now I drink and savor my cup every morning. I also CRAVE my Apple Cider Vinegar drink every morning! It does take time for your palate to change and those first few weeks can be challenging but it is entirely possible to overcome cravings and just a general belief that your food has to taste a certain way. You may even find that with some time, fruit tastes sweeter, vegetables have incredible flavor, and low-and-behold you actually like kale when its properly marinated.
[First time making a collard green wrap–messy but I loved it!]
Journaling is everything. I started the habit of nightly journaling years ago to focus on trends of how I was feeling mentally and spiritually. I continue the practice of writing down at least 3 things I am grateful for every day, but have expanded my journaling to include my workouts and my meals consumed each day. I don’t count calories — but I do hold myself accountable by writing down what I eat. For a long time I sabotaged my progress by not counting a dessert here, extra bread there, and especially drinks (they add up too!) and this allows me to be honest with myself. Holding up what I actually ate and did each day against how I feel is incredibly powerful too. Just like how your palate changes, so will your ability to notice how awesome you actually feel from fueling yourself right. Remember that. Document it. And you’ll have that record to come back to any time you feel like you’re struggling.
You will love the way you feel (and everyone will know it.) My journey really took years, but it was in the last couple of months that I doubled-down in effort and it completely paid off. I was seeing the physical results under my clothing but I had more energy, my eyes were brighter, my skin was clear and that radiated to those around me. After reconciling with some poor eating behaviors and finally learning to be confident again in my own skin, I feel AMAZING and its pretty evident to those around me. I take pride in my results, but ultimately I believe that everyone has a right to feel strong and healthy, and I want to remain a humble resource in helping anyone along that path because it feels really great to feel capable of making a change for yourself, and therefore have more energy to give back to the world.
I hope you enjoyed reading these tips although they are just a snapshot from my journey. There are tons of resources available across books and internet to answer any questions you have or start you on this path, and I am happy to point you to those. Thanks for the read!