Back in November 2013, I committed to a fitness challenge to run 30 minutes a day, every day, for a full year. Even though technically I wasn’t overweight, my body had become a fleshy blob of cellulite. I’d let myself go, and it was time to do something about it.
Transitioning from sporadic to daily exercise was not easy, especially at first. I was out of the habit, not to mention out of shape. But I hated what my body had become. So I stuck with it, and gradually the runs got easier. I became reacquainted with the exercise high I’d known in the past.
By week 10, I had to know if my dedication was producing results. I had my daughter take another picture, and I was pleasantly surprised.
September 2013. Sexy muffin top, no?
January 2014. I like this one better.
The biggest difference is the flabby midsection, right? I decided to step on the scale for the first time in months, to see the changes by the numbers:
- Weight: down 4.3 pounds (~2kg)
- Body Fat: down 2.8 pounds (~1.25 kg)
- B.M.I.: down 0.7
When I shared these photos on Facebook last month, the response was overwhelming. Friends, relatives, and colleagues told me I’d inspired them. Many wanted to know the secrets of my progress.
I’m sorry to say there’s no real secret, just boring old common sense:
Attitude adjustment. Definitely my biggest hurdle. I had to make exercise a daily priority. Period.
Limit the creature comforts. For me, it’s a glass of red wine or my favorite snack, popcorn (popped on the stovetop in olive oil…mmm). I believe deprivation only sets us up for failure, so I still indulge. Just not as often.
30 minutes every day, no exceptions! Instead of making excuses, I make time.
A little variety. To break up the monotony now and then, I’ll work out on the elliptical machine or do an aerobic DVD. As long as I’m sweatin’ for 30 minutes!
My cold weather gear!
Shut up and get out there! I love running outside, so that means dressing for the weather (if we Chicagoans waited around for ideal conditions, we’d never leave the house)! When it dips below 0°F (-18C), I hit the treadmill.
Since my mission is about getting fit, I’ve added weight lifting and 50 abdominal crunches to my cardio routine. It takes a little more time, but to build muscle mass (and improve my metabolism), I have to up the ante.
In my case, 90% of the battle is mental. It’s much easier to blow it off and just be fat! So I keep the before/after photos on my desktop to motivate me and remind me of my progress. I’ve come too far to let it all fall apart now. And I reap the rewards with every run, because nothing feels better than an exercise high.