My back and neck always hurt... My knee that I've had my ACL reconstructed twice...ALWAYS hurt... I was tired ALL the time...and I didn't feel well much of the time!
I tried to exercise...but didn't do it super regularly... I had been doing Muay Thai for a few months...but only once a week...and only running occasionally.
After having 4 kids and being over 30...losing weight was/is sooo hard. Not only that...but in my 20's and before I started having kids...my weight stayed virtually the same...and I could eat whatever I wanted and not have to worry about exercising that often...because I had always been very active. But after 30...all of a sudden...I'd gain 5 pounds without even realizing it! And then, it wouldn't come off!
I knew I wanted to lose weight and exercise more...but I didn't want to diet! I wanted something that was sustainable FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE. I don't want to have to diet for a week or month or whatever to get back to the weight that I should be. I didn't want to have to drink a shake 2 meals a day...etc. Or cut sugar or whole food groups from my diet.
Basically, I needed what I like to call a Lifestyle Change...it couldn't be about dieting!!!
It has been a difficult learning process... I started by making small achievable goals...and when I met those goals...I made new ones! There have been several things I've tried that have really helped along the way...
Like setting a goal to exercise 3 times a week...I started writing down my workouts on the calendar to see if I was keeping it up. When I was doing that regularly...I upped it to 5 times a week. Now, I exercise 4 to 6 times a week.
And then, I tried writing down everything that I ate in a day...That was super eye opening! And I found out that my BMR...or basal metabolic rate is only 1250. Meaning that if I am doing nothing...my body only needs approximately 1250 calories...which means if I'm not exercising...I don't need to eat much...cuz it doesn't take much to add up to 1250 calories.
When it comes to food...I haven't cut any particular foods from my diet...It has been about portions. Before, I would eat 4 pancakes...now, I eat 2. I would eat 3 cookies...now, I eat 1. You get the idea. I would never be able to maintain if I cut a particular food or food group from my diet! Seriously, Brian makes fun of me because I have 2 small squares of dark chocolate every day after lunch. I don't think I could live without dark chocolate!!! haha And seriously, if I'm honest...I have a major addiction to coke...it comes in glass bottles here and is oh sooo delicious!
And after 16 years...I'm back at my high school weight. Actually, around a pound less than my goal weight.
It's been a LOT of work, but there are a lot of payoffs...My back and neck never bother me anymore. My knee never hurts! I generally feel great. Of course, I'm still tired...I'm a mom to 4 young crazy kiddos...but seriously...My energy level is way better!!! And that makes taking care of them so much easier.
On top of that...I feel stronger...and not sooo afraid of having pictures taken of me and posted on Facebook! haha
If you know me at all...you know that I am NOT a morning person. As in...please give me at least an hour after waking before you talk to me. Getting up early to exercise is seriously a chore for me every single time. It just about kills me...serious torture!
Something else that is hard for me...is always having to cook for my family...hahaha I know that sounds terrible... But my husband and 4 kiddos want dessert, cinnamon rolls, waffles, pancakes, french toast, bread, pasta, cookies, etc.... Which means, I need to cook/bake for them...and then, those kinds of foods are in the house! It's super hard...constant temptation to eat more than I should!
Seriously...This feels like it has been a long, long battle... And the fact is...I feel like it is something I'll always deal with for the rest of my life. It will never get easier. My metabolism will continue to slow down. I'll have to work harder and harder to achieve the same thing.
I'm still trying to get my waist to hip ratio down...as I'm still in the moderate risk category...
I tend to keep fat in my midsection and on my hips. My shape puts me at increased risk of coronary heart disease, diabetes and stroke. (Taken from HealthStatus.com)
Thinking about going on furlough scares me...because it's common for missionaries to gain 20 to 30 pounds while on furlough. Trying to exercise while traveling around and eating out all the time...takes a toll. Not to mention access to foods that we haven't had in years and we know that when we return to the field we won't have again = serious temptation to over indulge.
My husband and my kids have been huge motivators for me! When I'm going out for a run...the kiddos ask me if I'm going to get a medal. And they love seeing me do muay thai. And of course they try to copy my kicks and punches.
My muay thai group has also been huge motivators for running, etc...we often sign up to run races together. Before meeting any of them...I had never run a race longer than 5k. But they are like...why run a 5k when you can run a 10k...why run a 10k when you can run a 21k?!? haha When I'm tired and not punching and kicking hard enough...my coach mocks me! haha If I gain a pound or two...they notice and will definitely point it out...which is completely culturally acceptable here.
Making all of these lifestyle changes have been FAR from easy. Getting jolted awake by my alarm at 5:15 AM to go exercise, saying no to that second cookie, and having sore muscles isn't exactly fun.
But when I look at how much better I feel, so much less pain from my old injuries, and so much more energy to take care of my family, I know it is soo worth it! And when my kids come to the door when I get back from a morning run, they almost always ask, "Did you get a gold medal mom?!?"
Well, I may not have a gold medal in my future, but feeling healthy and having the energy to be a good wife and mother feels like a victory to me!