The Habits That Built Me A Foundation of Better Health & Inner Strength
My pursuit of a healthier lifestyle began in 2009. I was 25 years old and weighed 135 lbs. During this time, I ate healthy during the daytime but at night, I drank a lot with my friends and ate junk.
I remember the day when everything changed, very clearly. I decided to go on a random run around my neighborhood with my dog. We made it about 1 mile and I wanted to pass out afterwards. A few days later, I went for another spontaneous run. This time I made it about 1.25 miles and it felt good.
The habit I starting forming: Start small and keep it a priority.
After a weekend of partying with my friends and fiancé. I was hungover and my body didn’t feel very healthy. Then it hit me. I remembered how much better I felt after each time I ran. So, I peeled myself off of the couch and made it about 2 miles. Instantly I felt better for the rest of the day.
The habit I started forming: Think about the end result to accomplish your goal.
A few days later, I signed myself up at a local gym. I started doing mainly cardio, lots of crunches and some weight machines. I really didn’t know what I was doing, but I pretended like I did. This was also during the early days of blogging and social media influencers. I came across bodyrock.tv on Facebook and just started mixing in some of Lisa-Marie’s moves with mine. Her body was unbelievable and her workouts were free. So, I dialed myself in once a day to her Facebook feed and taught myself the basics.
The habit I started forming: After you start, you must keep learning, pushing and persisting.
In 2012, I hit a peak level of performance. I hiked mountains, ran half marathons, cycled through the country roads and even worked out 4-6 days per week. Then my husband and I were ready to start a family. I was so excited to become a mother. During my pregnancy, I ate mainly organic, quit caffeine completely, did yoga, worked out 3-6 days a week and walked my dog. I still gained 50 lbs. Woah, right? I actually ate a lot of food – like super large salads and lots of chocolate to be precise. During this time, I really embraced my body. I wore that extra 50 lbs. like a Dolce & Gabbana purse – proudly.
The habit I started forming: Choice is everything.
I ended up losing all of the baby weight in about 1 year, but the stretch marks and lose belly skin remained. For some reason, I was still proud of my body and chose to embrace my body changes. The one thing that did change this time, was my workouts. I was now a mom, which meant I was busier and more tired than ever before. The only way I could get workouts in was by using my jogger stroller.
I would run all over the city with my daughter. It was an unbelievable bonding experience and such a special time in my life. I still worked out at the gym when I could and ate very healthy to be a good example to my daughter. My inner joy was full daily, despite being a sleepless and overworked mom.
The habit I started forming: Try your best and don’t quit.
A year later, my husband and I were ready to have another baby. This time I felt smarter and more prepared. So, I let go of some of our culture’s high expectations and decided to make some choices that worked better for me. Quitting coffee was not happening this time. Screw yoga. I just ran. Yup, I ran continuously for almost my entire pregnancy. It was literally the most liberating thing I have ever done in my life. Picture me, being super pregnant, running all over town, all while pushing my 2-year-old daughter in the jogger stroller. Everyone stared and as I would pass people, they would look at me and yell out things like “You are unbelievable.” “You are amazing.” and cheer me on like no other. Needless to say, I felt like a superhero.
The habit I was forming: The strength you need is there, just tap into it.
I ended up gaining 35 lbs during my second pregnancy. It was a huge win for me because it was less than 50 lbs. and less is good. After my second daughter was born, I was more eager than ever to hit it extra hard in the gym. My mindset was different this time because my husband and I were done having kids. I couldn’t wait to have my body belong back to me again.
I was more determined than ever so, naturally I thought losing the weight would be easier. Then at 4 months old, my daughter hit a sleep regression and it didn’t end until she was 9 months old. I never slept, but still managed to workout 5 days a week – early in the morning. It was the only thing that made me feel alive. It also made me a better mother.
During this hard time, I weighed about 127 lbs for a very long time and felt very discouraged. My workouts were the best they have ever been, but I was plateauing. I still had another 5 lbs. to lose to get back to my pre-baby weight and I felt like I was doing everything I could to lose the weight.
It was clear to me, as much as I thought I knew about health and fitness, whatever I was doing, wasn’t working. So, I got myself a personal trainer. It was only for about 2 months. I had the motivation and determination, I just need to be more educated. My trainer taught me how to do more effective workout moves and how to work each muscle group correctly. That was when I got introduced to weight lifting.
The habit was I forming: Be vulnerable to try new things because it can change your life.
By stepping into something outside my comfort zone, my mindset and workouts were forever changed. I couldn’t wait to come back to the gym every morning at 5:00 a.m. to see what I was truly capable of.
By becoming one of the few women in the weight room, I felt empowered daily. Very quickly, my body started to transform in ways I have never seen. I became leaner and built more defined muscles head-to-toe.
The habit I was forming: High performance happens when you combine your determination with your aspirations.
“This experience unleashed a whole new journey for me. I feel more motivated than ever to inspire other people to begin their own fitness journey, especially women. Feeling strong makes me feel equal to men. I now feel like I can accomplish anything. So can you.“