My Keys to Health Success

Hello friends! As most of you know, this year I have been on a health journey. It started out with the goal of losing 37 pounds to get into a healthy BMI, but throughout it I have found self-love at each weight and shape, a love for health, nutrition, and exercise, and a strength I didn’t even know I had. I feel like I’m just getting to know myself for the first time… which might sound strange, but it’s been such a freeing experience. I’ve tried to lose weight and get healthy before and it has never stuck. I always revert to my old ways before I’ve even reached my goals. Until now. This time something in my brain clicked and I have been kicking my goals in the butt and sticking to the plan for almost 8 months now. It’s been 8 months filled with countless workouts, new recipes, self-love, a new found love of running, and 38 pounds lost (hopefully never to be found again). I thought maybe some of you would be interested in some of the keys to my healthy journey success… so here goes.

1.) I found something that worked for me. I started by quitting sugar and coffee cold turkey for a little over a month. Then added dark chocolate back in, and coffee without sugar. Then I found healthier alternatives to some of my favorite foods, like black bean brownies, chick pea blondies, and zucchini lasagna. I knew there was no way I was not going to eat dessert again because chocolate is LIFE, but I knew that I couldn’t eat a normal brownie and expect to lose weight or get healthy, and I knew I had to learn to eat even the healthy desserts in moderation.

2.) I started with workouts that I enjoyed. I really never enjoyed working out, so I decided to start with something I didn’t mind. I would do the elliptical and the 30 Minute Circuit at Planet Fitness, and then eventually moved up to doing the Couch 2 5K app on the treadmill, and then started running more and more and now most of my workouts are running. I am OBSESSED. I can’t get over how amazing and strong my body is. I’m just impressed with myself because I used to be worn out after 1/4 of a mile and now as of Saturday I can just 7.5 miles. I AM AMAZING (and humble).

3.) I set manageable goals. When I started running I was training for a 5k to just check it off my bucket list. I never anticipated falling in love with it the way I have. I set a goal to get into my BMI, not to get super skinny. I just wanted to be healthy. Those goals felt manageable and not overwhelming. In the past I have set huge goals and when the felt unreachable I would quit. Goals are important, but make sure they are reachable. Once I reach one goal I just set another one so I don’t get complacent, but I just take it one step at a time!

4.) I had rewards (that weren’t food) that I was working for. My first reward was to be able to purchase juice plus and my second reward was to buy a nice purse. Don’t get me wrong, there was some fro-yo thrown in there for good measure, but that was never the ultimate reward. These rewards felt motivating when I felt close to wanting to cave, and when I reached my goal it was such a fun way to celebrate!

5.) I had accountability. I really can’t recommend this one enough!! My first accountability was my awesome husband and my friend Lexi, then a few of my friends and I created a small accountability texting group and now we’re going to be running a 5k/10k together next month. On the days I felt discouraged I told them, in the moments I wanted to cave, I told them, when I wanted to wake up early to work out, I told them. And they held be accountable and they encouraged me. I love them forever and ever AMEN.

6.) I changed my perspective about why I wanted to lose weight and get healthy. This was probably the biggest game changer for me. For most of my life I’ve been ashamed of my body, it’s just never been enough or met the standards of the world. I would starve my body and feed it processed nonsense in an attempt to make it skinny. I would punish it for not looking like the models in the magazine. I viewed healthy eating and exercise as a punishment for a body that didn’t measure up, instead of as a reward for a body that does hard things and deserves to be treated well. Once I shifted my perspective I began to find SO MUCH freedom. I wasn’t saying no to ice cream because I couldn’t have it, I was saying no because my body deserved better.

Those are just some of the changes I’ve made, but they’ve made an enormous difference. Friends my life is SO much better since i made these changes. I feel happier and more joyful. I feel more upbeat and positive. I look in the mirror and love what I see. I say things to my husband like, “oh em gee, I look GOOD!” or “BABE is that really me?!”. For the first time in my life I’m not ashamed anymore, I am proud because this body of mine does hard things. It says no to junk and yes to health. It says yes to running and no to sitting on the couch. It is strong and amazing. I am strong. AND SO ARE YOU!

If you have any questions about what I’ve been doing, please feel free to send me a message or email (soknudsen@Liberty.edu). If you need someone to hold you accountable or be your personal health journey cheerleader, let me be that person! I am here for you, and I’ve been where you are, and we can do hard things together!

Go forth and be awesome. YOU CAN DO IT! : )

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