This is coach Jojo and in today’s blog I wanted to share some tips and strategies that worked for me in my own health and weight loss journey. I hope it can be useful for anyone trying to improve their nutrition habits!
Before transitioning into the wellness and fitness field, I had a demanding corporate career working for some of New York’s top advertising agencies. Anyone who’s ever worked an ad or marketing job knows how hectic and stressful it can be! You have tight deadlines on marketing campaigns that cost millions of dollars and the pressure is on! There is no room for error. My days would be very long as I had to commute to the city (downtown) from Stamford and work a 9 + hour day(s), come home, try to enjoy myself for a couple of hours before going to bed, and then wake up to do the same thing all over again.
Though I really liked my advertising career, about a 2 years into it I noticed that my clothes no longer fit me, I was over 12 lbs heavier, my energy levels were tanking and I really felt the difference in the way I was moving! Specifically, I felt like my extra weight was hard to carry around and it was slowing me down whether I was walking to the train station, getting out of the car or just going out for a jog! Now you may be thinking… “okay what is 12 lbs really?” especially for a girl as petite as me. Well for starters I am only 5’4 so even if I gain 6 lbs I can really notice the difference in the way my body feels. Although I was always very active, belonged to a gym, did yoga and worked out, I felt like my nutrition had slipped exorbitantly. Between work, family/social life and exercising, eating healthy was not really on the top of my priority list and not to mention I LOVE food! Also, working in NYC, my coworkers and I would always try new restaurants, take out spots for lunch, and food was just something I was really looking forward to because it just gave me comfort and brought an element of fun into my mundane workweek routine!
I knew that I had to improve my eating habits and do it quick because my wardrobe was now only consisting of 1 pair of jeans that fit me, and some stretchy leggings that were starting to get tight in the waist. On top of that, I noticed that I had gained another 3-4 lbs and was just tired of feeling sluggish and tired ALL the time! After trying to count and restrict calories, doing a couple of juice cleanses and giving up carbs I thought I made some progress because the scale showed that I was 6 lbs lighter and I did it in less than a month! “I got this!” – I thought to myself. But soon enough, after the cleanse was over, and I simply did not have time to log my calories each time I had a meal or a snack, I surely gained it all back and then some… “Maybe I don’t got this after all” – was the next thing my inner critical voice was screaming at me… But I did not give up.
I knew that in order to get back to the shape I had to really change my eating habits and make my new ‘diet’ a lifestyle. We’ve all heard it before, and though it may sound cliche, it is really what we should all be aiming for.
After a few weeks, I started getting really interested in nutrition and signed up for a health coaching certification that focused heavily on nutrition, eating habits, changing behavior and attitude towards food and the science of it all. I found it fascinating! Because I love food and cooking, I tried to really only focus on eating whole, non-processed foods. This meant, not ordering takeout 5 days out of the week at work and brownbagging my lunch. Yup! “How boring” – I thought. But soon, I found that it wasn’t. I was determined to still make my healthy, organic, non-processed food taste fabulous so I learned some new cooking techniques, healthy recipes and made my meals taste amazing!! I made it a priority to try a new healthy recipe each week. The first time I made zucchini noodles my husband cringed, but once we tried them, we were in awe of how delicious they tasted! Cooking new healthy foods became a new hobby of mine and still is. The other week I was craving meatballs, but instead of ground beef, I made them with beans, served over a spinach linguini with fresh tomato basil sauce and they were delicious! I started putting healthy spin on all my favorite dishes and got really creative in how I can make healthy food taste good. A common misconception is that eating healthy is boring or un-enjoyable but I am telling you that can’t be further from the truth!
In addition to eating whole foods and learning new cooking methods I had to learn portion control. Yup! That meant when I went out to the restaurant I no longer could lick the plate clean. If my husband and I went out for food I would still enjoy myself and order what I wanted, but I made it a point to only eat half of what’s on my plate and wrap up the rest (hello, next day lunch!). This also helped with eating in social situations. If knew I had a party planned and there was going to be cake, I’d go for the smallest piece and skip out on the frosting. My husband and I would have pizza night every Friday, and it was a tradition I was not willing to give up. So instead of eating half the pie, I had 1-2 slices, drank a tall glass of water before and after my meal, and have some veggies or a side salad with it to balance out my meal.
Finally, the third thing I learned is to treat myself with compassion and go easy on myself if I overate here or there. I still sometimes reach for that additional pizza slice on a Friday, or overdo it on the bread if I’m at a restaurant… But the next day I just get back on the wagon, make my delicious protein banana smoothie, crank out an extra workout and move on. It’s really not that big of a deal if you slip here and there as long as you’re consistently following the right steps to improve.
The next thing that happened was magical! You guessed it.. the weight started coming off. Slowly and steadily the additional layers started shedding, my energy levels improved, I saved a ton of money by being able to fit into my old clothes, and I just felt so much more confident and in charge of my life and my eating habits. It was a real accomplishment!
This was very inspiring for me and I knew that if I could do it, anyone can! Each time I talk to a client, old or new coming in through the Core Principles door, I want them to know that it’s possible to achieve their goals and improve their nutrition. It may take a little longer for some, but if you stick with the plan, trust the process, tweak and re-learn some eating habits, you CAN and WILL have success with nutrition and a better/healthier relationship with food.
If you’re interested in learning more, finally take charge of your life, eat and feel better and improve your nutrition habits talk to one of our coaches at Core Principles, or shoot us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. All of our nutrition plans are accessible via one-on-one coaching and an online, user friendly app. Give it a shot!