February 2016 -> March 2017
Although I feel vulnerable posting these pictures of myself, I am proud of the work I have done and the progress that I've made choosing to live a healthier lifestyle. I will be talking about this past year, the first real year of taking my "fitness journey" seriously. When I say "fitness journey," I mean eating more fruits and vegetables, taking care of myself physically and mentally, and working out regularly. By no means am I training for a sport or striving to be an Instagram model, I just want to feel good, and I believe when you feel good and you take care of yourself, that reflects on the outside.
In the picture on the left, I had just started nursing school, I had just begun Kayla Itsine's BBG program (previous blog post on that here), and I was still not making the best choices in regards to my food.
In the picture on the right, I am more than halfway through nursing school, I am about 10 months in eating a plant-based diet, and about 10 pounds heavier.
When I look at the differences between the two pictures, the first thing I notice is my stomach. My tummy has always been a source of insecurity for me. I see that it is more defined, I have that "V" now, and my "muffin tops" are a bit smaller! The next things I notice are my legs & booty! My legs look thicker and stronger, and although you can't see my tush here, it is firmer, bigger, and more lifted. My boyfriend has noticed these changes the most and it wasn't until I looked at the difference between these two photos that my body really has changed.
So, what have I been doing differently?
- I stopped the BBG program several months ago. It is a great program and I still do Kayla's workouts from time to time, but I was getting bored of it and I wanted to try something else. Now, I mostly walk, do kettlebell workouts and other workouts I find on Pinterest. I listen to my body and tailor my workout to that, while still trying to push myself. About 2 months ago, I also started going to yoga once a week. I. love. yoga. and it has helped so much with my balance, listening to my body, and my strength.
- I eat a plant-based/vegan diet. I also listen to my body and pay attention to how I feel after I eat certain foods. Within the past couple months, I have especially noticed how my body, particularly my gut, feels after eating carbs and sugar. They tend to make me feel bloated, weighed down, and fatigued so I have been trying to cut those out as well and replace them with vegetables and fruits. I also try not to eat when I'm bored and meal-prep as much as possible. Being a full-time college student and a part-time 3rd shift worker at a hospital, meal-prepping is the key to staying on track.
- I went off of my birth control pill. I went off of the pill at the end of 2016. After I did this, it was like the fat, particularly on my abdomen, just peeled away without changing anything else. I went off of the pill for various reasons - but mostly I didn't want to be taking hormones anymore. I have been battling with (self-diagnosed) anxiety, depression, and moodiness for the longest time. I originally went on the pill in high school for my acne (this was before I was sexually active) and when I went on it, it was like I bloated up (I gained so much weight) and became a totally different, unhappy person. I felt like I was living in a fog. I finally decided it was time to stop taking it and it is like the fog has been lifted. No, I am not ready to have children just yet so my long-term partner and I have been using other birth control methods. I am so happy I decided to stop taking the pill, it is one of the best decisions I have made, particularly in regards to my mental health.
- Lastly, I am kinder to myself and my body. I focus on how I feel instead of how I look. Yes, it is awesome to see progress, but it is more important to feel better. I feel myself getting stronger, being more confident, having more mental and physical energy, and being kinder to myself when I slip up (at work, in school, with my diet, anywhere). I try to focus on the long-term as opposed to short-term and that seems to help as well. I want to age gracefully and live not only a longer life but have a better quality of life, too. Age and other uncontrollable health risk factors aside, I believe the work you put into your body is the work you get out. Treat your body right and your body will be good to you, too.
Thanks for reading! Feel free to ask any questions or share your own opinions or experiences.