Today’s blog is a guest post from one of my best friends, Caroline, the beautiful woman behind Balance is Essential! Follow her journey on Instagram as she posts healthy recipes with mouthwatering photos, shares real life on her stories, and keeps on track by reminding herself that balance is essential!
Over the last three years since graduating from college, I have really begun to learn a little bit more about who I am, what makes me happy, and what direction I want to see my life taking. For someone who is 25 and still learning how to be a functioning adult, it has been an interesting but enlightening three years! One of the most important parts of my life has become my eating habits. College took a major toll on my physical and mental health in so many ways, and I have had to undo all of the damage a little bit at a time. When I graduated, I was used to eating Sheetz at 10 pm, drinking most weeknights, filling multiple plates in a row at the dining hall, getting (and functioning on) very little sleep, and not caring one bit about weight, looks, or health. As a recent graduate starting my first job in June 2014, I weighed 230 lbs, and none of my “real world” clothes fit me anymore. This was when I knew something had to change; NO, everything had to change. In one year, I completely transformed my diet, exercise habits, and stress coping skills. By May of 2015, I had lost 50 lbs. Great, right? Sure…but I still struggle all the time more than two years later. I still find myself binge-eating like it’s my last meal sometimes. I still skip the gym wayyy more than I care to admit. Every single day is still a battle between my goals and my laziness. I haven’t lost much more weight, and several times over these two years I have gained a couple of those pounds back. Is that the end of the world, though? NO WAY.
Since the start of the summer (and end of my grad school program), I have certainly learned even more about how I want to live a healthier life, and the first thing I did was kick all my tracking, points-counting, and calorie counting apps to the freaking curb! I started listening to my body and trying to do what works best for me. It’s a daily decision I make to keep bettering myself and working towards my goals. Throughout all of this, there have been hundreds of little things I’ve had to learn, re-learn, and continuously remind myself are important to doing this whole healthy lifestyle thing. Though these are all incredibly important, hundreds of tiny reminders can become exhausting. So, here is my list of top ten things I like to keep in mind and take to heart regarding lifestyle changes and weight loss/healthier living journeys:
- There will be bumps in the road! It’s okay for there to be backslides and plateaus. These things do not mean you have failed.
- The number on the scale doesn’t always define progress.
- Find foods, exercises, etc. that you like and start with those, then branch out! Starting small with something you enjoy will help you go further than throwing yourself into a major diet change and exercise routine. These things are meant to be enjoyed, not endured!!
- Do what works for you! What worked for your friend or neighbor or colleague may be great, but you need to find the best things to help YOU reach YOUR goals.
- Be careful comparing results. Every body is different, and you can’t expect to look like someone else’s “after photos” a week into your own journey (or ever, which is OKAY). One step at a time! These things do take time, so be patient.
- Listen to your body. It will tell you what it needs, and you will learn over time what your body is trying to tell you.
- Be proud of what your body can do. Our bodies work hard for us and can do some really incredible things. So you have a few extra pounds or stretch marks? That’s OKAY!! You are strong; you are beautiful.
- Love yourself every day. Do something for yourself each day to promote self-love and mental health. This could be enjoying a glass of wine, going for a walk, getting that food item you’ve been craving, etc. Don’t be afraid to #treatyoself even in the smallest ways!
- Don’t let your desire for a healthier life or a goal weight get in the way of actually LIVING. Go to the cookout where there isn’t a single healthy item. Go get ice cream with friends/family. Do whatever you want to do, because this is your life. Live it! You can easily pick back up on your routine the next day.
- And finally: everything in moderation, including moderation!!
Remember, this is your body, your life, your health! You can reach your goals, no matter how long it may take. Just don’t give up, and don’t give in to negativity.