This was a year filled with struggles, self shaming, obsession, restriction & unhealthy habits – all blessings in disguise. Here’s how I kickstarted my journey —> How I Got Myself Into Fitness
In the past, I’ve dealt with binge eating habits, orthorexia & over-exercising. These were all problems I knew I needed to change. It started with healthy intentions, later turning into obsessions, which stabbed me in the back. I was aware of my obsessions but was afraid of making uncomfortable changes. This fear threw me into a deep black hole. Fast forward to today, I’ve learned to stand up against those fears of change. I use my past struggles as a way to learn more about myself. It’s a blessing to have gone through all this because I’m able to show others know they are NOT alone. I want to show others that it’s not impossible, they CAN get through it and they WILL.
Every day, I learned something new about myself. Whether it was about nutrition, fitness, myself or other people, it always challenged me in a different way. I discovered a lot about how I’m wired. Stepping out of my own shoes to view myself in third person, I see someone who has made many uncomfortable changes in the past year. I’m so grateful for all that God has given me. He’s provided me so much and I can’t give anyone the glory but Him.
All my past experiences have played a huge role in forming the passion I developed for fitness, nutrition & health. Feeling comfortable with being uncomfortable has challenged me to step out my comfort zone. I don’t regret it one bit.
Recently, I did an interview with Bravo TV sharing about 2017 food trend predictions. I shared about my forecast of shifting towards a more gut-healthy and anti-inflammatory diet. I’m so lucky & blessed to be able to share this.
“Probiotic Foods and drinks such as sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, and drinking vinegar have been on the rise as many health enthusiasts are incorporating them into their diets. Probiotics are good bacteria, which keeps your GI system healthy and improves immune function.”
Scrolling down to my old Instagram posts. I noticed many minor gradual changes in the just 2016. I just began attending meet-ups and events this past year. Being such a shy, quiet and introverted person in the past, I’m surprised I was willing to attend events by myself. I remember feeling extremely anxious and hesitant. I’m still an introvert but I have my extrovert moments. It’s amazing to watch my passion for fitness, nutrition and health develop overtime without realization. It all began with the courage to start the BBG program. I wanted to adapt a fitness routine I enjoyed. It continued with the desire to learn how to fuel myself the proper way. Fueling myself the proper way consists of real, whole foods. It consists of having a balanced diet without restriction.
It took time and many painful circumstances to get to where I am today. I’m not perfect. I never was and never will be. I still make mistakes and struggle but it does not define me. I don’t hate myself for them anymore because they have shaped my character. I want to use my past experiences to impact others. I want others to know they ARE stronger than their fears of making uncomfortable changes. When there are things you can’t change, change your perspective. I see ALL situations (good & bad) as a step to learn something new. In the long run, those uncomfortable changes will end up benefitting you.
First, let me share a glimpse of where I come from. I have divorced parents. I grew up being very independent. I didn’t have anyone to lean or depend on. I learned through observing quietly (sounds creepy, I know). If anyone attempted to help me, I would push them away. I was comfortable by myself & didn’t want to let anyone in. I built my walls up really high. I told myself if I allowed people close though, I would get hurt. Eventually, I felt very alone. It wasn’t until I plugged myself into community, I realized how rewarding it is. It happened gradually without any expectations. I truly believe it was an answered prayer from God.
Seek possible opportunities around you and jump for them. You’ll never know what you’re capable of until you GO FOR IT. In the past, I was afraid of making any changes even if I knew it was necessary. I was afraid of initiating. I feared jumping at opportunities if I knew I didn’t have a 100% success rate. I didn’t want to disappoint myself or others. To be honest, I started off the BBG guides secretly because if I didn’t succeed in the 12-week program, nobody would know. We aren’t made to succeed at everything and that’s 100% okay. You just need to keep seeking opportunities. If you don’t give up, you’ll find your opportunities. I guarantee you.
Be attentive to how you act in certain situations. This helps figure out the root cause of many problems, helping you seek solutions to solve it. Find out what triggers your unhealthy habits and then find ways to get rid of them. This helped me recover from my binge-eating habits. I wrote a post here on Binge Eating. I shared about my experience & tips on how I overcame it. Long story short, I wasn’t diagnosed with binge-eating but had binge-eating habits. It became a cycle of self-harm and self-hate. I was aware, but again, I was afraid of making a change. Once I decided to ask God for help, I gradually began viewing food as fuel and not something to abuse or fear. Of course, we can’t be 100% self-aware because we ALL have blind spots. This is where our circle of close friends/community come around the corner to look after you.
Find your community.
It’s so rewarding. I’m not talking about any group or community you can find but one that you can mature in. A community that brings out your true-self, challenges you, offers unconditional love & walks with you through all circumstances. You can’t take but not give back. If you pour out your heart to a friend, desire and expect the other person to pour out to you as well. You continually fill each others cup. We only get stronger when we continue to pour out AND get filled. If you’re pouring into others but don’t get filled, you’ll feel dry. This is why community is such a blessing. It’s accountability, support and encouragement. They will be there for you regardless of how much pain or discomfort you’re feeling. They will never make you feel inadequate or unworthy. THEY LOVE YOU FOR YOU!
Eat real food, but allow balance.
I had to tell myself this over 100 times before I truly believed it. I first went through several months of orthorexia (obsession with only eating healthy foods) before my binge eating habits developed. I refused to take even one tiny bite of a donut, cookie, brownie or anything “unhealthy”. I restricted until I could no longer resist and then proceeded to binge. This caused so much emotional pain and guilt. This is WHY I do not reside with cheat meals. I understand it works for some people and that’s great! However, I don’t find it to work for me. It didn’t help me develop a lifestyle habit that sustains. I eat real, whole foods whenever I get the chance. When I’m out, I’m more lenient. I will eat fries, burgers, cookies and donuts if I want to. I just don’t overdo it. Moderation and balance is key!
Understand what works for you.
This brings me to my next point! Cheat meals might work for you, but it doesn’t work for me. There isn’t a single solution for everything. We’re all wired differently. I like to workout earlier in the morning, either before or after breakfast. Other people may prefer to workout at night. I’m not like you. You aren’t like me. Which is pretty awesome in my opinion because it’s what makes each of us so unique.
Listen to your body.
If you’re tired and fatigued, don’t push yourself through a workout. There’s a difference between feeling fatigued and lazy. If your body needs rest, give it rest. You’re doing yourself a disservice when you push through a workout with limited energy. Your body will respond well if you let it recharge first. Also, how many calories do I eat a day? I don’t count. I use to, but it became obsessive. It caused more harm than good. I eat when I’m hungry and stop when I sense myself getting full. It’s all about listening to your body when you’re exercising and eating. I believe in a food approach when it comes to healthcare rather than a medicinal approach. Rather than taking Omega-3 supplements/pills, consume food sources of Omega-3s. You get the benefits of Omega-3 AND many other vitamins and minerals. What you place in your body plays a large role in your overall being.
Track, but don’t obsess.
I don’t count calories. I don’t weigh myself. I don’t track every workout. I’ve done all of these in the past with intentions to be healthier, but it only turned into obsessions. Counting calories helped me understand calories in food, macronutrients & how much I needed to eat. After several months of tracking calories, I began to get critical of all the food I consumed. I set my caloric goal at 1600, while working out 5-6 times a week. I wouldn’t even let myself eat a small piece of fruit if I was hungry because it would push me over my 1600 calorie goal. I went to bed with my stomach growling. I also use to weigh myself everyday. If I didn’t lose weight, I brought my caloric take under 1600/day. I use to track every workout, which caused me to ignore how my body responded to the excessive exercise (mental & physical fatigue). I knew I over-exercised but it felt “satisfying” to have that high caloric burn. It wasn’t until I took a step back and got rid of all my triggers, that I began developing an overall healthier relationship with food and fitness. I deleted my calorie counter, hid my scale and took off my fitness watch. To this day, I’M MUCH HAPPIER 🙂
Discover your purpose and passion.
I grew up being extremely jealous of people around me. Why are all my friends so talented and good at everything? It’s not fair. How do I benefit others when I fail at all I do?? I wanted to discover something I can enjoy. I wanted to discover what my passion was. I was searching and searching for years. I found my passion for fitness and nutrition only 2 years ago, mid-2014!! Since I’ve gone through a lot in my past regarding family, relationships and self-issues, I wanted that to play a role in what I was passionate about. I wanted to make a difference and impact people around me. I’ve seen that play out in my story and I’m more grateful than ever. Going through all the painful times showed me my purpose and passion. I’m not saying I’m proud of what I’ve done but I’m thankful for the lessons. I never would’ve imagined myself doing what I’m doing now. It still surprises me and feels like a dream. I wake up so thankful everyday.
Change your perspective.
It’s easy to put yourself down. It’s easy to tell yourself you can’t do it and aren’t capable. I mean, you’re not having high expectations of yourself so you won’t be disappointed right? In a way, yes but also no. You are more capable than you can ever imagine. It’s good to be rational about things but you should also be more positive and uplifting to yourself. Be aware of your capabilities and make goals that are attainable for YOU. Don’t make goals out of this world but start small! This past year, I’ve changed my perspective in telling myself I CAN do it. In the end, if I realize it’s not for me, then I’ve learned. I see all situations as a way to discover more. I always think of the “driving in traffic” example. It takes me 2 hours to drive home from work. I HATE DRIVING. I HATE TRAFFIC. I’ve learned that I lack patience so I’m working on that. I also learned that it’s great way to spend alone time in the car to listen to podcasts, jam/dance to music or have a time of reflection. Another example, my grandma is a very stubborn person. No matter what I say, she thinks she’s right. I use to get angry and argue back but now I’ve learned to love her regardless. We all have flaws but we need people to love us and be patient with us.
Do what you love & you’ll love what you do.
This aligns with figuring out what works for you. Just because someone is a doctor and makes a lot of money, doesn’t mean you have to do the same to be successful. It’s not all about the money but finding out what YOU are called to do. That’s why there isn’t one type of fashion, occupation, food or book. We enjoy different things.
Overall, BE YOURSELF. Nobody is like you. You’re fearfully and wonderfully made. Tell yourself that again and again. Don’t pick at your flaws and imperfections. You’re imperfectly perfect. We’re all imperfectly perfect. Strive to be a better you and learn from your past experiences rather than letting them bring you down.
Cheers to a 2017!! I’m super excited to see whats to come!!! woot woot! 🙂
^ That’s how you all make me feel.
Love, Winnie <333