Updated: Oct 12
I once met a woman named Scarlet who had struggled with her weight for several years. She was terrified of going to the gym. She had signed up for free trials online several times, trying to get herself to go. She even bought a month membership to a local gym on Groupon. She managed to sit in her car in the parking lot for 10 minutes, before giving up and heading home.
Realizing that the gym wasn't for her, she decided to try weight watchers. With this, she did finally lose some weight, but she always seemed to gain it back. Frustrated, she gave up on that as well. Scarlet gained more weight and felt miserable about herself.
This is when I met Scarlet. She saw a post about a five minute workout that I did at home and shared as my "tip of the day" and had questions about working out at home. Being naturally curious, I asked her questions about her experiences and she unloaded years of emotional baggage tied to her weight loss struggles. It ended up being a longer conversation than I intended, but I could tell Scarlet needed to talk about it. I felt awful for her. Here she is feeling like a failure for years when in reality... the fitness industry failed her.
I apologized and empathized as I listened to her struggles. Then I asked, "Would you like me to help you get started from home?" She said yes and we got to work. After just less than 3 months, she had lost over 20lbs. Even more amazing, she had never stuck with any plan for that long. She still has work to do, but she's happier than she's been in a long time and more confident that she can get in shape than ever before.
Here's the five things Scarlet did that got her started on her fitness journey.
Scarlet started eating mindfully. She recorded everything she ate in a journal and started to take her time with eating... chewing thoroughly... instead of rushing through meals. She even writes down the "slip ups". She used to get really down on herself when she would give into junk food. I told her, "It's a single moment, and it's okay. Let it go and keep moving forward like nothing happened." She started writing "forgiven" next to those items, despite me telling her she doesn't need forgiveness for enjoying food. She says it helps her let it go more easily when she slips up.
She started slow and especially for the first 30 days. Scarlet was afraid that I was going to have her change all kinds of things right off the bat. She was glad to find out that the exact opposite was true. For the first 30 days, we focused on doing just 5 minutes... no more, no less, no mater what. She actually found it difficult to stick to just five minutes by the end of the 30 days. She was excited to "get to the next step". Which was a huge mindset shift for her, as she usually dreading everything about starting a new program.
She started a simple strength training workout to build a stronger body and boost her metabolism. Yes, we decided she needed to invest a little money in some exercise equipment. Nothing fancy. She bought a kettlebell (15lbs), exercise bands, and two 15lb dumbbells. In total, she spent less than $75.
Scarlet started walking everyday to clear her head. She was a stress eater. When she had a stressful day at work, she'd come home and find something sweet. Instead, she takes a walk as soon as she gets home from work. She doesn't even go inside first. She knows she'll be stressed and tempted. She changes her shoes in the car and goes for her walk.
She started eating a little more protein and vegetables. She was always the type of person that HATES vegetables. She talked about having to sit at the table and force down green beans and broccoli growing up and just avoided vegetables as an adult. We came up with a challenge. Every week she'd pick a vegetable and try it prepared three different ways. This worked wonders for her. She found several vegetables she didn't like, but managed to find a handful of vegetables she did enjoy. She doesn't eat a lot of vegetables, but she eats more now than she has ever done before.
You're own fitness story will likely vary somewhat from Scarlet's. EveryBODY is different. What's important is that you get started and you find something that YOU can stick to.
Scarlet's struggles and letdowns with fitness industry aren't unique, but her story inspired me to change my approach to fitness. While Scarlet lost weight, she was happiest with what she gained. She gained confidence. She gained a love for her body and moving it. And she stopped caring about the weight loss and started caring more about how she felt about herself and how she felt physically.
If you want to finally make changes that stick like Scarlet's... Join Return To Fit today!
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