I know I kind of randomly started posting to help you on your fitness journey before your big day, but I think it’s time that I gather them under one roof. I’m going to write a series called “Bridal Boot Camp” in which I will give you fitness tips and recipes. Wow! Who would have ever thought to call it Bridal Boot Camp? *sarcasm* I know it is not a novel title, but I just want to organize it a little more for you. If you can think of a better header, by all means comment below. You know how much I love to hear from you!
Anywho… As I sit here drinking my Island Coconut coffee (yes, it is as good as it sounds) at 5:30 in the morning on a Saturday (yes, there is something wrong with me, but sometimes when I wake up I start thinking and just can shut my mind off… give me a “A-Oh!” if you can feel me on that one), I realized that I am officially a P90X graduate today and have changed my mindset and body drastically. My original goal was to look better at 30 (eek! My birthday is coming in May! Sorry for all the side notes – it is 5:30am) than I did at 21. Since starting in January, I’ve lost 12 pounds, 11 total inches and dropped 8% body fat. Oh and I’ve dropped 2 pants sizes. So I think I owe a pretty big thanks to Tony Horton and his stupid Superman Banana for getting me back into those jeans that I bought when I was 21, which I might add are too big now. And I am not done yet! I am starting a hybrid combo of P90X and Brazil Butt Lift (gotta work that booty!) on Monday, so I am in for another 90 days of this.
So while I don’t pretend to be a fitness expert, I did follow a few simple rules that really helped me through this process. I am sure some of you were sitting there thinking “That sh*t cray. I don’t want to do some fad diet. They don’t work.” You’re right. They don’t. It’s a lifestyle change. No, really. It is. I swear by these rules and have honestly made the change and that is how I have gotten as far as I have. It’s going to be a long one, so buckle up. Drum roll please…
5 Simple Rules for Getting in Shape
1. Drink Water
I know you have heard this a million times before, but have you honestly done it? You should be drinking between 2-3 liters of water every single day. If you want the equation, you take your body weight, cut it in half and that’s how many ounces of water you should be drinking (i.e. If you are 150 pounds, you should drink 75 ounces of water or about 2 1/4 liters of water). I promise the frequent trips to the bathroom will become less frequent as your body gets used to the change. If you think about it, going to the bathroom isn’t such a bath thing. You are flushing out the toxins in your system when you drink water. No one wants those nasty things in them!
Most people mistake thirst for hunger. So when you get that hunger pain when you’ve just eaten, you are most likely thirsty, not hungry again. This one was a hard one for me. I found that I was probably only getting 1 liter of water per day. No wonder I felt sluggish and tired all the time! I was dehydrated!
Water was never appealing to me. So I fixed that by adding stuff to it. Not sugar or those single serving packets of flavoring, but fresh lemons, oranges, strawberries, cucumbers, mint… You name it, I’ve tried it. You won’t see me without my bright green water bottle with a few lemon wedges. I actually like water now. It’s pretty much all I drink… except wine…
Already drinking enough water? Good for you! You can check one thing off your list.
2. Keep a Food Diary
Do you really know what you are eating on a daily basis? It’s funny that I used to think I was eating healthy, but in fact, I wasn’t. The amount of sugar and sodium in some foods is downright ridiculous! There are a ton of ways you can track this. You can keep a small notepad with you and just jot it down or you can use an online tracker. My personal favorite is My Fitness Pal. It is free and allows you to search and input all of your food through the day. They have mobile apps and you can search restaurants and brand names. They even have a bar code scanner to make your life a wee bit easier.
I don’t have anything against the other programs like Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig, but I just don’t think those types of programs work in the long term. I’ve tried Weight Watchers in the past and yes, I did lose weight, but it didn’t help to teach me what I was eating. Transferring food into points was more work than it was worth. And I am sure that if you eat only pre-packaged foods that have been shipped to your house, you can lose weight. But what happens when you decide to stop the program? You gain the weight back. Oh yeah, and they cost money. I like my money. I’d much rather do all of it for free.
Once you know what you are eating, you can start making changes. Which brings me to the next rule…
3. Eat Clean and Eat Enough
Eat clean? What the heck does that mean? It’s really quite simple. If you can’t pronounce the ingredients on the package, it isn’t clean. If it has the word “sugar” as one of the first few ingredients, it isn’t clean. If it is a complete meal in a box, it isn’t clean. If it is fast food, it isn’t clean. In a nutshell you should avoid foods that are artificial, over-processed, chemically charged, high in sugar, high in saturated and trans fats and contain preservatives. If you want to really delve into the Eat Clean principles, I suggest getting Tosca Reno’s book The Eat Clean Diet: Recharged. It really helped me understand how to eat clean.
One other important thing – DO NOT STARVE YOURSELF! This is really, really, really important. The best way to fit into that bridal gown is to eat. I can assure you that skipping breakfast is not good for you. Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. In fact, I am going to pause for a moment to go get mine started!
OK, I’m back. I know it’s crazy that to lose weight you need to eat, but it’s true. You should be eating 5-6 small meals per day. Each one of those meals should have a protein and a complex carbohydrate (not straight starches, but veggies and fruits – the healthy carbs). I literally eat every 2-3 hours. Some days I find that I am a bottomless pit and others I can barely force myself to eat another bite. But I know my body needs fuel to get through the day and my workouts.
Fun fact: Diet is the most important factor in getting the body you want. In fact, 80% of weight loss is diet related with another 10% on exercise and the last 10% on genetics.
4. Work Out
No, there is not a quick fix. You have to work out. I chose P90X because there is a great blend of strength and cardio training, which any good workout plan should include. I know you don’t want to bulk up. Neither did I. But I can say that I am super excited about the pipes I’ve got now because of the strength training. My only regret was that I did not do this before I got married. I can only imagine how great my arms and shoulders would’ve looked in that dress now!
You’ve heard the old “1 pound of muscle weighs more than 1 pound of fat.” Seriously, think about what you are saying. One pound of something, does NOT weight more than one pound of something else. But one cubic inch of muscle does weigh more than one cubic inch of fat. As you can see from my stats above, I really didn’t lose that much weight. I did lose a LOT of inches though. It’s because I built muscle and lost fat. Plus, muscle helps burn fat. So the more muscle you have, the easier it is to burn fat.
Now, how do you go about finding an exercise plan for you? For one, you could get a gym membership and hire one of their personal trainers. You don’t necessarily need them for the long haul, but if you do not know your way around a gym, then you need someone to help you get your plan in order. If the membership fees are not in your budget, then you can try some of the at home videos. P90X and Brazil Butt Lift are just two workout programs, but there are a ton more. I’d be happy to help you find a good one, just leave a comment below with your email and we can chat!
Disclaimer: If you have existing medical issues, please check with your doctor before embarking on any fitness program. You don’t want to do more harm than good!!
5. Get Support
This is where I give a little shout out to my “New Year=New You” Facebook crew. Without the support they gave me through this, I never would have made it through the whole 90 days. I was notorious for starting a program and then getting bored 2 weeks in and falling off the wagon. The Facebook group held me accountable. I had to log in every day and let them know how/what I was doing or feeling. Having an accountability partner (or 28!) helps so much! You can even grab your MOH and have her workout with you. It will make you both so much happier and healthier. If you don’t have any friends or family who are interested, I’m here for you! I am starting another round of P90X on Monday, so I ain’t going nowhere!
So that’s it. Five simple rules to follow to help you get in shape. I find that inspirational photos give me something to work toward, so here’s one that really makes me work hard.
I want her abs.
If you want more fitness inspiration, you can follow my Pinterest Fitness Inspiration board. My personal favorite is the “I workout because I know I would’ve been the first to die in the Hunger Games.”
Since everyone likes to start on Mondays, I am dedicating next week to Bridal Boot Camp. Join me to learn a little bit each day and get this thing started!! And now off to get my workout in for the day. Feel the burn!