So I have been at my current health and fitness journey for almost 8 weeks now. First off it doesn’t seem that long and secondly there are some things I’ve learned along the way that I’d like to share. I must say that God has been revealing some things to me that I didn’t quite expect, but then again I did decide to include Him on this journey (imagine that!) so I should have expected some shifting and moving to occur 🙂 Initially I started this journey with the desire to lose some extra pounds that have found and attached themselves to me over the last few years. I was/am determined to feel comfortable just in time for my upcoming cruise in October and with a short time frame I figured that would give me the push I needed for this challenge. While there are some things I have learned about myself and food since becoming vegan, there are some additional things I have learned as of recent. So, let’s get into it…
1. I have an intolerance to more than just dairy/lactose.
I have discovered that in addition to being lactose intolerant I may possibly (about 90% certain) have a gluten intolerance as well. Although cutting dairy from my diet has helped me tremendously, from my skin to my digestive system, I have still struggled somewhat with these issues. From reading different blogs and hearing the stories of people with similar symptoms as I’ve experienced, I decided to see if I do have a gluten and/or grain intolerance. I decided to cut out gluten completely for 30 days and cut back tremendously on my grain and legume intake. Because grains, like quinoa, and legumes, like beans, were my major sources of protein as a vegan, I didn’t cut them out completely. So basically throughout the week, I’m a raw vegan 🙂 As a supplement, I’ve upped my leafy green vegetable intake, I have increased my seed intake (I put hemp and chia seeds in my smoothies), and include vegan protein powder in my smoothies. It is possible to still get the recommended amount of protein while being a vegan. So, by eliminating certain things from my diet, I hope I can find the other culprit to my digestive issues and skin outbreaks! I’ll keep you posted on how that goes.
2. Eating healthy doesn’t mean deprivation or eating “boring”.
One of the biggest misconceptions about eating healthy is that you can’t enjoy food and/or that you just eat vegetables all day everyday. Since I’ve become vegan and even since I’ve decided to take my health and fitness more serious, I’ve been obsessed with finding ways to make some of the foods I love just a little more healthy. I actually don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything other than upset stomachs, bloat and terrible breakouts – which are somethings I’m glad to miss. Since throughout the week many of my meals are raw, I try to have fun and keep my meals different. I enjoy experimenting with smoothies and salads, those are my go-tos throughout the week because they are so easy and I can get in all my veggies, fruit and protein for the day. I believe that your meals are going to be as boring as you make them. Eating healthy can be fun as long as you look at food as fuel and not a source of comfort. When you give your body the things it needs on a regular basis, then I think it’s perfectly okay to indulge from time to time. But if that indulgence is an everyday thing, then you’re not going to feel your best. Right now I’m just trying to feel my absolute best!
3. I enjoy working out more than I thought I did.
Since I’ve been working out more, I now look forward to it. It’s like my body craves it now and if I go more than two days without exercising my body seems like it goes into withdrawals and I start feeling that laziness and lack of motivation creeping back in. Working out has become my stress relief and my personal time. I do some of my best thinking when I’m on the treadmill or while I’m lifting weights. I LOVE the feeling I get after a 30-90 minute workout and my body feels like it’s been challenged and pushed to a new level. It’s a great feeling that I look forward to daily – even when I’m away on a business trip. To help keep me motivated while I’m away, I try to choose a hotel with a fitness center and so far I’ve been lucky enough to get just that!
4. Inviting God into my workouts helped me a lot.
So when I initially started working out I had my gym playlist full of my favorite 80s, 90s, and 2000s jams. I felt like I needed something hype and upbeat to help keep me motivated and push me forward in the gym. But then one day while planning out my exercise goals for the week, the Holy Spirit whispered to me, “what if you invited me into your workouts?” I’m not going to lie, the thought of working out to Kirk Franklin or Fred Hammond just wasn’t doing it for me and I felt like I needed something “somewhat crunk” to keep me in the mood. When I went to the Pinky Promise conference earlier this month and went to the zumba workout, we worked out to Christian music and it was just so refreshing and fun. I thought to myself, maybe this is what God wants me to do. So, from that moment on, I decided to put aside the my 90s hip hop and R&B jams for some gospel and motivational music and I must say my workouts have been different. In my head I’m encouraging myself and I feel like the Holy Spirit is encouraging me as well. I also listen to Eric Thomas’s motivational speeches which help keep me motivated as well. I never really thought to include God in my workouts, but I say a little prayer each day before my workouts, share with God my goals and ask Him to motivate and push me to continue to go further beyond my comfort zone. My endurance has increased and my pant size has decreased! IJS!
5. It’s not about what the scale says, it’s about how you feel.
I’ve been back and forth with my scale obsession. Sometimes I say I don’t care about numbers and sometimes I’m obsessing over them. I will say that since I’ve invited God into my workouts, I have not been as concerned with the number on the scale as I was when I first started working out. I would get on the scale a few times a week, but now it’s once a week, sometimes a week and a half will go by and I haven’t checked my progress. I’ve been trying to shift my focus to how I feel physically and how I feel in my clothes. Certain pants and jeans that used to be uncomfortable, now fit comfortably. Best of all, my favorite pair of jeans that I have not been able to wear comfortably since 2013 now fit again! I was elated when I tried them on!
6. I should have been a runner/ran track and field in my youth.
I enjoy running and am working to build up my endurance again. When I was younger, in elementary, I was a very fast runner. My beloved gym teacher Straw saw how fast I could run and he would make me race other kids in my class – including the boys, many of whom I was able to beat 🙂 He would often tell my parents how fast of a runner I was and that they should put me in track and field. He would often try to help me perfect my skill in running, but once I got into junior high and allowed my insecurities to set in, I was no longer into athleticism. Well I’ve discovered since I’ve been working out and in the midst of the Olympics (lol) how much I miss running. When I watched track and field during the Olympics I would shake my head and say to myself, “that could have been me”! But God had a different plan.. Any who, I’ve decided that I want to get back into running and I would like to run a marathon just to live out that childhood dream I never knew I had or how to achieve. I’m going to work my way up to a marathon by first running some 5ks. Once I have a few of those under my belt then I will probably train to run my first marathon. I’m not going to put a date on it because I don’t know how long it takes to train, so I’m just going to take it a day at a time and go for it when God tells me to!
I’ve been keeping my progress photos to myself (with the exception of sharing it with a few friends), but because I’m grateful from where God has brought me and in hopes to motivate and encourage someone else, I’ve decided to share a progress photo with you all.
Stay motivated and stay tuned.. I’m going to soon start a health and fitness challenge via social media that I want as many people as possible to participate in order to better achieve health and fitness goals!
Until next time…