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May 04

What I Learned During My 15-Year Fitness Journey

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I started down the road of my fitness journey more than 15 years ago!  At that time, I so out of shape, did not have the energy I needed to get through the day, and was not happy with how I looked in many of my clothes. And the thought of wearing a swimsuit – forget it. I needed to make a change! I had to do something before I went down that spiraling path of excess weight gain and the issues that accompany being overweight.

My good friend Vanessa was in a similar state. She was not happy with herself and wanted to lose weight as well. Together, we decided to do the “Body For Life” program by Bill Phillips. We took our before pictures and started a new lifestyle that consisted of very early morning workouts (4:30am) and a fitness routine consisting of cardio and weight training.




Over the weeks we both achieved great results noticeable by our friends, families, and co-workers alike. And, most importantly, we felt great!! When the program was over, we were overjoyed with the results achieved. But little did I know at that time that hard work and diligence was still ahead of me to stay healthy and fit. There was a long journey ahead of me and I would learn a lot. Here are some of the insights that I gained along the way.

Maintaining Weight Loss is a Life Long Investment in Yourself. After a significant weight loss you experience that feeling of euphoria and satisfaction. Your hard work paid off and you are feeling great about yourself again. More than likely, your “dieting” is over and you are not as strict with your workout regimen as you were when you were on your program. This is a big mistake!

Maintaining weight loss requires the same commitment and diligence as any weight loss program. In fact, it requires your commitment to a lifestyle change that includes healthy eating habits and staying active. Otherwise you will soon find that weight will slowly begin to creep back on. So keep up with those great new habits you developed while losing weight.

Eating Healthy is Key. All fitness programs require a change in eating habits as a key component of success. For many, this may mean a change to eating more whole foods, fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and reaching for water instead of soda. This is a big deal to many and sometimes the hardest to do – especially if you have an affinity for tasty treats like me.

So yes, you will need to eat healthy most of the time. Can you still have a cheat day every now and then? – absolutely!!   In fact, you should.  Just be sure that it is more the exception than the rule. The bottom line is that our lives will be filled with many occasions that will tempt us to overindulge in calorie rich and fattening foods. Therefore, in order to maintain a healthy weight, we need to manage our eating habits accordingly. Today, the number and variety of healthier food options are endless. So experiment, try new recipes, and enjoy! In fact, I find that I enjoy the healthier foods I eat now, more than what I consumed in the past.  You may surprise yourself too!

Motivation Goes Through Peaks and Valleys. At the beginning of any weight loss program, motivation is at an all time high. You are inspired to do your best and you may even motivate others by your example. However, there will be times where you may feel just the opposite. Perhaps you reached a weight loss plateau. Maybe you gave in to a tasty treat and convinced yourself that you can start again tomorrow or next week.

We all go through these phases of motivation. Some phases are longer than others. But guess what? It’s perfectly normal. It’s going to happen. The key is to acknowledge and understand what is happening and to develop a plan to address it. Then, commit to that plan and do not look back. You will be back on track before you know it.

Variety is a Necessity. Generally speaking, I am an advocate of routine. It allows us to keep our lives in order and helps to manage expectations. Working out can be the same way. We may run the same route, perform the same weight training routines, or participate in the same spin class on Tuesdays and Thursdays. After a while this can become mundane and BORING. When this happens you become more vulnerable to those delicious temptations and more inclined to leave your workouts to the wayside.

However, over the years, fitness has evolved and there are a huge variety of programs in the marketplace. This makes it very easy to spice up even the dullest of routines. Personally, I incorporated Beachbody into my fitness regimen years ago beginning with P90X. Today, I use a variety of their workouts to keep my body challenged so that I continue to see results. I still enjoy my morning runs and hot yoga. But the variety of my workout routines keeps me motivated and inspired.



You Cannot Compare Yourself to Others. This is probably the most important lesson learned of all. We are all different and at different phases of our journeys. Our bodies are unique and what works well for many may not have the same results. We have our own goals and objectives as well. Therefore, it is important to focus on ourselves and work with our strengths and limitations. Be inspired by others’ strength and dedication and let that motivate you to become the best version of you.

– Wishing you continued success in your fitness journey!

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Copyright 2016 Nichole Michele