Journey to a healthier you starts with small stepsBy TERESA HAMMOND
The day I said goodbye to the ‘fat’ me was not on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day. Oddly enough it was three months prior to my 20th wedding anniversary. Most dream of a lavish party, dream vacation or new piece of jewelry. Me? No, I dreamt of recognizing myself again when I passed a mirror. I had grown tired of struggling to rise from the floor after playing with my kids. I no longer wished to be the ‘fat’ mom. Where had the healthy me from my early 30s gone? Something had to change.The Beginning
The critical piece in my fitness journey was in finding something that not only had results, but I would stick with. No two people are the same. Each of us faces different challenges and mindsets. I turned to a friend who had found a ‘new’ life and health with a weight loss program she believed in so strongly she became a health coach. So June 1, 2010, the journey began.
This would not be a long-term answer, but it would help get the momentum started. Being faced with cutting back on so many foods that I loved during summer and later into the holidays was not easy. As the days passed, I would tell myself, it’s just one summer of your life. The freedom for the remaining summers is worth it.
Within the first 30 days of living true to the goal, people began noticing. I was not active prior to starting the program, so I kept activity minimal at best. I really wasn’t comfortable in workout clothes. If being honest, I was even embarrassed walking in my neighborhood.
By fall of that same year I had lost an initial 20 pounds and began using a Couch to 5k app on my smartphone. This seemed ideal. It was 30 minutes max, three to five days a week and would talk me through the run/walk intervals as I listened to music. Brilliant.
As the mother of two, silence is minimal. Freedom is next to non-existent. Morning darkness became my new best friend, as I would lace up and escape under the stars for 30 minutes each day. Make no mistake; there is nothing easy about rising at 5:30 a.m. to run in the cold or on a treadmill at the gym. This time however, I was not going to quit. I knew my family wanted this for me, but more importantly, I wanted it for myself. I had decided to finally place myself at the top of the list.The Middle
One year in and 50 pounds lighter and my life looked drastically different. That 20th anniversary would prove to be my final one. Now I was a single mom of two kids, in a new home and working full time. This would have been the ideal time to fail and eat my way back to the girl I didn’t know.
Stress had taken on new meaning. Fear I had never known found me.
Fortunately, the running piece had not only stuck but opened my life to a new activity I could enjoy with friends. The ‘fat’ girl, who once used to watch and marvel at the hit show the "Biggest Loser," was living her own version. We all know, eyes are watching waiting to see us fail. This was not going to be that time.
The goal was not to be skinny, thin or hit a magic number that a BMI chart dictates makes me ‘healthy.’ The goal was to be healthy — live, eat and move healthy and teach this to my children.
Turning once again to my phone I used the Nike+App to track my running miles and MyFitnessPal to help monitor food intake. Words such as healthy choices and hydrate were now commonplace in our household. The weight stayed at bay.
The activity of running is no longer a ‘thing’ Teresa was trying; it has become just what I do. The weight stayed off and treats are allowed back into my life on occasion.
Two and three years later, people continue to ask “Is it the running?” to which I honestly reply, “It’s the craziest thing. The doctors were right. Eat well and exercise or eat less and move more.”
Since my first race in 2011, keeping races on the calendar has been commonplace. As my goals grew greater I needed to turn to other forms of exercise. In came yoga. It is a great way to strengthen the core and the mind.
It is indeed a continuum, the work must continue. It does become a lifestyle.
The carrot so to speak, the reward that transcends any medal, is the community and activity my children have now come to know through mommy’s 'weight loss' goal. They have watched me cross numerous race finish lines, including my first full marathon in 2013. They have crossed many themselves as well and now also attend a weekly kids yoga class.
So when you hear people say “It’s a lifestyle change,” believe them. But mostly, believe in you. That is where the victory lies. I promise you, you can.There's an app for thatCouch to 5K
Couch to 5K features a training plan designed by Active.com trainers. Choose from four different motivating virtual coaches—Johnny Dead, Constance, Billie or Sergeant Block. Hear real-human audio cues to guide you through each workout. Listen to your favorite playlists with in-app music player. Calculate your distance and pace and map your routes with GPS support (requires iPhone 3G, 3GS, or iPhone 4 and iOS 4.0 or greater). Log your workouts, share your progress on Facebook and get support on Active.com Trainer.Nike+
The Nike+ Running App tracks your runs and helps you reach your goals. On the trail, treadmill, or streets, your phone’s GPS and accelerometer accurately track your distance, pace and time. You can also track your metrics at every mile with in-run audio feedback. Compete with your friends for the top leaderboard spot, or go toe-to-toe against them in a Nike+ Challenge. Just set a distance. Invite your friends. And race to the finish.FitStar
FitStar uses data about your body to tailor workouts. The app creates customized exercise routines presented in videos featuring NFL star Tony Gonzalez. Then it keeps adjusting future workouts based on how you actually perform.GAIN Fitness
This full-featured app builds personalized workout programs from over 1,300+ exercises. Workouts are algorithmically tailored to your fitness level, goal, equipment and schedule (in real-time).Argus
Argus tracks your activity directly through your iPhone rather than via a separately purchased device. As long as you carry your phone all day long, Argus will watch your movements. You can also log workouts, keep an eye on how much water you drink, and take photos of your food to inspire yourself to stick to a healthy lifestyle.