My journey started in May/June of 2009 after I successfully did my big chop (I stopped putting relaxers in my hair and returned to naturally born hair texture) so I am no longer putting those chemicals in my body from the relaxers. Wait that’s another story for another day. Ok back to the point, after achieving that goal I said, “hey I was able to do that…so now, what is next?” Well, around this time I was watching an episode of the biggest loser, I get them mixed up but I think it was the one with Coach and his daughter Sunshine and the rest of that amazing Biggest Loser cast. (Note, if i have the wrong cast, the point is the same). It was the episode where they were running a ½ marathon and I got so inspired. The individuals weren’t any smaller than I was at the time and they were able to do it so why couldn’t I? So, I began training for the 1/2 marathon. I am a person that does better when I know people know what I’m supposed to be doing, so I chose to journal about my training on facebook as I had my natural hair journey. I know that is not for everyone, but it served my purpose. Friends encouraged me and held me accountable by asking how I did, or whether I had run my miles because I hadn’t posted any updates, etc. I listened to the free podcast “couch to 5k” to get started. I found several of these on iTunes…granted I wasn’t as committed as I should have been at first, but after I paid for my entry fee in Dec. I was super dedicated because it wasn’t cheap and I wasn’t about to waste my money. I joined the Tennessee in Training group here in Nashville (although they have various groups in Chattanooga and other cities) which helped keep me motivated and encouraged. I was concerned because I was not small and couldn’t run, but they assured me that it was no problem. They patiently waited for me after each run and by about mid training season, I was hanging in there with the group. Sometimes I would even start the run early so I could end with everyone else. Overall, it was just great knowing I wasn’t out there running by myself. I also participated in a couple of 5k’s to just get me used to participating in events. Needless to say, I ran/walked my first ½ marathon on April 24, 2010! By the time I finished that I was wearing a size 18 and feeling pretty inspired. [note: My father (65 yrs old) was so inspired that he decided that day to participate the following year and began training by walking each day after that. I walked my second ½ marathon the next year along side my dad (this was the best feeling in the world, although he almost left me lol).]
So, if you are following me you know my first goal was to become natural, second was to participate in my first 1/2 marathon and so now enters my third goal and that was to learn how to salsa dance. I originally just wanted to learn because I thought it was sexy and cool…but after attending my first lesson, leaving feeling energized but sweating like I had NEVER sweated before, I realized what a great workout it was. I started taking classes twice a week 1 – 2 hrs each and in less than a mth realized that I was dancing up to four days a week…2hrs a piece. If you are doing the math that is about 8 hrs of exercise without picking up a weight or getting on a piece of equipment. I am now considered an intermediate salsa dancer…I don’t sweat like I used to because my tolerance is way up and I don’t dance as much as I used to due to my schedule (a topic for another day), but my clothing size is now a 16, heading towards a 14. It’s now time for my fourth goal, which I started in 2011 but didn’t complete yet and that is to focus on my intake. I have made small changes like drinking water with crystal light in it…instead of my customary sweet tea, Eating subway for lunch instead of Logan’s or other high calorie/fat foods…and trying to eat more vegetables…but, I am a long way from achieving this goal.
So why am I telling you all this? I am saying this to say…no more excuses! Take an honest look at your life and lifestyle and just take small steps to make a change. If my 65 year old father can do this you can too! In 2012, he is participating in his second marathon with my younger brother and his girlfriend. So another suggestion is to make this a family affair! They may gripe and scream at first but they will soon embrace it and thank you for encouraging them to live healthier lives. Make it a contest of who can do something the fastest (drop a clothing size or inches, drink 64 oz of water, run/walk a mile in x amt of time). The opportunities are endless but the key is to encourage each other.
I tackle things on a phased approach, I have never been a throw everything in the basket type of person, so what I am trying to do right now is to prepare meals at home more (yes I eat out ALL the time!!!) and drink more water (thanks for the advice Fred!) so I can go to the bathroom 6 – 8 times a day. Learn what works for you…and focus on that…if what you thought would work doesn’t, then switch it up and try something else until it does…just don’t give up!
So what are your health goals for 2012? Oh and note this is not about new years resolutions but a real deal lifestyle change.