In 2016 I drastically changed my body composition and lost an additional 40 pounds for a total of 80 pounds lost since 2013.
This year I took steps to becoming a leaner, fitter, happier and healthier person. Countless people have noticed the change in my body composition, my mindset and mood. I get asked all the time how I made these changes.
Here’s a holistic, comprehensive look at my routine and a breakdown of the best way to make lasting changes to your body and mindset.
1. Mindset, Self-Acceptance and Self-Love.
The first step in my journey was making changes to my mindset. It’s important to recognize that my transformation wasn’t rooted in the mindset of hating or wanting to change my body. This transformation started with radical self-acceptance and love for my body and my mind.
I repeated positive authentic affirmations, withheld self-judgement, journaled, left love notes for myself throughout my home and paid close attention to my self-talk.
The second step in my journey was finding ways to move my body that I enjoyed. I didn’t jump into lifting weights in the first or second year of my body transformation.
I used to be someone who didn’t enjoy any sort of physical activity—I conveniently “forgot” my gym clothes in school. So pushing myself to find a physical activity I enjoyed was a huge challenge for me.
When my mindset changed to self-love, my perspective changed and I wanted to move my body because I knew that my I needed physical activity to function optimally. I started by biking a lot. I really enjoyed biking and I fell in love with the way I felt after biking hard. Over time, I fell in love with running, biking, hiking, climbing stairs, yoga, dancing and lifting weights.
3. Nutrition, Portion size and a Healthy Relationship with Food.
Understanding and creating positive habits around nutrition was a huge factor in my transformation.
Food fuels us. It affects our overall health, mood and energy level.
Understanding nutrition and what our bodies need to thrive is imperative to any lasting change.
I eliminated foods from my diet that caused inflammation and allergic reactions. I broke my food in macro nutrients and focused on getting the right amount of protein, carbs and fats into my diet as well as counting calories. Making healthier, nutritional choices allowed me to gain a sense of what my body needed to function. I no longer count calories on a regular basis because I have a good idea of what my body needs to function at its best.
On the other side of that, I allow myself to enjoy the foods that I enjoy. I love junk food.
Never in the past year have I eliminated chips or candy from my diet. Once every few weeks I eat the foods I love while also enjoying my nutritious choices 99 percent of the time.
4. Consistency, Commitment and Dedication.
Consistency, commitment and dedication to transformation was perhaps one of the hardest factors of changing my body. In the past, I wanted change immediately. In the past, I wanted my body to look a certain way for a specific reason—a wedding, summer, a vacation or a date. I’d commit to a diet for a few weeks and fall off the bandwagon after it served its purpose and then I fell back into old habits.
True, lasting transformation happened when I committed to my body and my lifestyle as a whole—all year long. I created consistent, sustainable lifestyle habits and that’s when I started to notice a shift in the way that I felt and looked.
5. Rest, Recovery and Relaxation.
My body needed a lot of time to rest and recover. When I moved my body it caused small tears in my muscles. Bodies need time to repair and I needed to allow my body plenty of time to rest and relax. I gave myself time to watch a movie or television show, read a book, took a bath, got a massage or carved out time for meditation at the beginning of my day.
Self-care is important to physical, mental and emotional health for a number of reasons. It is a call to action to true care for our bodies as an act of true, authentic self-love.
My personal commitment to physical activity, nutrition, rest and wellness was a part of my greater commitment to self-care.
It stemmed from a place of love for my body, mind and spirit.
My self-care routine encouraged me to live mindfully and make daily choices that allowed me to connect with myself, my body and others. It involved mindful moments to pause and ground myself in the present moment. I got enough sleep, ate nourishing food, enjoyed physical activity, reflected, danced, had fun, did self-massage and connected with friends; these were some of the countless ways I cared for myself and my body.
All in all, creating lasting change is about creating new habits for the way we live each and every day.
Fads and dieting have a purpose but if you feel stuck right now, I encourage you to take a look at your daily habits and see how they’re keeping you stuck.
Things that keep us feeling stuck.
Looking in the mirror and putting ourselves down.
Stress eating and Netflix binging nightly.
Not giving our body enough to eat and punishing it with long, strenuous workouts.
Over consumption of alcohol, party nights or internet surfing.
I encourage you to take a look in the mirror and smile back at your reflection.
If you aren’t where you want to be right now, pause, forgive and accept yourself where you’re at. Accept that who you are right now is okay and commit to making one small change to your lifestyle this year and carry that commitment throughout the year. You deserve it.
Transformation is about much more than only changing our outer shell. It’s about connecting with who we are deep inside and making daily choices that reflect love, acceptance and authentic connection with ourselves and others.
Find a way to move your body that you enjoy and feels rewarding to your physical, mental and emotional being. Find ways to connect with yourself in a meaningful, loving way and find connection with others. Other people can inspire, motivate and reflect our true-self back to us in moments of doubt.
Best of luck in your transformation journey.
Author: Rachelle Gibbs
Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock