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Before, After, AFTER Pics…Maintaining Your Gains

April 7, 2016 0 Comments

consistency

The photos above can tell quite a story alone! The first one is me at my heaviest (around 180 lbs) in 2009. The second one shows the end of my first 6 months with Eupraxia in summer of 2012. The end one was just taken this January (2016).

Most of you should know my story by now. If you don’t and you would like to read it in full, you can find it here. But in a nutshell:

My mid-twenties found me overweight, anxiety ridden and depressed. I dragged myself out of this by running and counting calories, but kept getting hurt. Then I started gaining weight again. On a 1200 calorie/day diet. Before he opened Eupraxia, Dr. Steve Czys was my chiropractor, and he was the one who finally handed me the answers as to how the hell this was happening. When he opened Eupraxia, I dove in head first and pretty much have not looked back since.

Now I am going to be brutally honest here…one of my biggest pet peeves is people assuming it is easy for me to stay fit and healthy simply because I work in a gym. It is almost offensive. (I do recognize that I have an advantage though. I am able to remove the proverbial “hardest step being the first step out the door,” as most days I am already here for work.)

Please understand that I have had slumps over the years. I certainly don’t always eat perfectly. I am a VERY indulgent person, and this often includes chocolate. ;) I have off days, I don’t always give 100% at the gym and there are a few workouts that we do here that I REALLY hate. Like a lot. So much that when I see one coming I cheat and come in and do something different on a Sunday. (Shhhh don’t tell anyone…)

Know that it is still sometimes really hard for me to get my butt into gear, especially after a few days off. What has happened though, is that through being consistent with my workouts over the years, is that returning to a routine is easier.

I have fully recognized how good exercise makes me feel. How good it is for my mind, body and soul! If I take a few days off in a row my anxiety acts up, I have a harder time falling asleep, I get really cranky and my energy levels plummet. Now I know what it feels like to feel awesome, so I absolutely HATE when I feel like this. This feeling is what usually brings me back in for a workout, often at a full sprint.

Lets detour here for a minute…

I had a baby girl in 2014. I had worked out through my whole pregnancy, but had to take a full 6 weeks off after Charlie was born to recover from childbirth. This was TORTURE to me. It was the dead of winter and I couldn’t even go outside for a walk. I am only slightly ashamed to admit that I joined the senior citizens and became a Mall-Walker for these 6 weeks. Fortunately my dear friend Katie was in the exact same boat and these 6 weeks are now some of the best memories I have.

When I received the go-ahead to get back to the gym, it was a Wednesday, which means kickboxing. I nearly sprinted through the doors due to excitement.  If you know me at all, you will know kickboxing is usually my least favorite day. Not this day! I WAS SO HAPPY! But boy, was it tough. I could not believe how heavy the kettlebells felt. Here is where we come back to topic.

Consistency.

Your body is super smart and muscle has memory (thank goodness!) Because I was in good shape all throughout my pregnancy and years prior, the strength came back pretty fast. It was NOTHING compared to the struggle and soreness of when I first started. The cool part? I  have gotten to watch my body make some amazing transitions over the years! Just for fun, lets take a look at a different progression of photos. This lineup starts with a picture I just happened to have taken RIGHT before I found out I was pregnant. The middle one is when Charlie was about 3 months old and the last one is 9 months postpartum. (Fast-forward back to the top lineup, where the last photo was taken about two months ago. Charlie is now 2 years old.)

pre-to-post-baby

 

Consistency is KEY here. I have found something I love and I plan to do it forever!

Everyone is different. Everyone is motivated differently and not everyone is going to love the same things or approach something the same way. I had to change more than just my exercise routine. I even had to change more than my eating habits. These two things are often the only topics discussed. I am not sure if it is because they are the most widely accepted, or if it because they are the easiest changes to wrap your head around. Anyone can go on a 30 day cleanse or take an 8 week challenge at a gym and see some sort of results. But what happens next? Where do you go from there? What will keep you coming back to the gym, or keep you away from the junk at the grocery store?

This is an area where Eupraxia stands out. This is an area I can hopefully help you with. I can share with you some of the things I continue to work on, outside of eating right and exercising. Somewhere along this journey to health and wellness, this has simply become My Life.

  • Sleep! I am not sure when it became “cool” to not sleep, but I am just as guilty. I can remember using the phrase “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” A LOT in my 20’s. I would venture to say this was more damaging to my health than almost all of my other bad habits combined. Now I could write an entire blog post on this…but I will spare you today. We will just note that sleep is probably the BEST thing you can do for your health! It is healing, restorative and the lack of it can lead to a whole mess of health complications. I don’t care how clean your diet is or how good of shape you are in. If you are getting less than 7 hours of sleep a night on a regular basis, then this is an area of life that needs your attention. Yesterday.
  • Do something EVERY DAY to remind yourself of why you are doing this. This is a huge one for me. I have made it a point to keep learning. Knowledge is power, and in this day and age, information is at your fingertips! USE IT! Podcasts, blogs, books, audiobooks…find something that works for you!
  • Find your cause, WHY do you want to be healthy? This must be something bigger than yourself, something outside of yourself. Mine started after watching my dad wither away from cancer. I am very driven to make sure I do whatever I can to avoid this path for myself and my family. Now that I have a child, she is only added fuel to my cause.
  • Internal Dialog – I often ask my yoga students to reflect on the first things they think upon waking in the morning. Or what they say to themselves when they look in the mirror.  Are you telling yourself something you would never dream of saying to your friends? Why are you saying bad things to yourself!? The best advice I can give you here is to stop trying to earn a body you will love. Instead, love your body enough to give it what it deserves. Start by finding something you like about yourself. Something you are grateful for. WRITE THESE DOWN. Then try looking in the mirror and telling yourself these things over and over again!
  • Feed your mind – I am a big fan of the quote, “If you put garbage in, you get garbage out.” This applies to ALL area of life, ESPECIALLY your mind. What kind of people do you surround yourself with? What kind of material do you like to read or watch on TV? Maybe it is time to consider some new topics, to set some boundaries up with coworkers or cynical relatives and possibly consider making a new friend.
  • Stress – This is such a huge topic, and it fascinates me. In the interest of staying on topic, lets take a quick look at one hypothetical scenario here: You are walking around in the forest and your senses are on high alert because you know there are grizzly bears in the area. You hear something rustle in the bushes and immediately your “fight-or-flight” stress response kicks on, in preparation to fight or flee from this bear. Heart rate increases, digestion shuts down, you get a surge of adrenaline and a whole mess of other hormones are released. Then a cute little rabbit pops out. Cease perceived danger. Did you catch the keyword there? Perceived. It is our perception that matters here and this is super cool to me, because it gives us back the power of control in a lot of cases! A huge problem today is mis-managed stress. So many people walk around in a constant state of this “fight-or-flight” response and never enter the opposing state that we are SUPPOSED to spend most of our time it. The “rest-and-digest” state where all the healing and regeneration occurs. So what can you do? Determine the situations that you perceive as stressful; like being in slow traffic. You get to choose here. Will you be the guy wriggling impatiently in your seat, yelling at anyone creeping ahead of you in the line or will you maybe use this time to take tip number 2 above and put on a podcast and enjoy the downtime? ;)

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About the Author:

EupraxiaAt Eupraxia we not only teach the best way to exercise, we also teach our members about nutrition and food. Our goal is to help people take control of their own health!

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