Lately I’ve been thinking about how much has been slowly changing for me from a health and fitness perspective over the last four years.
After mulling it over for a while, there are three things I wish I would have done differently when I first decided to start working out regularly again.
I Wish I’d Documented My Progress More Thoroughly
Those of you who have known me a long time probably won’t be surprised by the first item on this list. For everyone else, let’s just say that I find a lot of joy in keeping track of all kinds of statistics for the pure pleasure of being able to go back and look at them on occasion to see how they’ve changed over time.
Today I’m going to ignore the unwritten social rule about women refusing to talk about their weight. It’s a silly prohibition, and I don’t see any reason to follow it when part of this post is about how that has changed for me since 2013.
I weighed 143 pounds when I first began focusing on improving my health. Last year I bottomed out at 118 pounds, but I’ve since purposefully moved up to 124 pounds as of yesterday’s weigh-in. I like the way I look at this size, and I’m planning to stick with it for the time being.
Other than the approximate weight I had four years ago, I didn’t bother to take note of anything else that I could have recorded about my body at that time. Now I wish that I had kept track of everything from the circumferences of my waist to exactly how many minutes of the exercise videos I could do when I first started looking them up on Youtube.
While I do have recent statistics for some of these items now, I would love to have charts showing my weekly or monthly progress over the past four years as I lost weight, toned up, reduced my body fat percentage, and slowly began moving into more and more challenging workouts.
There was a time a few years ago when I wasn’t strong enough to do a single pushup. Now I can do them, and I’d love to know exactly when that changed.
I Wish I’d Paid Attention to My Diet Sooner
Getting into a regular workout routine was easier for me than adjusting my diet, but I didn’t start losing weight until I took a closer look at what I was eating and changed it. I don’t believe in the concept of “forbidden” foods, but there were some tweaks I needed to make in order to become healthier in general.
My diet was actually fairly balanced back then, but I did have dessert a little too often and I wasn’t eating as many servings of vegetables as Canada’s Food Guide recommends.
Along with adding more vegetables into meals I already knew I liked and having dessert a few times a month instead of a few times a week, I switched from drinking rice milk to drinking almond milk. Switching to almond milk was something I originally did to get some of the unnecessary, hidden sugar in it out of my diet, but I later learned that rice milk is about 100 calories per cup while almond milk is only 30.
All of these small changes added up over time. I wish I’d known how simple they were to make and how quickly my palate would adjust.
I Wish I’d Done More Than One Type of Exercise from the Beginning
Nearly all of the workouts I did at first were cardio, and many of them were of various types of dancing. As much as I enjoyed it, I wish I’d started weightlifting regularly sooner than I did.
Being able to switch between a few different forms of exercise makes my current routines much more interesting than they used to be. It’s difficult for me to grow bored with it because my routine shifts regularly.
Weightlifting has also improved my health in all kinds of ways that aren’t at all related to how much I weigh. For example, last year I noticed that the groceries I carried home weren’t feeling as heavy as they used to be. I wasn’t needing to stop and rest like I did in the past when I wanted to buy a whole bunch of heavy stuff like watermelon, canned goods, and multiple cartons of milk.
This happened so gradually that it took me a few trips to realize what was happening. I love the freedom that comes with being able to buy more food at once instead of breaking my trips up when a great sale happened.
With that being said, I’m happy with the progress I’ve made so far with my physical fitness and general health. I’m looking forward to seeing what my life is like four years from now.