Almost 6 years ago I met a man. He was what I had pictured all along when I thought of Prince Charming. I knew almost right away that if things worked with him, he would be my story. And almost 6 years later, he IS my story. Through his dreams, God has given us an amazing life. We've been all over the country. Lived by the sea in North Carolina, had a wedding in the low country of South Carolina, experienced college football history in Aggieland, took a boat ride on the Riverwalk in San Antonio, had a southern style dinner under the glow of the jumbotron at Jerry's world, drank hand grenades on Bourbon St. in New Orleans, Enjoyed an anniversary ferris wheel ride over Olympic park on Skyview Atlanta, experienced a New Year's eve Chick-fil-a bowl barn burner complete with parachuting cows, and taken a late night stroll around the Disney boardwalk.
Our life is so dope. There are really no other words. I have gotten to live a DREAM life for the past few years, and the tragedy is, there have been times where I haven't even noticed. I've been so caught up with the day to day life of figuring out all of the logistics of getting to these places and stresses of making it work when we got there, that I haven't been able to be in an appropriate state of awe for all of my blessings. That changes now.
Today, my incredible husband hopped a plane bound for our newest destination. He'll be there for a few days, and then we'll once again pack up our life and start anew, with the opportunity for adventures all over our new area. I really am so blessed and at 35 I am just now figuring out the point of life, and learning to let go and let God. He has always been faithful, and I know he won't stop now. Here's to new blessings, and being able to recognize them in the moment.
About a month ago, my circle of fellow Beachbody coaches started to talk about this new thing called "Diet bets". It a website that challengers log into, post their starting weight with pictures that must be verified by website "referees", and pay a small entry fee. The bet lasts 30 days, and in that time, each player must lose 4% of their body weight (anything over 12% is considered unsafe and will be disqualified). Initially I didn't like the idea. I'm not a competitive person AT ALL. Like literally, I have never cared about "winning" in my entire life. I did gymnastics as a sport in high school, where I was at one point told by my coach "You have to compete in something or you won't get a varsity letter!" I just didn't care! I was at practice every day, working on my form and trying to get better, but competing with someone else? I didn't see the point. Anyways, back to the diet bet. I wasn't into it for that reason, but also, I knew that there was a chance I was going to lose my $10 (and I've never been one to throw money down the drain, especially around the holidays). My weight loss has ALWAYS been slow and steady. For me it's been more about creating a true lifestyle change, where I can enjoy myself food-wise around date nights, vacations, and holidays, but live the rest of my life trying to be healthy and maintain a balance. I KNEW that going into a season where I would finally have my husband around for more than a few hours a week, I was not going to want to stress myself out about keeping "on track". For me, the holidays are about maintaining. If you can get from Thanksgiving to New Year's without gaining any weight, that is a win in my book. But, I was up 6 pounds after Thanksgiving weekend, and 4% of my body weight would put me right back to where I wanted to be, which is currently 150. I agreed to do it with the team, because I wanted to be a good sport, but also to get back to "normal" anyway. So, I hopped back on my meal plan and stuck to my mostly clean eating with a few splurges along the way. I was right on track, within about 1.5 pounds of my goal going into Christmas. If you have read my blog previously, you know that there's not a chance that I was going to "diet" over the holiday. Like I said, I want to ENJOY my life, and not let keeping track of my food consume me when I'm supposed to be having fun. Well, obviously Christmas and it's glorious treats set me off track. By my calculation I had three days to get off two pounds. Unfortunately, the funeral for someone we had known that had passed would be on one of those days and would take some driving. I had some healthy snacks planned out, as it would be about a 6 hour round trip. We were rushed leaving the house and I forgot to grab my snacks. After the service, we were hungry and desperate. The closest, healthiest option was Arby's, where I got a market fresh sandwich. Not too bad, right?
"Do you want fries with that?"
****eyes go all swirly like in the cartoons****
"Yes, Yes I do want fries with that. And a Dr. Pepper."
Cut to an hour later I'm asking myself what happened and why do I have ketchup on my dress? Well, that was gonna set me back now, wasn't it? So, on the final day before my weigh in I ate as cleanly as I could. Lots of protein, veggies, and fruits and upon my husband's advice, very little water and low sodium foods, because I'd want to flush out some water weight. But I'm NOT going to lie to you guys, I did google my options. Drinking epsom salt. Taking laxatives. Eating Haribo Sugar-free gummy bears (I'm not kidding. Read the reviews here to get a great laugh). All options for someone who needs to drop a pound or two fast. And had I been more invested than $10 worth, I would have let my mind linger on them just a bit longer.
I woke up the final morning super nervous. I stepped on the scale feeling as light as I could, and there it was...151.3. No budge. I was still the same weight I had been two days earlier. The most annoying part? I lifted up my shirt and my belly was flat as a board. To be honest, I looked great! But alas, the scale said what it said, and I plopped down in the bed, defeated. I told my husband, who popped up and said:
"One pound? That's EASY!"
"What? No, I told you that I didn't make it. I have to weigh in today."
"What time today?"
"Anytime before Midnight, but I'm not waiting till then to eat."
He proceeded to tell me to get up and pull some long sleeve shirts and sweatshirts out of the dirty laundry. Something I wouldn't mind getting wet, be cause I was had more than 1 pound's worth of sweat in my body....
You see, my husband was a wrestler in High School, and he was very familiar with "cutting weight". I put on a long sleeved shirt, a sweatshirt, high socks, sweatpants, and a winter hat. For a girl who hates being hot and often runs in just a sports bra and shorts, this sounded like torture. We put in our new program (which I am LOVING), Insanity Max:30, and started to work. I was DONE after about 6 minutes. I had to follow the modifier for the rest of the time, and even then, had to take breaks, as I was hot, hungry, and dehydrated. It was literally the worst 30 minutes I had endured in a long time. When we finished, I was completely drenched and ready to pass out, but my "coach" asked me to stay in my sweaty clothes just a little bit longer. When I finally couldn't stand it anymore, I stripped down and got on the scale...
150.2!!! I had done it!!!
I took my pictures, logged in, and won back my $10 (+$20 because about 2/3 of the people in the bet either didn't weigh in or didn't make weight), but I didn't feel good about it. What if I had been 5 pounds over? What would I have done to get it off? I'd like to think that I would have just chalked up the $10 as lost and moved on. But then I had an even worse thought. What if I endorsed something like this to the people I coached, and they followed what I preach, which is TRUE moderation, not being so hard on yourself around holidays, and doing your best and not worrying about the scale, and THEY ended up overweight? What if they were more than just a sweaty workout over their target number? Would they starve themselves for days? Would they sit in a sauna for hours? Would they take laxatives? I shuddered at the thought. My goal in life is to help women to feel GOOD about themselves, and putting pressure on them that essentially resorts to "YOU HAVE TO HIT THIS EXACT NUMBER OR ELSE" is NOT the way that I want my challengers to lose weight. It may work for some people. One of my coaches lost TEN POUNDS in the month of December! Staying on track for the bet really motivated her! But who I'm looking to help is the OLD me. And the old me would have cracked under the pressure and either binged because I felt so bad about myself, or resorted to unhealthy means to get my money back. That's not something I can get behind. If you want my help, I'm here with some great recommendations on how to lose weight safely and effectively. But I won't be forcing "weigh ins" or even encouraging you to look at the scale. If that's the kind of motivation you want, I'd much rather you find someone else to coach you.
Here's a before and after picture of this whole debacle. As you can see from my before picture, I CLEARLY needed to lose that one pound. ;)
Happy New Year!!!! If you're reading this post, most likely you have committed to some sort of fitness resolution. First of all...CONGRATULATIONS! Making a decision to take care of your health is a BIG DEAL. None of us is promised a certain amount of years, but by making your health a priority you are doing all that you can to extend your time here with your family and friends.
So here's the deal. I'm a fitness coach, but I'm also a real person who struggles with my food choices daily. It took me a long time to get down to my ideal weight, and while I'm still not exactly where I want to be, I've created a LIFESTYLE for myself where fitness is a focus. These are just my suggestions and things that I've learned from years of making resolutions that were thrown out the window before February 1st.
These are in no particular order. Each tip is just as important as the next.
1. BE REALISTIC with your goals. This is the advice I give to EVERYONE I coach. If you didn't put on the weight in a month, you won't take it off in a month. If you can't do a pull up right now, you're not going to be able to do one without putting in some time and effort. In today's world we are SO focused on instant gratification. There is no such thing when it comes to weight loss and fitness. You will have to work consistently for a good bit of time before you start to see those pounds come off or be able to do a push up not being on your knees.
2. BE RATIONAL in your approach. If you aren't exercising 6 days a week now, don't expect to be able to keep that pace starting now for the next however many weeks until you reach your goal. It's important to create a lifestyle that you can MAINTAIN. I believe that THIS is the reason that the gym will be packed every single day from now until about 1/18. Then by 2/1, you'll be able to hear a pin drop. People burn out by going TOO hard in the beginning and then either their body shuts down because it needs rest, or they get discouraged because they don't see the results for the effort that they're putting in, and after 3 weeks, they're dunzo. If you KNOW FOR SURE that you can commit to 3-4 days a week, every week, from now until NEXT January, make THAT your goal. In other words, don't blow your wad in these next 3 weeks and screw yourself for the rest of the year.
3. DO NOT FOCUS ON THE SCALE. For the love of God, people. PUHLEASE do not stress over the scale. Trust me, I KNOW how important it is to see that number go down. I was having serious knee pain and was DESPERATE to shed pounds, because I knew that for every pound I lost, I was taking 4 pounds of pressure off of my knees, but I had to be patient with myself. I knew that if I kept doing it right, I would lose POUNDS AND INCHES, and eventually I did! For reals, focus on how you FEEL for the first few weeks and I promise the rest will follow. They say it takes 4 weeks for you to start to notice the changes in your body, 8 weeks for your close friends and family, and 12 weeks for the WORLD to take notice.
4. USE TRUE MODERATION. Listen, your diet is THE MOST important part of your health and fitness journey. It accounts for 80% of your results. That's why people who go hard in the gym and still eat fast food every day will not lose weight and then wonder what the hell they are doing wrong. Just like being rational with your workouts, you need to be rational with your food choices. If you know it's not realistic for you to give up all of your favorite foods for the rest of your life, don't do it now. Allow yourself little treats along the way, or you'll end up eating clean for two weeks, being tempted with donuts, then say "fuck it, I never really wanted to get fit anyway" and give up altogether. The key is to start using TRUE moderation. Meaning, you eat real, whole foods for almost every single meal, every single day and ONCE a week, allowing yourself ONE indulgent meal. If you love pizza and cannot give it up, come up with a HEALTHIER way to get the same taste. Make yourself a whole wheat tortilla pizza in the oven with some sauce, veggies, and a LITTLE bit of cheese. There are TONS of recipes out there to modify your favorite tastes and make them healthier. What I'm trying to say here, is that you can't go cold turkey on your favorite foods, or this won't be something you ENJOY so it won't be something you can STICK with.
5. BE GENTLY FIRM with yourself. Listen, it's not going to be easy. It never is. Give yourself enough slack to bounce back from a slip up or a busy few days without a workout, but be hard enough on yourself to remember that reaching a goal takes commitment. You'll have ups and downs. You'll have screw ups. You'll have days where it feels like the universe is conspiring against you. You may get deathly ill on the 3rd day of your journey. You may have situation come up where you can't focus on planning healthy meals for a couple of days and just need to grab take out. DO NOT let it derail you. When you fall, chalk it up as a crappy day or two, and GET BACK UP. As long as you keep going, you WILL succeed.
6. GET SUPPORT. When you start to take care of yourself and go for your goals, you will have LOTS of people trying to drag you back down to their level. It's unfortunate, but it's true. When you start to really go for it, you'll get those people who have already convinced themselves that it's not possible to make those changes trying to keep you at their level. And that's ok. Not hating on them, they just aren't ready. But they DO NOT want to see you succeed, because you will be LIVING PROOF that it CAN be done. You may lose some fringe friends (the real ones will support you regardless of their shortcomings), and you've got to be ok with that. But you ALSO have to get some new ones. People who are FOCUSED on their goals, and who don't tell you "oh come on, you can have just one donut". I mean, you can, and you should every now and then, but that guy will tell you that EVERY SINGLE DAY if given the chance. Find a buddy who wants to get fit. If you don't have any support, you've got me. You can sign up for my free fitness coaching here.
So those are some of my top tips. There are so many more tidbits I could give you, but this will at least help you get started. I can leave you with this though. You should be proud of yourself for making a decision to live your healthiest life possible. It's not all about getting a 6 pack (unless that's your goal). It's about being able to run around with your kids in the yard. It's about not being embarrassed when walking up steps with a coworker and getting short of breath. It's about feeling confident in pictures. Whatever your "why" is for making this resolution, keep THAT in your head, all day, every day, and it will help you to make good decisions and stick with it for the long haul.
Hi! I'm Andrea Cummings. I am passionate about living a healthy lifestyle that I can MAINTAIN and that still lets me feel like I'm not being deprived. I like to exercise, but I also love to eat (nachos!). My main focus is to be healthy, not skinny, and to help others do the same! I love Jesus, but I also say fuck a lot, so if you're offended, I may not be the gal for you.