I get asked this question A LOT by friends, family, and social media followers and I never really know how to answer. The truth is, I don't want to hurt people's feelings. I am not a super articulate gal, and my insides want to go all Kanye (see why I admire him so much now? Like it or not, he speaks his MIND and that's something I lack), but my mouth is like "Durrrrrr" and my brain tells me to bite my tongue and empathize, because anything else might be seen as rude. Welp, I'm channeling my inner Kanye today and I'm just gonna say it. If you don't have any motivation, it's because you don't want to change badly enough. You're never going to just wake up and BE motivated. Virtually EVERYONE has to find ways to motivate themselves (i.e. REASONS TO DO IT); even fitness people who actually ENJOY the process. I LOVE to work out. I really do! Being prone to anxiety, I work out partially to "burn off the crazy" as they say, but also because I really like the way I feel when I push my body. I don't struggle *as much* anymore to get up and exercise because I know now that it's something I like and I've created a habit. I DID NOT start out that way. I started out not being able to jog in place for more than 12 seconds. What motivated me then? I was overweight. I felt horrible. I felt like I looked horrible. I DESPERATELY wanted to be one of those fit girls who didn't have to constantly cover her fat rolls when she sat down. I wanted the seat belt strap to fit flat across my waist instead of bending under my belly. I wanted to go into a store and buy clothes that made me feel good about myself. I didn't want to resign myself to the "over 30" crowd that just guzzles wine and makes excuses for why they don't have the figure they used to. I wanted to wear jeans without a muffin top (I'm not judging here...these are all things that legit went through my mind), and SO many other things that I was tired of dealing with. That's what motivated me when I would push play on Insanity and not get more than 4 minutes without taking a break. That's what got my ass out there in the heat of summer to run as far as I could until I had to walk.
I WANTED to change.
And I love my ladies out there, but there are a lot of women who SAY they want to change, but don't REALLY want it. Whoa...harsh! You mean I don't really want to change because I haven't started yet? I hate to say it, but must likely, yes. DISCLAIMER: I am NOT, I repeat, NOT talking about people with medical conditions or people in society who I am deeming "overweight". This is not an attempt to shame anyone into getting fit. I am talking about the average woman, who says that they want to lose weight, complains about their weight constantly, has literally nothing in their way except for maybe some time constraints, but constantly says they "can't seem to find the right motivation." I say that because I've been there. I told myself I wanted to change for a long time, but I didn't REALLY want it until I saw those wedding photos staring back at me and I started to take stock of what my life had become and all of the things mentioned in the paragraph above. At that time I literally had EVERY excuse in the book available to me. My high stress job left me exhausted at the end of the day. But instead of plopping down and watching TV, I replaced that half hour with something active. I had NO extra money, but I had sneakers and a 6 year old iPod with some even older music, so I got out there and started. I had fat rolls jiggling as I ran down the side of the road in a sports bra (North Carolina gets HOT in August). I'm sure I elicited MANY "Whoa she shouldn't be out in public wearing that" or "Careful, don't hit her, you don't want to dent your car" comments. Did I give a FUCK? Nope. Not one. Because I FINALLY had motivation. The motivation of getting out from the situation that I was in.
Now don't get me wrong, I may make it sound like I had this lightbulb moment where the heavens parted and God himself set this motivation afire inside of me and I went on health and fitness autopilot. It wasn't like that AT ALL. Not only were there plenty of days that my body ACHED from what I was doing and I did not want to get up and do it again, but I HATED...And when I say hated, I mean HAAAAAATED eating healthy. At the time I liked only ONE vegetable and I (still) LOVE nachos, pizza, chicken wing dip, french fries. You name it. I am the PUB GRUB QUEEN. I had a pretty hefty Taco Bell/Olive Garden addiction when I decided I wanted to make changes. And I DO NOT use the word addiction lightly. I am a food addict. I am an emotional eater. I have had to FIGHT for my health and my weight loss every step of the way. Do you think that was easy? Not. At. All. I didn't go cold turkey, and even now, I don't eat great (Thank GOD for Shakeology!). Which is how I know that it's totally possible to change your life without becoming a "health nut" and still allowing yourself treats. But how did I stay motivated to eat healthy? Same way as with exercise. I wanted to change more than I wanted the food. I had a vision for myself and I knew that if I didn't start to substitute the Taco Bell for broccoli and chicken at least most of the time, my body and health wouldn't change. I'd look and feel the exact same way I had for the last few years.
So I guess what I'm trying to say is this. We all have to get to a point where we want to change more than we want to stay the same, and then actually DOING what you're supposed to do to make that change (which is the hard part, but if you want it bad enough you're willing to put in the effort). That's really the ONLY factor in motivation. No one can "find" it for you. No one can "inspire" you to stick with it. It all has to be internal and it's all on YOU, regardless of what your goals are or how far you have to go. Let me put it to you this way...if you have JUST have 5 pounds left to lose to get to your goal or within your healthy weight range, are you going to loosen up or keep pushing? It depends on HOW much you want that goal and HOW much you want to keep changing. I'm 10 pounds from my "ultimate goal" right now and have been for the past year....you know where my motivation to PUSH for that loss is? In the toilet. Because I am SO happy with myself. I'm fit and I LOVE my body, so I've loosened my grip on that arbitrary number I set for myself way back when I was in the 200's...I also know that those last 10 pounds are STRICTLY VANITY and not going to be a factor in my health. So my DESIRE to tighten up my diet (because when you're trying to lose just that last 5 or so pounds, diet is likely going to be your biggest factor) is NOT greater than that goal, and until that shifts in my mindset, it's probably not going to happen.
"So Andrea, you're basically shitting on me here and telling me I'm not doing enough to lose weight, even though I say I want it. Deep down I already know that, but what can I DO to get motivated?"
I encourage you to think long and hard about it. Think about your goal. WHY do you want to achieve it? Is it some arbitrary number that you have plucked out of the sky that makes you think you'll be happy when you get there? Think about WHY you'll be happy. What in your life will change when you reach that goal? If not much will change, then you're probably not going to be uber motivated, and you've got to reconcile how bad you really want that goal or if you want it at all (and if you decide you don't want it...THAT'S OK! This is your body, your health, your life! You shouldn't feel like you have to make a disclaimer statement in line at Starbucks if you want a Venti Caramel Frappucino. If you don't WANT to lose weight, stop telling everyone around you how "bad" you are for eating the things you like, and just fucking enjoy them guilt free). If you CAN imagine totally new possibilities for your life when you reach that goal, and that makes you happy, then you will start to feel that motivation creep up inside you. Think of that...THAT FEELING...every day. Write it on a post it note and stick it to your alarm clock or your fridge. Make it the screen saver on your computer or phone. Think about it EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. Then put in the work. That's the last thing I'll leave you with...Once you have that "why power," you've GOT to put in the work. You are the only one who can do that part and you have to be rational. Quick fixes never work. If you don't put in REAL work, things will never change. Start small if you have to. Up your water intake and lower your juices and sodas. Start walking a mile a day, and increase it until you can jog a bit. You don't NEED fancy organic foods or a gym membership. There are so many resources out there. You just have to DO SOMETHING if you want to make a change.
There you have it folks, the key to motivation. Figuring out why you want it, then setting out to do it.
If thinking about your why power has inspired you, reach out. Contact me via the contact tab and let's get started!
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.
Welp, here they are! My tips for getting through the most gluttonous holiday of the year. Please don't think I'm judging...I'll be eating my face off just like everyone else. Here's a quick rundown of my festivities. I try to keep things light with a small handful of berries or a half a banana for breakfast, before I head out on my morning run (I love a good turkey trot, but they are SOOOO early and this will be the FIRST Thanksgiving in 4 years where my husband will have the full day off!). After that I'll get in my daily does of COMPLETE nutrition with a chocolate shakeology, and once that's settled...COMMENCE MIMOSAS! It's a holiday tradition for me as I watch the Disney Thanksgiving day parade and start prepping my bird and his trappings. Typically I graze most of the day while I'm cooking, so no need for a real "lunch", and besides, dinner is usually served around 4pm. Trust me, once the food hits the table I will not stop eating til it's time for bed, so I'll be right there with you all trying to get back on track the next day!
One final tip that didn't make the list is to remember that you have to eat 3500 calories (in addition to what you burn off throughout the day) to gain ONE pound. 3500 calories is a lot. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD DO NOT STEP ON THE SCALE FRIDAY MORNING, but if you should, PLEASE remember that you're likely just full of poop (literally) and if you follow the final step, you should be back to your pre-Thanksgiving weight in a day or two.
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.