I lost all of my weight just eating low carb, and then started exercising to tone up and feel “lean and strong” once I got close to my goal weight. Mostly because I didn’t like what I discovered under all the pounds I lost through improving my diet.
And the final obvious point: exercise is good for you. Not just physically but also mentally and emotionally, but definitely good for your physical health too.
As for the weight loss bit, while what I said is true… it’s also true that muscle burns more calories, so being in better physical shape can definitely contribute to fat burning and weight loss (too).
I got in great shape, then I lost it all.
Many of you have been reading along here for awhile now so you probably remember pictures like this where I was at goal weight and getting in amazing shape:
A lot of things happened, and I’ll get into that more in my next post about “weight loss” (or lack of) but as a quick recap…
I went on a round of multiple medications (antidepressants, steroids, antibiotics, etc) that knocked me out of ketosis and started packing the pounds back on, even though I was sticking to my keto diet consistently.
This photo was taken (behind my back 😛 lol) about 15 months ago:
… and my body composition has only declined from then until now.
I want to clarify here too: I am not totally unhappy with that photo. Not compared to how I looked before and how far I’ve come in my weight loss journey. It’s all relative to where you were, where you are now, and where you want to be. I get that.
I only shared it to illustrate the weight I regained and the muscle tone I lost – and the cellulite that always sneaks it’s way back on you, lol. And how FAST that can happen, literally in a few short months.
That photo was taken just on the tail end of a four month battle with all those medications, and while I was eating low carb consistently I was too sick to be very active most of those months AND the meds were causing consistent weight gain.
I didn’t worry too much about it at the time. I was focused on getting well, and on fixing some things in my life in addition to my health.
But of course I missed feeling STRONG and feeling HAPPY and having the strength to have FUN – like just months before:
I shared these pictures with you to catch you up if you’re new, or remind you if you’re not – and mostly to share the thoughts (and images) in my mind as I write this to you.
None of those are “before pictures” of course, they are all very recent, within the last two years. From goal weight and strong & lean, to current weight & body composition.
START WHERE YOU ARE
In the last four months I’ve gained ten full pounds. I think before I went to KetoCon in Austin last month it was something like 7 or 8 pounds. It’s shocking how just a few pounds can change your appearance so dramatically.
Just look at the difference in my arms, taken about a week before I went to Austin:
I’ll discuss the weight gain in my next post like I said, because that’s another issue altogether. A combination of issues actually – because I have been consistent with my ketogenic low carb diet and staying within my usual macros.
Anyway, I know where I am in my journey, and I’ve been okay with that – because I know why, and because I know I can fix it. I’ve been actively working on solutions.
All that to say, I’m not whining or complaining – just sharing the facts and details, as it relates to my own exercise goals and fitness motivation.
So I went to Austin…
I was there for the 3-day KetoCon event, an annual Keto Conference. My dresses fit a little more snug than usual, and I was feeling uncomfortable and bloated – as this is about the time my weight started climbing mysteriously – and FAST.
I had a couple of options. I could bail. I could hide. Or I could DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. And that’s exactly what I did the moment the feelings (discouragement, insecurities, etc) started setting in.
I just found the first opportunity and started back:
(If you’re reading this by email you can’t see the video above, but you can click on the picture below to watch it.)
It was at that moment that I said to myself, out loud even, “START WHERE YOU ARE.” Meaning not where anyone else is, or where I was before, but right here and right now – where I am.
There’s more going on here than weight gain and muscle loss. If you look at this still frame from the video you can see that my face is puffy and I had bags under my eyes:
I was not feeling well in Austin, or before the trip to Austin, or since I returned home from Austin even. I’m working on getting to the root of all that.
But at that moment when I realized I felt disappointed in myself, discouraged in what I’d lost (and gained), and insecure about those things – instead of going down THAT rabbit hole, I took action.
Getting Started Is The Hardest Part
When it comes to making any major lifestyle change, or starting something new, even if it’s simple exercises you can do at home in 10-15 minutes – it’s getting started that seems hard.
I think most of us think it’s getting motivated that seems hard.
Motivation doesn’t just magically come around though. It’s actually the RESULT of committing to a decision, and then taking the action.
Motivation kicks in next, not the other way around.
Once you DO that though, it becomes a habit and it feels AMAZING. Doing your Tricep Dips while the coffee brews becomes second nature. Squeezing in a morning walk becomes “the usual” and you just make it happen.
That was my experience before and I totally LOVED the results.
I didn’t just love how much better I looked, I loved how much stronger I felt! It was the first time I had ever felt core strength or upper body strength, and the ability to DO things I couldn’t do before.
But even more than that, was the inner strength that came with it.
That was exactly what motivated me to “stop and drop” for a quick arm workout in Austin the minute I felt those icky feelings creeping into my mind.
“If you miss it, get it back!” I told myself.
In this photo, I could leverage myself between two boulders above a long drop using mainly core and upper body strength:
The photo above was taken just over a year ago. I was starting to thin out again and get back into shape, before a few (more) things happened that knocked me back a few steps.
The photo below was taken just over a month ago.:
I’m back to modified pushups instead of being able to hold up my own body weight.
That’s okay. This is where I am, and this is where I’m going to start – right where I said:
“Start where you are.”
I don’t feel motivated. But like I said, motivation comes as a result of commitment and action – so that’s what I’m doing now.
I’m declaring my commitment to get back in amazing shape, and putting myself on the line to be accountable to take consistent action toward that goal.
I think the biggest question is: WHY?
Or actually, that’s the biggest ANSWER.
Your WHY is what will motivate you, even when you don’t feel like exercising or doing a workout – or in my case, getting out on the trails for a hike.
Having a strong WHY is the key to keeping that commitment strong.
Is being embarrassed about the way you look a strong enough reason? I’m not sure. Is missing the way it FELT to be in the best shape of my life (not perfect, but definitely MY best to date) a strong enough reason? I don’t know.
I don’t have the answers, and I definitely can’t find YOUR motivation. I just know I’m tired of looking in the mirror and feeling things like disappointment, regrets and discouragement.
So that’s my WHY for now.
I’m also struggling with some other issues – sleep quality, lack of appetite, weight gain, depression, lack of energy, blah blah blah. I feel like movement and exercise will help me FEEL better (physically, too).
I’ll share more about my current state, and what’s going on with my “mysterious weight gain” in my next post. But for now, I wanted to open this discussion and state my goals… and hear from you too.
Are you currently exercising as part of your healthy lifestyle change? If so, how does that FEEL? If not, why not?
Your motivation is unique to you.
I think we all know how GREAT it feels to accomplish something awesome, and to feel strong & lean. Or at least we have an idea how great it WOULD feel. In my case, I had that idea – then I experienced how great it was firsthand.
I never imagined I would find myself back on this side of it, but life happens. This is where I am, and this is where I’m starting: by accepting my NOW and focusing on moving forward to how I want to look and feel NEXT.
I wish I could go back in time to the DRIVE and motivation I felt before and get some of that for myself – and share it with you too. It was STRONG!
I remember how I got to that point though, and it wasn’t that hard. That encourages me as I start over again now, because I know how great it feels on the other side of the hump. It’s just the “getting over that hump” that I’m facing (again) now.
For those of you that are working out (too) as part of this Low Carb Challenge, or would really like to, I would love to hear from you.
If you were just waiting on a little motivation, let this be it. Let’s do this together. It feels AMAZING once you get started!
And I could definitely use some amazing in my life right now. 🙂
What about you?
Netrition – The Internet’s Premier Nutrition Superstore!