You ever look at yourself in a picture or in the mirror and think: Whoa? Is that really what I look like? Or found yourself sluggishly weaving your way through each day without energy? Yeah, me too.

I’ve been struggling for some time now.

When my husband had a health scare in 2015 it really rocked our world. So I decided to take a conscious step back on my personal priority list and instead focused all of my energy on him, relieving his stresses and rearranging our lives. I changed jobs and stopped most of the activities I previously enjoyed. And, quite frankly, I packed on the pounds. For the first time in my life I hit a BMI range that wasn’t healthy and moved into the “obese” category. I bought a bigger clothing size and steered clear of mirrors.

I basically HID. I stopped going to social functions and put permissions on my Facebook page that didn’t let others tag me in photos. I got winded on even the smallest run, found myself suffering from weird injuries and chose clothing that covered as much as humanly possible. But worst of all was the fact that I slowly lost myself and that affected everyone I came in contact with, especially my family.

So sad.

But in the interest of being honest, I can’t blame my husband’s health scare and the resulting life changes for this body change of mine. I can only blame myself and consistently making irresponsible choices in some fashion—both small and large—in the name of “caring for others.”

I buried myself in the “I don’t have time,” “I’m too tired,” and “I can’t afford a gym” mindset. Which is not even a little accurate. We all have the same amount of time in a day, it is just a matter of prioritizing the hours we have and deciding how to best spend them. I mean, I love a good Law & Order marathon but at the end of the day, it isn’t going to do wonders for my health. (Although Olivia Benson is one of my faves, not gonna lie.) As for needing a gym, one quick search on Pinterest reveals hundreds of ways I can get a great body-weight resistance workout without spending a dime. Ahem.

Ch-ch-ch-change

Things have changed, and for a good six weeks now I’ve been on a different path. One day I woke up and made a decision to change everything. I gave myself a good talking to, visited a doctor and assembled a squad of like-minded people to began a new way of living.

BOOM.

Guess what? It’s not nearly as difficult as I imagined it would be. It just takes some getting used to.

Since I’m a writer (and over-sharer) by nature, I decided to document my journey online because I’ve found a tribe of people who inspire me personally and maybe, just maybe, I can do the same for someone else on the internets.

Meal Planning, Food Tracking, And Accountability: One day I woke up and made a decision to change everything.

Tracking & Meal Planning

For me, and for many others, the real challenge begins in the kitchen. I had always considered myself fairly savvy in the nutrition arena. Ha! I was so wrong. I’ve dabbled in clean eating in the past but with my husband’s new “heart healthy” dietary needs, I’ve had to really dig into details like sodium and sugar and it’s blowing my mind. (More on that another time, though.)

I’ve read so many statistics that show that 80% of the battle begins in the kitchen and, for me, I’ve found it to be absolutely true. I’ve discovered that if I don’t take the time to meal plan, shop smart and track throughout the week, I set myself up for failure. This step helps me to remain aware of what I’m eating and how much of it I’m eating. Maybe I won’t always need to be this strict, but for now it’s my best strategy. And guess what? So far I’m down six pounds and my energy is really coming back strong. I’m on a roll!

I plan my menus on the weekend and shop and meal-prep on Sunday. I’ve made peace with this extra Sunday step, even though it means I have less downtime. It’s so worth it during the work week and makes for way less to stress about, especially considering I’ve rolled my entire family up into this new lifestyle. (Sorry, teenagers!)

If you’ve not tried your hand at meal planning, I highly recommend it. To get started, check out our FREE meal plan printable to help keep you on track!

Plan your meals ahead to help relieve stress during the week!

Let us know in the comments if it works for YOU.

I’ll keep you posted on my progress and experiences. I’ve got big plans and lots of new things to try: barre and spin classes, CrossFit, dietary changes, etc. It should be fun!

 

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