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Staying Healthy & Maintaining My Weight

DSC_6024Those of you who have followed my site for a long time might have heard that I’m a Weight Watcher lifetimer. Yup, I used to be about 30 pounds heavier. It’s true; I spent a majority of my life wearing a size 10 to 12 until I was about 22 or 23, gained weight after college, and realized I needed a change. Need proof? Was hard to narrow down photos from the early 2000s, however here are two gems… (the one on the right is with Adam while we were still dating).

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I know WW has changed dramatically since my over decade-old experience, however this concept really stuck with me: create a balanced lifestyle that works for you. Before my early 20s, I have no vivid memories of exercising, or of focusing on a balanced, healthy lifestyle. I played softball as a teen but I swear I was that girl in right field who kind of sucked and didn’t move too fast. Fact. I was the heaviest girl in my 5th grade class, typically had a double chin, and never learned how fat, calories and nutrients all worked together. My parents typically served up pretty healthy dishes (my mom was always a tiny size balanced by my dad with his big belly who loved his diet coke and made us bacon and cheese sandwiches!), and I was always weight conscious.  I never ate “terribly,” I just didn’t pay attention to any of it, and my portion sizes were insanely out of whack.

But… the moment the scale went from 140-something to 152 (that moment the scale thing shifts from the 100 to 150 still permeates my brain), and then no joke, my pants legit busted at the waist… I knew something had to give (besides my pants). The rest is history.

Alyson Seligman // the average girl's guideNow, more than a decade later, I’ve had some fluctuations both in weight and focus on a healthy lifestyle, however there are a few tried and true concepts that work for me, and should work for you. Here goes:

  1. Create a lifestyle, don’t go on a diet. You’re not positioning yourself for long-term success if you diet, diet, diet. For me it was things like realizing if I was going out for dinner, to eat a salad with a lean protein (instead of a carby sandwich) for lunch; to get to the gym or find fun ways to get moving, and to make these habits. I’d portion out snacks, and drink plenty of water (my husband would call me an “aqua-holic!”).
  2. Set realistic expectations. If you haven’t exercised in years, do not say you’re going to six times per week. Props to you if you can make it happen, but most of us can’t; we’ll get burnt out, have excuses, get busy, whatever it is. Do not set yourself up for failure. Try moving your tush at least twice per week, 30 minutes minimum. Better to beat your goal than fall short. Mix it up; take advantage of groupons (I just bought yoga classes at a total steal), invite a girlfriend for a morning, lunch time or evening walk — it’s the perfect opportunity to gossip while toning up! I would even do a 20-minute pilates video (similar to this) that I found hugely effective to tone and strengthen my core… and I could do it at night, at home, quick.
  3. Find new foods and types of exercise that bring you joy. The more you find ways to get moving that make you happy the more likely you’ll stick with it. Try different classes or workouts. For me, I often go to our clubhouse gym and have fun watching HGTV at the same time; testing out yoga classes is new for me, and I’m pumped after my first class. Now, food: make zucchini noodles, spaghetti squash, buy a fun new cookbook, get a slow cooker if you don’t have much time, find satisfying foods that fill you up and make you feel good. (and ps: cut out the soda!).
  4. Enjoy and indulge.. in moderation. We’re human. Live a little! For example, I know I can be five pounds less if I stuck to a super rigid, no chocolate and no carbs lifestyle. But what fun is that?! Food makes me sooooo happy. I mean, like I have moments over some dishes. So I indulge and eat the french fries and get the dessert. And, I have a piece of chocolate or small dessert (Yasso greek yogurt bars are insane! Go for the mint chocolate chip) nearly every night.
  5. Set yourself up for success. Anyone else go out with friends or come home at 6 pm, starving, and snack while you decide what’s for dinner? Those are mindless calories that wreck your success. Not worth it; as WW said… you have to count the BLTs (bites, licks and tastes!). Stack your fridge and pantry with good foods. I live on almond butter (eat it every morning), almonds (I’m obsessed with Trader Joe’s assortment), eggs for an easy meal or to toss hard-boiled eggs in a salad, avocados, greens, fresh fruits and protein, like chicken. If you’re looking to get moving, treat yourself to a new pair of sneaks and workout gear. I swear quality workout pants and supportive bra make you ready to rock it. Don’t hide behind an oversized t-shirt; wear something just a little more fitted… promise you’ll see your results sooner and increase your motivation!
  6. Be supported. Get your colleagues, family and friends in on the fun. Don’t make this simply a “New Year, New You” bs thing; let people know you’re serious — grab a buddy for your workouts, and encourage healthier meals for your entire family or room mates. The more it’s a lifestyle you’re surrounded by the more you’re likely to maintain.
  7. And, lastly… find moments to be proud of you. Interestingly, I swear I noticed my cellulite and imperfections the more I lost weight. I never noticed those details when I was heavier. As women, we can be so hard on ourselves, so please, please do yourself a favor — if you do none of the above, I’m cool with that, just please, treat yourself better this year.  Be proud of your body, do things, eat things and wear things that make you feel good. Don’t focus on perceived (irrelevant) physical imperfections. Don’t ridicule yourself or tear yourself down or bully yourself. It’s all crap and a waste of mental space. Life is too freaking short. You’re awesome…. time to celebrate it!

Healthy lifestyle tips

Healthy lifestyle tips

Photo Credit: South Moon Photography

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  • Reply
    Laura
    January 8, 2016 at 12:54 PM

    A great post with lovely tips here!

    I enjoy working out. I enjoy it ever so much and started a health kick in 2012 and haven’t really looked back on my ‘Get Fit For 2012’ New Year’s Resolution. I started doing HIIT which really helps and weights added in.

    It’s so important to treat your body well, it will thank you for it.

    Laura

    http://www.shehearts.net xx

  • Reply
    Megan D. Robinson
    January 7, 2016 at 9:21 PM

    This is so cool, you have done this, congratulation!

  • Reply
    Beautygirl24
    January 7, 2016 at 5:36 PM

    Hi Alyson! I loved reading this. I think all of us can relate! My weight wasn’t an issue until I got married as cliche as that sounds. My hubby and I love to indulge, and I’ve gained about 15 pounds in two years. I’m really trying to get back to healthy, and I think viewing it as a lifestyle and not a diet is correct. Support is also key.

    Thank you for finding me through pink sole! I hope you’ll stop by again 🙂

  • Reply
    Heidi
    January 7, 2016 at 1:39 PM

    I love that you mention support. I am so much better about exercise when I know I am going to have a friend there to cheer me on. Free weights have also been a game changer for me. Seeing muscle definition is such an amazing reward! Plus you keep burning calories even after the workout ends:)

    Wishes & Reality

  • Reply
    Beck {PreppyPanache}
    January 7, 2016 at 12:39 PM

    Congrats on your weight loss journey!

  • Reply
    Laura
    January 7, 2016 at 12:34 PM

    Your tips are all so true- it really is a lifestyle choice!! You look AMAZING! Happy New Year!
    xx
    Laura
    http://www.sequinsatbreakfast.com

  • Reply
    lauren
    January 7, 2016 at 12:08 PM

    Yes I agree with all of this! You have to make good choices ALL the time… not only when you want to lose weight!

  • Reply
    Kimberly
    January 7, 2016 at 9:37 AM

    I loved this post – as someone who struggled with an eating disorder for 10 years, I can say with confidence that your advice is spot on! We all need to be a little less black-and-white with our thinking about food & dieting and give ourselves a break. That’s one of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned through my healing process.

  • Reply
    Pam A.
    January 7, 2016 at 9:32 AM

    I love and agree with everything you said. I always fail when I don’t indulge in the good stuff every now and then! Happy New Year to you! You look adorable…and fit!!

  • Reply
    Alyssa
    January 7, 2016 at 9:02 AM

    You always share the best posts! I love that you talk about saving yourself from burn out. I’ve totally been there and everything starts going down hill!

  • Reply
    Tara
    January 7, 2016 at 6:01 AM

    You look great Alyson! I was around for a few year 140 after college, and being only 5ft 2 clearly that wasn’t good….so I’m totally with you. I’ve done so much better the past few years, and have tried to focus on a certain lifestyle. Mainly eating super healthy during the week, then doing whatever I want on Fri and Sat nights. It really has worked wonders, but I don’t feel deprived either.

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