As I've gotten older, I've come to realize a simple truth: I'm worth it. I mean, I was always worth it, but I think it's pretty normal for women, especially once you've become a mother, to put your needs aside. Add to that spending a lot of years being overweight, and failing at both diet and exercise plans time and time again, and it becomes hard to justify spending any kind of money on things that make dieting and exercising a little easier and a lot more comfortable. I started thinking about what advice I'd tell a newbie, who is looking to get started on their own healthy journey (to fit!):
If I had it to do all over again, right from the first week of my diet, I'd get myself fitted for a good pair of walking/running shoes. Yes, I'd have been embarrassed to bring my 250+ pound self into a running store, because I was sure they would be thinking "who does this woman think she is...she obviously doesn't exercise" - but knowing the staff that I've encountered, in running stores from Texas to Oregon, California, and North Carolina, I now know that I was making the wrong assumption. These people just want to see everyone wearing the right shoe, because they understand what a difference it can make. And now that I've been wearing shoes specifically fitted for me, rather than sheepishly buying a cheap pair from a sporting goods store, I can tell you that good footwear will not only make you more comfortable to get out there and go for a walk, but also, you'll be more likely to go for a walk the following day. We all know that's the hardest part about exercising - doing it more than once!
If I had it to do all over again, I'd have started walking right from the start. I was too embarrassed to walk down my street. What if my neighbors saw me? They'd think I was fat. OK, I know they SAW me on a regular basis, but something about being overweight and exercising was shameful, in my brain. It makes no sense, but that's where I was coming from. I was overweight, I needed to exercise, but god forbid I actually do it in public.
If I had it to do all over again, I'd buy myself a pair or two of exercise capris - in technical fabric. I had no idea that this stuff would make such a difference! Not only do you jiggle less when you're wearing something with a bit of spandex, but the technical fabric helps to wick away the sweat, which means that you are less likely to chafe as your thighs rub together. And hey, did you know there's a product called Body Glide that can help with the chafing, if it happens? I didn't...but boy, would that have made a difference back then! It's one thing to not feel like exercising, but it's another to have your skin feel like it's on fire because of chafing...how do you say "oh, sorry - I can't exercise today because my thighs are going to burst into flames from rubbing together"?
Along with the capris, I'd buy a couple of technical fabric shirts. They do come in plus sizes, and aren't super expensive, especially if you can shop at TJ Maxx or a similar stores. You wouldn't think there would be a difference between a regular old cotton t-shirt and a technical one, but again, sweating and chafing - it's real, and it's not comfortable at any size. Sure, these workout clothes are going to eventually become too big for you because you'll be so successful with your new healthy lifestyle, but it's OK to feel good on your way down.
As for dieting, if I had it to do over again, I'd not stress so much over calories in fruit - I didn't eat much of that for a long time - but I would definitely still track everything (I think My Fitness Pal is super easy to use), and I'd buy a simple food scale right from the start, which makes tracking really easy. I'd also buy a couple of sets of measuring cups, so I'd always have the right size available, which would make me more likely to measure out a proper amount of granola, or cheese, or whatever, instead of eyeballing things. I'm pretty sure eyeballing food is what got me into trouble in the first place!
What about you - what advice would you offer someone who is just starting their weight-loss journey? Let's hear it in the comments!