I have a long walk from my car to the office everyday and always used this as my excuse not to workout "I don't need to workout. I get my exercise everyday when I walk to and from the office." Yeah, that was me. Sad part is I truly believed it. Little did I know how wrong I was. It was just so much easier to stay ignorant of the obvious fact that I am overweight and super unfit. See I love food, no wait... I think it's best to say I have a love relationship with good food. Yeah, I truly believe eating food is an experience. One I really, really love, so I always found the best excuses to eat whatever food I craved. My favourite is "Oh I can eat anything, I just need to eat it in moderation." and all my mom would give me that "be my guest, just go ahead and fool yourself" look. Yeah, that was me, the clever Jack until my friend Victoria messaged me a few weeks ago to discuss my dress options for her wedding. I am one of the lucky Ladies who'd get to wear an "aso ebi", a Nigerian outfit at her wedding.
Aso ebi is a uniform dress that is traditionally worn in Nigeria and some West African cultures as an indicator of cooperation and solidarity during ceremonies and festive periods. The purpose of wearing the dress can be to serve as self-identification with age mates, relatives or friends during social occasions or funerals. - Wikipedia
A true honour as you can imagine, so I started looking for designs immediately. Well let me be honest, the excitement soon turned into panic as I realised not one of the designs I liked would be an option for me. They just wouldn't do and for the first time in a very long time I had to face the oh so obvious fact that I am overweight and yes super, super unfit, an issue I really need to admit. Yes, I know it's super silly that the design of a dress helped me see reason but I couldn't care less about that at this stage. I had to do something about this excess weight and my fitness level. I need a life change and now FINALLY say yes to. Yes, I don't just want to talk about being fit, I actually want to be fit. So I had to make a decision to be INTENTIONAL about getting there and not just enjoy the "ONE DAY" dream of being fit & healthy. Yes the KEY WORD here is INTENTIONAL "done on purpose, pre-planned, thought out in advance, prearranged". I have to be intentional about my workouts and make time. So far it's been a challenging start but one I have to admit, enjoy. I really think it's got to do with that feeling I have after a workout. I just feel good about myself. I don't know if it's got to do with that feeling of accomplishment after pushing yourself to your max but the one thing I do know is that it's a "feel good" feeling that comes from deep inside of me and I love it.
I started with simple cardio exercises at home. I didn't think joining a gym was the best thing for me at this stage as time was a huge challenge. I work a full-time job during the day and the rest of my time goes to Scarlette Raes. So I love that I can workout in the comfort of my own home. I have to be honest here and say that this is no easy task. Believe me when I say dedication goes hand in hand with being intentional about a workout if you start your journey at home. Oh and healthy changes to your eating plan is a must. I've realised my biggest mistake in the past was that I couldn't wait to get back to the things I couldn't eat, which left me with short lived results, not the goal when you try and make a life change, right? So I thought, why try the same method only to fail every single time. I had to find a way to approach this differently. So slow and steady is the name of my game this time around. I haven't changed much but decided to cut out cane sugar (which I love and still crave every single day but God is faithful), bread and highly processed foods. I decided not to do any drastic changes but adopt healthy in a more gradual pace since I love food and didn't want to shock my body too much, you know? I'd much rather move into my new lifestyle with small changes that stick.
It's not easy as I'm adopting a whole new activity in my life but I do my best to work out 4-5 times a week.. For now I stick to cardio, so I can burn calories. No weight training yet as I don't want to turn any fat into muscle. I read this amazing article on www.verywell.com by Page Waehner explaining why cardio exercise is so important. Click on the tab below to read the full article.
The guidelines published by the American College of Sports Medicine suggest 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise 5 days a week, or vigorous cardio 20 minutes a day, 3 days a week For weight loss, you might need even more (up to 60-90 minutes) depending on your diet and other activities.
It's tough keeping all these rules straight but, the good news is that you don't have to. Sometimes it's best to forget the rules and get back to basics: Cardio isn't just for weight loss. - www.verywell.com
Just some benefits include:
- Weight loss
- Stronger heart and lungs
- Increased bone density
- Reduced stress
- Reduced risk of heart disease and some types of cancer
- Temporary relief from depression and anxiety
- More confidence about how you feel and how you look
- Better sleep
- More energy
- Setting a good example for your kids to stay active as they get older
Notice that weight loss, while a big focus for many people, is only one benefit of cardio. Despite that, weight loss is often our only goal and not just for health, but to look good.
While there's nothing wrong with wanting to look good, having that as our only goal can make exercise harder. Why? Because losing weight takes time...what happens if you don't see results on your timetable? Where will your motivation go if the scale doesn't cooperate?
Open your mind to other reasons to exercise--you might just find new ways to make exercising easier. - www.verywell.com
I know this all started because of a dress but one thing I know for sure, the dress was only the push I needed to have an open mind to discover other reasons for exercise. What can and will be your push? Will you wait for a dress or major health issues to be your push? All I know is that I'm super grateful I allowed a dress to be mine. It certainly is not about having that slim model figure, no not at all. I just want to be me - curvy, healthy and fit. Yes I love my curves and wouldn't be me without it. You can check out the POPSUGAR Fitness website below for some great health and fitness tips and guidelines.
If you want to join me why not check out these two of my favourite beginner home workouts by POPSUGAR's Class Fit Sugar. Oh and just a friendly warning before you give it a go, these two videos will push you to the max but I promise it'll all worth it, believe me.
The Best 15-Minute Beginner Workout
No Equipment Needed
Strength training is key to living a fit life, and we are here to help you master the fundamentals. This is a 15-minute workout we designed for beginners, but anyone will benefit from this full-body sweat session.
15-Minute Beginner's At-Home Cardio Workout
Beginner's at-home cardio workout
The POPSUGAR Fitness YouTube Channel is a great workout channel no matter what level of fitness you are at just click on the tab below for more videos to enjoy in the comfort of your home.
POPSUGAR Fitness offers fresh fitness tutorials, workouts, and exercises that will help you on your road to healthy living, weight loss, and stress relief. Check out Class FitSugar, our do-it-along-with-us real-time workout show hosted by Anna Renderer who will inspire you to sweat alongside fitness experts and Hollywood’s hottest celebrity trainers. Class FitSugar regularly covers the most buzzed-about workout classes and trends, including the Victoria's Secret workout, Tabata, P90X, Bar Method, and more.
I look forward to sharing more of my health and fitness journey with you and hope it will inspire you to start your own. I believe life is all about growth, improvement and transformation - to be the best you, you can be.
Till next time.
Photo and Video Credit - POPSUGAR Fitness