All my life I struggled with weight and yo-yo dieting. I went through various phases until I came out the other side. 10 years ago, I was a self-proclaimed package queen and up until that point I had already tried umpteen million unsuccessful diets and cleanses. Some of them included eating low-calorie with high exercise and high fat and no exercise. I really had no idea what I should be doing and when to do it. When I finally decided enough was enough was after I was in a car accident in 2009. I gained a lot of weight for lack of movement due to pain and some unhealthy food choices. When I struggled to make it up the stairs was when I decided that I needed to make some changes and that’s where my journey really began.
I was unhappy with the reflection I saw in the mirror and it was playing a huge role in my self-esteem. I didn’t want to go anywhere because my clothes didn’t fit and I didn’t want to go shopping for clothes that would because, to me, that would accept my size. It wasn’t just about size or I probably would’ve bought new clothes. For me, the worst part was the back pain and the lack of energy.
I started going to the gym and eating Paleo (my version of it, anyway). I counted every calorie and tracked my macros so I had a 30/30/40 split.
In the beginning, I was very black and white. There was a right way and a wrong way and nothing in between. After 10 years of trial and error and education, along with the experience of working with other people. I noticed that everyone seems to go through roughly the same types of phases.
8 Phases to a Healthy Lifestyle
You know that you are unhappy with how you look and how you feel but not sure where to begin but you start to look for information and the easiest way to start. Now is your time!
You’ve started to make some changes to your lifestyle. You’ve either started to exercise OR you are making changes to your nutrition and you hope it will be enough for you to reach your goal. Good job! You’ve got started!
You are starting to see results and you realize that you need to step it up a notch and make sure you are making healthy eating choices AND exercising regularly to make progress happen a little faster. Second gear, here I come!
You are developing some habits and a rhythm is developing. This is the time that you start getting curious about why some of the things you are doing are working and you begin to educate yourself in ways to make it life easier and more enjoyable. This is your curious phase, explore.
You’re finding your groove. You’ve learned the basics and found what works for you. Now it’s time to practise and become more consistent. You think you have a really good grasp on how it’s all done.
Be careful in this phase. It’s easy to start creating ‘rules’ to live by and rules don’t make room for all the shades of grey. It’s also easy to push those rules on those around you, too, telling them that they are ‘doing it wrong’ or they just need to follow ‘your diet’ because it’s what works.
The monkey wrench– You’re cruising along and something happens to challenge the status quo. Something you are doing HAS to change for some reason or another. It could be that you’ve found out you have been suffering from food sensitivities and will have to change how you’ve been eating or maybe you’ve injured yourself and you can’t exercise the way you have been. Don’t stop! You’ve come this far!
You aren’t ready to give up yet. You are almost back to phase 2 and you know you need to make a change but you have some knowledge behind you now. You begin to find a solution so you can get yourself back on track. Yay! You’re getting back up.
Some of your thoughts and beliefs have been challenged and you are coming out the other side. You still know what you need to do but you aren’t nearly as rigid as you had been in the past. Now, you have more of an open mind, you know what your body needs, you know what you were able to have, and you know what works for you and you know it how to get back on track the next time there’s a bump in the road.
All those rules that you thought you figured it out in phase 5, you realize aren’t quite so important and there’s a whole lot of grey areas.
… and the best part?
You realize that you’ve got this.
Everyone’s journey will be a little different and the time that you spend in each phase will vary from person to person. My journey was filled with ups and downs and a whole lotta turns. I have learned so much when it comes to nutrition, exercise, and how our daily habits affect our overall health and fitness ability. The more I learn, the more I realize it’s only a drop in the bucket and there is so much more, our bodies are wonderful but complicated beings. I’m sure there are more phases that will be added but I can only write about the ones I am aware of.
Keep it real without the rules. just do what’s right for YOUR body.