Gotcha!  There are no secrets.  Just working out and eating right.  Who knew?!  Haha.  I've never been a fan of the gym or diets, so it's taken me years to really figure out what works for me.  It's not about being the skinniest, but about feeling good and being comfortable in my clothes.  Although it sounds simple to work out and eat right, it has taken a lot of trying and failing to figure out what I can stick with, while enjoying a healthy life.  I don't want to burn myself out, but want to find what I can do consistently.  Here is what I have learned:

NUTRITION:  Over the years, I've heard of every diet out there.  Atkins.  Whole 30.  Paleo.  Low carb.  High carb vegan.  Weight Watchers.  Calorie restriction.  No sugar.  Gluten free.  Slim Fast.  Plexus.  Low fat.  And, with each diet, I know at least one person who has tried it.  The key word is "try".  Most people don't go on a diet and stick to it the rest of their lives.  Which means, they either gain all the weight back when they quit or they yoyo their entire life as they try this diet and that diet.  It simply doesn't work.  Plus, I've found that when I try to give myself rules of what I can and can't eat, all I can think about is what I can't have and it makes me feel cranky.  Not to mention the damage is does to your social life and relationships!  Long story short, the best thing that I have found for me is the book The Eden Diet.  It basically teaches you how to eat smaller portions and only when physically hungry.  So, you can eat things that you enjoy, but with moderation and self control!  When I truly practice this concept, I lose weight while eating what I love.  If you want to lose some weight, I highly suggest this book!  I feel like it's a healthy approach and teaches you valuable lessons that keep you from yoyo and fad dieting.

EXERCISE:  It was May 4th, 2016...a year ago today.  I woke up and decided I was going to the gym.  Alone.  I couldn't find anyone to bring along for moral support.  I didn't know of anyone already going that I could just meet up with there.  But I decided enough was enough.  For years (ok, my entire adult life), I hadn't been faithful to work out because I was always relying on other people to join me.  That day, I decided "no more".  I was going to work out every single weekday whether I was alone or not.  And I decided that exercise was going to be a part of my daily routine, even when I didn't feel like it.  So, I began to wake up and work out.  There was no getting out of it or deciding, "Do I want to work out today?".  By simply removing the decision and making it a must, I have totally changed my fitness life.  Over the past year, I've learned that not only do I enjoy walking and going on bike rides, but I love Barre, Yoga, sculpting classes at the gym, HIIT workouts, free weights and online workouts that I can do at home!  I feel like a different person than 365 days ago and want to continue to branch out, try new things and see what else I might learn to love!

It's true, staying healthy and being in good shape is a lot of hard work and sacrifice.  But, I know that I feel so much better than last May 4th.  I'm stronger, fit better in my clothes and feel much better about myself.  The sacrifice has been worth it!  And I'm proud of myself for doing it in a way that I can continue to do.  I'm not depraving myself and wearing myself out, but learning a healthy balance of making good choices and enjoying what I have.  It's been a good year and I look forward to seeing where I'm at next May 4th!

Photos: Emily Christopher from Just Because, taken after our hike up Koko Head in Hawaii!

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