By Beth and Fit Ambitious Blond

In honor of this year rapidly coming to an end (crazy, right?!?) and the year anniversary of me starting on my own health and wellness journey, I wanted to take a few minutes to reflect back on all the amazing things I learned this year.  For me 2018 has been a truly transformative period in my life.  Looking back on it now, I almost can’t believe how much I have changed, grown and learned about myself.  While I most certainly have learned more than 18 things this year, I wanted to take a few minutes to highlight some of the most important and impactful ones.  Many of these things I have addressed in one form or another in previous blog posts but I thought it would be nice to recap and reflect on what really stands out to me as I look back…

  1. It is never too late! – You guys I am weeks away from turning 39 and I honestly think I am in the best shape of my life.  I think this is partly because I am finally engaged in a healthy relationship with my body and the foods I am using to fuel it.  I stopped looking to crash diets, restrictive living and insane amounts of cardio to do the trick.   Speaking of cardio…
  2. Weight lifting is not just for guys!  – Weight lifting is so great for women as well.  I have absolutely fallen in love with it over the past year.  It is a great way to shed unwanted pounds, tone up, manage stress and even helps us ladies prevent injuries and diseases like osteoporosis! 
  3. Being healthy takes both exercise and proper nutrition! – You can’t really have one without the other and expect any significant changes to happen.  Combine healthy eating habits with a consistent workout routine and the magic will happen! 
  4. Sleep is sooo important! – Don’t overlook how important sleep is to overall health and meeting your fitness goals.  Get those zzzz’s to ensure your body can repair your muscles and recover from the workout you did during the day.  
  5. Being social can be a great accountability tool! – Sharing my journey on social media has been one of the best decisions I have made.  Not only has it been a way to hold myself accountable but I have gotten such great support and feedback from all of you out there that it only motivates me more to keep going! 
  6. Celebrate all your successes – big and small! – Whether you finally hit your goal weight or just said no to that doughnut that was calling your name this morning make sure you congratulate yourself for all of it. Getting and staying healthy is about a series of little decisions you make everyday so be proud of all of them along the way!  
  7. Don’t forget to cheat! – My cheat days are so important to me.  Once a week I indulge in some of my favorite, not so healthy foods to keep me sane and on track.  I don’t believe in completely depriving myself because I think that sets you up for failure.  Pick a day and eat those tacos or a slice of pizza and those brownies you have been eyeing all week!  It won’t set you back and will do wonders for your self-control the rest of the week.  
  8. Mix up your routines! – I quickly learned in the beginning of my journey that I would have to be a bit creative so I wouldn’t get bored and stop working out.  I like to mix in things like hiking, rock climbing, yoga and Pilates into my routine to keep it interesting and also so my body is exposed to all different types of workouts.  This helps prevent overuse injury as well as making fitness fun!  
  9. Consistency, Consistency, Consistency! – This is the key you guys.  This is how you get results.  You just simply show up each and every day and make good decisions. There is no secret.  There is no short cut.  Just be consistent and the changes will happen! 
  10. Be patient! – Getting and staying healthy is not a fast process.  It will not happen overnight but if you keep at it, are consistent and make a commitment to yourself to do the best you can each day, it WILL happen!! Even when you don’t think anything is happening, changes are taking place behind the scenes that will eventually become visible and apparent as time goes by. 
  11. Take the time to stretch!  – This was a hard one for me in the beginning because I tend to be inpatient and always on the go but make sure you take the time before and after your workouts to properly warm up and cool down.  You greatly reduce the risk of injury as well as gain more flexibility and range of motion.  
  12. Keep a journal/calendar! – I use mine to plan my workouts as well as track my progress.  I find that writing things down really keeps me accountable to them and the feeling of crossing another completed workout off the list is the best! 
  13. DRINK ALL THE WATER! – Staying hydrated is so important for so many reasons such as preventing strains and cramps, flushing out toxins, giving you the energy you need throughout the day, not to mention it can fill you up so you aren’t reaching for unhealthy snacks between meals…just to name a few! 
  14. Dieting can be dangerous! – Cutting out large numbers of food groups or going to extremes with what you allow yourself to eat often and most likely will backfire.  Following a really strict diet also often means you are depriving yourself of nutrients your body needs.  I have found that simply choosing healthy options in reasonable quantities is the way to go.  I also have found that any time you do anything to the extreme it is very hard to sustain and will often lead abandoning the effort altogether sooner rather than later.  
  15. Prep ahead of time!  This one was so important for me and made such a huge difference in my eating habits. I use Sunday’s to meal prep for the week.  I make sure to get to the grocery store and stock up on healthy foods to have on hand.  I usually do a fair amount of cooking ahead of time so I have nutritious lunches to bring to work with me and well-thought out dinners to either re-heat or just simply finish making for dinner during the week.  This drastically cut down how much I was eating out and consuming processed and fast foods.  
  16. Eat as many whole, fresh foods as possible! – Following up on the previous one, eating food that are either in or as close to their natural state as possible is best!  If it comes out of a package, is processed or is an item that contains whole bunch of ingredients you can’t pronounce, you should probably stay away!  Eat your rainbow in other words!  The more colorful and natural the better! 
  17. Actively rest!  This is sometimes hard for me because I have truly fallen in love with working out and pushing my body but after I suffered an overuse injury in the beginning of my own journey I realized how important it was to take at least one day off a week from hard-core training.  Now, I plan at least one day during the week to rest.  I try to still be active on that day in some sort of capacity, such as walking my dogs a bit longer than usual, or even just doing a deep clean of my house to stay active but I don’t touch any weights or do anything strenuous.  You need to let your muscles heal and body rest to avoid injury and burnout.  
  18. FIND YOUR WHY! – The last one, and arguably the most important thing I have learned is you need a reason why you are doing what you are doing.  For me, I wanted to live a better life.  I was sick and tired of being sick and tired and I knew I needed to make some major changes and do better for myself.  You guys, our bodies work so hard for us every second of every day.  Take care of them.  You only get one in a lifetime so treat it right and it will respond in such incredible ways the only regret you will have is you didn’t start being healthier sooner! 

These are just a few of the things I have learned over this past year but I hope they help anyone out there who is struggling with their health or thinking about starting to make a change like I did twelve months ago.  Getting myself healthy and starting on this fitness journey is sincerely the best decision I have ever made for myself.  It isn’t always easy, or pretty or convenient, but it ALWAYS worth it!

Thank you so so much to everyone out there who reads my posts, likes, comments and/or shares their own journey and tips with me!  I appreciate you all so much and the support means the world to me!  Here’s to the beginning of another year that will see us continuing to grow, support and learn from one another and staying on course to find the best versions of ourselves possible!

HAPPY HOLIDAYS Y’ALL!!!!

xoxoxo,

Beth

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