I saw a NicoDerm commercial on TV just a few months ago. I’ve never smoked a cigarette in my life, but the tagline stuck in my mind: every great why needs a great how. In the commercial, we hear from this guy named Mike. Mike’s why (for quitting smoking): his newborn daughter. Mike’s how: the NicoDerm CQ patch. Not only did I admire the tagline enough to actually jot it down in my phone, but I later realized that those seven words perfectly embodied my own success story. Since I already covered my why in a previous blog post, today I want to share my how.
When I decided last summer that I wanted to look my absolute best for my sister’s wedding, I initially fell into the common goal-setting pattern of committing really hard for a short period of time, then partially or completely giving up. Once I noticed myself slipping though, I didn’t let frustration get the best of me. I didn’t partially or completely give up. Instead, I took a step back to revise my plan.
The first step was accepting myself and the post-grad life I struggled with. I had gone from living on cloud nine for my senior year of college, to living at home for a month and a half, to living in Atlanta and Seattle for a summer internship, then back to living at home. I spent my days applying relentlessly for jobs and my nights wishing, praying to be happy again. I wanted my old life that I would never get back. But this mindset wasn’t productive, so I changed it. I said to myself, “Yes, this sucks. It sucks for everyone who graduated. You can’t go back, you can’t stay here sulking, so your only choice is to go forward.”
The second step was establishing accountability. With my goal’s “finish line” being months away, I needed something exciting to stay accountable; the result was blogging on here more frequently and starting my Fit by the Fork Instagram account. I needed to practice what I was preaching!
The third step was joining my 24 Hour Fitness gym down the street. Moving to New York City gave me the fresh start I needed. With a gym a snowy three blocks away, the slate didn’t get any cleaner than New Years. Proximity was a blessing, not an excuse. After my free three-day trial concluded, the financial incentive of a $35 monthly membership kicked in.
The fourth and final step was being mindful—but not obsessive—about what I ate. A few years ago when I was in counseling, I learned that my vicious thought process behind food and eating was dangerously similar to that of someone with an eating disorder. Believe me when I say it was scary to hear that. Throughout this weight loss journey, I reminded myself that food is not my enemy. I wouldn’t be undoing physical progress by enjoying the occasional bagel and cream cheese that my coworker was so kind to bring in. I aimed to have veggies at both lunch and dinner, I ate portions that were a few bites smaller than usual, but nothing was off limits. I even gave into my sweet tooth after dinner on most nights! It takes self-control and practice to eat less, but it’s better than depriving yourself (only to binge later).
Ugh, am I almost there?! Quite honestly, the end was in some ways more challenging than the beginning of this six-month journey. When I weighed myself on the scale a few weeks before the wedding, the number was lower than where I started, but nowhere near as low as I wanted it to be. Put into perspective though, with (even slight) muscle definition comes increased muscle mass. I forgot about that. I also forgot to recognize how far I had come since I was just a timid girl on the treadmill back in January. And just for the hell of it, as a tasty pat on the back, I enjoyed Shake Shack for dinner the night before I flew home for the wedding. I enjoyed every morsel of my burger, fries and shake. I hit the gym the next morning and didn’t feel guilty at all.
And at last… June 9, 2018 came. Truthfully, I only gave significant thought to how I looked during a few big moments: while walking down the aisle with one of the best men, walking in at the reception, and giving my speech. The rest of the day, I was emotionally, mentally and physically focused on soaking up this milestone occasion— and that’s the way I wanted it to be. Still, I felt accomplished.
In my mind, my “finish line” was the wedding day. You know what’s funny though? I’m already looking for the next finish line. That’s how goals work. We look around, scratch our heads and say, “now what?” There’s an instinct to do better and be better every day. As individuals, we’re a work in progress.
So while I’m figuring out what my next goal is going to be, I’m going to keep eating healthy, exercising right, inspiring others through blogging, and pursuing what makes me happy.
So what’s your great why and your great how? Tell me about it in the comments 🙂
~Remember to follow Fit by the Fork on Instagram~