Until college, it had never been the type of exercise. As a child, I absolutely detested P.E. I was afraid to run through the school parking lot (my school did not have an athletic field) and I could not push myself, even if my gym teacher made me do it.
When my mother wanted me to do exercise videos with her (on VHS, do you remember that?), She gave up the first trimester and, instead, let me fall on the couch.
It’s unfortunate, but my favorite activities (reading, writing, and drawing) required an activity that certainly does not burn calories: sitting down.
Therefore, I have never built any real physical resistance or interest in being fit.
When I was in college, I still detested running, jumping, basically, anything related to the word “exercise.” I prefer to write, read or draw in my bed or in a quiet and local cafeteria.
But that attitude soon stirred when I realized that the 24/7 availability of pizza, fried chicken and ice cream (courtesy of the dorm’s cafeteria) had resulted in a widened muffin and heavier legs.
He had won seven pounds.
Now, it was not considered overweight. I had 127 pounds at 5’4 “(it is considered the maximum average weight for someone of my height), but one thing was for sure: I was out of shape, and my weight gain was making me less confident.
It was affecting me emotionally, and I was desperate to have control of my body (and, later, of life) again.
Finally, I enrolled in a gym membership and decided to commit to a new diet plan: octo-lacto-vegetarianism (a type of vegetarianism in which eggs and dairy products are allowed).
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If there is any solid advice you have for anyone who wants to lose weight, it is to start small (even very small, if that is what you can handle).
I started exercising three times a week for thirty minutes and finally, I increased that to four times a week and one hour per session.
According to the websites, I was reading, I knew I had to do cardio to lose weight, so I started with the elliptical machine with level one endurance.
Weeks later, I increased my resistance level to three and then to six (some people are much more intense than me with this, but these numbers worked for me).
After each cardio session, I spent 10 to 15 minutes doing basic movements of Mat Pilates to tone my stomach, legs, and arms.
For a girl who hated exercise at the beginning, that’s not bad, huh?
For my diet, I decided to try a diet based on plants with eggs, beans, and tofu as my sources of protein.
Surprisingly, it was not that hard for me to give up meat. In the mornings, I cooked high-protein foods like two eggs with generous amounts of boiled spinach, broccoli, carrots and, sometimes, a piece of brown rice the size of my palm.
Lunch and dinner would follow the same formula: protein as the main course and a lot of fruits and vegetables on the side.
At first, it was difficult to lose weight but, after a couple of weeks, I started losing one pound per week.
I invested in a cheap notepad that I named my exercise diary and became more diligent in following up on my exercise and diet efforts, which in fact kept me more disciplined.
Like any goal in life, losing weight is really about fulfilling your goal and keeping track of your progress with consistency (‘consistency’ is the most important word in this last sentence).
From this experience, I learned that exercise is actually fun and can also make you feel strong and mentally healthy.
The feeling of being able to run an extra lap, committing to a diet plan and reaching and exceeding goals showed me what my body and mind are really capable of doing.