Changing your lifestyle is hard. I don’t think I have to tell you how much determination, discipline and drive it takes to do a complete 180 with the way you live. Not only will you easily fall back into old habits but you can also become extremely discouraged. It took me 2 years to realize that if I did not have people with the same goal around me, I couldn’t fully change my life. If you would have told me 2 years ago I would be fully done with cigarettes, not waiting for the weekend to arive to get a little tipsy, and bench pressing 135 pounds I would have called you a liar. Yep, I smoked cigarettes all through high school and did a lot of other really unhealthy acts that got me into trouble most of the time. My workout routine consisted of 45 min of killing my legs on the eliptical and wondering why I could never change my body, then driving through the drive thru and drowning my sorrows in a burger and french fries (with a diet coke because you know, I was watching my figure).
So for my first show I did what almost every competitor had to do. Drop a lot of my old habits. Unfortunately that meant distancing myself from a lot of people too. Something that I don’t think is talked about in the fitness industry is the total isolation you need to put yourself in to be successful. Now maybe I am just a newbie and others have been doing this for so long that they have the will power to be out with their old drinking buddies and still be a sober sally, but for me I knew I needed to stay away from temptation. So I did, and as I did I found other people to surround myself with that had so much passion and love for the same thing I did! It was so comforting to find people who enjoyed packing all their meals on a daily basis, going to bed early to get to the gym in the morning and discussing and comparing their favorite supplements. It gave me so much more confidence to know that I was not alone and there were people that were going through the same struggles that I was going through. You do not have to be going to an extreme like competing in a bodybuilding competition to find a support system.
Any life altering change will require you to find some help along your journey. For anyone who is looking to switch to a healthier lifestyle, whether that be changing your diet to incorporate healthy choices, joining a gym to start a new workout regimen or simply making a pact to walk a couple miles after work; you need someone there that will support you. The first people you should go to is family. Your family must understand the changes you are going through might affect them as well. They need to know you are going to be gone for at least and hour to go workout or that the groceries in the kitchen might be changing from processed chips to wholesome veggies. Most of the time this means the entire family changes the way they live and let me tell you, being the factor that leads your famliy to health can be even more rewarding than working on your own health. After you have your household on board, you must find someone to help guide you. This can be different for so many people. This support can come from finding a trainer that will show you how to exercise effectively and keep you on track with your workouts. You can find a workout buddy that is also looking to change their lifestyle and both of you can come up with a time and place to workout. Maybe there is someone at your work that also needs some guidance on eating healthy and the both of you can keep each other in check on lunch breaks so that you don’t go to that burger joint down the street. My support system consisted of my family(my mom, my dad, his girlfriend and my step-dad), my boyfriend and my friends and workout partners. I am blessed to have people in my life that gave me the strength to follow through with my dreams and help me exceed my goals. Everybody deserves people in their lives that can lift them up and be the wind beneath their wings.
The best journeys in life are the journeys shared with loved ones