This morning a Best Ever You reader sent me an email. She said, "It was great to see you the other day! I'm just curious - what are you doing to lose weight? I also need to lose weight and your skin looks clear, shiny and you look like you have taken up exercising since you were dressed in yoga pants at the store." Well, since you and a few others are asking, let me share. In the last few months of 2016, I decided to dedicate my entire 2017 to helping myself and anyone else who might be interested become our Healthiest Best. Like a car getting a 50,000 mile check up, I checked in with myself and decided I was approaching 50 and could do even better. In short - yes, I've taken up exercising and eating less and better and adding meditating!
Here's how it happened...
I was sitting on the couch and a little bit just fed up. I fell on the ice a few years ago and my right hip just has not been cooperating since. I've been thinking for a long time it was hurting because I was moving wrong or aging. This feeling of dread sort of made it's way into my life - the "this must be aging dread" as I've come to call it.
Prior to that moment, I had been looking at this book and that book for inspiration, going to the chiropractor for adjustments that didn't hold, and all the while getting more and more frustrated with my closet and specifically my coats. One day, I put on a shirt, sweatshirt and coat and my coat was just too snug zipping up!! Yes, I know there are larger problems out there and believe me, I've had my share and fill, but in this moment, this was my mini-crisis.
In that moment on the couch I decided to do something to avoid any further complications with this hip. I decided that it's because I'm not moving enough and not moving the right way for what I need. I'm a former competitive gymnast. My body responds very well to ballet, yoga and pilates as it is very similar to everything that is involved with strength and refining training for gymnastics. I made a decision to either find a workout that has those elements or make up one for myself. It was so strange, because as I was deciding this, I thought, "I'll bet there is even a free workout on Time Warner Cable." I had seen a very simple stretching program on there once and decided to go look for it. (I figured starting with stretching would be a great idea, since I was feeling like I was about 150 years old in this moment.)
So I clicked around and found SportsSkool. I saw "fitness" and its in these moments where my life began to change. There was Ellen Barrett and there was Grace and Gusto! So with my new mat and my determined self, I decided to watch the first 10 minutes to see if it was something I could do. It was!! I rolled out my mat and I've never looked back.
During that next week, I began to slowing uncover and rediscover what I am capable of. I have incredible balance. I had forgotten. Would I be up on the balance beam holding my handstand anytime soon? LOL - Not. However, I can do a handstand and hold it, still walk around and my muscles remember! I have incredible flexibility. I had forgotten. Would I be doing double back flips and the splits any time soon? LOL - Not. However, I can do all the moves in this deceivingly challenging workout fairly well.
The feeling of total dread left me. I knew I had discovered an exercise program I could do that was difficult enough for me for right now and one that wouldn't land me back in pain. I wasn't fully convinced, because the hip was this nagging, odd pain that just was aching constantly to the point of sleeping on a heating pad. Well, this program not only didn't aggravate it, I believe it has corrected the issue. I'm not in pain from the tight hip flexor and hamstrings at all and am feeling stronger and stronger each day!
Drifting From Yourself
We all know that any kind of weight loss or well-being has a simply formula of eating less and exercising more. It's now the middle of February and I am using some of my own tools I teach during my Healthier You Coaching to continue to refine my own health and crank it up a notch in 2017 to be even more toned and more healthy! I'm also developing some new tools for those who want to refine or hold their transformative weight change, so they don't regain weight or drift from their mindfulness and self-awareness. I believe strongly that women (and men too) are MASTERS at being so hard on themselves! We have so much internal chatter at the mirror, at the wedding, at the birth, after the birth(s), at reunions, while losing hair, while we are on dates, in the dressing rooms trying on jeans or swimsuits... you get the idea.... We beat ourselves up much too often.
Many of us go up and down in weight with ease and others have dedicated and focused plans for well-being that they don't stray from with most of us somewhere in the middle.
For 47 years now, I seem to want to always improve this area of my life and then start and stop and maybe get sidetracked. I always have an eye on the scale, but usually carry around 5-10-20 extra pounds with no serious intention of being my most toned and most healthiest self in daily and moment to moment practice.
I also notice a lot of us do this, especially after having children, after and during an injury or surgery or as a natural process to gain weight past a certain age. Many of us just love food more than exercise too, LOL! I thought I'd take a moment with you to share some of my pregnancy photos and a photo of me now. Why? Well for one, I can't believe my kids are now 15-17-19-and 21, but also to show you how much we go through and how much our bodies (female and male!) go through as we age and live life. Remember to take time to love yourself, be proud of yourself and give it your best. If you spend time beating yourself up, you are taking time away from being positive and living a productive, happy life.
Pregnancy 1 : 1995 Start weight: 125 End Weight: 240 Baby Induced due to Blood Pressure issues 4 weeks early. He was 7lbs 6oz. Age: 26
Pregnancy 2: 1997 Start weight: 160 End Weight: 250 Baby induced due to Blood Pressure issues 2 weeks early. He was nearly 9 lbs. We both almost died in childbirth. Age 28
Let me pause for a moment and tell you that in between these pregnancies I was Divorced, remarried, pregnant and had developed Anaphylaxis -( food allergies) and had been resuscitated in 1998 from Anaphylaxis.
Pregnancy 3: 1999 Starting weight: 125 Ending Weight 165 Baby induced and pregnancy watched very closely due to pregnancy complications in 1997. Baby induced 3 weeks early, 7lbs 1oz Age 30
Pregnancy 4: 2001 Start Weight: 135 End Weight: 180 Baby induced 2 weeks early. Watched very closely again due to previous pregnancy complications.
Baby induced several weeks early. Age 32
This is me NOW. 2017. I'm 47, still 5'3" :) and at a weight of 142 - 162 pounds. I bounce between that weight depending on what I eat. I've decided to bring myself down to the 125-130 range or continue doing what I am doing an adjust that as I go.
I call everything I just talked about "The Drift". The drift is this slow process of letting well-being escape your mind. Right now, there's no wedding, no pregnancy, no swimsuit buying, no jeans that don't fit, no "event" surrounding my need to do this. It's just ME and my intuition telling me so.
Remember, and this is from my book Percolate: Our well-being is key. Enduring the process of changing a behavior or several behaviors can sometimes feel like a grueling upward climb. Knowing that others have successfully made similar changes can make the climb a bit easier. Wellness is a choice we make either as a way of life, or it's sometimes forced upon us in the form of an illness or disease, problem, crisis or worse unless we learn and implement healthy practices. You can often make a small change in order to gain a huge rippling effect of well-being. What does wellness and well-being mean to you? Well-being isn't just about physical health, but also about mental health and choosing love.
Remind yourself and do regular well-being checks with yourself. Many of us take better care of getting our cars check ups that our own bodies!
Here are some questions to ask yourself.
Are you in pain? What kind of pain? Where? Why? Pause and reflect on the pain and think about how we can take steps to bring you out of pain and shift into better overall well-being.
What do self-love and self-worth and self-control/awareness mean to you?
How old are you and how old do you actually feel? Why?
How are you living your day to day life and how do you feel most days?
What motivates you?
What are you go to stop doing? What are you going to start doing? What are you going to continue doing?
What is the difference, to you, between trying and doing?
About Elizabeth Hamilton-Guarino
Elizabeth Hamilton-Guarino, Hay House author of PERCOLATE - Let Your Best Self Filter Through & founder and CEO of the Best Ever You Network, understands firsthand the challenges that life can bring and has worked with thousands of people worldwide to illuminate their light within and help them live their best life. She has a degree in communications and broadcasting; is a life coach, food-allergy expert, and anaphylaxis survivor; and is the host of The Best Ever You Show. Elizabeth is a certified Food Over Medicine instructor. Elizabeth and her husband and four sons live in Maine. Visit ElizabethGuarino.com