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5 Things I Wish I Understood in the Beginning of My Health Journey

Looking back, there is so much I didn’t know or didn’t fully understand when I first started on my health journey. And in reality, the lies I told myself and the fear of the unknown is exactly what held me back. They played on REPEAT in my head until I was so frozen in fear, I couldn’t turn them off. Can anyone else relate?

Here are a few things I wish I would’ve understood when starting my health journey, that eventually helped me drown out the lies and listen to a whole new narrative.

52 Weeks = 52 Pounds!

When I first started, I was looking down a long dark tunnel of a 75-pound weight loss goal. Intimidating, right? Jennifer was quick to remind me: “even if you just lose 1lb per week, that is still 52lbs in a year!”

Week 1 versus Week 52… trust the process and give yourself time!

Even though I had spent SEVERAL years treating my body like crap, one whole year just seemed like too much to ask. I needed to lose 75lbs and I needed to lose it yesterday.

All of this went through my head when I started in December 2019 – I didn’t even know I was heading into 2020… aka the WORST and LONGEST year ever. But yesterday marked ONE WHOLE YEAR of showing up for myself, and I can’t believe how the time has flown. I’m not trying to sound cliché, but I don’t even recognize the girl in the mirror anymore. I thought she was buried so deep, it would take me YEARS to find her and pull her out of the rubble.

The time flies my friend, don’t let it intimidate you and keep you from starting!

Weight Plateaus: get ready, they are inevitable!

Jennifer warned me in the beginning that weight plateaus are going to happen, and the more you lose, the harder they are to overcome. Y’all I was so tickled at the thought of losing enough weight to actually have a plateau that I could care less about her seasoned advice.

Turns out, my body hits a plateau around every 10lbs. Fun, right? When you have a good week or month of weight loss, a plateau can be SUPER discouraging. Thankfully, I had Jennifer’s support the entire time and she suggested a few things that really helped me – like experimenting with caloric intake and meal reversing.

The big takeaway every time was this: don’t self-sabotage, even when the scale refuses to budge! Because guess what? I lost inches and grew stronger in the seasons where I didn’t lose much weight. It is a delicate balancing act!

Sore Muscles: they are here to stay!

You will be sore for what feels like the rest of your life. Don’t worry, you’ll actually grow to like it. No matter how strong I get or how much I improve, I still find myself sore after workouts sometimes. Over time, the severity has decreased and I learned to combat it in several ways like increasing protein, Epsom salt baths, increasing water intake, and stretching.

But in the beginning?? Muscles I didn’t even know existed were sore. Spoiler alert to December 2019 Mikayla: you do not ‘grow’ new muscles, nor did you ‘break your elbow,’ that is called your triceps and what you are feeling is sore muscles.

Embrace Starting Over!

I tend to have an all-or-nothing mindset when it comes to weight loss. Can anyone relate?

I am a sucker for challenges – especially short-term ones like 2 weeks of XYZ or 30 day squat challenge! I would always start off strong, but it didn’t take long to mess up one time, and then all of a sudden I am on a weekend binge with ice cream and Netflix marathons.

You will fail. So what? Start over.

I have had to ‘start over’ so many times. Some weeks, it seemed like it was every day. But once I lost the all-or-nothing mindset, I realized that consistency compounds and that is where true results come from. So get back up and take it day by day.

My husband brought home 30+ Chic-fil-A nuggets for Valentines Day…. and to this day, that was one of the best gifts!!
Calorie Deficit: Fact or Fiction?

We live in a diet culture – keto, paleo, low-fat, blah blah blah… all of it means I don’t get to eat Chic-fil-A on the regular and that really pissed me off. For reference, I ate CFA at LEAST once per week. Plus, the idea of being so restrictive and obsessive over what I ate made me feel like I was going to develop an unhealthy relationship with food. LOL turns out, I already had one.

Food was (and sometimes still is) a HUGE part of my life and managing my emotions. Happy? Go out to eat! Sad? Grab that chocolate! Bored? Open up the fridge. Food was my way of dealing with ALL the things in life.

Starting my journey though, I quickly found comfort in this: you don’t have to give up the things you love. You can still lose weight by eating cheeseburgers, as long as you practice portion control and are still in a calorie deficit. Should you? NO! But in the beginning, that was my saving grace because my body didn’t want to give up the comfort food I so-thoroughly enjoyed.

Your body will change and adapt, eventually learning to crave healthier food options – but don’t you dare force yourself into eating the same bland broccoli and chicken just because you think that is your only option. Not only will you HATE those foods, it is not a sustainable diet. You are working on building a lifestyle, not falling victim to the next fad diets.

DISCLAIMER: this is what worked for me, I am not a dietician or scientist, so dont come at me 😉

So what now? Where do I go from here?

Don’t let lies keep you from chasing after what you want – because they kept me from achieving my goals for far too long. I had my lies on repeat, until one day, I changed the station.

Turn the dial, sister.

You’ve got this,