How My Online Community Gave Me Offline Confidence!

I’ve mentioned in previous blogs about my successes with Instagram and how it help aid in my weight loss journey.  But I want to also take a minute and talk about those #NSVs – Non Scale Victories.  As helpful as Instagram has been in my weightloss, it has done way more with my self-esteem and confidence.

fit4lessStepping outside my comfort zone – I talked before about how with the help of my “followers” I gained the confidence to try my first Crossfit class.  But long before that, I was nervous to even enter the gym…even an empty one.  I was athletic all my life growing up but the thought of now going in to a gym where I feared I would be judged for my size scared the crap out of me.  But on Instagram I saw women and men of all sizes strutting in and doing their thing.  They talked about how welcoming some gyms were and how no one even bothered staring because they were too focused on their own workouts.  This gave me the boost I needed to get my butt to the gym.

Showing some skin – No, not in a risqué way, but in a self-confident way.  I don’t think I had worn a tank top in public since I was maybe 13.  I was always wearing loose fitted tees and baggy mehoodies to hide my body.  When I first started working out, I was doing DVD’s at home and I had purchased a tank at Old Navy to use at home.  Well, let me tell you how enjoyable that way!  No bulky sleeves getting in the way of my range of motion and it was so much cooler, so I ended up going back and buying a bunch more for at home.  Then we started switching things up by going to the gym, so I was back in baggy tees, but every time I entered the gym I was mad.  Mad that I couldn’t be comfortable and mad that I was extra hot because of all the layers.  I voiced my frustrations on Instagram with my followers and they all chimed in with the same advice: “enough of that nonsense – wear the damn tank to the gym!”  So I did.  One day I just thought, “Screw this.  It is too hot to wear this big tee!”  And you know what happened? NOTHING! No one cared, and I was ecstatic that I could now workout in comfort without fear.

Gaining Self Love – Funny things happen when enough people tell you that you’re awesome…you kind of start to believe it.  Not that I’m now some cocky egomaniac but I’ve definitely learned to love myself a little better.  I have found such a warm and welcoming community online that is built on a foundation of building one another up.  I have so much support no matter what troubles find me and it has definitely changed my outlook on life.  If these strangers on the internet think I’m worth it, then why shouldn’t I?  Since joining Instagram back in 2013, I’ve started talking to myself a little kinder and that’s a great thing!

If you are looking for some #selflove accounts to follow on IG, check out this link.  I follow a few of these people and they definitely promote loving yourself! https://blavity.com/26-instagram-accounts-that-will-make-you-love-yourself/

Have you found an online community that has positively affected your life?  If so, in what way has it helped you?

Facebook Post:  Looking to gain some confidence?  Click here to see how using social media can help boost your self esteem: http://wp.me/p3QRy0-dgr

Twitter Post: Looking to gain some #selflove? Click here to see how social media can help: http://wp.me/p3QRy0-dgr

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How Social Media Keeps You Accountable For Your Goals

I touched on my first blog post about how being accountable on Instagram can help you lose weight.  But it doesn’t just have to be about weight loss.  I follow many different profiles that share many different goals as me like lose weight, maintain a healthy pregnancy, budget better, journal more, or just to be an overall better person.

Social Media can help you stay on track with your goals…if you just stay accountable!  And how do you stay accountable? – Just follow these 4 steps:

  • Outline and post your goals – Many fitness pages that I follow list either weekly or monthly goals. This is a great place to start since you are kind of calling yourself out.  You are putting it out into the universe that this is what you are setting out to achieve and everyone knows it.  Whether it’s to lose 5lbs, save X amount, or do X amount of good deeds, you have it out there and now people will be watching to see what you can do.  jan-goals1wiw
  • Update regularly – In order to stay accountable, your followers need to know if you are on track. So by posting a sweaty selfie at the gym or your healthy dinner, you are checking in and letting them know you’re on track.  The more consistent you are, the harder it will be for you to hide.  If your followers become accustomed to those daily photos, and then you go a few days without posting, they will be checking in and wondering what’s up.
  • Be honest – People aren’t unrealistic. They know big changes won’t all happen overnight and they respect and understand if you have a bad day or even a bad week.  Many people that I have continued to follow have always checked in, even on their bad days.  It helps you realize you aren’t alone if you are going through a hard time and most of the time, your followers will reach out to give you support to get you through your rut and back on track.
  • Evaluate and revisit – I like setting monthly goals and posting them at the beginning of each month. And then on the last day of each month I like to look at my list and check off or cross out what I did or didn’t do.  That way you have the visual of all of the goals you achieved and what areas need improvement.  By posting your recap of the week or month, you can get feedback from your followers on how to improve in some areas as well as get support if you are feeling frustrated about your progress. jan-goals

Remember, small goals are more manageable.  So take that one BIG goal like let’s say you want to lose 50lbs, and then divide it up into smaller goals that are more attainable on a short time basis.  If you set a goal to lose the 50lbs in a year then instead, track your monthly goals to wanting to lose 4lbs each month.  You will get that satisfaction of checking it off your list which will give you the momentum to keep going to the next milestone.

You can also check out this article for other ways Social Media helps you achieve goals: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/prerna-malik/how-social-media-can-help_b_9509088.html

How has social media helped you stick to your goals?  Or if you don’t already use social media to track progress, is it something you think would help?

Facebook Post: Need help sticking to your New Year’s Resolutions?  Click the link to see how staying accountable online can help you achieve your goals! http://wp.me/p3QRy0-d11

Twitter Post:  Stay #accountable online to help achieve your goals! Click http://wp.me/p3QRy0-d11 to see how!

A Fat Girl’s Journey to CrossFit – And How it Got Me Pregnant!

The Back Story

So, yes, I’m fat.  And no, not the cool kind with a “ph”.  The regular overweight fat. And yes, I’m allowed to say it about me…you aren’t! haha.  Most of these plus size stories start with “growing up, I was always the big kid”, but for me that is not the case.  I was a super fit athlete all throughout elementary school.  I had a larger frame and an even larger family but it seemed like whatever I ate didn’t matter because I was active enough to burn it all off.

Then highschool came and I got my first (and last!) boyfriend, as well as my first part time job at Tim Hortons and things started to change.  I now had cash burning a hole in my wallet and someone I wanted to spend it on.  Our dates always revolved around eating, followed by some activity like a movie or bowling and the pounds slowly started creeping on.  I was still very active in these years, practices and games for school sports 4 days a week, and then either volleyball or baseball on Sundays.  But even with all that exercise, I couldn’t outrun my bad diet.  Food had now become a celebration for having money or getting out of the house and by the time I graduated, I was pretty overweight.

The Beginning of the End

usFlash forward to now, about 6 years later and I’m even heavier.  Still with the same guy – now my husband, having gone through college, starting our careers, getting married, and buying out first home and now – pregnancy!  After last year, when we purchased our home, we decided that in about a year from then that we would start trying for our first baby.  I knew my excess weight could be a problem and so we sought to lose weight together in hopes of giving ourselves the best shot possible when the time came.

We had tried so many different things over the years, going to the gym, working out at home doing P90X, taking classes etc. and it would go great for about 3 months and then we’d get sick of it.  My husband’s coworker told us about this CrossFit gym in town that he went to and loved.  I was always weary of it because you hear so many horror stories…bad for your joints, they teach you terrible form, and so on but at this point we were willing to try anything.  It was a pretty pricey package to join – $320/month for my husband and I to go 3 times a week so we figured, we’d give it a month, see how it goes, and then decide to continue or not.

The First Classfirst-class

So I get to my first class and I’m shaking in the car almost having a panic attack.  I had gotten fairly confident in myself over the past year with working out in front of people but this was a whole
different ball game.  This was olympic lifts, gymnastic movements, and a whole lot of cardio and I was scared.  Scared I wouldn’t be able to do the moves and scared that I’d be judged.  But after that hour long session, I realized that I couldn’t have been more wrong about the sport of CrossFit and the members at this gym in particular.

In one session, I was hooked!  The coaches were so helpful, as were the other members.  Nobody judged me for my size or my ability – in fact I never felt more at home.  I was able to scale and modify the workouts to my ability so that I never felt secluded from the super fit athletes doing strict pullups and handstand pushups!  I would do my ring rows and regular knee pushups right alongside them and I would receive the same “Great Job” fist bump at the end of the class as the rest of the athletes.

This is a great article I found by Huffington Post for beginner CrossFitters called “What To Expect At Your First CrossFit Workout.”

No Pain, No Gain

We went religiously 3 times a week, every week.  No longer were we putting off workouts to hang with friends or have a lazy day.  It was our priority and our social life!  Because of the price, and the intensity of the workout, we felt obligated to make the most of it each and every week.  The price was a huge motivation to keep us coming back, but even bigger than that was the feeling we had when we left each class – pure satisfaction.  During the workout, you’d be thinking to yourself, why am I paying to be in this much pain?  Then you leave and say “see you tomorrow”!  I finally felt like the athlete I was when I was younger and it made me want more.  We became pretty addicted really, watching CrossFit documentaries, and doing our own home workouts on our off days.  It was something active that we actually enjoyed doing.class

We were accepted into this great group of individuals that all came together to support each other in achieving their goals and it was just such a cool movement to be a part of.  There’s a running joke in Crossfit that it’s a cult and the first rule of Crossfit is “never stop talking about crossfit”.  It engulfs you, makes you strive for more, and want to be better.  I’ve never been involved in a sport that provided that much comradery and support.  The other members became friends and the people I wanted to share my growth with.  They were the first people to help celebrate a new PR or to give tips on how to do a better lift.  And despite the price to get in, that feeling is priceless.

 

The Results

I hadn’t lost a ton of weight in the 7 months that I was there but I definitely gained muscle.  My body composition had changed drastically and I could tell I was getting stronger.  I modified less and less each week I was there and it was amazing.  We figured we would start trying for a baby while still working on our health because who knew how long it could take.  Well we were pretty lucky…4 months in and I saw that beautiful second line on the home pregnancy test that confirmed that in 9 months we would be bringing new life into the world.

before-and-after

Unfortunately due to some complications in the first month, I’ve since had to stop CrossFit and it’s been really hard.  I’ve not only lost the drive and motivation from the coaches and other members to workout, but I’ve lost that social aspect as well.  Once you’ve been part of such an amazing and supportive community, it’s hard to replicate that environment alone at home.  But babies health is most important and I’ll join back up when I can.

Of course CrossFit didn’t literally get me pregnant but I fully believe that without it, that we may not have had such quick success.  It helped me make drastic changes in my health in a fairly short period of time.  I was fitter, leaner, and my cardio endurance had increased exponentially.  I mean, who knows, I could have still had the same results had I not joined, but I’d rather start off fitter than fatter!

Is there a sport or class that you want to take but have been avoiding?  If so, what is holding you back and how can you take steps towards achieving your goal?

 

Facebook post: Struggling to get pregnant?  Read this woman’s journey on how Crossfit helped her get in better shape so she could get pregnant: http://wp.me/p3QRy0-coA

Twitter post:  A Fat Girl’s Guide to #Crossfit – And How It Got Me #Pregnant: http://wp.me/p3QRy0-coA

4 Ways Your #Fitfam Can Help You Lose Weight!

If you’re like me…and most of the population, you probably feel like you could stand to lose a few pounds or maybe even gain some weight or muscle.  Either way, chances are, there’s probably some aspect of your body you wish you could improve upon.

Like many Resolutioners, I set out on Jan 1 of 2013 to better my health.  Less junk, less alcohol, less excuses and more #selflove.  I started an Instagram page to document my weight loss after following a few inspirational fitstagram pages.  I didn’t care about gaining followers but figured it would be a good place to document my journey and follow some like-minded individuals for motivation and inspiration.

What I found, was an amazing community that help aid me in my weight loss in more ways than I could have imagined.  So without further ado, here are my 4 Ways Your #Fitfam Can Help You Lose Weight:

  1. #Community

communityWhen I first signed up and posted my initial “before pics” I had zero followers.  It wasn’t for them, it was for me.  But I found using hashtags such as #beforepictures, #weightloss, #healthy, and #getfit helped link me to a whole new world on Instagram for everything and everyone fitness related.  Soon I had followers pouring in who all wanted to watch me succeed and people that I could relate to that I followed back and cheered on.

I soon was hitting the thousands in followers and was receiving messages daily with support and encouragement from all sorts of people all around the world that could relate to some part of my journey.  People I had never met in real life were all cheering me on and it fueled my fire.  I have a great support system at home and in the real world but there was something so empowering knowing that these random people found me online and believed in me.  Like, hey, maybe I can do this thing!

  1. #Accountability

Oh man, this is a big one.  When people get used to you posting a #sweatyselfie after your workout or a snap of your oh so healthy green salad, and accountability
you miss a day or two they notice! And boy do the comments start rolling in.  “Where are you?”   “Hey, still grinding?”  “Hope everything’s okay!!”  You start to feel bad!  These people are counting on you and in a way are feeding off of your workouts and healthy meals to fuel their own.  If they see a plain-jane regular girl actually losing weight with diet and exercises then they believe they can too…so why would you want to disappoint them?

There were times that I fell off the wagon and had a bad weekend or even a bad week or month, and then I would see the out pour of messages.  People checking in or people sending words of encouragement like they could sense my self-sabotage, all encouraging me to get back on it.  It became a thing…if you don’t post your workout did it even happen?  Not to your #fitfam!!

  1. #Resources

When I first started, I had little knowledge of proper diet and exercise.  You can search Google all day but one site will say eggs are the healthiest food out there and another will say they will kill you.  I found doing my own preliminary research and then reaching out to my #fitfam on what worked for them helped me decide how I wanted to go about my weight loss.

helpIf you search hashtags for keto, paleo, vegan, IIFYM (If It Fits Your  Macros), or any other diet you’ve ever heard of, you will find a whole community that stands behind it where you can go for ideas and motivation and most people are happy to help if you have any questions.

I wanted to try CrossFit but wasn’t sure if my plus sized body would be able to handle the impact and intensity.  I started following a few larger women that participated in CrossFit and it opened my eyes to a whole world of plus sized athletes.  I learned I could modify moves and that most CrossFitters are so happy to watch you improve that they aren’t even looking at how much weight you have to lose.  This gave me the courage to join my local CrossFit gym whereas before I wouldn’t have had access to real life examples showing me I could do it.

  1. #Motivationmotivation

This is the BIG one!  Ever have those days where you promise yourself you are going to set your alarm for 5am and get that workout in before work?  Before following fitness accounts, I would just get up, turn my alarm off, and head back into my duvet cloud for another hour of sleep.  Once I joined Instagram, I would get up, immediately jump on Instagram to see all the people that I follow up and at it!  And boy did that get me out of bed.

When you know your friends are out there crushing your goals, you just can’t go back to bed.  Believe me, I’ve tried.  Then that little nagging voice tells you that you’re never going to reach your goal or that it’ll take you so much longer than so and so because you’re sleeping while they are going after their goals.

So there you have it…the 4 ways my Fitfam has helped aid in my weight loss!  Do I still have a weigh to go (get it?), of course I do!  But every day I #riseandgrind with the support and encouragement of all those cheering me on online and know that one day I will reach my goal.

Some people don’t like putting that much of themselves out there on the internet, but personally, I’ve found that the positives have always outweighed the negatives.  Would you feel comfortable reaching out online for support?  Or do you prefer to find in person support systems, and why?

 

Facebook Post: Support systems are great, even better when you don’t have to go anywhere to get one!  Click the link below for 4 Ways Your #Fitfam Can Help You Lose Weight! http://wp.me/p3QRy0-bt1

Twitter Post: Can your online community help you lose weight?  Click here for 4 Ways Your #Fitfam Can Help You Lose Weight! http://wp.me/p3QRy0-bt1