Life is about learning and every small change can be a step forward. Sometimes we make big decisions and they have quite an impact on our lives. And other times the littlest changes can really turn things around. Today I want to share some of the changes that have made a big difference in my life.
5 changes that have made a big difference in my life
1. I started strength training consistently.
I considered myself a runner for most of my life. In fact, I ran just about every day until a few years ago. I was so focused on putting miles in that I really neglected strength training. I lifted weights maybe once or twice a week, but I didn’t challenge myself and I never made any real progress. My heart just wasn’t in it and I didn’t understand the benefits of strength training. I weighed about 15 pounds less than my current (“happy”) weight. A lot of the weight I’ve put on is muscle, especially my arms and legs.
The picture below shows a side by side snapshot. The one on the left is from 2011 and the one on the right was taken a few weeks ago.
To be honest, it’s a bit hard to look at the picture of myself on the left. I look thin and fragile. And I have no muscle definition (granted I’m not flexing), but you get the idea. The one on the right is me now. I lift around 3-4x per week and incorporate yoga and interval training. I feel stronger and healthier than I have ever felt in my life. Even though the number on the scale might be higher, I have gained a lot of muscle and I’m in better shape. That’s why I think it’s important not to put too much stock in the number on the scale. Go by how you feel and how your clothes fit.
2. I stopped wearing heels.
Giving up heels was a difficult decision to make (I’m 5’1 so I need all the help I can get!), but I am really glad I stopped wearing them on the regular. Today it’s rare for me to wear heels (I still have so many pairs gathering dust in my closet), but when I do I always, always feel it the next day. You can read all about my decision to give up heels here. It’s been over a year since I stopped wearing them and I’ve noticed so many positive effects, such as improved strength and less pain in my toes, legs, and hips. Not to mention it’s way more comfortable! I couldn’t image picking the girls up and down, getting them in and out of the car, and chasing after them while wearing heels.
If you regularly wear high heels, I encourage you to try and alternate some days with flats. Your body will thank you for it. And be sure to read this article from the Spine Institute of Health entitled, How High Heels Affect Your Body, to learn more.
3. I learned about the Paleo diet and how to make my own food.
I started eating mostly Paleo a few years ago and it has truly been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. When I first heard about the Paleo diet I thought it was just some fad (like Atkins or The Zone) and I didn’t bother to really learn anything about it until I became pregnant and started to take a closer look at my diet. I’ve never tolerated dairy and gluten has always made me feel awful. My diet has changed significantly over the last decade, but Paleo makes sense to me and it felt right. I found a few great cookbooks that taught me – among other things – how easy it is to prepare healthy and tasty meals. My favorite books are: Everyday Paleo, Practical Paleo, and any book or recipe by Julie Bauer.
Last year I completed two Whole30s and they were eye-opening for me. I felt my best eating clean and unprocessed food. It was a bit more work to prepare my food and at times I was pretty cranky about missing all.the.things, but I’m glad I did it because it was a great reminder of how many artificial ingredients are hidden in our food.
Read about my Whole30 experience here.
4. I make my bed every morning.
This might get some eye rolls, but I’m serious when I say that I feel much better when I make my bed every morning. My house might be messy, the bathrooms might be a disaster, but for some reason having a bed that is made makes me feel like I have some order in my
house life. It also makes me feel like I’ve already accomplished something in my day. If you are in the habit of leaving your bed looking like you just rolled out of it try making it as soon as you wake up. Game changer.
5. I started to show myself some grace.
This is for the part of me that struggled with the all-or-nothing mentality. I felt pressured to be completely devoted to something – whether it was 100% Paleo, completely gluten-free, no sugar, or only using all natural products. It’s not realistic for me to live that way all the time. And I shouldn’t have to. I will always support a healthy lifestyle and I strive to make good decisions most of the time, but I also want to enjoy my life. And I want to show my kids that they shouldn’t take themselves too seriously. Life is a gift and we should be having fun. It doesn’t have to be all-or-nothing. We can also hang out in the in between.
I would love to hear what changes you’ve made in your life. Please comment below. And if you like what you’ve read, please share!