I started by walking. 15 minutes here and there, but consistently. When I had time, I walked more. I'd been thinking about getting into better shape for a long time, but never worked past thinking because it would mean taking time for myself. Taking time for oneself is an inherently selfish act and I had to work past that.I walked exclusively for about a month and, on a Wednesday, I ordered a 10 and a 15 pound kettlebell. The day after, I broke my ankle. I let myself be depressed for three days and then I started swinging. I also did what I called Old Lady Chair Cardio because it was low impact and wouldn't impede my healing.I stayed in the cast for 9 weeks and I worked out the entire time.I'm an incredibly stubborn person and, when I want to do something, there's very little that will stop me.
Once I was out of the cast, I was able to start higher impact routines and lift more. I was careful to do things gradually because I'm easily discouraged if I don't do something well right out of the gate. I tried running and I hated it. What I do like are lifting, High Intensity Interval Training, Power Yoga, Pilates, and kickboxing. Strength training is really important for women. It reduces our risk for osteoporosis and makes us feel like total Amazons. Cardio and range of motion are also important for obvious reasons. I mix all of it up in a blender and it's infinitely variable with no boredom factor.I drink that exercise smoothie 6 days a week in 30 minute intervals plus 10-15 minutes of cool down and 30 or more minutes of walking.
I don't do gyms or classes because they're expensive and I'd have to leave my house or look presentable to do them. Those are not exactly motivators for me, but they are for some people. It gives them a reason to be accountable. I, on the other hand, want to look like a total wreck and be able to fall down without getting embarrassed. Comparison to other people is my worst enemy, so I don't do it and I don't put myself in a situation where I would have to. I want exercise to be fun and, while it does suck sometimes, I feel good when it's over.
It's vital to start slowly and have a realistic goal. I kicked off in June of last year, but wasn't serious about goal setting for a month. I was a 22 pant at the time and I wanted to be an 18. I wanted to buy pants off the rack at Old Navy. Nothing more.That was met by October. I had no weight in mind because those numbers make me historically insane. They still do.Today, I'm a size 10 and still on the downward trend. If I'm honest, I'm kind of annoyed because the amount of money I'm having to continually spend on clothes that fit is staggering. My goals have long since moved from a pants or dress size to a new thing I want to be better at (burpees, bridges, frogjumps, etc.) and push my body to new limits.
As to the nutrition part of things, I've always loved fruit and vegetables, so that's easy. I don't deprive myself of anything that I want, but it also helps that I've never been the sort to devour a pint or more of ice cream in a single sitting. I'm also a fan of simple carbs (pasta, rice, potatoes), but I don't actually eat them all that often and, when I do, not much of them. I would say to never eat anything labeled a diet food. They've reduced the fat and cranked up the sugar and salt to make it taste like something. Eat the cheese. Enjoy the full fat cream. Your body knows better what to do with those things than salt and sugar. Honestly. Protein is super important if you're looking to build muscle. I achieve this through meat, but I also often eat vegetarian, so beans and soy are my friends. A typical dinner for me is a bowl of salad, a bowl of roasted vegetables, and whatever entree I have around. That could be vegan sloppy Joe or half a burger and some fries from the brew pub around the corner. I drink mostly water (lots of it) and a cup of tea or coffee in the mornings. I don't count calories. That's too much work. I do eat everything that's not vegetable based off of small dishes and I don't do seconds.
For me, it was all easy and relatively painless. At the time I started, I was going through some major life changes anyway, so this was all just a drop in the bucket, really. It provided me something to focus on when things were kind of terrible and the endorphins from working out chased away depression, anxiety, and sadness. Anger just meant I had extra oomph in my punches, kicks, and kettlebell swings, so that was good, too.
I never consulted my doctor on any of it. It would likely have been a good idea to do so. Injuries can set someone back and be really discouraging. Apart from my fracture, I've never hurt myself. Everyday muscle soreness can also turn someone all the way off. Every body is different. Every body is meant to look and behave differently. Find something you enjoy and make time to do it. Focus on the small picture because the big one is really terrifying.