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After a month, what I've learned so far about getting healthy

The last month hasn't been easy, but I've already learned a lot about how to lead a more healthy lifestyle.

I'm a third of the way through my fitness challenge, which has been rewarding and extremely difficult in equal measure. Credit: Chris Magdalenski I'm a third of the way through my fitness challenge, which has been rewarding and extremely difficult in equal measure.
Credit: Chris Magdalenski

It's hard to believe that it's been a month since I started on this journey to lose weight and get healthy. It hasn't been easy — I've had to make a lot of changes in my lifestyle — but I've already learned a lot.

Push yourself beyond your limits
I never thought I could do some of the things that I've done: not eating doughnut holes for more than a month, surviving (and loving!) spin class, working on the rowing machine for a half hour straight, doing pushups. The idea that "I can't" has been firmly ingrained for so long, but it turns out I can. And have. And can do even more. Easy? No way. Worth it? Yes.

Things fluctuate, but don't get discouraged And by "things" I mean the scale. It's really frustrating to see a three-pound difference from one day to the next — how can that happen? The important thing I'm trying to remember: Don't focus on the short term. Losing 30 pounds takes a while, and I can't get caught up on what the numbers say on any given day. It's a process; slow and steady wins the race.

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Leo Wright, who teaches the NYHRC cycling class on Saturday mornings, made a good point recently. People complain about hitting plateaus, but there are ways to break through them. He says that by increasing duration, intensity and/or frequency, you'll never plateau. I'm hoping he's right.

Excuses are easy to make and harder to break
There have been so many days that I've wanted to skip the gym and/or buy everything in the office vending machine, and having the willpower to say "no" to myself has been difficult. But sliding back into my old ways, which would be so easy to do, won't get me where I want to be. Nothing is going to change unless I make it change. A yummy dessert or large order of fries might be satisfying in the short term, but I have to remind myself that they're not worth throwing away all the hard work I've done. There are better options that can still be satisfying.

Be your own biggest cheerleader
I've had amazing support from my fiance, family, friends, everyone at NYHRC and readers — thank you all. But even with all that encouragement, I've also had to learn how to believe more in myself. I have to believe that I can do this (even in the face of temptation and laziness) and push myself to succeed.

Every day is a new opportunity
I know it sounds trite, but it's true. NYHRC's nutritionist, Alanna Cabrero, says many people think if they slip up and eat something that isn't the best choice, the whole day is wasted... or the whole week. She says that's just not true: Get back on track at the very next meal, and compensate for the misstep. I've found there really is such a thing as momentum, and good habits, while not necessarily easy to acquire, build more new habits. I'm trying to make permanent changes that I can maintain for the rest of my life, not just for a few months.

My 30-pound goal is a starting point, not the end of the struggle; I could/should probably lose another 30. Believe me, If I could wave a magic wand and be a size 6, I would do it in a second. Unfortunately, that's not how things work. I still don't know if I'll reach my goal by my self-imposed deadline, but I'm on the right track.


Progress Report


Starting Stats (as of Jan. 29)
Weight: 209.5 pounds
Body Mass Index (BMI): 36
Chest: 48 inches
Waist: 41 inches
Hips: 48.5 inches

Current Stats (as of March 3)
Weight: 192.5 (17 pounds lost!)
BMI: 33.8 (down 2.2 points)
Chest: 44.13 inches (almost four inches lost)
Waist: 39.75 inches (more than an inch smaller)
Hips: 43.5 inches (five inches gone)

Amanda Art is Metro’s social media manager. Over the next few months, track her weight loss progress as she readies for her May 3 wedding. Follow Amanda on Twitter at @NYNewsgirl.

 
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