I have struggled with food and weight for longer than I could remember. I always wanted dessert and lots of it! I was constantly overeating and I was moody, sad and displayed symptoms of depression. Eventually, I gave up and stopped caring about my health. I always wished I could just eat whatever I want and continue without exercise. Wouldn’t it be awesome if I never worked out and could eat everything and just not gain weight? Actually, what I’ve learned is no.

About a year ago, I saw that working with the right personal trainer could help lead me to a different lifestyle. I started to learn about the impact of foods I put into my body, strength and resistance training and how exercise isn’t just going on the treadmill. The New York times shares research findings that with resistance training, whether people went to the gym twice a week or five times a week, complete lots of repetitions or only a few, the benefits were essentially the same. Strength training can help people feel less anxious and nervous. Researchers share studies that discuss the correlation between resistance exercise training and depressive symptoms. “It finds that resistance exercise often substantially reduces people’s gloom, no matter how melancholy they feel at first, or how often — or seldom — they actually get to the gym and lift.” Many people go to the gym and hit the treadmill or elliptical all of which are great cardio! But, we don’t often talk about other forms of exercise and health benefits.

My personal trainer, Anthony Stewart took a different approach with his A+ Training. While society tends to focus on numbers and pounds, we often forget about the heart and overall health. If I could eat anything that I wanted and shrink my stomach I may be satisfied externally. I started to understand more that the food that goes into my body doesn’t just impact the way I look but the way I function. The amount of sugar I was having was impacting my workout efficiency and emotions. I wrote a blog in July about my process of joining a gym, about my goals, hopes and perspective around numbers and weight and working with my personal trainer. At that time, I wanted my birthday weigh in to be in a different range of numbers. I lost that weight and had a positive experience when I did measurements in July.

But, a few months later the holidays came and it became more challenging for me to make effective eating choices. I wanted the holiday drinks at Starbucks with hundreds of calories, the stuffing, the cookies, the pies, the bread, anything and everything else. Although I was sticking with my workout routine I was becoming less motivated and didn’t feel as confident or empowered. It felt harder for me to work out and I was exhausted. I was getting frustrated. I wanted to give up, call it quits. I had been feeling a sense of hopelessness around my self image. I got it in my head that I’ll never change my eating habits and all of the working out is worthless because I’m not looking the way I want.

I had taken a break from working out, from making healthy food choices and taken a break from my physical and emotional health. I kept telling myself I need to get motivated again. I had it in my mind that January 1st, I would start again and get back on track. When I told my trainer that I needed to wait until I was motivated, he told me that I needed to keep going. Anthony said, “you may not be motivated to go the gym. You can’t wait for that feeling. You need to show up wherever you are that day.” His A+ Training motto is – “Come as you are.” I didn’t need to wait until a specific day time or year to begin again, each moment is an opportunity to start new. I can start at the beginning right now. I couldn’t keep waiting until I was ready because I was inevitably delaying the process to get back into a routine and a plan.

I didn’t need January 1, 2019 to come around to tell me it’s a new year filled with new goals and opportunities. A resolution for a new year could start any moment I choose. I worked at having a new mindset and I hit reset. I decided to start at the beginning but that  I wasn’t going to forget everything I have learned and how far I have come. When Anthony first asked me about my goals a year ago, I said to show up. One of the challenges I always faced was consistency with exercise and health. I wanted to stick with it and change my life style routine.  I took a short break but ultimately, I was still showing up, a year later and I am still working with a personal trainer. I wanted to make a decision to show up differently and start at a new beginning.

He has helped me stay on track and remind me what results matter what success actually means and point out facts that were being blinded by distractions of society and specifically social media. He kept saying that I was making progress and we were getting results and I just didn’t get it. I see my stomach and my face and that extra fat. Since the break I took, I can confidently say that although my eating is still a challenge, going to the gym gives me immediate results and results that people don’t often talk about. The way I handle stress has become more tolerable and I am more regulated. I still struggle with food and weight but the numbers are not how I measure my success and progress. I am focused on improving my health, heart and happiness.