Strangely, I’d also always been on some kind of diet: Slim Fast, South Beach, you name it. Like most people on the heavy side, I had just kind of accepted that I could lose a few pounds, but I would never be “skinny.” And because of that, there was a lot I couldn’t do in life. I could never be a runner, compete in any kind of athletic event, or be attractive to the opposite sex.
When I started to lose weight in February of 2009, I didn’t have that defining moment where a light bulb went off and I knew that I had just made a decision to change my life. It was far, far from that. I had a friend who had started a great program called Couch to 5k where you start walking (which I already did and enjoyed) and incorporated very short spurts of running to eventually reach a 5K run. She raved about the program, and I just decided to start it because I knew I could use the workout.
Well, it took me longer than 9 weeks, but I completed the program. I had to repeat some weeks and I had days I just really didn’t want to run, so I didn’t. But after I completed the program I felt great. There was a local half marathon about 14 weeks away and while I knew that was a lofty goal, I just wanted to see how far I could make it. The day of that race, I crossed the finish line and realized how much I had changed.
Gradually, I started making changes to my diet. As a professional chef, I loved food (and still do), so I refused to give up everything I loved eating. I figured I could start making small changes just like when I had started running, and I would be happier and healthier as a result. If I wanted a cheeseburger and beer I still had them, but I just thought, “It’s ok to do this today, but not everyday”. And I wouldn’t shame myself or make myself feel guilty.
Today I have found a great balance of healthy and not so healthy eating.
I tell you all this about my past because it is the foundation of Level Wellness. Too many times we try to completely change everything about ourselves overnight, and it just isn’t realistic.
I believe in coaching, making small changes and setting goals with a heavy emphasis on accountability and working on mindset. I’m going to be honest – my approach does not deliver instant results, but it helps you celebrate small victories and achieve bigger goals over time.