Fitness Journey: How I Lost 20 Pounds in 5 Months

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Everyone’s fitness journey is special and specific to them. I want to make sure that is clear from the beginning. I am also not a fitness coach or expert; I am a regular mom of two who struggled with her physical wellness and body image not just after kids but growing up in a Dominican household.

However, creating a fitness journey that is purposeful can truly be life-changing for your health and overall wellness. Today, I want to share 7 tips that helped me to get started (without a personal trainer).

Note: I am not a trainer myself, and only share from my experience!

how to start your fitness journey as a busy mom pin with freebie that says download your free resource list

Why care about starting a fitness journey?

Before I share what to do to lose weight and/or start your journey, let me explain 6 reasons why you should even care about your physical fitness.

  1. Mental health – movement of any kind can truly have a positive impact on your mental health. It can reduce stress, anxiety and symptoms of depression. It also releases endorphins that can boost your mood and give you this sense of well-being.
  1. Energy & Vitality – now staying active can increase your energy levels (something I know we all struggle with at times). It allows moms like us to better handle the demands of our daily routines. This can be especially important for moms juggling work, childcare, and other life responsibilities.
  1. Role model – I always say that I want to practice what I preach. By taking care of our own physical health, we are setting a positive example for our children to do the same. Kids are literally a sponge of knowledge and take in a lot by observing how we engage in healthy habits. This can instill a lifelong appreciation for fitness and well-being.
  1. Quality of time – physical activities can be a great way for mothers to spend quality time with their children. Activities like family hikes, bike rides, or playing sports together not only promote fitness but also strengthen family bonds.
  1. Improved sleep – regular movement can lead to better sleep quality. Improved sleep is crucial for both physical and mental health, and moms can benefit from being well-rested and ready to face the day. And we can use any help we can get especially during tough sleeping seasons with little ones.
  1. Self-confidence – staying active can boost self-esteem and self-confidence. Feeling good about one’s physical abilities and appearance can really have a positive impact on so many areas of our life such as relationships and career.

3 obstacles that can get in the way of your fitness journey:

Now, you best believe that there will be a million and one obstacles trying to get in the way of your fitness journey. You may be able to vocalize that you want to lose weight or eat more healthily, yet we continue the same o’ bad habits. 

Obstacle #1: Our limiting beliefs – we may have years of limiting beliefs piled up as to what we can and cannot do. 

You may say or have said some of the followings:

  • I can’t afford it
  • I don’t have time for it
  • I’ve had kids, so I’ll never get my pre-baby body back
  • I’m too tired
  • I’m not good at it
  • I need to prioritize any “spare” time for my family
  • I’ve failed before, and I’ll fail again

And mama, these are all NOT true. With these statements we are limiting ourselves from reaching our best potential. You don’t have to hire an expensive coach (or coach at all) to begin the journey, I didn’t! You can make time, just the same way you set up appointments for your kids.

Plus, you don’t want a pre-mom body, what you want is your NOW body to help you have a happy quality filled life.

Remember, you write your OWN narrative

Obstacle #2: Cultural challenges – depending on your cultural upbringing, you can face some insecurities and difficult conversations.

I grew up in a Dominican household that served rice, beans and some kind of protein whether chicken, pork or beef daily. When it came to portion sizes, your plate was always filled up and it was an insult if you left food on it.

Secondly, grandparents, aunts and uncles would be quick to comment on your weight as soon as you attended a family gathering or event. You were always too big or too small. 

You can shrug this off at first, but then it can get to you. Here you will have to both address it with the people in your family, be disciplined enough to not “cave in,” but also ask yourself, why is it all getting to me?

Obstacle #3: Lack of self-love – which can manifest in so many different ways. One, as mentioned above, cultural comments and perception as it relates to weight and feeling self-conscious in your body. 

When we lack love for ourselves whether from our upbringing with family, what we consumed on television or social media or maybe health struggles…it all adds up and can create a tough relationship (with ourselves).

The key here is to understand what a healthy lifestyle both means and looks like to you. How is it that you want to feel in your body, and what changes do you have to make to get there.

7 habits to kickstart your fitness journey. image shows a mom on the floor doing yoga with daughter on her.

7 tips to losing weight in a fun and healthy way:

Let’s dive straight into it and discuss the 7 best tips and tricks that have helped me and will help you on your fitness journey.

Note: I won’t mention getting a fitness coach, as I didn’t get one because of financial constraints. But there are some amazing coaches out there that can give you more pointers on what YOU can do specifically for your body.

I recommend that when able to – but not something you need to even start your journey.

1. Build a strong mindset: this is the step we all like to skip but I am going to start with this one before sharing some practical steps that can be implemented.

Without a strong mindset, you can start off super motivated and maybe get in a good week of exercise and eat healthy…but then when the high wears down, you quickly miss a day…or three before you stop exercising all together.

One of the factors to this is a negative or poor mindset and belief in ourselves. That is why it’s crucial to do certain activities to build that muscle into one of positivity.

This could be rewriting negative beliefs to those that are positive and re-stating them every morning. That can also mean celebrating a win every single Friday and learning how to say kind words to yourself.

Don’t skip this step and spend intentional time daily on mindfulness activities to help you develop these skills and begin to trust yourself again. 

Here is a self-awareness planner that I created which allows you to do this deep inner work.

2. Began drinking water first – Yes, mama, I am talking to YOU! 

Upping my intake of water (first thing in the morning) has made such a difference to my mood and energy from start to end of day.

So, instead of waking up and making a cup of coffee or tea, start with some water. I then suggest you wait an hour before drinking your other choice of beverage. Try this out for a few weeks and see for yourself the difference it can make.

3. Paid attention to my nutrition – I began to truly look at both my portion sizes and the types of food items I was consuming. Now, remember I mentioned that I come from a Dominican household? Rice (and a lot of it) was always on my plate. 

Now, I make sure to include more veggies, and set my boundaries with my mom on how much food she can serve me. I also add more fruits for snacks and clean protein. 

Lastly, I cut out certain foods that did not serve my health.

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4. Reduced fried foods and items with added sugars – as simple as that.

I stopped drinking juice with all the added sugars. You don’t have to cut it all together, but if you are a heavy juice or soda drinker, start with reducing that.

Additionally, when my mom is making fried chicken of any sort, I have her serve it to me after it’s cooked (she seasons and boils it first) but before she puts it to fry. 

I’ll also note here that I stopped  taking creamer on my coffee and use oat milk instead with light brown sugar.

5. Daily movement – this has been a huge part of my transformation, and also one of the biggest obstacles. It’s easy to get super motivated, find a fitness plan, start it and then slowly but surely stop doing the workouts a week or two in. My biggest piece of advice here is to start where you are at.

If you haven’t gone to the gym in over a year – then don’t commit to 6x a week for one hour. That is how we continuously let ourselves down, and therefore continue to not trust ourselves!

Also, you can include more movement without committing to exercises from the beginning. Instead, commit to taking the stairs at work or doing 25 squats before bed. That is how I first started.

Moreover, include your family and make it fun. This can be going on walks, stroller run or doing dance workouts that your kids also love and enjoy.

Growwithjo is a family favorite! This is her free YouTube channel with fun exercises.

And if you want to get more resources like this, grab my free resource guide where I share other resources and recommendations that have helped me start my day strong.

6. Stay organized and plan it out – it truly helps when you are prepared beforehand instead of scrambling right before a workout or meal. I have this 151-page fitness planner with trackers and journaling prompts – check it out here.

weight loss journal for fitness journey etsy listing

On Sundays, I plan my meals for the week and prep the first half of the week. On Wednesday, we cook the second half of the week’s meals.

With my workouts, I select them before the start of the week. I then plan out my outfits the night prior (or the morning of, if I am doing a workout in the evening). That way I already have the clothes I am going to wear.

It’s all about making things easier and avoiding excuses, especially as someone who works full-time.

food, type of workout, link to the workout

7. Become disciplined – where you are actively working on becoming disciplined and not relying of motivation to get me to an outcome. Now motivation can definitely be important during the start of your journey but will not get me through the hard pockets of time.

Discipline is when you go and do something despite not wanting to. You do it because you know the greater purpose or the thing that comes from doing it consistently which is way worth it.

Here are some of the ways that I work on building discipline:

  1. Make it fun – in whatever way I can, I at least start the journey in a fun way. For my workouts, I watch grow with jo who does workouts with music playlists. I love listening to the afro beats or Latin ones that just put me in the best of moods.
  2. Document your journey – this can be in one of two ways: written in a journal or by taking pictures. Now you have to get real here because insecurities can for sure come up. But seeing your results can go a huge way. Plus, when you start to build momentum, and you see change, all you want to do is keep going.
  3. Have accountability measures – find a person or people to hold it down for you when all you want to do is crash on a couch. Alternatively, and something I do, is I hold myself accountable on the day a coach I follow is going live. I book it on my phone as I would an appointment.

It all comes down to self-love during your fitness journey

At the route of everything is self-love. I never understood that concept until doing the deep inner work to get to know myself and realize that I wasn’t taking care of myself in the holistic sense.

Our bodies are incredible – heck we grew babies inside of them. But we also need to take care of them so that they can be of best use to us and our loved ones.

So, remember you don’t have to do everything all at once. But you do need to start, and that requires you to have to take action (regardless of how big or small that action is). Remind yourself as to why you are doing it and let that fuel you up.

I am so proud of you for even being here to read this and I can’t wait to hear about your journey.

Leave a comment below sharing how you got started or plan to get started on your fitness journey?

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