My wife Erin and I lead a pretty ordinary life; we are in our early 30’s, live in Edmonton and have professional jobs. Two and a half years ago, we decided to make some lifestyle changes to improve our health and wellness. While many people view our story as extraordinary, we want you to know that anybody can make this kind of a change.
Achieving weight loss and fitness goals are very simple. For weight loss goals you consume fewer calories than you burn. For fitness goals you set a realistic goal and work towards it on a consistent basis. While achieving these goals are very simple, they are by no means easy. When Erin and I first started on our journey towards a more healthy and active lifestyle, every day was a struggle. Old habits die hard and it took a lot of dedication to change how we ate and how we viewed exercise. There were many days along the way when it would have been very easy to fall into old habits. But over time, we formed new habits and a new outlook on life. We now feel like we are living life to the fullest and have never been happier or more in love.
Together we have lost just under 200 pounds and found a passion for fitness along the way. Erin discovered weight lifting and loves how it helps her meet fitness goals, while making her feel strong at the same time. She took her first weightlifting class two years ago and has been going steady ever since. I discovered endurance running and it has become my drug of choice. I started running just over two years ago and have progressed from finishing a half marathon in 2 hours, 26 minutes to finishing the Edmonton half marathon in August, 2017 with a time of 1 hour, 36 minutes.
A transition to a more healthy, active lifestyle is a hard one, but our story is proof that anyone can do it.
Below are our top tips for anyone thinking of making this kind of a change.
Top food tips:
- Calculate how many calories you should be eating each day to maintain your weight. If you want to lose some weight, eat less and track the calories you are eating using an app on your phone or in a food journal. This will create a calorie deficit and if this deficit is maintained, you will see results!
- Don’t think of certain foods as ‘good’ or ‘bad’. The beauty of counting calories is that it gives you the freedom to eat whatever you want, so long as you maintain a calorie deficit. I lost weight eating a balanced diet, but made sure to save calories for potato chips and ice cream, because I love those foods.
- Buy a kitchen scale and use measuring cups to make sure your portions sizes are accurate. This is especially helpful when dealing with calorie dense foods.
Top fitness tips:
- Find an activity you love. For me it was running and for Erin it was weight lifting. The best kind of exercise is one you do consistently.
- Leading a more active lifestyle and incorporating exercise into your daily life will help if you are aiming to lose weight, but don’t lose sight of the many other benefits that exercise has to offer such as assisting with stress management and improved self-confidence. These non-scale victories can be just as rewarding as shedding that extra weight.
- Sign up for a race or join a class. I found that having a race to train for was a great way to keep myself disciplined. There are many days that I don’t want to lace up my running shoes and head outside for a run, but if I have a goal race in mind, my training is important to meet that goal.
Most importantly, remember that a transition to a more healthy, active lifestyle is a process, not an event. One sunny day does not make a summer, so don’t get down on yourself over one day where you go over your calorie limit or one missed workout. What matters is forming new habits and that takes time.
By Brian LeBlanc