This weekend is Memorial Day weekend, which means it’s officially bikini season. After adding winter and clinical trial, life-on-the-road pounds, it has taken me a while to fit into my own bikini , but like Stella, I’m getting my groove back. Over the past month, I’ve lost almost 10 pounds. The formula has been really simple: proper diet and exercise.
I know that’s the last thing anyone wants to hear, but it’s true. I stopped eating fast food, which instantly decreased my calorie and fat intake, cut out high-calorie treats (which was the hardest part), and started eating wholesome, nutritionally-dense lean meats, vegetables, and lots of fruit. I realized I was eating way too much sugar, so I also try to eliminate that as much as possible. I don’t drink carbonated beverages and stick almost exclusively to water. The biggest ally to my diet has been a protein and fruit shake I make after every workout. It’s an easy way to sneak in a serving of protein, blueberries, blackberries, and strawberries while appeasing my appetite. I’m never very hungry afterward.
All of that is nice, but the most significant change has been the decision to commit to working out again. Ever since I lost all of my strength to leukemia, it has long been a struggle to get back into the habit of making working-out a routine. Something always seems to happen. I’m either having to stop everything to begin a new treatment, don’t have enough time because of school, or I’m working really long hours. And then there are the excuses and compromises I’d make in-between.
During the first clinical trial in Houston, I had a hard time walking around the block. Each step was really shaky, as if I had just returned from a rigorous workout where all I used was my legs. In fact, on the way back, I had to put my arm around Katie’s shoulders for support. That was a few days before my eye pressure increased dramatically and things took a turn for the worse. It’s crazy to remember what that was like. The contrast between then and now (a period of four months) is phenomenal. Now, I run for at least thirty minutes a day, a distance of over 3.25 miles. I’m truly grateful that God continues to bless me the way He does. Things could be a lot worse.
To be honest, when I thought there was a really good chance I’d have to go through a bone marrow transplant, I let apathy become an excuse. There was the temptation to believe that nothing I could do would matter. I thought, if I work out, I’m going to lose everything I’ll gain while in the hospital anyway. It was a real defeatist attitude. I almost quit before I even started. I may have nibbled on that temptation carrot a couple of times before I realized it wasn’t about what could happen, it’s about how I feel today. That’s all anyone has. Today. I bought a new pair of running shoes and haven’t looked back.
Getting into shape wasn’t easy at first. I had some bad eating habits and it took a while to develop good ones. I had some lethargic habits, so I had to develop good habits there as well. Now, I feel awesome. I have a lot more energy and I never experience that gross, heavy feeling after eating an unhealthy meal. I know this sounds like an infomercial, but I’m not really one to sell anyone on a better diet and exercise routine. It’s just that based on my past, I know that being healthy is a lot more about forming good habits and banishing bad ones than it is spending hours in the gym and eating leaves every day. If you can focus on that, then you’re already ahead of where you were yesterday.
I can’t wait to get into my bikini.