My quest to lose weight turned me into a morning person quite by accident.
I had always considered myself a night owl and generally never jumped into bed before 12am. However, finding a weight loss regime I could actually stick to, forced me to let go of my night owl belief. Now waking up early has given me even more than just losing weight.
There I was, the not so proud owner of a body weighing nearly 11 stone. With my 5ft nothing frame, my BMI was hitting the obese category. I felt sluggish, embarrassed and disgusted with myself.
I didn’t recognised the person I’d become. With a wardrobe full of clothes that didn’t fit anymore, I had no energy and hated seeing myself in the mirror.
How did I get to this point?
Well, after my second child, the weight didn’t fall off like it did with my first. I kept telling myself it would magically happen. But after about 3 years, I realised my body was not responding to my wishes. It was all up to me. So I proceeded to try all sorts of diet’s that promised instant results.
Some of them did work and the weight came off. But I felt miserable and soon put it back on.
At some point along my diet trial and error I had a mindset shift. I decided I wasn’t prepared to swap food that made me ‘feel good’, for the misery I felt whilst obtaining a slimmer body.
My weight loss belief had been set!
Eleven years of that belief manifested into a bulging waistline, rubbing thighs and bingo wings the size of a jumbo jet. With 30lbs of extra fat taking over my very being, I was on the verge of buying the next size up in clothes. (Having already gone up one size a few year ago.) – Something had to give!
Luckily, (yes, luckily!), I had a mid-life crisis. This crisis made me question everything in my life. It brought my weight situation to the top of my agenda and I had to face the hard truths.
No matter what excuses my mind gave me to validate my current size, after my crisis I could not accept them. The facts still remained; I wanted to be happy in my own skin. I no longer wanted to look in the mirror feeling disgusted and I definitely didn’t want to buy the next size up in clothes. I just wanted to see myself the way I used to. Sexy, full of life, optimistic and fun to be around.
I wanted it so badly!
But I also knew I had been here before.
On countless occasions in the years leading up to my crisis point, there were moments when I felt this time I was going to get my body back. I had enough of being reluctant to go to social events because I didn’t want my picture taken. Enough of smiling in photo’s, when secretly my self-confidence was low. Enough of nobody knowing how I was really feeling because I hid behind a happy persona. This time will be different. Then – I FAILED!
My crisis changed all of this. I could no longer live in the shadow of myself. It was either do or die a death of 100 cheese cakes!
What did I start doing? Well surprisingly, this time I did not focus on food. I was already the expert on that cycle of behaviour. You know what I’m talking about? When you convince yourself that sheer willpower alone will stop you from resisting the goodies bought for the rest of the family. Been there – done that – failed!
So, I focused on moving my body. For the first time in years I started doing activities that made me sweat. Surprisingly – this worked. By time I came back from my holiday, I could fasten up the top button on one of my jeans! I was finally on to something.
Or so I thought!
One week back from my holiday, I was still going strong. Working out each evening and seeing progress. Then came the week I had to return to work. I was not ready for this real life scenario. You see, up until this point I had been following a routine where I exercised in the evening, before I ate dinner. It never occurred to me that I wouldn’t have the willpower to keep doing that after a full days work. And The 5 Second Rule was not helping override my procrastination and tiredness.
By time I got home, sorted the kids, put the dinner on and caught up with my husband, I was pooped. I had no interest in exercising and found myself looking for other distractions. I just could not commit and the excuses were sounding so convincing in my head. Back to my failure mindset and feeling sorry for myself.
“But at least I definitely tried this time.
NO ONE could say I didn’t give it a go!”
– My best excuse for anything I would abandon.
Here we go again. Same old cycle – same old me.
Well as always, inspiration comes to you from the weirdest of places. Just when you are about to give up.
You know those annoying adverts that come up on the start of a YouTube video? Well, one actually made me pay attention. Some buff man, wearing only shorts shouted out from the screen “Did you know exercising in the morning has better health benefits?” “No – I didn’t know that!”, I shouted back. (In my head obviously.)
I’ll be honest – I didn’t even research his claim. I just went with it because I felt I’d been thrown a final life line. I was ‘allowed’ to workout in the morning. Holy shit! I was not a failure. I just had the wrong strategy. Maybe I can do this!
My plan was to get up each morning and do a workout as soon as I woke up. If I prepared my exercise routine the night before and put my workout clothes by my bed, everything would fall into place. So easy!
Why didn’t I think about that before? Of course working out in the morning would be better for me. I could get it out of the way and then have the evening to myself knowing I had already put in the work.
I was so excited. I saved my favourite workouts to a YouTube playlist called ‘New Me’ and I started off on my journey. It was a really good 5 days of pushing myself to get up and move. I could already see changes in my body and I was feeling so good. Exercise had tricked me to become a morning person. Yay me!
Then came ‘The Day of the Snooze’. “Just 5 more minutes”, I told myself. Well you know how that story goes. I didn’t wake up in time to do a work out and felt bad about it all day. Subsequently, The Day of the Snooze became ‘The Week of the Snooze’. Just 5 days after my proclamation of being a morning person I had reverted back to my previous behaviour.
What the hell is wrong with me?
Can’t I follow anything through!
The problem was I was waking up earlier, but I did not have a plan to go to bed earlier. I was only getting about 5 hours sleep each night. For my temperament – that was not enough! I was ready to give up. Just like my belief of not depriving my body of food, my mind was already telling me not to deprive my body of sleep.
Now, by this time I had already lost about 7lbs over the last 3 weeks. So the exercise was working, but the willpower was fading.
This was my point of no return. If I did not find find a way to work this shit out, I’d live the rest of my life the same way I spent the last 11 years. Could I really live with that person?
I liked the idea of being a morning person and loved the feeling I got from doing the workouts. There had to be a way to get rid of the barrier to get what I wanted.
I had to start small.
Even though I was losing weight, I deliberately stopped working out for two weeks. (Yes you read that right!) For two whole weeks I concentrated on going to bed earlier and waking up earlier without hitting the snooze button. My experiment started off by focusing on not hitting snooze for a few days. I then gradually started changing the alarm to get me up earlier and earlier each day without hitting the snooze button.
By the end of week two I was getting 7.5 hours of sleep each night and waking up at 5.30am. (Me – 5.30am!)
Only by week three did I reintroduce my workouts. Yes, I gained a few pounds over the first two weeks of non-exercise. However, by adjusting my process and creating new habits, I was able to train my body clock to allow me to be mentally and physically ready to work out each morning. And this time it stuck!
Who the hell would have thought it!
“For years I considered myself a night owl but here I am up with the birds.”
I finally discovered a way to steadily lose over 30lbs without feeling miserable or depriving myself of food and sleep.
It has been a total lifestyle switch which has impacted my mindset and well-being.
Morning’s have become the most fulfilling part of my day and helped create more than just a physical transformation. Whilst the rest of my household sleep, it’s the only time in the day I can call my own. A space where I focus solely on myself – before my day gets hijacked by ‘life’.
As you know, ‘My Current Fitness Routine’, doesn’t take long each day. So, once I finish working out, I use the extra time I’ve gained each morning to journal, read, meditate or work on my blog – without distractions! Just me, myself and I.
By the time my family wake up, my energy is high and I have more of myself to give them every morning because I took care of myself first. It has transformed my whole day.
My cup is full. I am focused and ready to face anything the outside word throws at me.
It’s feels quite remarkable how weight loss tricked me into becoming a morning person. I would never have thought my daily experience of life could change so dramatically. All it took was searching for another way to succeed in a goal I wanted so badly. My experience convinced me that any goal I want to achieve can be accomplished just by finding the right processes and developing empowering habits to eliminate the barrier’s.
It’s not just about working towards the goal. It’s also important to work on ways to get rid of the things you know will stop you from trying to achieve it.
I could have easily battled with myself to stick with an evening routine and hated every minute of it. However, starting with tiny habits to eliminate all barrier’s, was the only way I succeeded.
And just look at the by-product of those habits. Fourteen hours a week to myself, to work on myself, for myself!
I love my body again but most of all, I now love myself.
What can be more valuable than that!.
If the plan doesn't work change the plan but never the goal.
It's not just about achieving the goal you set off to acquire, it's also about the person you become whilst you go after your goal.
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