3 Things You Need to Know Before You Start a Journey to Better Health


This post is written by FFP office manager, Leah Gilbert. Make sure to check out her bio at the bottom of the page. Take it away, Leah....



I know what you’re probably asking yourself right now—what does a 25 year-old part-time office manager know about nutrition and lifting? Before I get into my tips here’s a little bit about my health and fitness journey—


I was a year-round high school athlete, highly active and incredibly strong. I was on a track to play softball in college and continue my athletic career for as long as I chose.


During high school, my health plummeted unexpectedly and I was diagnosed with a condition that caused so much inflammation and fatigue that my doctor recommended resigning my spot on the team and picking up a hobby that caused less physical stress on my body (hello, musical theatre!).


College came around and I was so sick I gave up on healthy eating and activity whatsoever. I did a harsh 180 from eating a diet high in protein and veggies to eating Taco Bell at least 3 times per week. My logic? If I was going to be sick no matter what, I might as well stuff my face with whatever I wanted.


Four years later and I graduated college 50 pounds heavier than when I arrived and little to no energy. I had tried workout programs. I had tried the gluten-free craze. I had been on over 40 medications. Nothing was working.


I’ll spare you the long story, but 3 months after graduation I began working with a health coach and lost 45 pounds in 5 months with solid nutrition and light walking.


I loved the plan so much I decided I was going to offer people the same hope I had handed to me. I got certified and began assisting other people to greater physical and mental health.


For a 25 year old, I’ve walked down quite a few different paths regarding fitness and nutrition. Each season has looked different, but after helping many people (including myself) here are the 3 things I’ve learned that I’m convinced you need to know no matter where you are in this process:


  1. Comparative reality is a waste of your time.

Many of us heard the phrase “life isn’t fair” at some point during adolescence. Here’s the thing—someone else is always going to have “more ideal” circumstances than you. And guess what? You’re always going to have more ideal circumstances than someone else. You could follow the same diet and same workout plan and that person could lose twice as much weight in one week as you. Not fair. But guess what? Dwelling on how that’s “not fair” isn’t making inches come off your waist any faster. Stay in your lane and don’t waste your time comparing your journey to someone else’s.



    2.   Ignoring your current reality is slowing you down.


We all have really legitimate reasons for why we are the way that we are, right? I call these legitimate reasons “excuses.” It’s hard to sit down and get real with yourself about how you got to the point where you need to lose 50 pounds (I know because I’ve been there). However, not getting real about the fact that eating Taco Bell multiple times a week due to lack of time management and self-control was not helping me change. What did help me change was sitting myself down and identifying my habits that were leading me down a slippery slope in my health. Because once you get real about your current reality, you hold in your hands the power to choose to change your actions to create a new current reality.



    3. Start living less out of emotion and more out of structure.


Even though I’ve maintained my weight loss for 2 years now, I’ll let you in on a little secret—I still crave junk food sometimes (gasp—can you work at a gym and say that?). We all have emotions. I don’t always “feel like” working out, or eating a salad when I could order pizza. But you know what? No one else is going to determine the outcome of my life other than me. I came to a point where I started deciding to make choices based on what I REALLY wanted (to be fit, comfortable in my own skin, make it through a day without a nap, get off meds, to name a few…) and not based on what I wanted in the moment. Emotions are tricky little guys—they’ll convince you that it’s more important to make your mouth water over making your body function well. Your emotions will always be there telling you it’s not worth it to get up early for that workout, or to go ahead and buy the ice cream because “you worked so hard this week and deserve a treat.” But living out of your emotions is what probably got you to the physical state you’re in in the first place, so let’s decide right now to make a change if we want a different reality.

Leah is a certified health coach with the Center of Obesity Prevention and Education and lives in Virginia Beach, VA. She manages the office at Forward Fitness and Performance in Chesapeake, VA. She enjoys coaching others to take back their health, spending time with her fiancée, and wearing sweat pants.





*Photo credits: Emily Lewin Photography


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