Wednesday, February 22, 2017

What I Learned Doing the Look for Love | Tone It Up Challenge

all tone it up photos taken from

Yall, I did it.  I completed my first Tone It Up Challenge. I cannot even begin to articulate what these past 6 weeks have meant to me.  FYI this is definitely not a sponsored post I just love this plan, these trainers, and the transformation I have had within.

But in order to truly understand my why for joining Tone It Up we have to go back in time. Like to high school... I have always been an athlete.  Swim practice 6 days a week was my norm.  With all of that practice, I never really thought about what I was eating.  We weren't really educated on nutrition either.  Carbing up is a common phrase in the swim world.  And not healthy carbs I'm talking full on mac and cheese binges before meets was a regular occurrence.  I also didn't have the best relationship with food either.  I would come home from school and as my pre-workout / after school snack I would eat everything and anything in the cabinet [sorry Mom!] I had no real sense of portion sizing.

Then I left for college, I still swam for my school, so going to practice daily was my working out, plus swim meets on weekends.  Again, I felt like I was good because I swam so much and that burns a ton of calories.  Being in college comes with it's own challenges. No parent to yell at me when the whole bag of chex mix is gone or to tell me I can't go to a fast food place with my friends because it's past curfew.  Add in drinking and I was wrecking my insides slowly without actually realizing it.  Because, you see, this whole time I was blissfully thinking I was okay because I swim. I used swimming as an excuse to truly eat whatever I felt like.

So then I graduated college and got my first teaching job.  I moved back home with my parents and in order to find something to replace swimming I joined a gym and got hooked on zumba and yoga classes.  I was on a super strict budget now #teacherprobs so I had to figure out how to really meal plan.  I started losing weight I think based on the fact that I wasn't going out to eat all the time to save money.  I also pack my lunch for school every day because a lunch break is not a thing in schools #anotherteacherprob so by default I was eating slightly healthier. Yet, I still didn't really eat properly but it was in this time period that I realized I wanted to feel healthier and needed to make some changes in my life.

A few years later I moved back to the mountains for grad school.  Grad school, specifically a counseling program is 2 years of intensive self care and therapy, it was here that I found a passion for nutrition.  I got really into reading articles about food and what it does to your body.  The connection between food and mood was absolutely fascinating to me.  I also stumbled upon Tone It Up and starting following their workout schedule they post every week.  The more and more I researched I kept coming back to Tone It Up and knew they advertised a nutrition plan.  I have been a silent observer in the community presence online as well.  I was blown away by peoples testimonies.  They did a huge black Friday sale one year so I made the purchase and became a full blown member.

I read through the nutrition plan and loved their guidelines.  The science behind their recipes and nutrition plan really peaked my interest.  The more I educated myself the more I realized they are right.  Health is truly about what you put into your body.  You should fuel your body with fuel that takes care of it and is going to create the best version of yourself because you love your body. 

Still, I wasn't fully committed.  I tried a few challenges and always seemed to fade.  I observed the community still but didn't participate [social media is sometimes a difficult thing for me] Then I did Whole30.  I stuck with it for the whole 30 days. I fueled my body with clean food that is good for me.  I never felt better.  I actually liked what I saw in the mirror.  I was making the best choices for myself. Whole 30 completely changed my relationship with food.  I listened to my body and what it needed.  I stopped eating when I was full.  It was so encouraging to be proud of myself for actually accomplishing something too.  But, whole30 for me, wasn't sustainable.  I wanted to add back in foods to my diet that I knew from my research was still good for me but not allowed on whole30.

So life after whole30 left me searching for what to do with myself nutrition wise.  I read back through the whole tone it up nutrition plan again and this time it clicked.  I was committed.  I started truly eating based on their guidelines and rules. It's all about eating the right foods at the right times but also giving yourself permission to have some treats.  I began just simply asking myself the question is this tone it up approved or not? See, I was good at whole 30 because I am a rule follower.  So this little question helps me and my relationship with food tremendously.

This past January Tone It Up released their look for love new years challenge.  I wanted to follow along and stick it out; the whole six weeks.  I did. I didn't follow their plan to the t but I learned that sometimes that's okay as long as you still eat approved foods.  I learned that working out doesn't always have to be a crazy 2 hour long swim practice, sometimes you just need to listen to your body and maybe all it needs is a simple walk with the dog [that counts!] I learned that progress isn't always the number on the scale, it's how you feel, it's in the small choices that you make every day to push you toward your goals.  I learned that you can find love within.  Love yourself first because that's what matters.

I still have some personal goals that I set for myself.  My health journey is far from over.  But I feel like I accomplished what I set out to do.  Now I have started over for round 2 of the look for love plan, because the meals are just that good yall.  I truly feel better about myself following their plan.  And yes I still have my indulgences but the plan really taught me to make better decisions and to get back on track quicker instead of wallowing in self hate which turns into more than one bad choice.

So thank you Tone It Up.  I am still learning, but you have taught me oh so much and I can't wait to see what comes next for me. I'm thinking another race? Maybe yoga certified? Who knows the sky is truly the limit. Karena and Katrina I am so grateful that you are my trainers.

Have you ever tried a health journey or plan that completely changed your relationship with food and self? 

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