I have long since accepted that I’m never going to have that “summer bod” that all the magazines boast about. Their standards of beauty should be taken with a grain of salt. I know this and you should know that too.

But even though I’m not dying to have a flat stomach, thigh gap and curves for days, I’m still trying to make sure my body is healthy.

So when I finally realized I was the heaviest (and most out of shape) I’ve ever been I decided to make some changes.

I know a lot of unhealthy people claim that don’t eat terribly but they rarely mean that. I wouldn’t say I was out of control, but I was definitely indulging my cravings more than I should’ve. Therefore, I figured by make small tweaks to my diet, I’d see some pretty immediate changes.

Spoiler alert, I didn’t.

So then I joined a gym. And then that gym offered me a free personal training session. And then that personal trainer played me like a used car salesman and I was signed up for 8 sessions a month. (Remember, I quit my job so budgeting has been a STRUGGLE for me.)

kettle bell and sneakers

In addition to my sessions, I was working out a couple more times a week. I sweat my butt off. I even almost passed out a few times with my trainer who lectured me on food choices. Turns out, I just can’t work out when I’m on my period because then it’s lights out.

I actually got lectured a lot by my trainer because we weren’t seeing results. Which was super frustrating for me since I was shelling out all this cash for these sessions. I started to worry that there was something medically wrong with me because I’ve never had this much trouble losing weight before.

It finally got to the point where I could no longer afford to keep going to the trainer, especially since in the approximately 3 months we were working together I lost maybe 5 pounds.

Luckily, I’m a whiz when it comes to watching random videos on YouTube. I’d tried to follow the keto diet but it was honestly too hard for me to stick to. In theory, I knew it would work but there was little room for substitutions. Searching for an alternative, I found myself diving into intermittent fasting.

Let me tell you, it was a game changer.

retro clock

The first three weeks fasting, I lost 12 pounds. It was crazy to be because I wasn’t even exercising because I self-quarantined myself since my kitten brought ringworm into my house when I adopted him. He infected my other cat and then I found myself with spots as well. I didn’t want to be Patient Zero because I released ringworm at the gym. You’re welcome, gym goers.

Intermittent fasting hasn’t been hard for me to follow. I’ve never really been to eating in the morning so it wasn’t hard to have my first meal at 1 PM. And 5 out of the 7 days of the week, I was eating super healthily anyway. If anything, I’ve found it challenging to get my allotted macros in for the day because sometimes during my feeding window, I’m not that hungry.

In addition to the gym and sticking to my feeding window, the other major change I made had to do with the amount of water I was drinking each day. Since I started working from home, I found that I was drinking less than I would’ve had I been in an office. Watercooler talk is real.

lemon water pitcher

I started off with the recommended 8 glasses a day but soon found I needed something else to take the place of snacking when I was supposed to be fasting. Drinking more water did just that. It also helped me feel full so it wasn’t like I was feeling starved. So now, I’m drinking about a gallon a day.

As I mentioned in my May Favorites post, I also started drinking shots of apple cider vinegar twice a day. I’d seen conflicting information about ACV breaking my fast, but I think the benefits outweigh that. My metabolism definitely needed some help. My digestion could use a boost too. And my skin hates me. Just seeing that those were some of the benefits of ACV was enough to have me filling my shot glasses with straight up vinegar.

Yes, it’s been more work to drop pounds. But I’m getting older and I’m not as active as I used to be. I get it, body. Instead of beating myself up about it, I found things that worked for me. And as cliche, as it sounds, it really is better to change your lifestyle than be on a diet.

At the time that I’m writing this, I’m happy to say I’ve lost 24 lbs total. I’ve still got a lot way to go until I could consider myself healthy, but I’m not going to let that overshadow the progress I’ve made. My summer bod might be a little different than the ideal but really it’s about feeling good. Because when you feel good about yourself, it shows.

I’d love to hear what you’re doing to be healthy and stay in shape. I’m looking for workouts, activities and recipes so feel free to tweet me @BratKneeD your favs!