Being a nurse, I have come across so many people who have conditions that are easily treated and/or managed through physical activity and a healthy diet: diabetes, heart disease, stroke, high cholesterol, anxiety, depression.
The benefits of physical fitness and clean eating extends far beyond that of weight management. You could read hours and hours of research and studies showing that regular physical activity helps improve overall health and wellness. In the end, improving overall quality of life.
The most obvious effect is that of weight loss. Obesity increases the risk of those previously mentioned diseases and conditions. The reduction of fat helps preserve muscle mass and improving the body’s ability to properly use calories. With proper diet, this helps control weight and prevent obesity, which is ultimately, again, a MAJOR risk factor for many diseases.
For example, daily physical activity helps reduce your risk for heart disease and stroke, peripheral vascular disease (a blood circulation disorder that causes the blood vessels outside of your heart and brain to narrow, block, or spasm), and high blood pressure by strengthening your heart muscle and improving blood flow.
Not only does regular physical activity help with physical health, but it also helps with mental health. Personally, I have struggled with anxiety and depression for years. A lot of it boiling down to relationship issues and never really feeling like I fit in, especially when in high school. Fitness was something I learned to turn to. When I was in college, I started my fitness journey. At first it was because I just wanted something to do. As the years progressed, it became more than that. It became more about personal therapy: better confidence, motivation to improve on myself, motivation to be a better person than I was yesterday. My self-esteem improved. I had better control over my anxiety and the severity of my depression became a thing of the past. Granted, I still suffer from the occasional depressive mood swings, my quality of life is SO much better than it was before.
I never thought in a million years that I would step on stage in a tiny, little, blinged-out bikini in front of hundreds of people and place 5th all on my own! I was never one to be the center of attention with all eyes on me.
So taking a step back, often, with chronic medical conditions, there exists stress and therefore, many people develop comorbidities such as depression and anxiety. As talked about in a previous post, regular physical activity has been shown in countless studies to help elevate mood and improve the way that you look at yourself, thus helping to manage stress and reduce anxiety and depression. I have also seen fitness and physical activity do SO much for those who also suffer from eating disorders such as anorexia or bulimia.
There are no limits to what encompasses physical activity. Whether you walk every morning for thirty minutes or are in the gym seven days a week prepping for a bodybuilding competition, the euphoric feeling you get from accomplishment and achievement is indescribable. That, on top of having more energy, watching lab values improve, and knowing you are improving your quality of life, and likely your longevity in life, makes the journey so much better!
As I had mentioned previously, I set a goal for myself this year to check-in every week and keep everyone updated on my progress. I am planning to start competing again this year, hopefully by July, no later than August. So in case you didn’t know, I had previously mentioned that I was going to post my stats every Sunday showing my progress through 2017 with my primary focus being on greatly improving my leg/booty mass.
Here are this weeks stats:
▫Weight: 120.7 lbs (54.749 kg) [unchanged]
▫Waist: 68.5 cm (26.969 in) [⬇from 69.5 cm]
▫Hips: 86.5 cm (34.055 in) [⬇from 87.0 cm]
▫Legs: 53.0 cm each leg (20.866 in) [⬆from 52.0 cm]
▫Body fat: 16.9% (20.3 lbs fat mass, 99.7 lbs lean mass)
➡ Last week: 18.2% (21.8 lbs fat mass, 98.2 lbs lean mass)
Keep in mind that a lot of the drastic changes in these numbers are due to a cleaned up diet with a side order of loss of water weight and body fat. Even slow progress is progress and with a newly improved mindset, I have big plans for this year and no one or nothing is going to stand in my way! It’s game on!