4-week Challenge Final Update: Lak’s Top 5 Lessons for Healthy Living

4-week Shape-up Challenge: Lakshmi’s Final Update

I’ve spent 4 weeks on the Grit by Brit shape-up plan and in the infamous words of Ms. Brit, “I’ve seen some things.” Maybe more accurately, I’ve learned some things – about myself, my habits and my goals:

  1. Success is a commitment – I’ve finally realized that when it comes to my body and my health, achieving a goal does not happen at a finite point in time. It’s a continual commitment. There is a reason that the phrase is “healthy lifestyle,” and not “healthy moment.” Achieving a healthy lifestyle requires commitment to a healthy life. It’s not one of those quick fix wedding boot camps – be intensely committed for 3 weeks, look buff for the big day and then stop once he’s passed you the ring. Being healthy is something that I need to consider every time I want to eat something or be active (or not active).
  2. It takes a village – Hillary Clinton was so right – you can’t do this alone. Get supporters to cheer you on when you’re doing well. And to scold you when you’ve fallen off the wagon. Talking about my healthy life goals reinforced them in my head (the whole “speak it into existence” idea) and helped make those around me accountable for my success, too. No one wants to watch someone fail in health. If you tell people about who you want to be, they will enable success.
  3. My body is smarter than I am – My brain is my worst enemy. It tells me I’m hungry when I’m not. It tells me I need to stop cycling when I shouldn’t. It tells me to not get out of bed when I need to. Turn the brain off. I learned to listen to my body. Am I hungry? Let me ask my energy level and stomach. Can I go further? Let me ask my legs and heart. Sometimes the answer is “Yes, stop! You’ve worked too hard” and other times it’s all “Lakshmi, please, your grandmother could keep going.” Whatever the question, I learned to let my body answer instead of my brain.
  4. I am not perfect – Brit was continually telling me to not be so hard on myself. I find that when I hold myself to the expectation that my healthy behavior must be 100% compliant with the plan, I fail hard. And once I fail, I can’t pick myself back up. I need to lower the expectations of myself and minimize the impact of the failures so that I can get right back on-track.
  5. I am perfect – You all read about how a woman mistook me for being pregnant. My self-esteem after that episode was low. WAY LOW. But then I realized, I am who I am. I am a fertile looking woman, who is great as she is. I have (finally) realized that the whole idea that people come in different sizes isn’t necessarily because they have varying abilities to portion control. Instead, it’s sometimes just because you were handed those genes. I was at the Levi’s store this weekend (amazing transition from genes to jeans) and noticed that all their fits had positive names (Slight, Demi, Bold, Supreme Curve). This taught me my size – no matter what it is – is awesome.

Thanks friends for reading! And thanks Brit for being both my good cop and my bad cop.

Missed one of Lakshmi’s updates?  Catch up on her journey here:

Kick Off, Week 1, Week 2, Week 3

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