Submitted Date 11/05/2018

My boyfriend calls it “love weight,” but I call it “stress weight.” I know my body and too many changes in my routine elevate my cortisol levels. As I adapted to changes in my work schedule and was working on building my business, I exercised less and less to spend more time on my career. In the little free time I did have, I wanted to spend it with my man, so I guess to a degree, some of my weight gain can be blamed on loving you. But I am brutally honest with myself. I only have myself to blame.

I have read Gretchen Rubin’s Better Than Before, so I appreciate the important of habit formation and maintaining good habits. As Rubin so eloquently puts it, “habits are the invisible architecture of daily life.

Over the past few months, I have failed to cultivate these workout and health habits:

• Regularly going to Brazilian jiujitsu class.

• Going for a walk in the mornings.

• Prepping my meals.

• Doing a pull up without assistance.

• Doing workout challenges for 30 days, and vlogging about it.

Vlogging about my workout challenges may seem random. For me, I wanted to hold myself accountable and felt that maintaining a vlog would help motivate me. I also wanted to provide encouragement to other women, like myself. I have not always been happy with my body. I have also battled some medical issues the past several years. After losing an ovary and having a breast reduction, exercising and getting back to my size 8 figure seemed like climbing a mountain.

I was confident that I could get back into it, but I knew I do better when I am part of a community. Vlogging seemed like a great way to get involved in an online community. Because I also wanted to learn more about social media, I decided my pair my interests in social media technology with my desire to hold myself accountable. Knowing this, vlogging my workout progress is not really that random.

I am proud to report that I have gone from a size 22 to a 14/16 depending on the brand. However, my goal to get down to a size 8 has reached a halt as I neglected the habits I wanted to form, and I replaced them with bad habits like …

• Going to bed later and later. Not getting enough zzzzz’s raises my stress levels and lowers my energy levels. I ended up coming home after work because I had no energy for anything.

• Hitting the snooze button rather than taking a walk before work.

• Eating ice cream and other sweets after dinner, and throughout the day. I have to be honest.

• Eating out more often, rather than preparing my meals.

• Eating whatever is convenient whether it is the candy bar from the gas station or the ready-made meals.

• Enjoying more vino with my meals.

• Neglecting to drink enough water.

I could be hard on myself right now. I will stop myself because recognizing my bad habits is just the beginning in breaking the habit and forming better habits. It amazes me how months ago, I would easily manage my schedule to make time for jiujitsu along with my teaching load. I keep trying to pinpoint why things seem so different. The truth is my life has changed in so many ways, all for the better. Now, I just have to figure out a way to better manage the loves in my life to prevent neglecting them as well as neglecting myself.

Before I gain another 15 pounds, I need to tackle this by forming better habits. Using Rubin’s strategy for pairing, I am going to pair a cultivated habit with one I want to bring back into my life.

Morning Walks with my Coffee

This morning, I started with my coffee habit. Yes, I love coffee. I am NEVER giving up that habit. So, I drank my morning cup of Joe while walking around my neighborhood for 30 minutes this morning.

Training Jiujitsu while Socializing

Since I am an extroverted person most of the time, I have told myself that I will get my social fix by going back to jiujitsu classes. For me, jiujitsu and socializing are mutually inclusive since jiujitsu is a team activity. I guess I am mirroring Rubin’s own behavior when she paired her need to exercise with her shower habit. In her novel, Rubin reveals, “I wouldn’t let myself take a shower unless I exercised. I’d go a day, or maybe two, without a shower, but pretty soon I really wanted that shower.” After working so much on my business and spending all my time at home, I must admit I just want to get out. (I love you if you’re reading this.)

Drinking Water while Writing

I write now every day. I will commit to having my water bottle next to my laptop instead of the coffee, the vino, and any other caffeinated beverages I crave.

For now, I will focus on cultivating these good habits because I believe I need to focus on improving on only two or three aspects of my life before working on the others. It has been a journey to get back to my size 8 figure. Once I get these habits formed, I still have work to do. I know developing meaningful habits is key to living a healthy and mindful life. I strive to achieve the freedom Rubin talks of. I look forward to the day when these habits I desire are natural for me.

Photo by i yunmai on Unsplash


Rubin, Gretchen (2015). Better Than Before: What I Learned About Making and Breaking Habits- to Sleep More, Quit Sugar, Procrastinate Less, and Generally Build a Happier Life. Broadway Books: Crown Publishing Group, New York.


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