By Miller Hales – GoGirl Fitness Studio Trainer

Let’s talk about the living the 80/20 lifestyle y’all. Growing up I had a very active lifestyle; playing every sport my parents would let me, climbing trees with all the boys in my neighborhood, and being outside every opportunity I could. Well, unless my mom was forcing me to do my homework at the kitchen table. Speaking of the kitchen table, I loved food – and because of that, I was always the overweight kid. When I was young I didn’t mind because I could continue to keep up with the boys and it never crossed my mind.

As I got older and simultaneously bigger, some kids at school would make little comments about me and my self-confidence slowly started declining with every remark. In high school, I was super athletic and was a rock for all the sports teams I participated in, that would bring my confidence up to balance the remarks that would continue to bring me down, which created a roller-coaster of emotions.

My senior year, I was diagnosed with poly-cystic ovarian syndrome which had been working against me for years as I tried to lose weight. I weighed 215 lb. and was headed to UNCW as student-athlete to play tennis. I was both excited and nervous. I needed to get my weight under control. Thankfully the summer going into college, I met my fitness mentor and looked at my health completely differently.

Dieting sucks. It never worked for me and it will not consistently work for you.

If you want to live a long and healthy life and lose weight in the process, it requires a complete lifestyle change. Trust me, the faster you learn that, the faster you will see the results that you’ve always wanted. If you take away anything from this blog entry, please let it be lifestyle. I starting thinking of the food I was consuming as the gas I was putting in my car. If I wanted to perform well, I had to put in the right fuel. One of the things that took me awhile to grasp is that we are only human.

At the beginning of my lifestyle change, I was very OCD – I wanted to do everything perfectly. For me, that meant I needed to workout at least 6 times a week and eat super clean. I went at it 110% not remembering that I was only human, I make mistakes. When I would eat something I shouldn’t, I would be so hard on myself and give up on eating healthy and start trying again the following Monday. 80/20 Lifestyle y’all! It’s a lifestyle change right?

80/20 Lifestyle: 80% clean foods and 20% fun foods.

Stick to that and you will slowly start seeing changes in your mood, energy, and sleep schedule. Everything you expect to see after hard work and commitment to something.

80/20, trust it. If results were instant, then I would like to think that everyone would have their dream body. The first couple months are the hardest. I found myself angry and confused because I was putting in the work in the gym and being active, but I wasn’t seeing the results that I thought that I deserved. It takes time. My frustration would lead me to eating whatever I wanted because when I was eating the right stuff I wasn’t loosing weight so what does it even matter, right? It took me awhile to stick to 80/20 and by “awhile” I mean two years.

Once I started consistently sticking to 80/20 and got past the first 2-3 weeks of serious hard work with no results, they started coming. Once you start to finally see the results of the healthy and active lifestyle and the 80/20 rule become easier with time. Why? Motivation. The results start to motivate you. You like where your body is headed. You start looking in the mirror and seeing the hips that you’ve always had and when you look down you can’t see your stomach sticking out past your breasts. My dad always told me growing up that if your breasts stick out more than your stomach then you’re in the clear and that was finally happening for me – and that gave me confidence.

Committing to the healthy and active lifestyle and the 80/20 rule completely changed my life. It gave me that confidence that I had never had before. Every time I walked into a room, I started holding my head up high and feeling good about my appearance. Then y’all only good things start happening. I started getting compliments from friends and family. Guess what that did? Boosted my confidence even more. It made me push myself even more in the gym and go on that extra walk after dinner because I wanted more.

I learned through my lifestyle change that the only thing you have complete control of is your body, your health, and your wellness. Yes, life throws us curve balls and makes things much harder but being able to bounce back into our healthy routine after hard times is a beautiful thing. You get knocked down in life. If you are able to get back up and continue the journey you were on before adversity was thrown at you, then that is truly remarkable and something to be proud of. We are only human, remember? Bad things happen in life and most of the time there is nothing we can do about it.

I’m stronger physically and most importantly mentally.

I honestly didn’t know that would happen at the beginning of my journey. I didn’t realize how weak my mindset and thoughts were. Now that I’ve been through it myself and made progress on the never-ending exponential line graph, I see life so differently. I know what it can be and I know where I don’t want it to be. I realized that life can be really hard sometimes and if I can continue to stay on the bandwagon even during the hard times, then I’ve truly succeeded. Then I know I can keep going up through the late afternoon summer thunderstorms.

When the sun comes back out, I’ll be able to go to the beach with my friends and not worry what I look like in a bathing suit, I can cycle for miles with my friends when they spontaneously ask me to join, I can run in a 5k to raise money for cancer research. Anything is possible y’all. 97% of succeeding is mental. We achieve anything that we want if we believe it and put in the work for those goals.

If I can do it, you can. It’s been an incredible ride so far, sometimes incredibly difficult but I wouldn’t change a thing. You learn from every up and every down. Take away the positives of life. Set obtainable goals. Choose to wake up happy. Stick to the 80/20 rule. Drink more water. Give your body, your car, premium fuel only. Be active. Find what brings you joy and do more of it.

Miller Hales is a NASM Corrective Exercise Specialist.