How At-Home Workouts Made Me Rethink Weight Loss and Happiness

I've always had a tumultuous relationship with my weight and self-worth. As a natural foodie who has an extremely deep love for sugar, it's hard for me to keep the weight off. Not to mention, I'm notorious for going on strenuous diets every other month in hopes of having my dream body. Since high school, I thought if I reached my goal weight I would be happy and my life would be complete.

Those feelings and thoughts I had about my weight changed during COVID-19. With stay-at-home orders and every gym shutting down, I explored what at-home workouts I could do. It turns out those workouts completely changed how I view fitness and the ideology behind weight loss. Without these workouts, I would have never been able to reach my goal weight and come to my recent revelation.

You see, just a year and a half ago, I weighed 160 pounds. Now, I weigh 129 pounds. But with every diet I did, every pound I lost, I wasn't as ecstatic as I'd hoped. I thought that being slimmer would award me more opportunities, a better love life, a better wardrobe and that it would help my mental health. It actually did the opposite. And even though running did bring me some type of happiness, it was often short-lived. Happiness was fleeting, and I couldn't understand why. I thought maybe it's just the year we're in. Then, thanks in part to the at-home workouts, it recently dawned on me that I was always trying to lose weight, but in the end, I was never satisfied.

Pre-COVID, I would attempt to go to the gym every week, but I never quite got the results I wanted. The weight room always intimidated me. Plus, I just truly despise the gym. Going to classes was always fun, but the cost of classes in Los Angeles? It's normally $30 for a boxing class or $40 for hot yoga, which was just unreasonable for me and my budget. I feel as though working out and taking care of your health shouldn't cost an arm and a leg, but L.A. will be L.A.

I used to view working out as an annoying chore that would maybe bring me my dream life. I would sit in traffic for hours pre-quarantine just to go to an overcrowded gym with extremely fit people who made me feel that I would never live up to that standard.

With at-home workouts, I'm able to set a routine and stick to it based on my schedule. I'm able to put in 100% effort and have no one to impress but myself because it's literally me vs. me (and I live alone). I'm more confident because I have an instructor who is motivating throughout the video. And the best part? If I fail at a workout for abs, glutes, or whatever, I'm able to do it over and over again each day until I get it right on my own time and in my own way. Working out at home gives me the freedom to fail a thousand times at a move and get back up 1001 times. I feel amazing after completing a video or a class.

After months of working out at home and actually enjoying it, I figured out I was never happy because I had a bad relationship with my weight. I always told myself I weighed too much. And in turn, I realized I always thought I was never good for myself. Depriving my body also made me angrier at myself. I was so attached to the end result and focused on the future of what I could look like and how it would shift different areas in my life that I forgot to be mindful of the things my current weight had brought me. I was ungrateful for the body that my soul was taking up. And with everything going on in the country and the world right now, the last thing I want to lack is gratitude.

I learned that attaching my happiness to how my body looked was incredibly toxic and was prohibiting me from being, well, happy. I was trying to change externally what I saw in the mirror when what I was searching for could only be found internally. I have the power to lose or gain weight at any time, but at the end of the day, none of that matters. Vanity is not everything, and I shouldn't tie it to everything.

Now, I understand that opportunities for happiness and fulfillment will always be out there, and I just have to go for them. But they have nothing to do with my body. I thought being slim would make me this confident being that was proud to walk in her skin, but I wasn't. Truth is I didn't feel that much more confident than I did when I was 30 pounds heavier. Every day, I may not feel like Beyoncé. Hell, even Beyoncé probably doesn't feel glamorous all the time, and that's okay. We're only human. Confidence is an internal thing, and I think it's an ongoing process, but every day, I can choose to be confident in knowing that my weight does not define beauty or what I think I deserve because of my body.

My love life? Well, Shia LaBeouf is still single, so there's hope! Career opportunities? I've learned that they don't have much to do with my body type, and if they do, I probably wouldn't want to be in that career anyway. Jobs weren't judging me off of my appearance, but I was judging myself, thus creating a cycle of always feeling inferior and projecting that onto everything that I touched—whether that be a career, a love interest, or anything else that I correlated with true happiness.

My Favorite At-Home Workouts

So you're probably wondering what workouts really helped me come to terms with my relationship with my body and gain some confidence. I have these two to thank:

Blogilates

Body by Blogilates App

Photo:

Body by Blogilates

One of my goals was to be more flexible after quarantine, so I started off by searching "best morning stretch" on YouTube, and that's when I discovered the Blogilates fitness channel. With over five million subscribers, fitness instructor Cassey Ho conducts 20- to 30-minute workouts for you to do in your living room. After I finished my first stretches, I realized that the channel had even more to offer. It's full of free at-home workouts, like Pilates, cardio, and challenges that will make you sweat! Best part? No equipment needed—just bring yourself and a yoga mat.

I'm not going to lie and say it was simple. I did a "Waist Whittler" workout as my first one, and I thought I was going to die. I could barely finish the 40-second intervals, but something about doing her challenges made me keep coming back for more. I've seen my best results to date from her channel.

She also launched an app this year, which is also free to download. Within the app, there's a huge library of different workouts to choose from. If you're interested in challenging yourself, you can purchase her calendar on the app for $99 a year or $9.99 a month.

Move LA

Another incredible at-home workout platform that has made this time feel a bit normal is Move LA. Thanks to this platform, I finally fell in love with strength workouts. Move LA is a boutique corporate wellness and team-building provider. Before the pandemic, it was running fitness, race-training, and team-building programs at multiple large companies around the L.A. area. Now, it's taken its operations online.

Fitness trainers Josh Al-chamaa and Amber Charlton have been hosting virtual workouts via Zoom for the Who What Wear fam since quarantine, and I can't thank them enough for the joy I get every Thursday from these workouts. The workouts include HIIT, sculpt, yoga, and "bums & tums." For some, you may need weights, and if you don't have any, a wine bottle will do. The first workout I did was extremely challenging. I was sore for a week straight, and bending down felt impossible. Josh and Amber push you to your limits, but they are so encouraging.

My favorite part about their classes is that they're live and interactive. Most importantly, they meet you where you are when it comes to your fitness level. I feel like some workouts will say, "All are welcome," but Move LA really embodies that statement. There are people of all ages who join our Zoom workout every week, and it's super motivating. Each class consists of some sort of strength building and AMRAPS (which means "as many rounds as possible" or "as many reps as possible" depending on the structure of the workout). It's pretty intense when it consists of burpees, froggers, mountain climbers, and weight lifting, but the results are so worth it.

Each session is about 45 minutes, and we end each workout with a calming team stretch. The instructors don't let you quit. They cheer you on, and their workouts help you reach your goals in no time. Disclaimer: You will have to do burpees, but you'll learn to love them—I promise. Move LA only charges $39 a month, and did I mention the team offers 25 classes a week? You can't beat that!

My Other Wellness Picks

These have been an incredible booster. Every morning, I usually mix two scoops of this powder with about eight ounces of water and shake it up. If I'm extra hungry, I'll throw a handful of kale and blueberries into my Ninja blender to make a more filling shake. It typically keeps me full for about two to three hours.

I'm a huge tea drinker. I despise coffee, and this tea does the job of waking me up and giving me the energy that I need for my runs every other day. I mix about two teaspoons of the tea powder into cold water in the morning before a run. This tea is magic, and it helps me run five to seven miles every other day. Did I mention it's also a metabolism booster? *Adds to cart*

I can't say enough about these magic pills. I take two pills every morning before my first meal. These vitamins help you detox for the day, and I can honestly say I feel lighter and less bloated when I take these on a consistent basis.

Next up: This Is How Therapists Help Their Patients Practice Self-Love

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