3 Rules for Healthier, Supportive Weight Loss Talks

by: Danielle Ternyila

The way we talk about our weight has changed so much in my family over the years, and it has definitely been a change for the better. Weight seemed like such a private matter, and it could be considered rude to discuss or hurtful. That’s the way we all are used to thinking, but I think that’s only holding us back.

My mom and I, for example, have regular conversations about our health, and I don’t mean just updates on doctors appointments out of curiosity. We talk about recipes, we talk new healthy cooking hacks and swap ideas, brainstorm new workout routines when I get in a rut, celebrate our successes weekly or even daily… Health is not an “bad” topic in our family, even when we fall off the wagon and haven’t been making the healthiest choices; those times are most important to communicate so we can get help and motivation to keep going.

That said, there are a few important ways the conversations have changed that make these most beneficial to us. Use these 3 tips to have more positive discussions around weight and our health, whether in our families, friendship circles, or an online support group of like-minded friends. Here’s a few rules to keep it positive:

Judgement Is Not Invited

The discussions we have aren’t judgmental; they are supportive and encouraging. We do our best to compliment each other and celebrate wins, as well as help overcome the battles and struggles along the way too. It feels a lot more possible and real in your mind when you have a team of support behind you, starting with your family or those closest to you. When there is no judgement or feel of embarrassment, the conversations are better all around and more productive.

This is most important on the bad days especially. We need to be supportive of each other, and so whether we are having a bad day or our friend is having a bad week, those are the most important times to hold all judgement. Things happen, life can change, and it’s okay to not be perfect all the time. Just support one another all the same.

Honesty Supports Succcess

If the whole idea of positive health talk in your family is new, everyone has to start somewhere. It can be hard and feel personal to talk about your weight, and it can feel really hard to admit your inner thoughts, even to the most cherished loved one. However, you need to know you are in a supportive environment and can say anything without judgement. Be honest and don’t tell lies about your journey.

The only person you are doing a disservice to when you lie about your health is you. Think about that! Whether your doctor, your mom, or your significant other knows you’re still eating junk food, skipping the gym, or lying about your weight, you’re only hurting yourself at the end of the day. Use honesty and their support to help motivate you in your weight loss endeavors.

Share And Learn As You Go

Not only has this completely shaped the way our family talks about health, but I think the biggest impact has been sharing everything we’ve learned as we go. My sister will call me with a new healthy cooking hack, my mom will email me a new recipe, my dad will unwillingly sign me up for a 5k at random. Not only do we support each other, but we can provide more support for one another when we are involved. Even if I can’t go to the gym with my mom due to conflicting schedules and I can’t have dinner with my sister every day, we still share our successes and lessons so we can all benefit from it.

No matter what, taking any steps, big or small, toward achieving your weight loss goals is going to push you further along. Having support from home or around you changes your own mindset and helps you believe in yourself.

Not to mention, there are so many benefits to having a workout buddy too! It doesn’t have to be about sharing your own journey with someone on the same path. If there is anyone you can talk to about your weight and health goals, it should be your gym buddy, and if you don’t have one yet, there’s too many reasons why you should.

4 Healthy Habits to Impact Your Mindset

by: Danielle Ternyila

Changing your mindset can be a really hard thing to do, but it is far from impossible. It takes time; it won’t always be easy, but nothing worth it ever will be “easy”.

There are at least some things you can do throughout your day to help change your mindset slowly but surely. By doing things that bring more positivity, focus, and energy into your every day, you can gain the confidence to do anything! The first step towards anything is believing in yourself, and these mindset tricks can help get you there.

Make Your Bed Every Morning

As soon as you crawl out of bed, turn around and make it again. It’s your first task of the day, so it’s sure to give you a huge sense of self-accomplishment immediately. Who wouldn’t want to start their day like this?

Doing so is known to improve your mood, much like some of these other simple habits. Make your bed so you’ll sleep better later, to reduce your stress levels, and improve your productivity. It’s the little things in life, after all.

Say Thank You Instead of Sorry

This is a big flaw we all can struggle with easily. When we make a mistake and get called out on it, our instinct is to apologize, but we’re human and can make mistakes. We are always learning, always growing, so we should be saying “Thank you” to those who catch the mistakes, help us through them, or just point them out. Thank you for your attention on that, thank you for pointing that out, thanks for explaining this.

When we break the habit of diminishing our work by apologizing, we can appreciate all our efforts, achievements, and growth instead of feeling guilty. Saying thank you, or at least learning not to immediately blurt out “I’m sorry!” when something isn’t done right, changes the attitude of the whole conversation. We shouldn’t have to feel like we have to be perfect all the time; just your best is exactly enough, and never apologize for that.

Drink Water First Every Day

Instead of starting the morning with coffee or your favorite tea, drink down a glass of water first, and maybe even add a splash of lemon for extra flavor! After sleeping for 8+ hours (by following the next tip), your body needs to be replenished. It has basically been in fasting mode for those long hours overnight, so you want to nourish it with what’s good for it, like hydration!

Play Your Happy Playlist

If you haven’t already, prep a “happy playlist” on your music app of choice. This should be all of the songs that make you feel good, the ones that lift you up and make you feel like you’re on top of the world. Be it a childhood favorite, some upbeat vibes, the Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack or bagpipes, music can be a great tool for our mental health, and it’s something we can do daily.

Music can provide more benefits to your mental state than you could think. It is actually linked to having positive effects on the brain and natural chemicals like dopamine, the “happy” hormone! Start playing that feel-good playlist, and find somewhere to fit it into your every day, maybe when you are feeling your most anxious during the day. I listen to my playlist in the car on the commute to work or anytime I need to clean but not feeling it; a quick dose of “Walking on Sunshine” or “Dancing Queen” to get myself excited!

What are you doing every day to improve your mindset? What songs put you in your best mood? Share with us in our private support group on Facebook!

Two Reasons to Avoid Measuring Weight Loss Success Against Clothing Sizes

by: Danielle Ternyila

Your weight loss goals and achievements can’t be reached if you’re measuring it all by pant size, or any clothing size for that matter. Our bodies are all unique and with so many different designers, brands, materials, and styles in clothing out there, there is not enough consistency to compare yourself to a tag. You may think you need to be a size X to be happy, but by what standards?

Over the course of a year, my most determined self committed to getting in shape and losing the 60+ pounds I had gained in college. During this time, I weighed myself daily and saw great progress at first, but once I shed the first few “easy” pounds, it got harder and I felt hopeless when I began to fluctuate and struggled with losing the rest. I would get so upset to put on a size 8 that barely fit after a 6 just the week before, but now when I look back, I see that those 2 different sizes actually were more similar in the waist after all being bought in different stores and made by different designers.

We can get so torn up over a number on the scale, but what’s far worse is the fear of our “fat pants” never fitting well again. Our clothing sizes are so inconsistent , however, that you can be a Medium in one brand while an X-Large in another fits the exact same!

Clothing Sizes Always Vary

By measuring my weight loss success through the size-18 jeans I hadn’t zipped up in years, the feelings of failure crept in eventually, and not fitting into them or still wearing bigger sizes did not leave me feeling encouraged to try harder. I’m not doing it right. I will never lose this weight. I have to just love my body for what it is, I thought.

Yes, you have to love yourself, but also remember you cannot give up on yourself either. At the end of the day, all the clothes in stores today come in so many varied styles and materials, waistlines and collars, inseams and hemlines. All of these things make each pair of pants in your closet unique, and I’m sure you’ll see inconsistencies if you laid out a few pairs in the “same size” and compared. Our bodies are different too! We all lose weight in different places and at different rates. I couldn’t get my jeans to snap for a while at first, but after another 20 lbs down, I realized I was actually losing a lot in my chest first, instead of my gut and thighs that affected the pant size I was holding myself to.

When I did get the pants on, I kept working on myself, and I started using measurements to track my progress. My weekly routine included measuring my upper arm, chest, waist, thigh, etc. Even though my favorite skinny jeans didn’t fit, I could see exactly how I was doing and get a more realistic idea of my achievements than when I bet it all on wanting to be a certain size for my closet.

Our Bodies Aren’t Perfect Fits

I dropped from size (barely fitting in) 18 to a comfortable but shocking size 2, but then I noticed I started going back up in terms of sizes. Now I wear a 6 more often, but I also have a lot of pieces in an 8-10. It was hard not to see this as a failure because we all assume we have to be the smallest size. That’s not true!

Like I said, every piece of clothing is so uniquely designed with different materials, ideas, and intentions. After becoming a Zyia Active Independent Rep, I can see how all of these factors change the way things fit, just like our bodies are all unique. Some of our leggings have an encased band at the top to stay put for those who are more active or have more they want to “hold up”, but we also have leggings without that or ones designed intentionally less compressive for more casual or comfortable wear. Some of our clothing accentuates the abdominal area, while others aim to flatten it or draw less attention to the area altogether. This changes how every piece is designed, just like our bodies all require different styles and fits. It’s not all about the size on the tag.

All of our bodies are so unique, just like the clothes we love shopping for. We can’t just expect ourselves to be the perfect image we are looking for. The most important lesson of all was in learning to listen to my body more. Activity, balanced nutrition, and positive mental health routines are all a part of my day to day now, and no matter what Jean size I’m wearing, I feel better mentally and physically, which is the only thing that should matter to us as we lose weight and take back our health.

Practice Gratitude Year-Round

by: Danielle Ternyila

Time and time again this simple method of gratitude has gotten me through the hardest days. I try my best to practice gratitude every day, but especially on the worst days. You know, those days or sometimes weeks when you just dont want to get out of bed in the morning, the day lags on miserably, or perhaps you’re most stressed at night as you recap your awful day. Maybe it’s just winter in general and the cold!

Instead of giving into those negative vibes, remind yourself of all the good. Ask yourself, “Well if this isn’t particularly going well, what is doing me good?” If you can’t think of a single thing or person you’re thankful for, for any reason whatsoever, then you aren’t trying hard enough.

Reflection is so important for us and our growth, especially mentally. Gratitude grounds us and finds the light in the darkest places. Next time you’re stressed, start listing what you are thankful for that day, including the driver who moved over for you when you were rushing to work, the woman who held the door when your hands were full, or that you had a filling breakfast.

Be thankful that you woke up early on the weekend and could spend more time enjoying your coffee or get ahead on your day. Be grateful if you slept in and got rest you needed. It’s like looking at a half-filled glass of water. Is it half full or half empty? You decide.

Ways to Implement Gratitude in your Life:

Journal! Take a moment each night to list 3 to 5 things you’re thankful for. Doing this will reinforce gratitude and keep you thinking in the future about what you’re thankful for!

Redirect Negative Thoughts! When you’re feeling particularly negative, pause to think about what you are grateful for instead, like an opportunity you’ve been given, a lesson you may be learning from a challenge, or the person you can lean on through it.

Thank Others! Make it a point to thank someone every day. Not only will you feel good, but it will reinforce gratitude in others as well, making those around you feel appreciated too.

By practicing gratitude regularly, you will learn to appreciate the little things, which will help in balancing your mental health in the long run. The longer you practice this, the easier it will be to recognize the little wins throughout your day.

My Weight-Loss Journey: It’s All Mom’s Fault

by: Danielle Ternyila

From the moment I started my weightloss journey, my mom couldn’t have played a more vital role; she was my workout and accountability buddy. My biggest fan, cheerleader, constant therapist and the greatest role model a girl could ask for, Mama has been by my side through it all, including countless sweat sessions in the gym.

She herself had started her own journey around the same time I started mine, which was a real wake up call for myself. If mom could lose the weight, what was my excuse? She lost 90 pounds following a weightloss surgery, known as the sleeve, and major changes in her lifestyle. Getting myself to the gym every day was a daunting task, but she was there every step of the way, which was sometimes all the motivation I needed to keep myself on track.

She came to the gym with me every single time I asked. She tried new things with me and showed me new workouts or machines in the gym. Having her by my side, even if just to have someone to laugh with me when I fell off the treadmill or used a machine wrong, made it that much easier for me to go. With your workout buddy by your side, you feel like you can conquer anything, even the terrifying gym filled with fit athletes and big meatheads.

You may not even need an actual “workout” buddy more than you need an accountability buddy. Tell someone your plans, your goals, and your aspirations. Let them keep you in check, ask about your progress, and always be open and honest. The only person you’re hurting by lying is yourself.

They say it takes 21 days to create a habit and 90 days to create a lifestyle. I started hitting the gym with Mama in late September of 2016, and I went every single day the rest of that year, all with Mom’s help. When she couldn’t go with me to the gym herself, she still kept me in check. She asked me if I worked out, she gave me suggestions when I was trying to figure out a busy day’s schedule, and I can’t ignore all of the awesome videos and motivational quotes she shared with me. Even on the days I had to bare the gym alone, she was still always there in some way, holding my accountable.

Just a year before we started our health journeys, the 2 of us made it to Disney World together, and we had a hard time sharing photos of those adventures. We were both in such unhealthy places, every picture seemed to highlight our double chins, and so many photographs from this incredible trip were shared only between us.

Now several years and a pandemic later, feeling free of the weight that once held us down, we got to enjoy a trip to Hawaii together. This time, I made sure to splurge on a photographer to capture these memories. I didn’t have to sit and take breaks throughout the day because I was out of breath, I didn’t have to call it early some days because my feet were in so much pain, and we didn’t feel as guilty eating donuts for breakfast this time around either. Being able to share this journey with someone, whether it’s a friend or you own parental unit, makes it that much more enjoyable in the end.

With your best friend by your side, you can conquer the tallest of mountains and all of your dreams. If you need to lose weight or get healthy, don’t try to do it alone. Tell your friends, tell your mom, ask for help, or at the very least tell them to check in with you! It holds you accountable, and having the support of your bestie as you go makes it all that much easier. If you’re as lucky as I am, there will be lots of laughs too. My mom is the best buddy I’ve got, and I couldn’t have gotten to where I am today, mentally and physically, without her support.

Don’t forget to pop in our private Empowerment group on Facebook, where there is a whole group of us ready to cheer you on and support you as you try to take back your health or lose weight.

No One in the Gym Is Watching You

by: Danielle Ternyila

Let’s be real. When you’ve never stepped foot in a gym, or you just aren’t a regular [yet], it can be so intimidating! But why? The whole place is filled with mirrors because everyone is too busy looking at themselves. It’s the one place I’m sure no one is thinking about anyone else. Afterall, they are there because they want to grow! They want to get stronger. They can’t do that, and nor should you, by paying attention to every one around you.

When I joined my first gym in 2016, I was so nervous that everyone was watching me and judging my lack of coordination. It was nerve wracking to try something new because I has no idea what I was doing, and so I was sure everyone around me would know it. Forget the weights section! It was filled with muscle and men, all of which I was not.

The truth is, no one is watching you. No one is paying attention to how many or how little reps you do, they’re not focused on your form and wondering why you’re even there. I only ever had one person approach me in the gym about a workout I was doing, and it was someone who had no idea how to use the machine I was using. She asked me how!

It isn’t easy to stop caring what others think, but the gym is the last place anyone will pay attention to you. Everyone around you paid money to be there. They carved out time to be there from their day doing who knows what, and they are there to focus on themselves and their growth. It’s the only place I feel like no one will judge me. And if anyone should know what it’s like to start at the bottom and everything feels knew, it is everyone at the gym who did not come out of the womb doing sit-ups and hammer curls and got their start in a gym like you.

I always figured, if I’m doing something that wrong, they’d better tell me before I hurt myself and not judge me. If they’d rather laugh at me then help, I shouldn’t care what that person has to think anyway!

Make the gym your happy place. Find workouts you love. Try tons of new activities and classes until you do. Blast your music, hum to it if you want to! Don’t feel embarrassed when you make weird noises [or fall off the stairmaster]. Nike says it best; just do it!

Put yourself [your body and your health] first. Life is too short to not give it your best shot. The only one you’re cheating is yourself if you don’t.

Vacation Tips: Maintaining Healthy Habits Away From Home

by: Terry Ternyila

I recently traveled to Key West for a 10 day trip to visit friends. It may have only taken 49 years, but I have finally found the balance for a perfect vacation that doesn’t completely derail my healthy lifestyle. I had so much energy through the whole vacation this spring, I didn’t feel bloated, and I didn’t pack on the pounds like I normally would.

Usually a trip like that would have knocked me off my healthy lifestyle for the whole trip, but over the years I have learned the tricks so that I can still enjoy my vacation and all it has to offer without feeling crappy when I get home. I just wanted to share some of our vacation tips we have learned along the way.

Book a Stay With a Kitchen

First, we always try to rent houses or condos for our vacation. There are so many options online now to find different accommodations other than the traditional hotel, with apps like AirBnB or websites like VRBO. This gives us the kitchen option so we can have healthier snacks on hand and we do not have to eat all our meals out.

I know cooking on vacation is not what everyone wants to do, but it doesn’t have to be big elaborate meals. We keep the meals we cook at home simple and easy. We also have the options of left overs with the full fridge. We will plan 1 meal out for the day and try to keep the rest of the food as close to our normal diet as possible. This will keep the calories down and keep your body on its routine.

If renting a house or condo isn’t in your budget, we have made this work with the hotel mini fridge options. There are so many health options to have on hand, just stop at the food store and stock up on those choices. Getting some local fresh fruit and healthy snacks to have on-hand will save you money too. I find on vacation we usually eat 2 meals, then small bites here or there, like a protein bar or snack packs of nuts in my bag.

Stay Active

Second, we keep active. I am not saying you have to work out and exercise on your vacation but working activity into your daily routine is a benefit. We try to walk places when we can, even after dinner to explore or go see a park or beach locally on a trip. Renting bikes or kayaks for a day to explore the area more is an awesome way to get in your activity and enjoy your vacation. 

I always wear my Fitbit to see how active I am, and you would be surprised just walking around exploring and shopping how many steps you are getting in. We are always so rushed in our lives, in a hurry to get somewhere, and vacation is no exception. Take the time to walk down to the pool instead of driving, spend the time talking and walking; it’s the greatest connection we can do on vacation.

Hydration Is Key

Third is to keep hydrated throughout. This is one of my biggest struggles when I am traveling for sure, but it is so important while you travel to keep drinking water. We usually are indulging in some of the adult beverages during vacations which will dehydrate us even more. I try to keep a water bottle by my night stand. Having a bottle ready when I get up in the morning and again before bed is a good habit, especially on vacation.

Keeping hydrated also helps with flushing out all the added salt that you have been eating in your meals out. Usually my fingers would get so swollen from all the sodium you find in prepared meals. Drinking enough water to get that out of our body helps so much.

Throughout the day check in with yourself and make sure you have gotten in your water.

In the past I would use the vacation as an opportunity to just splurge on food and drinks. I would throw all my healthy habits out the window for the whole trip. Half way through the trip I would feel more sluggish and bloated. Once I got home, I would feel awful about how much weight I put on and how I felt. It would take me a few weeks to get back on my routine. Now I realize that I can still have that ice cream or yummy meal as long as I make better choices the rest of the day. I didn’t come home feeling deprived of my vacation, and I actually felt better and had more energy to enjoy the trip.

Get Back to Your Routine

Once you return from vacation do a little 3 day cleanse…. I am doing no sugars, no oils, no dairy, and no carbs for 3 days to reset my body and get myself off the bad habits I may have picked up on vacation.   You don’t have to go so extreme but try clean eating for a few days to get back to your normal eating patterns.

What are some of your vacation tips?