How to Have a Healthy – But Ridiculously Happy – Life Now!

This year, I took my health and fitness more seriously and dedicated a lot of my time and energy to reaching my fitness goals. I met with a personal trainer and did my first health assessment in years. Even at 5’1″, 115 lbs and a size 2 – I had my own self-image issues.

It was made worse when I found out my body fat percentage was at 29 percent – which is considered borderline obesity (remember this is based on height and weight, so don’t assume you are obese!). I was the textbook definition of “skinny fat.” You could say it was a figurative glass shattering moment for me.

Since that moment, I worked extremely hard to bring that number down as much as possible. At this point, I was smart enough to know weight number didn’t matter. Muscle weighs more than fat. It was truly difficult considering my love for food. However hard I worked, I fluctuated around 20 percent and was still told that it was too high and should try to get it lower.

A result of obsessively training led to injuries. Later in the year, I discovered I had scoliosis and the intense high-impact workouts with weights and cardio put me out for almost three months. I had swelling in my lower spine from the imbalance which made it highly uncomfortable to stand, sit, and even sleep.

Coming back from such a morale blow has taught me three different things I’ll be taking with me into the new year:

Balance

I love weight training and strength training. Yes, it is considered one of the best ways to burn fat and torch calories more so than say…yoga or barre. But as result of only doing such intense training, I was at risk of overtraining myself and inevitably I injured myself. Starting from square one, I had to find an outlet for all my pent up energy and started with beginners yoga classes and other low impact workouts. This year, I intend on incorporating a good variety of classes that will continue to challenge me physically and mentally while also keeping me healthy.

Fun

The body is a resilient and amazing thing and I have to remind myself to be grateful of my abilities. Workouts are meant to be mentally and physically challenging, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be fun too. What’s the point of all that physical training if I forget to have fun with it? I plan to make more time for activities where it’s fun first and physical second. Catch me playing more flag football, volleyball, running zombie 5Ks and anything that catches my fancy this year.

Forgiveness

For some time that 29 percent body fat haunted me. I was hard on myself diet wise and on my workouts too. Eating became less a sociable activity to enjoy with friends and more a routine to fuel the body. I used to be in the gym 5-7 times a week and would forget I needed to rest. Sometimes, I’d even catch myself being upset when I had to miss a gym session. This year, I am going to be more forgiving. Indulging in a huge bowl of pasta or missing a workout isn’t going to kill me. As long as I maintain a healthy lifestyle, there is no need to feel guilty to punish myself. I’m going to let it go.

These three elements are the ingredients to my fit life recipe for 2015. I know I can still reach my fitness goals without overdoing it and still have fun while I am at it. Keeping these three things in mind will help me stay vigilant, happy and healthy

Mai Lyn Ngo is the owner and editor of food and fitness blog Deep Fried Fit. She is a foodie and fitness enthusiast in Dallas who is constantly seeking the best places to dine and work out