A Realistic Approach to Fitness with Somaya Reece - Oxygen Magazine

A Realistic Approach to Fitness with Somaya Reece

Actress and musician Somaya Reece shares her tips for embarking on and maintaining a fit and healthy lifestyle.
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The idea of fitness or eating healthy while having a busy schedule seems almost impossible for many. Why is that? Why is that we build these “There’s no way I’ll have time for the gym or to eat right with my busy schedule” monsters in our head? We put a wall up before we even give it a try. This was my life at one point until I started living a more realistic approach to fitness.

Doing what “fits me,” not what everyone else is doing, saved my life, my health and my sanity. We often look at magazine models’ perfect physiques, we look at our “skinny friends,” and we even turn to social media to admire others’ fit bodies and get discouraged before we even try. We drive ourselves crazy not realizing that the only way to achieve true success is to focus on ourselves. Focus on what fits you and your busy schedule, not what everyone else doing.

How many times have you said, “This is it, I’m going to get fit,” then ruin your efforts with happy hour, a weekend of binge eating, a friend’s birthday party or a night out at a club? Or do you feel embarrassed to go to the gym because you aren’t at your best — an hourglass figure with a few extra hours, perhaps?

Finding time to work out or eating right isn’t as hard as you think; it just takes focus, making the right decisions and giving it a real effort. How will you know how far you can get if you give up when it gets hard? No matter what size you are or where you’re at in life, you can achieve all your fitness goals. Just keep it real with yourself! You want to get fit? What are you going to do about it?

There’s no such thing as the perfect diet. In fact, dieting is a sure way to fail. Instead, think lifestyle, think long-term results. Change your mindset and think I CAN versus I CAN’T. Build your own schedule to work out and eat right. You don’t need expensive foods to eat clean, you don’t even need a gym to work out. But what you do need is to actually give it a try.

Skip happy hour with your co-workers and instead go to that salsa workout class at your gym after work. Prepare your lunch the night before when you can. Do you have to do it every day if you don’t have time? Of course not. Do what you can when you can. If you feel you don’t have time to make breakfast every morning because you have to get the kids ready for school, you’re a busy student or you have two jobs, why not set the clock to wake you up 10 minutes earlier so you can fix your breakfast?

How about the gym? Are you too embarrassed to go to the gym because you gained a few extra pounds? Have you thought about working out at home? Buy a fitness DVD or go online and search for workouts to do straight from your home computer or laptop. Walk, take the stairs at work, jog, take the stroller out with the kids, do something. Doing something is better than doing nothing. Doing nothing equals ZERO results. Girl, please, last weekend you had time to hit the club with your friends, but today you don’t have time to work out? Keep it real! You CAN make it happen. You just need to try.

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But I kept it real with myself. I pulled my big-girl panties up and did what fit me. I was sick and tired of feeling sick and tired. So I started walking for 15 minutes a day, then graduated to walking 30 minutes a day. Slowly, I began to feel stronger and began taking the stairs at the local park. I wanted to learn more, so I bought a fitness DVD series to work out at home until one day, a few months down the road and 20 pounds lighter, I finally felt brave enough to hit the gym. I searched the Internet to learn how to make healthy foods on a budget, I drank protein shakes from Divine Nutrition Products as meal replacements, and I used my cellphone calendar to remind me to drink more water. I did what fit me, and now I am a healthy size 6.

Image courtesy of Somaya Reece

Image courtesy of Somaya Reece

Is it easier now? NO! I have my good days and I have my bad days. But what I never do is give up.I started my fitness journey at size 18 while suffering severe depression and multiple eating disorders. I was your typical yo-yo weight gain/loss dieter. I tried every “get skinny quick” method from diet pills to starvation diets, everything but the healthy things I needed to get fit. It took a heart scare for me to say enough is enough. I was like many of you — I had no idea what I was doing when I started. I cried, I wanted to give up and I got frustrated all the time because I didn't have the faintest clue where to begin.

You’re going to fail a million times before you finally get it right. People you know aren’t going to support you. Everything will seem like it’s impossible. You’ll have days you did it all right, then something will throw you for a loop and you’ll fail. That’s OK. Don’t beat yourself up for it. You’re not going to start out as a champion athlete. Every champion was once an amateur. But you have to start somewhere. You have to finally say enough is enough and go hard. You can achieve all the fitness goals you set out for. You just have to give it a try.

I believe in you. Now I want you to believe in yourself!

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