Welcome to Wellness Wednesday! This is the first of a series of weekly wellness stories written to help inspire healthy and happy living in our wonderful readers. Be sure to check back every Wednesday for the latest in fitness, nutrition, natural beauty and lifestyle tips to help you be your best self!
BY MOLLY WINDING
If you've ever wanted to change your body but struggled to find the motivation, I would like to introduce you to Anna Victoria, the creator of the Fit Body Guides and someone who used to be just like you (and me, a lot of days). Three short years ago, Anna Victoria decided she wanted to change her life. Having been someone who ate fast food three meals a day or had Goldfish for dinner, this was no small task.
"I was like, I can't survive off fast food anymore," Anna said when I first met her. What's so cool about Anna's decision to get healthy and get in shape is that it wasn't driven by her feeling unsatisfied with her physical appearance, she simply wanted to start treating her body a little bit better.
"A journey should never start because you hate yourself," she said. "It should start because you love yourself and you want to do something good for yourself."
A post shared by Anna Victoria (@annavictoria) on Aug 25, 2015 at 8:09am PDT
Can you believe the photos above are Anna's before and after shots? In order to stay motivated, Anna created an Instagram account where she could track her progress through photos. She started the account back in 2012, before there were a lot of other fitness brands utilizing the photo sharing platform. Within six months, she had over 250,000 followers, and people started messaging her for advice.
"I really wanted to help people," Anna told me, "So I decided to write my first e-book, which was a 4-week nutrition and exercise plan for people to follow."
Obviously working out was a large part of Anna's lifestyle change, but for her, healthy eating was what really changed the game. Her approach is simple: it's not about reducing food intake -- you actually need a lot of food! -- it's about eating the right food.
"You want to make sure that you feel energized and satisfied throughout the day," she said. Anna's perspective is great because she shows us that we can change our bodies without starving ourselves -- what a concept, eh?
As for the fitness part of her guides, the workouts are a series of high intensity circuits focused on strength training, and each daily workout is designed to take only 30 minutes. "The more muscle we have, the more fat we're able to burn," Anna said. "And as a result, people usually start to see results at about 8 weeks." Results aside, the exercises in her guides are designed to make us strong, and you wouldn't believe the kind of impact that can have on you mentally. Feeling physically strong can make a person feel confident in all other areas of life, too, so really, these guides are like a personal trainer, dietician and life coach all rolled into one!
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The fitness guru encourages those who follow her guides to create social media accounts where they can connect with each other in the hopes that they'll help each other stay motivated and not lose faith in the weeks before they start seeing results. What's cool is that Anna has essentially created an online community of young women committed to changing their lives in a positive way.
So what's Anna's advice for getting started on her program? I was dying to know, of course. "My biggest piece of advice is to do an overhaul of your routine," she said. "Sit down and say, 'This is when I'm going to work out, this is where I'm going to fit in meal prep, etc.'."
"And acknowledge that you want to change," she emphasized. "Be aware that if you want to change your body, you have to change something about your lifestyle. But you don't need to overwhelm yourself either -- I'm guilty of looking at the big picture, but you have to look at it all in small, doable steps."
The proof is in the pudding with these fitness guides. Anna's not shy about sharing before and after photos of her body and she's completely honest about the challenges she faced when starting her own journey. And fun fact: she's getting married in a few months and is following her guides "religiously" for the wedding, so you can rest assured that the guides really do work. I just recently started the guides myself, and while I haven't been this sore since my days as a dancer, I feel energized and stronger already. Check back to see my progress with the guides next month!
If you're looking to eat a little healthier or amp up your workout routine, Anna Victoria's guides might be just what you need -- and if you still need a little extra motivation, check out Anna's Instagram page where you can see before and after photos of the awesome women who use her guides!
More in wellness:
This is what happens one hour after you drink a Coke
How to get arms like a Victoria's Secret model
Can a small amount of running improve your health?