Dear 2011 A.K.,
You have only just begun your fitness journey. You have so much yet to learn and so many rookie mistakes to make. In 2012, you will still be young and naive, but you will have learned tremendously. For example...
There are myriad substitutes for mayonnaise. Don't assume that just because a recipe calls for it, you're obligated to eat lard. Do your research!
Blogging will rapidly become one of your best learning tools. Check fellow bloggers' sites daily and comment as often as possible. Remember, blogging is for you, not for your readers. You started a blog to document your healthy living journey, not to develop a posse.
You will lose 30 pounds fairly rapidly, and you will want to take a lot of "selfies" from different angles. This is a no-no. These pictures do not need to be displayed for the world to see. Leave the weight-loss fluctuations to Kirstie Alley.
If you drink three-quarters of your bottle of water before your run, you will cramp like a bitch and you will invariably look like you have ants in your pants trying not to fall off the treadmill. Save some H2O for when you really need it!
You do not have to get stuck in a fitness rut. So you've discovered that you like running. There's this whole other world called Outside that beckons as you drive 0.5 miles past it to the gym.
If you feel like you're about to faint, Stop. Running. You don't have to kill yourself to prove a point. You will accomplish distances that will be sources of great pride for you. Remember also that you do not need others' social praise in order to feel proud of what you have done, though it's always nice to receive. Every new increment is meaningful in and of itself!
Hypoglycemia is no joke. Be sure to stash healthy snacks and drinks (that also have a sugar boost) in your car in case of emergency. Or so that you don't hit that "hangry" stage that co-occurs with the "raging bitch" stage. Also, apologize to your mom if you hang up on her in a moment of hanger...
Giving up soda was one of the best decisions you ever made. Between V8 juice, skim milk, tea, coffee, and most importantly, good ole water, you don't need soda! (We'll agree to let the summer slide.)
You don't need a crazy fad diet to lose weight. Between consciously reading labels, conducting research on nutrition, and experimenting, you've learned more than some silly app ever could have taught you. Plus, you've become self-reliant and confident in your ability to make nutrition fun and tasty.
At some point, if you want to lift weights, you just have to dive in and figure out how the machines work. They're not as complicated as they look, the weights will not fall on your toe, and it's not as humiliating as you assume to read the label or follow the picture instructions. I promise, everyone is much more focused on themselves than they are on you fumbling with the multi-press.
Don't try to do too much too fast. Getting fit is all about progression. You won't sprout a six-pack or pronounced biceps overnight, but you will begin to notice differences with time.
This is probably the most important thing from 2012 that I can share with you--
Stop comparing yourself to others. You may think that some girls emerged from the womb with abs and perfectly straightened hair, but you never know if there may be someone out there admiring you.
Do you, girl. You're doing great :)
Love, 2012 Me