Adriene Seltzer shares how she learned that losing weight was only a part of a lifelong health journey.

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I weighed myself on New Year's Day 2019, and I started crying as soon as I looked down at the numbers. What I saw just didn't make sense to me given the blood, sweat, and tears I put into working out. You see, I come from a 15-year gymnastics background — so I know exactly what it means to have strength and stamina. After hanging up my leotard post-college, I continued to stay active, taking part in all sorts of workout programs — whether that was spinning, kickboxing, or boot camps. But still, the numbers on the scale kept climbing. So, on top of grinding my butt off in the gym, I turned to diets and detoxes and didn't have much to show for it. (Related: 6 Sneaky Reasons You're Not Losing Weight)

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With every 12-week fitness challenge or 30-day diet, came huge expectations. My mindset was that if I could just make it to the end of these programs, I would finally feel good again. But that never happened. Even though I would see small results, they never lived up to what the program promised — or frankly what I had hoped for. So, I would decide it wasn't for me and move on to the next thing and the next thing until I was completely burnt out and disheartened. (Related: How to Stick to Your Diet and Weight Loss Goals for Good)

After that Jan 1 on the scale, I instantly started searching for workout programs I had yet to try. Scrolling through Instagram, I came across F45 Training, a functional training program that boasts a mix of circuit and HIIT style workouts. They were promoting their 8-Week Challenge, which combines 45-minute workouts and a detailed meal plan to help you create long-term healthy habits. That sounded pretty enticing so I told myself again, "What the heck — might as well give this a go!"

So, I signed up at my local studio and committed to between five and seven classes a week. I immediately fell in love with the workout. No class was the same, but each focused on cardio and strength training. By the end of the 45-minutes, I was pushed to the max. By the end of the eight-week challenge, I had lost 14 pounds. Motived by the results, I completed the same program four more times with a two to three-week break in between.

Then, I started losing steam — and that scared me. I was worried that if I stopped sticking to the regimented schedule that I was going to lose the progress I made. But after some reflection, I realized that didn't have to be my fate. (Related: 7 Surprising Signs You're Setting Yourself Up for Workout Burnout)

Previously, the biggest downfall in my fitness journey has always been that I was treating my diet and workout routine like it was a phase. I always thought, "Oh, if I push myself to eat healthily and work out for one month, I'll see results quickly." This may have worked initially, but I started to realize that all these crash diets and workouts don't work long-term. They only lead to me and my goals crashing and burning. I realized that my goals were always centered around instant gratification when what I really wanted, was to develop a healthy lifestyle that I could continue for years down the road. (Related: 30 Healthy Lifestyle Habits to Adopt Every Day)

Once I shared these goals with one of my F45 coaches, she recommended that I adopt the 80/20 rule. ICYDK, the 80/20 rule is basically an anti-diet. It means that 80 percent of the time, you eat clean or clean-ish, and the other 20 percent of the time you're diet is relaxed, allowing for whatever food you want. Translation? Eat the pizza on Friday nights. Take rest days. Then, get back to your healthy eating. It dawned on me that this is my entire life, and not an eight- or 12-week phase. The 80/20 rule is not a short-term goal, it's a lifestyle.

Adopting this lifestyle might seem quite simple, but like so many others, I struggled to see it as something that would drive the results I was after. When you flip through the pages of a fitness magazine or scroll through before-and-after photos on Instagram, you often only see headlines and captions that tout women who've lost 'XYZ' amount of weight in 'XYZ' amount of time. That narrative fuels the urge to set short-term goals, even if it's not in the best interest of your long-term health.

But the truth is, every body is different, hence the rate at which you see results is different. I lost 14 pounds in eight weeks initially with F45, but a lot of people who did the program with me didn't have that same experience. I understand now that to insinuate that every person can expect to lose the same amount of weight in the same amount of time is completely bogus, but it's easy to lose sight of that when you're constantly searching for that quick fix. (Related: How I Learned My Weight-Loss Journey Wasn't Over Even After Losing 170 Pounds)

If there's anything I've learned in my fitness journey so far, it's that to be sustainably healthy, you have to play the long game. That starts by setting appropriate, attainable goals. Get down to the specifics, instead of a blanket statement of wanting to lose a bunch of weight. (Related: Your Ultimate Guide to Conquering Any and Every Goal)

You also have to adjust your expectations because life's circumstances change all the time and despite the best intentions, you may not always be able to stick to your goals. When COVID-19 hit, and I lost access to the gym, I was worried that I was going to fall back into old habits. But since I've been looking at fitness as more of a journey, I've stopped putting so much pressure on myself to maintain a strict routine. Rather than getting that heart-pumping 45-minute workout in, I made it my goal to simply move every day. Some days that means taking a 30-minute online class, and other times, it's simply going on a 20-minute walk. I know that over I'll likely gain a bit of weight, or lose some muscle — but that's life. I know I'm not going to always be at my goal weight, and that's okay as long as I'm doing my best to stay as healthy as possible. (Related: Why It's Okay to Enjoy Quarantine Sometimes—and How to Stop Feeling Guilty for It)

Today, I'm down nearly 40 pounds since that morning in 2019, and while losing the weight was great, I'm more appreciative of the lessons I've learned along the way. To anyone who's ever felt like I did that day, take it from me and ditch the scale, pills, shakes, and programs that don't focus on training you for life. Most importantly don't put a time-frame around reaching your goals. Being healthy is not a short-term commitment, it's a lifestyle. So as long as you're putting in the effort, results will come. You just have to be patient and gracious to your body.