“believe, sweat and inspire” is the motto of operation flat belly, a free healthy living and fitness program led by valencia king ’07 of chicago. through a blog, facebook and twitter posts, king seeks to educate and motivate individuals into making permanent lifestyle transformations that can lead to better health and a better quality of life. we recently checked in with king to see how the program has been received.
What motivated you to start Operation Flat Belly? I started Operation Flat Belly as a way to keep myself motivated and hold myself accountable for securing a healthy lifestyle, eating right and working out. I’ve been trying to lose weight since college. I figured starting a blog and letting people in on my journey would give me support and make me work hard to stick with it. I had no idea that it would turn into such a huge support network and educational group.
What has been the response to your blog and Facebook page? Right now, Operation Flat Belly runs primarily through my blog at www. operationflatbelly.com. The project also has Facebook (www.facebook.com/operationflatbelly) and Twitter pages (www.twitter.com/ operationfb). Among the three sites, I have almost 900 followers. It has led many of my family and friends to start their own weight loss journeys. I’ve also met many people with the same goals, and it is a great way to inspire and get inspiration for myself.
Have you had any major setbacks during your journey? How have you overcome them? I have setbacks all the time, and I view them as part of the experience. My goal is a lifestyle change, and it is very easy to fall back into habits such as stress eating or becoming “too busy” to exercise. I always share setbacks with my followers to let them know that this is a normal part of trying to lose weight and change your life. The key is not to beat yourself up and be sure to get back on track.
What gets you motivated to doa difficult workout? I love a challenge. Hard workouts make me feel like I can do anything. I love the high that I get after pushing myself to my limit. I have a vision map posted on my wall and motivational statements on my refrigerator. I write my goals down to remind myself why I do what I do, and I read them at least once a week. My followers keep me motivated, too. I try to lead by example as best I can.
What have you learned during this journey? I’ve learned that exercising and eating healthy is about more than just how you look. When you are working toward maintaining a healthy lifestyle, you live longer. I am able to run around with my 5-year-old daughter for longer periods of time than even she can handle. I’m reducing my risk of certain illnesses. My mood is better. My sleeping is better. I am enjoying life more.
What tips can you give readers who want to start becoming healthier? The biggest tip is to GET STARTED! I used to be the “I’ll start on Sunday” lady. It’s so easy to make excuses or put it off. But each day a person delays is just another day added to the time it takes to get where you want to be. Start by making small changes today, and be patient with yourself. Take it week by week and one pound at a time. My favorite quote is “Progress, not perfection.”
Valencia King '07 of chicago is a social worker at Metropolitan family services. she is also studying with ace (the american council on exercise) to become a group fitness instructor.