When Lydia Bordo turned 34 last November, she decided to change her life. She and her husband had recently purchased a Peloton bike, though with the stress of working full-time, going to school at night and helping raise her 10-year-old daughter, she didn't have a lot of time to dedicate to working out.
"My weight got so out of control," Bordo told TODAY. "On my 34th birthday, I was like 'You know what? You're graduating, you have a job. Now, you can do something for you. It's no longer 'OK, let's make sure everybody else is taken care of.'"
That day, Bordo enrolled in WW, the diet program formerly known as Weight Watchers, and made a promise to herself that over the next year she would complete 300 Peloton bike rides, in addition to other daily exercise. She also documented her journey on Instagram with updates and before-and-after pictures. To date, she has lost 28 pounds.
"The whole goal of losing weight, everything started with that 300," she said.
Combining two popular programs for an ideal plan
Bordo said that typically, she tries to exercise from 30 minutes to 90 minutes each day. Sometimes, that comes in the form of long walks with her family or short, 10-minute express workouts from the Peloton app; often it involves riding the bike for at least a few minutes. The most important thing to her is flexibility and a routine that she can change as the day demands.
"... I can get up and ride at 5:00 in the morning before my daughter and husband get up," Bordo explained. "I can go for a run at lunch ... If I'm taking a break at 2:00 in the afternoon, I can get a 10-minute core class done. That freedom has been absolutely amazing and it's addicting, because you're like, 'What else can I get in today?'"
Bordo said that in addition to increasing her daily exercise routine, the WW diet plan has been a huge lifestyle change for her and her family.
"It's creating a routine where you don't completely cut out everything, but you change your overall food habits," said Bordo. "For us, we've completely cut out all soda in the house ... That was one of the changes we made. I have really cut back on my Starbucks, because that was the sugar drink that I know we all got addicted to."
Bordo added that she's also changed her snacking habits and checks in with her WW team and coach regularly for accountability purposes.
"I've made these changes long-term," she said. "Having the ability to view food differently has been the biggest change."
How she stays motivated and keeps pushing forward
When it comes to motivating herself and making sure she sticks to her goals, Bordo said Instagram has been a powerful tool.
"When I first started all of this, I was just using Instagram as a way to keep myself accountable," she explained. "I had started with 400 followers and I thought to myself 'No one's going to pay attention. That's OK. Just keep posting because it's keeping (you) accountable.' And that's what I did."
Bordo said that the posts made her feel better about her routine on days where she felt discouraged.
"I was writing and posting, just to keep going, to keep pushing through the days when I thought 'The scale's not moving, I'm not making any progress,'" she said.
To stay aware of how your body might change when embracing a new exercise regimen, Bordo recommends documenting your journey with photos, just like she did. Even if you don't post them anywhere, it can be helpful to have a clear before-and-after image.
"I'm so glad I started taking these pictures, because then I can see, OK, on this ride ... this is where I was," said Bordo. "You start to really see the difference and how much stronger you get. I wish all people would take pictures, even if they don't post it. Just take the pictures for themselves, so they can really see the difference."
Bordo added that she also sets weekly goals for herself, which helps her continue to push her limits and focus on what she really wants to accomplish.
"It's become 'OK, let's get stronger. OK, now next week, let's focus on this,'" she said, adding that these small goals have been a major help during the coronavirus pandemic. Bordo said that between spending more time at home and continuing to set small weekly goals, she's been able to stick to her regimen and even expand the type of workouts she does.
"Since being home ... I started focusing on the other aspects of strength training," she said. "I was like 'OK, now my body has gotten used to spinning for 30 to 45 minutes a day. When I added in strength training I noticed a completely new shift in my body."
Her last piece of advice for anyone looking to change their habits is to ignore the number on the scale.
"People get so frustrated when the scale is not moving," she said, mentioning that she had done a 28-day strength challenge where she only lost two pounds but saw a major change in her body's tone. "But they don't see the difference where they're losing inches. Their clothes are fitting better. And that's something that I really want people to notice and recognize for themselves. The scale, at the end of the day, doesn't mean anything."