I have always been a body conscious person. Being of the human species, it is kind of hard not be aware that you are skinnier than this person or heavier than that person, thanks to the media and their oh-so-positive outlook on body image and what the “ideal” person should look like. That is a conversation for another time, so let’s get to the point of my blabbering.
First and foremost, there is WAY too much negativity focused on body image and it is portrayed everywhere we turn. Magazines, tv, music, at the gym, at home or work…there’s always someone who will appear thinner, heavier, prettier, *insert any other descriptive adjective here*. But who cares? Chances are, your genetics will not allow you to look like a Victorias Secret or Calvin Klein model (can we ditch the photoshop please?!), but we can be the best version of ourselves. And that starts with learning to not compare yourself to others. Which is where my journey begins.
I’ve always been insecure. I come from a family where women have “baby makin’ hips.” (Which men are actually more instinctually attracted to, so rock them ladies!) But they’ve always been my problem area. And that, on top of insecurities stemmed by rotten ex boyfriends, had led to me thinking some not so awesome things about myself. I tried everything to get it to go away: I worked out every way possible, doing cardio before weights, cardio after weights, no cardio, all cardio, the sauna…then I looked to my diet. I eat pretty decent and I would say better than the average American nowadays. I’ve actually never eaten as healthy as I have since I moved to WA! But despite a pretty decent consumption of food, I still wasn’t losing weight. Cue the diets: considered Gluten free, bought healthy versions of everything, tried cutting out pasta (horrible idea 😫, don’t ever do it! 😜), I even tried cutting calories. Want to know what happened????
I became a raging b***h for a week until I decided that the word diet is a naughty, horrible word that results in unhappiness for me and my husband, and that starving myself was never a good idea. 👍
Moving on to act II: I work out probably 4-6 times a week. And I mean great, sweat dripping, workouts. And I have not lost a single pound because of it. I tried supplements from multiple brands, lifted heavy, tried all the above workout combos, added some additional protein sources, and once again altering my diet. Still no progress. (I do account for muscle gain in my weight, however measurements have yet to change as well through this process).
Act III: The Light Bulb Moment
I had been working extremely hard at the gym for a while and decided to weigh myself. I had not stepped on the scale in a while because I realize it is an unhealthy relationship to have (ain’t nobody got time to let a piece of plastic run their lives). I told myself that no matter what it said, I wouldn’t be upset. I mean, I probably gained a lot of muscle from all the work I was doing, right?
Nothing could’ve prepared me for what happened when I couldn’t help but feel devastated after seeing the number farther up than it’s ever been.
After getting home from the gym, I’d normally jump right in to making dinner. That night was different, though. I couldn’t make dinner. I just kept looking at the food and thinking “you can’t eat that! It’s full of calories/carbs/fat!” “That pasta will make you gain weight and look bloated for a week!” “All the veggies and fruit in the world won’t help you lose weight!”
In that moment, I developed a seriously negative relationship with food. I spent an hour staring at the food in my pantry, crying, because I didn’t want to eat it. I didn’t want to add to the “extra fluff” I already have. (PLEASE NOTE: We keep pretty decently healthy food in the house, so I wasn’t just staring at ramen noodles and chips.) I turned up my nose at my absolute favorite: spaghetti. 😱 I couldn’t fathom the idea of shoveling in more so that it could sit on my thighs and stomach. I was even thinking negatively about the healthy things.
After a while, I calmed down, my husband gave me a pep talk, then I gave myself one, made my spaghetti and felt 110% better. I am really lucky that I didn’t carry that negative outlook into the following days, weeks, months, etc where it really would’ve become a health problem.
I was, and still am extremely ashamed of that moment. But they say that sometimes you have to hit rock bottom to see the light at the end of the tunnel (I’m actually not sure who said that, or if I just made it up…either way, don’t quote me 😉).
Since that evening, I don’t have a bad outlook anymore, BUT I did develop a strange new knack for wanting to know what I’m putting in my body. Reflecting on that negative night, and my lack of any body changes, made me start to ask some questions about whats I was eating and how it’s affecting my body and inability to lose weight. What better way to be healthy, than to understand what I’m eating, right?
Well, thanks to my amazingly smart and educated aunt and uncle, some movies were introduced to me centered around what we are actually ingesting. (Anyone want to take a stab at how “Organic” or “Humane” are used inappropriately? Another time.) I will admit to only seeing one of the videos from a list so far, but after watching the first one and I was sold.
Now, I’m not talking about the argument about meat vs. Vegetarians vs. Veganism. (However, a small amount is included in the film I watched). This problem is even broader than that. It’s everything we ingest. Meat, fruit, veggies, packaged foods, “organic” foods…I could go on and on. It’s terrible the things we allow ourselves to put in our mouths. And the health implications of eating a lifetime (or less) of these things is deadly! (Pun intended). There are also some really nasty things being done to our environment from the sources we get food from. All around, we need to make things better.
I am so glad that I am consciously aware now. I had some knowledge, mostly about animals products, but it’s truly eye opening to realize how much of our food is not what it appears.
Act IV: the point.
I have developed some much better eating habits. I am actually considering trying vegetarianism this week just as a little experiment for myself. (I don’t eat a lot of meat to begin with, and have been losing a taste for meat for about a year now, but more on that another day). But I have switched to Almond Milk, which is delicious, but will take a little getting used to. I switched to WHOLE wheat breads, and have eliminated a lot of the processed, boxed meals. I eliminated coffee, which I noticed did increase the scale number, and replaced it with a delicious fruit smoothie every morning, for relatively cheap! I have cut back on carbs in general, but not eliminated. It’s bad to deprive your body of some things, and in moderation, those things can be okay for you. I have also switched back to my favorite supplements, Cellucor, and have been getting an even better workout at the gym.
The most important thing I want anyone to take away from this, is to be aware. Ask questions, be curious, and don’t think that little ol’ you can’t make a difference. Even the smallest changes in your everyday life can have a big impact. I hope this blog gets a little cog turning in your brain. Even the smallest question, please ask it. It could change your life, your health, and our planet.
*Photo courtesy of Google images: searched “Healthy food quotes”