Five years ago I began my journey to a healthier lifestyle. In that time I learned that my body is capable of so much more than I had ever believed. I learned how to eat healthier and how to have a new mindset when it came to food. Exercise, once alien to me became near second nature. Dropping the weight was exciting, scary and hard. Hard not only physically but mentally and spiritually as well.
On my walk/run the other day I began to think about my journey. Five years ago, I was in the best physical health of my entire life. Mentally and spiritually however I was a mess. So much of the why I was doing it had to do with my desire for approval from others. Deep in my heart I believed that being loved and accepted meant meeting other peoples idea of who I should be. That by not meeting those ideas, I was a failure.
Losing weight revealed a lot of things that God wanted to shake me free from. It has been more than learning how to care for my body in a better way. It also been letting go of so much that I held onto over the years. Food and being overweight hid so much I hoped to keep hidden. Losing weight, being left without a place to hide left me vulnerable.
I got down to what was supposed to be my optimal weight but I was also miserable. For the most part I did not feel as if my body belonged to me. Today, I’m not at that optimal weight and I am so much happier. I am happy with my eating habits ( some days are better than others) and exercise routine. It has taken me these five years to get here too.
There were and are places I needed to grow, to learn, to be cared for in order to get to this place I’m at now. A much healthier place, physically, spiritually and mentally. I’m still a bit of a mess, but I know in the mess, God is there with me. Losing weight has long term consequences, not only what can be seen but what happens internally. Happiness does not come from the numbers on a scale, or a label size but where one is at on the journey. This is a journey I will be on for the rest of my life.
I have never had problems sleeping. I am also a deep sleeper, it often takes a lot to wake me up.
Sleep is important but it may also not come easy for everyone. If you have issues sleeping please seek professional help. This article is aimed towards people who choose to sleep less.
There seems to be a contest in this country about who can sleep the least. Bragging rights belonging to those who get “by” on X number of hours. The X usually being the least amount.
Getting the sleep we need is vital to overall health. Our bodies and brains need the maximum hours of rest each night. Without it our bodies work hard to compensate. One is food. The body is lacking energy, food creates energy, which leads to overeating.
Another is getting sick. By not getting enough sleep, the body has not had time to repair itself. Cells have not been able to repair themselves.
My relationship with food is rather complex as it so often reprensents comfort to me. As it does for so many and in times of stress is easy to run towards.
Which I did. Barely working out or not at all. Eating whatever came across my way.
Why? Because life had become busy and stressful. Eating all the bad stuff felt good, for a brief moment. Not working out made feel like I did skipping school as a teenager. Another brief moment of being bad but then comes guilt.
Getting back into the routine is hard. The body adjusts just as quickly to bad habits as to good ones. The good news is that now I long for the good habits. To eat better and exercise.
While there may times when we get off the health track, it does not mean we can not go back. Don’t allow a bad day or week to prevent you from being healthy. There will be ebbs and flows, ups and downs.
Keep going, keep moving. It’s worth it.
In last week’s Mid Week Motivator, I covered eating well on a budget. Today, I am talking about getting over that kitchen intimidation.
The hardest part about cooking is the fear of failure. Julia Childs taught me that there can be no fear in the kitchen. Now, I am nowhere near the culinary genius of Mrs.Childs, but I do hold my own I must say.
Eating well means getting to know your skill level. Start with your favorite recipes, modifying them to make them healthier. You will be surprised to find that swapping out one item for another is pretty easy.
Play with spices and different kinds of vegetables. Healthy doesn’t mean you lose taste, it just means you find in a different way. Learn about meal prep, sure setting aside time to do it may seem a pain but so can be workouts.
Sure, some experiments may fail. So what? It just means you know better what works for you and your family.But again as Julia Childs also said, “Never apologize for your food.”
This has been a tough year thus far for a multitude of reasons. One aspect has been my health. Gaining weight after working so hard to lose it three years ago has been disheartening. My motivation to eat well and exercise fell by the wayside.
More and more I found myself choosing the comfort of food. Not that I fell back into full on binging as I have in the past. It is more making poor food choices when there are plenty of healthier options available.
Then a day or two goes by without a workout or good food choices. Since those days went by what does it matter if another one does? Then it becomes a week, and before I realized it a month. Sure, I’ve been busy. Juggling three part time jobs isn’t easy. But it also doesn’t mean I couldn’t have worked out those days.
Some of it is laziness, not being willing to wake up earlier to run. Or getting in one after a mentally draining work day. Not planning my meals ahead, which lead to me heading for drive thru’s instead of a waiting meal. Indulging in dessert when I shouldn’t have. Some of it is simply the reality of my new schedule, mostly eating dinner later than 7:30pm.
Then there is the difference in my body from three years ago. I am on the other side of thirty five, nearly forty. That’s something I need to remember, to honor and not berate myself.
And that I will need to work at being motivated. Something I didn’t need to do before. The motivation was just there, supernaturally planted. However, over time complacency set in for me. Complacency I don’t always fight against. In that I have lost the motivation that once came so easily.
This needs to change, I need to fight for my life. To care for this body, not to achieve some perfect body but in order to live a full life. I will plan ahead for my meals and snacks. I will fight against temptations at the office as the busy season kicks into gear. I will run at least three days a week and focusing on strength training the other two.
In doing so I hope to regain motivation. Caring for this body and my overall health.
Have you had to regain motivation?
In just a few weeks the Christmas season will be upon us. With it comes those sweets and treats that emerge during this time of year. The above chart is helpful in swapping out ingredients for others. Allowing you and your loved ones to continue to enjoy all those recipes handed down.
The reality of weight loss is that the work never stops. It can be exhausting, constantly feeling the pressure get that work out in or make that right choice with food. This has been my struggle this year. Not wanting to do what I need to do. I just did not want to have to do anything at all.
Not watch my calories
Not work out as hard as I should.
And I have paid the price for these choices. I have gained weight. I began to feel as if I had no energy again, that no matter how much I slept, I would still feel as if I needed more.
I knew I lacked motivation and though I tried, I did not have it. Knowing what it took for me to lose weight the first time made me hesitate now. There was no way I could replicate that experience.
Nor should I . Because I am older, closer to forty than before. My body is not shy about telling me that. The truth is with my body, I need to workout. I need to eat well. Otherwise, what happens is I gain. My body needs it. My emotional health needs it. My spiritual health needs it.
Because all this is connected. One either helps the other or ends up hindering it.
I need to meet myself where I am right now, not where I was three years ago. In doing so I honor all the hard work I have put in over the years. I honor who I am, my overall health and perhaps too my sanity.
I think better when I eat better and exercise. My stress level goes down. I sleep better. I simply am better.
As my friend advised me at the start of my journey that once I started this, I was on it for life. And so I continue onward.
My goals this time? Run two 5k ‘s .
I am signed up for a fun run called the Bubble Run this month and another one in November. I want to complete a 10k by next January.
Food wise, cut out more sugar from my diet. I have stopped using flavored creamer for my coffee, cut down on my deserts per week.
Counting calories is key in losing weight. It is what has worked for me in staying healthy. Using My Fitness Pal and understanding what exactly a serving size. Here are some tips that I follow.
Pay attention to the serving size
Does it say one, two or three servings. I had to learn that a serving is a portion of the food. For so long I would just eat so much more than recommended.
You don’t have to eat the entire serving size.
This means you can eat less of the amount prescribed. For example it may say one cup of brown rice but you may want only less than that.
Be honest about how much and what you are eating
Whether you are using an app or writing it down, be honest. No matter how hard it can be, you owe it to yourself.
By keeping track of your calories, you develop better habits. By understanding better how much calories you actually consume. When you do splurge on your favorite kind of food, there is a new level of enjoyment.
That is the point behind keeping track of your calories. Not to use this to berate yourself if you go over. But as a tool to make better choices.
Developing a healthy relationship with food has meant consistency in my pantry and fridge. Week in and week out I purchase the following items. I know they will fit into my food budget, full of good fats and keep me fueled properly. I have covered how to eat healthy on a budget here
Coconut Oil – since discovering this gem I have never gone back! This bottle of goodness is simply amazing and also has so many uses beyond cooking.
Whole Oatmeal Oats– not only is this a healthy breakfast but I have used this to substitute flour (which I never think to purchase), to make muffins or cookies.
Bananas– The great thing about these is they get better as they age. There is no need for them to go to waste. When they are overripe they still can be used, full of nutritious goodness.
Spinach– raw or cooked this is one item I make sure is in my grocery cart.
Mixed Nuts – a great source of protein and available either with out salt or non at all.
Popcorn kernals- this is a new favorite since I discovered how to make microwave popcorn instead of using packets.
Plain Yogurt- either low fat or greek I usually purchase a container and measure out what I need each day.
Chia Seeds– another new addition, I add them to my oatmeal or yogurt. The secret is to soak them in water to get the most out of them. Also add them to your beverages.
Coffee– because I need my one cup if French pressed brew to get my day started off. I do use a small amount of flavored creamer.
Frozen Yogurt– a little sweet to end the day. Just enough to satisfy my sweet tooth.
This certainly is not an exhaustive list but these items help keep me in check. I know they will leave me feeling satisfied and fuel me with needed energy.
What foods do you always purchase to help keep you on track?
I am a recovering binge eater. There was a time when food was my primary relationship. It really was. It was was not just mindless eating. At least for me it wasn’t. I have touched on this in a previous post.
Today I want to talk about how far I have come. My relationship with food will always be complicated. These days, it is in a good place. When I was in the midst of losing weight, counting calories was a huge part of my life. This continued once I reached my weight goal, or what I believed to be my goal. More on this in another post.
My attitude towards food began to change because God intervened. That is the truth. I longed for change, to be released from this desire for food. God used the circumstances of my life to do it. When I lost my job and had little money for food, I had to choose my food carefully. It had to last and in turn it had to be healthy. There was no option to be able to binge eat. That was God right there. Here is a post I
That was five years ago. Yesterday it struck me as I was grocery shopping how far I have come. I was hungry as I shopped. One of the worst things to ever do! However, I bought what I needed and was excited to buy fruits and vegetables.
I have learned that it is alright to be excited about food. To look forward to eating and enjoying food. When I was binge eating, I was trying to fill a God sized hole within myself. After I lost weight I was afraid of enjoying what I ate. Fearing that by doing so I would fall back into bad habits.
This lead to a period of seeing food as a necessary evil. I feared straying over my daily caloric intake, obsessing over how many calories I burned with each work out. That somehow if I was not as strict I would wake up the next day fat. In fact I felt like I thought more about food than during my worst binges. For my mental and physical health I had to find a balance. Something that is easier said than done. For a time I had to stop tracking my calories.
Eating is not a utilitarian endeavor though. I have taste buds that need to teased and tantalized. It is ok to look forward to a meal and enjoy eating it. These days I am up and down. The difference is I allow for grace. No longer do I think through all I ate that day. Or chastise myself for a poor choice.
From time to time I use My Fitness Pal to help track where I am at but it is no longer gospel to me.
Food will always be in my life, it is necessary to eat. Today, I eat to fuel my body while enjoying it.