As I wrap up my third week of my new lifestyle I am finding myself questioning things I never even knew I needed to know, discovering sides of myself I didn’t think existed and for the first time in my life, feeling like I honestly never knew how little I know. To me these all sound like huge life changing things- and I’m just working out more, right? So what gives?
Well apparently I’m not just working out, I’m learning how to live better, not just survive. Probably the biggest contributor to these much larger life revelations is the slow but steady revelation that food, and what I put in my body, is a much larger factor in attempting to reach my goals. And not only food, but everything in my life is intertwined. I can’t just go to the gym 3, 4, 5 hours a week and work hard and think “there, I am finally doing it- I am finally going to get sexy”.
Instead I am finding if I have not properly taken care of myself, eaten well, slept well, time managed etc…I won’t make it to those few hours in the gym, or worse, I’ll make it and suffer through them in misery. By not working on all these pieces of the puzzle, I am not doing myself any favors when comes down to actual gym time- so why do it then. I wanted to reach a goal of “fit”, and although my learning has changed that goal a bit, I still am left asking myself if I don’t do all of it, why do any of it? So I have really embraced jumping in head first. Sometimes a total 360 change can almost be easier then trying to baby step your way into health because it takes away the grey area and the “should I or shouldn’t I” By putting a full commitment on this change, there is no “maybe” and my decision making is easy and clear.
Of all these areas I am addressing out side the gym, food seems to be the largest time suck and requires the most thought. I have heard a million times, abs are made in the kitchen, the rule of 80/20 or 70/30 blah blah blah, but these things don’t sink in until you are living them, so for me they seemed like just random inspirational fitness quotes. They aren’t rules the general population adhere to, and having lived in the general population, I was pretty certain the shake diet I was on for nearly two years was just the path to where I wanted to go. They say we have an overeating issue in our country, so the solution, in my mind, was to eat less. I watched as myself and many other succeeded in losing pounds on such plans and I believed in what I was doing so much that I even sold it to others. What I didn’t ever attribute to the shake diet was my constant yo-yo binging and the food shame that came along with it, my over all unhealthy relationship to what I ingested and really just how crappy I generally usually felt. I blamed that on every thing but what I was putting in my body. It really was a mild form of an eating disorder. All the while I continued to share with others the “success” of my shake diet. I only share this now, because I feel a little guilt because I followed a brand, hype, rather then my gut and knowledge as a human being. We weren’t meant to live off of shakes! I know this. But I wanted the magic pill just like everyone else. On the upside, I do feel I did help others to shed weight and maybe it planted a seed for better health in their minds, but as I am now really discovering food again, I wish I could take all those folks on this journey with me.
That brings me to the discoveries I have made in the kitchen and in eating real whole foods again. I’ll admit it wasn’t easy, when I first saw 5 meals a day, that on paper seemed huge compared to my little liquid drink, I was sick just thinking about trying to consume all that food. I honestly thought it would make me sick. IT took at least a week to fully embrace it, and I realize from talking with Michelle, that it actually takes most a lot longer than that, but I was still hard on myself cause that’s the way I am. I wanted to be perfect from the get go, but yet again this whole things is teaching me far more then just how to lift weights. I’m learning patience and self acceptance and to not compare myself to others. I’m also learning time management. Besides being worried about eating all that food, I was even more worried about cooking it all. I am not a chef, and I was not going to get up earlier than I had to just to cook eggs. Yuck. But my will to be perfect and my deep desire for a change compelled me to just keep trying and by the end of that first week I was fully on board. I realized, most things are much worse in my head then they are in real life and when I chose not to fight the change, the work wasn’t that hard. IN fact, if I plan and prepare as I am taught, I seem to actually save time in my average day. I know what and when to eat and the extra energy I have from actually fueling my body leaves me with more time to do what I want. And surprisingly, with that time, I have wanted to learn more about cooking! Who knew? I have actually lost 10 pounds in three weeks and don’t feel any guilt about eating because I know now I am doing what’s healthy for me. My moods are more stable so I don’t crash and because I am experimenting so much with different flavors, I don’t want to binge. It’s truly amazing. I really do save money too. So many people say eating healthy is more expensive, but its not. I was and am a girl who likes my sweets, my indulgences and my freedom. I don’t want a boring-chicken-and-rice-every-meal diet. In fact, I refuse to use the word diet because I have already learned this isn’t a diet. It’s a shift in thinking and a return to what we were intended to consume. It isn’t a diet; in fact I am pretty sure most diets kill. I now associate the word diet with extreme. A sustainable shift in how I approach eating isn’t a diet. OK so maybe diets don’t kill, but I’m pretty sure most of them are potentially harmful. I feel lucky to have adapted to this so quickly and really hope my first hand experience will help someone else embrace this change that can really save them from the yo yo dieting I was blindly on for years.
Now, I am happy to be hungry. It tells me my metabolism is alive and kicking and not shut down like it was before. It’s why I have lost so much so quickly. I am eating solid food again and before I wasn’t consuming that much. So my calorie burning mechanisms had pretty much closed shop and went home for the day, or really for the year. Ha Ha. I truly didn’t realize how crappy I felt before until I started feeling good. Now when I do eat, I can feel how it affects me, and if I want a cheat, I can really tell how it affects me, so I am even more convinced not to do it again. At least not too soon. Let’s just hope I can keep up the momentum.