I’ve never been “good” at eating healthily. It’s a struggle, especially when there are so many foods out there that are delicious. Since January, I’ve made a huge effort to change the way I eat and to exercise. Originally this was in an effort to lose weight for my wedding. I told myself that I wasn’t going to be one of those brides who obsessed over weight loss, but it was hard not to. I thought I’d look better 30 pounds lighter in my wedding dress. Maybe I would have, but that isn’t important. I needed something to force me to make a change in my health. For me it was my wedding.
As it turns out, I lost maybe 9 pounds from the end of December to May 21st. Majority of the time I ate well and exercised, but I did allow for indulgences. I wasn’t killing myself at the gym either. I started working out regularly because it relieved stress and I felt great afterward. I slept better, too.
In February I decided to try out a personal trainer. I met with the trainer once for a consultation and for a couple of sessions before deciding that we weren’t a good fit. I wasn’t 100% on board with his logic. Long story short: he didn’t like that I was “firing” him and he called me lazy – too lazy for his program and too lazy to ever see results. (Nice guy, huh?) This was a bit of a set back. It took awhile for me to stop hearing him calling me lazy in my head. I worked through it, continued to make healthy diet changes and continued to exercise. Like I said, I didn’t lose 30 pounds by my wedding, but I did keep the stress at bay and generally felt good about my body.
I’m not sure what it is exactly that has made me so prone to picking pizza over salad, a cheeseburger over chicken breast, or always dessert over no dessert. My parents didn’t ban certain foods in our home (except Lunchables, damn you, parents! All my friends ate Lunchables!) and I wasn’t deprived of anything.
I worked out all throughout high school. I started seeing a trainer at my local gym because I wanted to get in shape and build muscle for the upcoming tennis season. Then I realized I enjoyed working out and the way my body was changing, so I kept going.
I eventually had to cut back because of unexplained joint pain. I used to regularly ride my bike at least 12 miles, multiple times a week. I also did longer rides for different charities, 30 or 60 mile rides. After one ride I had horrible wrist and knee pain. It didn’t go away. So after about a year, multiple doctors appointments and multiple diagnoses, a doctor finally said I had Mixed Connective Tissue Disease…essentially a catchall they’ll diagnose you with if they can’t determine if you have Lupus or Rheumatoid Arthritis, or something else entirely. Things were more or less under control, but this led to other health issues over the next 8 years or so. Another story for another day. The point is: I had to stop working out because it hurt too much and that, paired with different medications, caused weight gain.
I gained (even more) weight my freshman year of college. I think it was the combination of being away from home, buying my own groceries for the first time, and the generally difficult adjustment to college life. I tried to be smarter about groceries and picking out foods in the cafeteria, plus I started going to the college’s gym and working out again.
When I moved into my first apartment I started trying different diets. I did a low carb diet and I lost weight, but then gained it all back. I did Weight Watchers for a while, too. Same story – lost weight, gained it back. So then I gave up on dieting and just kind of did whatever. I’d exercise, but not consistently. I didn’t gain a million pounds, but I wasn’t losing weight either. I just was.
Here and there I’d get into the swing of cooking or baking, working out multiple times per week and being “good”. Then I’d have a bad day and I’d order a pizza and drink beer.
It really wasn’t until this year that I decided to take my health seriously. Enough was enough. I’m almost 30. I want to have kids some day and be healthy for that whole adventure, as well as teach my future kids healthy habits. I needed to stop waiting for something to happen to make me want to change. So I used the wedding as a deadline.
I started talking with a health coach (Michelle Halverson – she’s great!) and I started exercising on my own. I slowly changed things with my diet: removing things altogether and adding in new, better things. One of the biggest lessons learned: you don’t stop eating to lose weight. You eat more – you just eat healthy stuff. This seems obvious, but it was a revelation to me. I had always thought that in order to lose pounds, you just put less in your body. So I’d skip breakfast, have a tiny lunch, and a minimal dinner.
It was nice to allow myself to eat more. I’ve learned a lot and I’m sure I’ll write about it again. For now I’m just happy with the changes that I’ve made over the past 7 months and I’m looking forward to continuing to make adjustments. Even if I’m not quite sure why it is so hard for me to make healthy choices (cough cough Lunchables cough cough), that’s okay. I’d rather focus on the future and continuing to improve my overall wellness.
PS: Kate Spade just launched a new line of work out clothes, ahem, activewear. Excuse me while I go buy all of it.