If you are new to the blog, welcome! I am participating in a fitness challenge through my gym and decided it would be the perfect time to begin a series for the blog to discuss healthy living. I have struggled with having an unhealthy body image most of my life and hope to share some tips and lessons learned that might motivate another on their journey.
So if you met me today your very first thought would probably be that I do not have a weight issue and probably could not understand the challenges a person who struggles with their weight might face. I thought I would share some past history and a little about my struggle with healthy living.
At 14 I became super conscious about my weight. I was a “big” girl…not a fat girl but very tall and outweighed all my friends. I really had no idea how to eat healthy but I knew I really loved food. Do you ever watch someone else stop eating and push their plate away and feel stressed? I was eating all the same things my friends were eating but they did not have the obsession with food the way I did and they were only eating for fuel. I was binge eating. If I started to eat something I loved, or let’s be honest sometimes even something I didn’t even love, I just couldn’t stop until it was gone. Do you know the way an unhealthy person stops binge eating if they want to lose weight? They just stop eating. And so began the cycle of binge eating and starvation.
Once in high school I read a story about a girl who had bulimia and while most people would have been disgusted I was intrigued. Bulimia is like a binge eaters dream come true. You mean I can eat all the food and then purge and I won’t gain weight? Well, for awhile that works and at the same time it eats away at the enamel on your teeth and your esophagus and the binging just gets worse. When the weight starts piling back on it’s back to starving yourself again or the latest fad diet. I had (and still have) a very distorted image of myself and my size. I was 5’7″ tall and weighed 118lbs when I graduated from high school and at my heaviest in high school I was 130lbs. What I wouldn’t give to see that number again!
Thankfully, along came my beautiful daughter when I was 21 and I really do say she saved my life. When you are pregnant and worried about your baby you do not purge. I gained 45lbs and did not deny myself one single thing! I found myself the heaviest I had ever been in college with a newborn. It was the 90’s and I really do think this was probably one of the worst things to ever come about. The “fat-free” era I will call it. All of a sudden fat became the thing to cut and we all were rushing out buying Snackwells products along with eating portion controlled tv dinners. Do you know what they replace fat with in food so it still taste good enough to eat? Sugar!! Bad news. This took years to undo in my mind.
The scale has moved up and down several times since. I gained 37 pounds with number two, 60 pounds with number three and 45lbs with number four. I have, for the most part, always been active in some way even when I was pregnant and I always was able to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight until I had number four at the age of 36. For most of my 20’s and 30’s I ate frozen dinners for lunch (hello sodium) and knew about portion control but I was still eating so many things that were not healthy. I was restricting calories and working out only to “earn” something to eat. I still thought about food a lot of the time and it was either eat all the food or restrict my calories to an unsafe level.
The number on the scale may never again be a number I would accept as “thin” but I have shifted my thinking to look at the numbers that represent my overall health instead; blood pressure, cholesterol, body fat % and those tell a much happier story. Over the past 8 years I’ve seen how eating “real” food can make a huge difference in the way I feel and the way I perform and can even combat some hormone issues. I know what foods are a trigger for my binge eating and I avoid those as much as I can. It is a conscious choice for me every single day to eat a healthy balance of food, to eat for fuel and not pleasure and to walk away from things I know will derail my efforts. I still fail and if you put a big bowl of salsa or guacamole in front of me I will eat it until it’s gone and maybe lick the bowl…even in a restaurant! I still enjoy things I love like blue bell ice cream and brownies but not every day and not the entire container! The key is to not let one day of eating unhealthy lead to another and then another.
Here are some things you might ask yourself in regard to where you need more knowledge about healthy living.
- Are you a binge eater? If so do you know what your trigger is?
- Do you know what a portion size is? I am still surprised that it’s not the entire pint of blue bell!
- Is there a good balance of protein, carbohydrates and good fat in your diet? Do you even know what that means? Do you know we need good fat? Can you believe having a good (or not so good) balance can effect your mood, your energy level, etc?
- Do you just want a quick fix or a “diet” to see results? This is the biggest pitfall. We all have to have food to survive and dropping the diet for a healthy balance of good food and increasing activity should be your goal. It is a total change in mindset, much less restrictive and will give you more freedom.
- Do you believe it’s too hard or too expensive to eat healthy? I will share some meals that are healthy that do not break the bank and are quick and easy.
- Are you willing to be accountable to yourself?
Nothing I will share with you will be rocket science. Most will be things you have probably even read before but I hope I can show you through application in my life how to be successful. I will be sharing healthy meals, tips for dining out, my workouts. If there are things you would like to know, please feel free to send me a question.
I’m excited and can’t wait to share with you!
To see where I may be linking up to day visit my contact page here!