it’s no secret that the health craze is real right now — instagram is churning out fitness models and trainers faster than you can find fringe at a music festival. the pressure is real, and no one is immune.
for me, it’s hitting especially hard.
a little background: until recently, i like to think i was eating decently probably 60% of the time and have been an all out glutton for all things bad for me the rest. my fast metabolism, cut-out-soda-for-a-week-and-lose-8-pounds husband is immune to the weight gain i’m struggling with (until he hits 30, then HAH joke’s on you), so he’s been a less than helpful influence. i just started working out again in the last month and a half, but the real problem (or start to the solution) started when i did something i haven’t done in probably 6 years: i weighed myself.
weighing yourself is tricky, and for me its particularly difficult because i fixate on the number on the scale and can’t get away from obsessing over that. the plus side is, it’s a black and white way to see, in one sense, how far you’ve come — or for me, how far you’ve fallen.
how far i’ve fallen: an additional forty plus pounds in five years.
it’s a terrible, gut-wrenching, panic-inducing reality that’s slapped me in the face and left a huge welt. it’s a devastating and clear reminder that no, i’m not 13 anymore with the metabolism of a dancer and no, i can’t just do and eat whatever i want without consequence. i’m heartbroken that i’ve let myself get to this point, make so many excuses for my bad eating, lack of exercising, excessive drinking and overall just flat-out gluttony and lack of self control. i’ve been unmotivated, undisciplined, held absolutely no accountability, made every excuse known to man and convinced myself that one more trip through the drive thru is just fine.
i got here through my own decisions and lack of self-love, and i’m the only one who can get myself right back out.
so now i’m talking to you, internet. but why?
i figure there is at least someone else out there like me who’s watching everyone and their mother get fit and struggling between laughing my moving in the opposite direction off, and feeling more and more hopeless that i can’t get there, won’t get there, have no way of getting there and am stuck.
since that terrible, fateful, turning point moment on the scale at the gym, i’ve committed to making an effort to make a change. channeling all the cliches in the world, i’ve figured out that i need to take it one step at a time, and follow some simple rules that are hopefully going to help me in developing better habits and a healthier future.
here’s where i’ve started:
become a fish
i’ve started drinking 8-10 glasses of water a day, and the funny thing is that as i’ve gotten into the habit, i don’t find it as hard to accomplish anymore. having a water tracker to remind me is definitely helpful. it’s making a difference in my skin (despite those pesky hormonal breakouts) and in my bloating.
cut some shit out
personally, i’m cutting sugar (it gives me terrible rashes/breakouts when i have too much) and dairy (it’s an inflammatory) as much as possible. i’m not going super clean by completely cutting both (though i probably should) because for me, it’s not something i can commit to cold turkey. i know myself enough to know that one slip up and i’ll all in binge. it’s completely against the whole30 mantra, but it’s just my reality right now. melissa hartwig advocates for food freedom — and this is me trying to find mine.
lose the empty carbs
i’m a carb fiend if there ever was one, but i’m not cutting everything. swapping white for brown rice, white for whole wheat bread, etc. also trying to lose them completely at night.
bring on the fiber
a major reason for bloating is poor gut health. introducing more fiber into my diet via more veggies and with a fiber supplement is helping me to maintain my bloat and flush out all those toxins and bad stuff.
start your day with a cup of joe, two tablespoons of…oil?
i’ve started adding mct oil to my coffee every morning, starting with one tablespoon and gradually increasing to three tablespoons. mct, or medium-chain triglycerides, oil has several health benefits (you can find them here) including better gut health, more sustained energy, and easy digestion. there’s a debate about mct oil benefits versus benefits of coconut oil — check it out for yourself here.
put me down for cardio (ugh)
before my wedding i was in the gym 4-5 times a week and for the last two years i’ve inconsistently been a member of gyms where i will lift weights all day but avoid cardio like the plague. why? because it’s hard and boring. but isn’t that the worst excuse of all?
i’m now incorporating cardio into my workouts 5 days a week, and have an additional day dedicated to just cardio. i hate it, it’s the absolute worst, it’s worse than the dmv and social security office when there’s only one working computer on the first of the month, but i’m forcing myself to suck it up and read theSkimm and The Hustle and whatever else i can occupy myself with until those wretched 15-30 minutes are up.
more protein = less snacking
i’ve started to introduce lean protein into every meal and every snack — i’m fuller longer and snacking less often because i’m not mindlessly eating until i land on something i want. plus, a protein shake is quick, easy to make, and something you can plan ahead for in less than a minute before leaving the house.
that’s where i’m starting — we’ll see how it goes! i’m scared and optimistic and know i’ll fuck it up plenty along the way. but i’m taking it one day at a time, one meal at a time, one snack at a time. one unhealthy snack in the morning doesn’t mean “screw it” for the whole day.
time to pick my ass up, dust myself off, and take some ownership and responsibility for my own health and future.
i’ll keep you posted.