There was a time when I was dying to lose weight. Where I craved to be like the skinny minnies plastered all over a Victoria Secret catalogue. I had mega fitspo shame. My self-worth became dependent on the number on my scale.
In an attempt to get that number lower and lower, I was clocking in anywhere from 14 to 20 hours of working out a week. Not only was I exercising for a ridiculous amount of time, I was also on a super strict calorie limit. This led me to obsess and drool over food. I would eat, feel guilty, and then drive myself crazy over the guilt. Food stopped being nourishment, energy, health, vibration, and became nothing more than numbers.
An apple became 70 calories, an avocado 240 calories, and a slice of pizza 400 calories. What I ate was not determined by their nutritional value, but rather if they fell high or low on the calorie spectrum. I ignored the warning signs that I was doing too much and not eating enough because I was on a detrimental mission to get as skinny as possible. I was stuck in vicious cycle of eating and burning. All I could think about was food, and how I was going to burn that food off so I could stay within my calorie limit.
The amazing thing about the human body is this: Just because you choose to ignore the warnings signs don’t mean they will go away. One way or another, if your body needs food, needs rest, it will force you to shut down. And that’s exactly what happened to me. I woke up one morning in complete and total exhaustion. My mind screaming at me, “Just eat already!” and I did. I went on a huge binge day after day, after day.
With each binge, depression and guilt would eat at me, but I just couldn’t do it anymore! I was always starving, always exhausted, and always in a shitty mood! I just couldn’t keep living like that goddammit!
So how did I go from starving myself, over-exercising, and obsessing about food, to eating based on that which made me feel healthy and strong, and moving in a way that I actually enjoyed?
These next six steps were crucial in my journey from food and diet obsessed, to healthy, happy and fit.
Focusing on my strengths and not what I perceived as faults really helped to begin that mindset shift. I stopped obsessing over the body I wanted to have, and instead focused on the great things about the body I already had.
Choose Portion Sizes
Choose portion sizes that make you feel good, not guilty. Depriving myself of life’s delicious treats made me bitter and sad. I was constantly on the verge of binging on whatever I wasn’t allowing myself to eat. It was an exhausting battle. Now, instead of eating a huge ass cupcake that I know is going to cause me to go on a guilt trip, I just get the smaller, mini version of it. You can have your cake and eat it too!
Move in a way that you enjoy. I used to only do hardcore workouts because they burned the most amount of calories. I would subject myself to crazy intensities even if I hated them. In reality, there are so many different and effective workouts out there. Find one that you actually enjoy doing. Take a couple classes, try out a few at-home DVDs, or chase after your kids. Just find a form of movement that doesn’t pain you to do every day.
Stop Calorie Counting
Instead of counting calories, I decided to focus on the nutrient density of each food. When we eat foods that are jam packed with nutrients, our body utilizes all of the vitamins within the food, so the benefits are well worth the calories. The better quality food, the better you will feel.
Mealtime used to give me so much anxiety since I had that constant internal battle of eating what my body wanted me to have, and eating based on the calorie count of that food. There’s no need to obsess or be scared of food. Instead, see mealtime as an opportunity to fortify your body.
You don’t have to be a hardcore yogi to reap the benefits of meditation, nor do you have to do it for hours on end. Take 10 minutes out of your day and sit comfortably. Breathe in and out through your nose, and focus on your breath. That’s it. That’s all you have to do. Mediating helps you to live in the now which puts you in control and not your obsession. It helps you to develop compassion and self-love. This branches out into being more aware of how you treat and care for your one and only body.