If someone told me one year ago that I wouldn’t be eating mac n’ cheese anymore, I would tell them that they were INSANE! A year ago, KRAFT mac n’ cheese was my go-to snack! Did I care that the “cheese” wasn’t real cheese? Nope. Did I care about anything that I was putting into my body? No way! It’s very hard for me to imagine back to a time when I didn’t think about the things I was putting into my body. It didn’t even cross my mind as something I should have been thinking about.
Growing up, I was not a picky eater. I would eat anything that my family made for me, and I was always willing to try new things. I wouldn’t say I necessarily only ate unhealthy foods; I had a balanced diet, but I did like to indulge in fast food and desserts on occasion. I had a fast metabolism as a teen and I didn’t think that anything I ate would affect my appearance or body weight. I was a dancer growing up and I was on Poms for four years in high school, so I was forced to workout everyday, which unknowingly kept my body feeling strong. I would go to the gym on occasion with my friends, but I never really worried about it because I liked my body. I wasn’t “skinny,” but I definitely didn’t consider myself to be “fat” either. I could pull off a crop top to wear at music festivals, and that’s pretty much all I cared about; oh how times have changed. Little did I know, college was a whole different ball game.
March 2015, unhealthy eating habits, weight: around 143
My freshman year of college, I continued with the same eating habits, but I would say they got a little worse. Drinking led to making frozen pizzas at 2am and laziness led to making packaged Ramen for dinner. That’s when I noticed that I started to gain weight. I didn’t really notice it as it was happening, but one day, I looked in the mirror after my shower and I was devastated. I no longer liked the way my body looked, and I knew I wanted to change it; I wanted to feel strong and confident again. It’s a pretty shitty feeling not to love your body. I’m sure we have all experienced it at one time or another, but I will tell you right now, it is possible to LOVE your body, and everybody deserves that feeling.
Halfway through my freshman year of college, I started to workout. I didn’t know much about it, so I would pretty much force myself to go run on the treadmill and then be done with it. I HATED running. I DREADED going downstairs to workout. I was also pretty out of shape and could barely run a half mile without being out of breath. So, naturally, I fell out of the routine of working out, because that’s what happens when you hate your workouts!
March 2016, unhealthy eating habits, weight: around 146
It never really occurred to me that what I ate played a part in getting fit. Everyone (and every article) was saying different things about diet. “Eating egg yolks is bad for you cholesterol, don’t eat fats, eat lots of protein.” Those are the kinds of things I was reading about and it never really made sense in my head, but I did it anyways. I ate low fat foods and egg white omelets for breakfast. I was discouraged, and little did I know, I was clueless. Working out and eating this way was not producing the results I wanted.
I went home for winter break during my freshman year and my mom forced me to go to a hot yoga class with her. I will never be able to thank my mom enough for dragging me to that yoga class. It changed my life. Instantly, I loved it. My former skills from being a dancer such as fluidity and flexibility aided me in my yoga practice, and I felt GOOD when I was practicing yoga. I was absolutely HOOKED after being introduced to yoga sculpt as well. I felt strong! I found a yoga studio downtown and started practicing yoga on the reg. That’s when I began seeing results. I was developing muscle and it felt amazing! But, I still didn’t feel comfortable in my skin.
August 2016, found my passion for yoga, moderately unhealthy eating habits, weight: around 136
People always ask me, “what caused you to start eating healthy and caring about what goes into your body?” I honestly don’t have an answer. One day, it honestly just clicked. I started really caring about what my body looked like and how I felt overall.
At first, I had no idea what I was doing. I decided to go gluten free! Why? Because I was under the impression that all gluten free foods were healthy and would make me lose weight! (not true). So, I went gluten free. The motivation to look and feel good was enough for me to stay far away with any foods that contained gluten. I will say that I felt a lot better when I stopped eating gluten; I had more energy and more motivation to workout (go to yoga) almost everyday. I started lightly researching efficient ways to get fit and I read that cutting out dairy would help as well, so I did. I also decided to cut out red meat because I was once again, falsely under the impression that red meat makes people fat (not even close to being true). I was very determined to stick to this diet, however, looking back, I did not have a healthy relationship with myself. I would restrict myself from things that my body really wanted and my mind was playing tricks on me. I thought I was happy because I was seeing results. I dropped about fifteen pounds and my body was feeling better than ever, but my mind was not.
I am not going to sit here and pretend I didn’t have downfalls during this process. Nobody likes to talk about the low parts of their journey because it can be embarrassing, but I am here to tell you that it’s completely normal to slip up on a new “diet” or lifestyle change that you are trying to implement. Some nights, mostly when I was drinking, I would come home and CRAVE bad food, so I would order a pizza and eat a bunch of it. I would feel absolutely horrible the next day, both sick and guilty. I knew this was not a healthy practice, and I knew it needed to change. Food should not make you feel guilt or shame or sickness, food should fuel you and make you feel happy, healthy, and capable.
To be continued…
**The reason why I disclosed my weight under each photo is to make a point that a specific weight doesn’t have direct correlation to health, but being overweight for your specific body type can be unhealthy. I have now found a healthy weight for my body that fluctuates within a couple pounds, and that’s okay. My number should never be compared to anyone else’s. Feeling good will always be more important to me that a number, but the number is there under the photos to prove a point that changing your lifestyle for the better will most likely help you lose weight, gain strength, and develop a positive body image!**
Want to hear the rest of my journey about how I changed my lifestyle for the better? See http://www.shapedupsam.com/how-did-i-get-here-part-two/