It seems as though people are more health conscious nowadays, and maybe that’s not true. Maybe we just have more access into other people’s lives and information about health-based things that create the sensation that its a “thing” now. Nonetheless, we or someone we know eats more salads than cakes.
I don’t know about you, but I tried all the ways I could think of to get skinny. Like everything short of hard core drugs – I was trying it. Nothing was working.
“Fasting” & only eating one meal a day (lol starving). Nope.
2 1/2 hours at the gym. Nope.
Military diet (lol starving, again). Nope.
Appetite suppressants. Yes – then no, no, no, please no.
Salads every meal. Nope (because I’d eat chicken nuggets after – hungry still).
Liquid diet. Nope.
Low carb. Nope.
Now, on the other side of things – a little over a year of seriously finding what works for me and truly knowing how my body works – I’ve found the reasons why it didn’t work.
The methods I used to do things were pretty terrible, but there was more to it than that.
1. We’ve got a lifetime of habits to break.
When you decide to (and it isn’t easy) find out where your unhealthy habits stem from, you may find they appeared after a traumatic event where you’ve developed coping skills centered around food. Traumatic is a relative term and everyone applies it differently. It comes from the loss of a loved one, a divorce, high school heart break, ended friendship, stress of college classes, or when the sense of abandonment started to creep in. Don’t take that as absolute – these habits can very well be formed from the absence of learning how to fuel your body properly starting at a young age.
Whatever it may be – these habits developed over a period of time, not overnight. However, I (and maybe you too) tried to fix everything in a Sunday’s meal prep. Not gonna happen. I tried to end my addiction to food by simply not eating. Some people can quit their addictions cold turkey – but I obviously need food to survive, so when I got hungry enough the starvation caused me to go into a binging rage and I was back to square one.
It took time, figuring out how my body responded to certain foods – not just how they affected my weight, but my mood as well. I started by making small changes – adding more veggies into my meals. Finding what I liked and eating that. I hated having grilled chicken and broccoli every day – so I quit eating it.
I had to stop torturing myself and forcing myself to process out of the comfort I found in food. I had to break habits one by one – focusing my attention on completely eradicating it and then move on.
2. We over complicate the process.
This ties in with the first one a bit – but I think its worth it’s own section. Like I mentioned before, we have so many resources at our fingertips. We also have so many opinions to sift through to decide which ones we will accept as truth and believe for ourselves.
I often got overwhelmed with the fact that I needed to have organic everything. Organic meat. Organic veggies. Organic fruits. Organic shampoo. Organic shoes. (kidding, but not really) It was like everything in my world had to change at the blink of an eye. Yes – this is where the excuse that “its too expensive” comes into play. We think we have to have this full 180 degree about-face.
We completely change everything we do – we eat. If it has a single solitary sugar, we trash it. If it has half a carb, we burn it at the stake. We do too much.
Should we juice it? Should we only shop at the farmers market? O.M.G. pesticides. Actually, how about we make our own noodles from scratch? That’s it – I’m starting a vegetable garden today. Filtered water? Not good enough – we need it triple filtered, make sure its completely clean. <– UMMM – that’s exhausting.
CHILL. OUT. Gosh, I know I hate being told that – but seriously. You’re sending yourself into a tailspin of nonsense. A year+ later and I am still transitioning to more natural products (in general).
Don’t feel guilty shopping at your local grocery store. Don’t feel guilty about your tap water, frozen broccoli, and boxed whole wheat noodles. Are you making progress from last week? Heck, even yesterday? Good. Continue making progress and eventually you will make that 180 – stop making it so complicated.
3. We compare ourselves.
This probably should’ve been #1, but these weren’t written in any order – so just put it at number one in your heart. If you’re watching someone else’s journey and comparing yourself to them, you’ve already failed.
One size doesn’t fit all. One meal plan doesn’t fit all. Our bodies react differently to different foods and different exercises. Our bodies also hold on to weight differently and some people require more diligence and time to change than others. You have to figure out what works for you and that may take some trial and error – but what you can’t do is take it to heart when something doesn’t work for you.
Comparing yourself will only send you into a self doubt fit & may cause you to back track, which is not the point of this life. If you’re so wrapped up in someone else’s successes – its hard to define what success means for you.
For me, someone who has a food addiction, success (on some days) can mean eating exactly what I meal prepped and not accepting little snacks from other people. It doesn’t feel restrictive, it’s actually very empowering. But it’s all about perspective.
But I used to have the mindset that I needed abs, like, yesterday. I thought that if it wasn’t working in a week like it did for someone else, that it wouldn’t work for me. I remember wondering if I was even able to be healthy ever again, because my body wasn’t made like someone else’s.
Comparison kept me down for a long time – and it may be what is keeping you down as well, because you quit when it didn’t go like you thought it should.
4. We aren’t enjoying the process.
It can be frustrating – figuring out how your body works and how it reacts to foods. No one these days really enjoys hearing that it may take a year to get to the goal that they wanted (or needed) to reach in 2 months. I’m not ignorant to the fact that there are quick fixes, and losing 20 lbs in 2 weeks can happen – but its not sustainable. That’s something I’m pretty passionate (good word for makes me cringe) about so I’ll save my rant.
I heard a quote recently – “Positive people, positive weight loss” and I couldn’t have related to it more. When I started treating my body right because its what’s good for me and not because I wanted to prance around in a bikini (which is definitely a goal – but not ultimate) – I lost the weight.
I wasn’t stressing myself out (which causes you to hold on to weight anyway) with absolutely ridiculous standards anymore. I began to enjoy it. I read books that encourage and educate me at my weak points. I’ve grown in all areas – not just my health. But if I would’ve rushed through it all – I wouldn’t have learned a third of the things that I have over the past year.
That’s what its about – finding and understanding you and your body. Its so much fun to look back to see what has happened and look forward to see what can be, all because you decided to enjoy the journey that you’re on. Healthy isn’t a sprint, its a marathon. A life long one. So buckle in and enjoy the ride.