[Where I'm at with] Weight, Body Image + Dieting

For almost as long as I can remember, I’ve been either on a diet or planning to go on a diet soon. I was a “normal” sized child until age ten, when my parents got divorced (and I rapidly put on about 60 lbs over the next two years that followed). My mom went back to work full time and took classes at night to get her degree, so I was often left alone. Food was a comfort, a babysitter and a friend. I remember that I didn’t eat junk food all the time, but I definitely didn’t make the best food choices (and was clueless as to what was “healthy”). I was also never the type who could eat anything- it always seemed like if I ate a doughnut I’d gain five pounds. From my early teen to young adult years I was chubby, out of shape and extremely uncomfortable in my own body.

It wasn’t until after college that I decided to actually make a change. I joined a gym, starting eating healthier and the weight came off consistently. I got down to a very healthy weight and for the first time in my life LOVED going shopping for clothes. It’s definitely much more pleasant to shop for clothes when you’re a size 4 or 6 (as opposed to barely being able to squeeze into a 16)! Unfortunately, it was hard to see my body as “thin” from years and years of only seeing it as fat. Even though everyone else may have looked at me and seen a slim, healthy woman, I didn’t see that. When I looked in the mirror I saw a girl with loose skin, a fat stomach and always thought I needed to lose ten more pounds. I went through some pretty drastic measures to try to lose weight, which totally backfired resulting in weight gain and the loss of my period.

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I was a slave to the gym, calorie counting and trying to be thinner. Even though I had a lot of good in my life, it was one of the darkest, most unhappy times that I can remember. Luckily, I was able to pull myself out of my exercise obsession (switching from exercising a minimum of 3 hours every day- mostly cardio- to less than an hour a day, 5-6 times per week), but my issues with food were a lot tougher to overcome. When I quit my teaching job and spent all day at home studying for my personal trainer certification, the weight piled on. I gained 15 lbs. within a few months, due to lots of mindless eating and constant access to my pantry and fridge. I ended up joining Weight Watchers (for probably the 10th time in life) a few months before moving away from Maryland and lost most of the weight I had put on the fall before.

When I got to Colorado, I quickly gained the weight back. Even though I was hiking (all the time!) and working out, I went out to eat much more than I did in Maryland (and drank a lot more beer). Over the next year, I made half-ass attempts at weight loss and had very little success. I still felt “fat” and uncomfortable in my body, but started to care a little less about the aesthetics. I knew I was fit and able to keep up with my “thinner” friends, so who cared if I had more fat around my belly than everyone else? Losing weight in Colorado proved to be SO much more difficult, mostly because all of the eating out. I know that it’s easy to make healthy choices when you’re out to eat, but really- who wants to eat a salad after a hike (especially when all of your friends are eating burgers, fries and beer!)?

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When I tore my ACL and ended up having to have surgery, my plans for weight loss were put on the back burner. I was more focused on my recovery than anything else and honestly didn’t really care if I lost or gained weight. And, even though I initially lost about 10 lbs. post-surgery (due to feeling sick and not have any appetite for the first few weeks), I ended up putting that weight back on (plus about 10 more lbs.!) in the months that followed. The first few months of recovery were so depressing and I couldn’t exercise (and of course, ate more!).

It was until this past fall that I decided to treat weight loss differently. I have always focused on calorie-counting, making the healthiest choice possible and basically depriving myself when going on a “diet.” For me, that’s not a way to live. I made a goal to maintain my weight through Thanksgiving and Christmas and then focus on slowly losing weight after the new year. And, for the first time I ever, I accepted the fact that losing weight at a super slow pace is okay- over time it adds up.

My “dieting” philosophy has always been quantity over quality. I’d be much more likely to have a huge salad for lunch and dinner, rather than a small amount of the food that I really wanted. But, eating rabbit food for meals led me to snack much more in between meals (so I was really eating more calories overall). Instead, I decided that I would just eat what I want and be satisfied. If I want to eat a burger and fries for lunch, I’ll do it. And when I do, I find that I’m far less likely to mindlessly snack later on (or feel deprived and end up binging on “healthy” stuff to make up for it). Slowly (very slowly) the weight has started to come off. Since I tend to have unrealistic expectations for the number that I should weigh, I’ve been using my Quantum Scale to track weight loss.

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Seeing the total number of pounds lost is pretty satisfying, but the number one measure that I care about is how I feel in my clothes. They’re just now starting to feel a bit loose (I’ve lost about 12 lbs. overall since the beginning of January). Even though my rate of weight loss is super slow, it’s steady. If I keep going at this rate, I’ll be at my “goal” by the end of the fall (and I can’t complain about that!).

I know that I will never be 100% happy with my body. I will always have some food issues, loose skin on my stomach and arms and be jealous of girls who can run around in a bikini or sports bra and shorts. But, I think I’m in a far better place than I’ve been in a long time- and maybe that’s the key for lasting weight loss. My body is far from perfect, but it’s done some pretty amazing things in the last year and has made me proud. Here’s to constant improvement, change and continued work on self-acceptance.

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Comments

  1. You are so gorgeous friend!

  2. Kaitlyn says:

    Yes! I’m right there with you on *finally* starting to figure things out. It’s okay not to be perfect 100% of the time. :-)

  3. So amazed at this transformation in you rmind – that is the important part. Excited for what’s to come and lots of outside time this summer to support our goals!

  4. You’re amazing and so beautiful! Love your current mindset – I think that’s the best way to be. xo

  5. xoxo! i’m super happy to see that your mindset has changed and that you’re happier – we live in too beautiful of a place, with too awesome of people, with too many fun things to do to worry about feeling bad about ourselves! keep on keepin’ on! :)

    • Amen! I often look at the beautiful place we live in and wonder “why the heck am I wasting time stressing about not being thin enough?!”

  6. I hear ya about Colorado. It’s easy to be active but it’s also easy to replenish those calories (and then some) after those activities. I lost a lot of weight too and will always have that extra skin but you nailed it when you said our bodies are amazing and can do amazing things…it’s about giving back to a body in a healthy way because it keeps giving to us. Congratulations on your new mindset. Great post!

  7. wonderful post my friend!! rooting for you no matter what!

  8. Beautifully written! You could have been telling my life story. You know, the times in my life I have been thE healthiest are when I ate intuitively, honoring what my body wants and listening to when it is full. I empathize with your journey and appreciate your courage to share! And P.S. Your body is rockin!

    • Thank you, Natalie- it’s nice to know that others relate (though I don’t wish for anyone else to go through this struggle!). YOU are beautiful!

  9. i second lindsay, you are honest and blunt and beautifully spoken. Plus i think you are HOT! but you inspire us to be real and enjoy life. That’s QUALITY

  10. Fantastic read! You really got the message across through a very motivational and inspirational blog post :) Keep doing what you’re doing. You’re helping yourself and you’re helping others!

  11. I think you look fantastic and healthy, which is really the only thing which matters.

    Thanks for sharing your story and I’m thrilled to hear you’re in a good place now with food and body imagine. That right there is a recipe for success.

  12. This is an amazing post and a story I didn’t know. My story is similar and reading this is encouraging and motivating. I believe that by sharing this and talking about it is a big step in itself.

  13. Absolutely wonderful post!

  14. Bravo!!

  15. hmtroupe says:

    I can so relate to this post! I am so glad to have found your blog- it is so inspiring to read. Thank you for sharing this!

  16. First – you are beautiful! We are definitely our toughest critics. I’m finally coming to the realization that no one cares about my weight + appearance as much as I do (and the person that really should matter – my husband – should be the one I make the effort for.) He is always complimenting me and complimented me when I was thirty pounds heavier; however, it never seems to be enough as I’ve always wanted to feel those compliments on my own – does that make sense?

    After I had Charlotte back in November, I realized I wouldn’t have as much time to focus on working out. I’m slowly learning that I don’t need to spend hours in the gym doing cardio – I can have results and take things slower + do workouts that are more effective and efficient.

Comments are welcome (and encouraged)!