When I first started my get-healthier journey, I was the calorie counting queen. Looking back, I was into it a little too much. I was – in a word - obsessed. There was a time when I wouldn’t eat something if I didn’t know how many calories were in it. I spent a lot of my time writing down what I ate, adding up calories, reading about calories, weighing and measuring everything and trying to make sure I never went over my calorie goal. No eating out unless the restaurant had nutrition information. No eating at friend’s houses. No eating anything unless I knew exactly what was in it. I was so fully committed to it – which was fine at the time. I had been overweight for 25 years and I was determined to change.
For months on end I tracked what I ate, playing the weight-loss game. I was obsessed with calories and the scale. I ate anything I wanted, as long as I didn’t go over my calories. I exercised just to “burn off” anything over my calorie goal. Ooof. Just writing that makes me cringe. It all seemed right at the time because it was working. I lost 35 or 40 pounds within a few months. My pants were falling off. People started to notice my weight loss. All good, right? Not quite. I was hungry. I was tired. I was anxious about every meal of every day. I wanted to exercise but had no energy to do so. I resented measuring out 1 tablespoon of olive oil or 3 ounces of chicken or 5 ounces of wine. I would overeat and then force myself to exercise. If I didn’t I would feel guilty for days. And eventually, I stopped seeing results. I didn’t want to do it anymore. I was totally burnt out. I wanted to lose more weight but I just didn’t want to feel the way I was feeling anymore.
So I stopped.
I stopped counting. I stopped obsessing. I stopped exercising to lose weight and started exercising because it made me feel good. I slowly changed my habits to simply be healthy. I started teaching myself about food and nutrition and my body. I worked hard to accept and love myself at any weight. I learned to trust feeling good in my body instead of trusting the scale. I was never going back to the numbers.
That doesn’t mean that it was easy. I don’t (and might not ever) have perfect relationships with my body, my weight, and food. It is work and it is a choice. It is a choice that I make, every single day, to be healthy and treat my body and my mind right. To take care of myself the best I know how and to never stop learning who I am. I’m a regular girl that makes health, happiness, and living my life my own way a priority. Can you do it, too? Of course you can.
But like I said – its not always easy. I’ve done, said, and thought things that were just plain wrong. I used to keep it all hidden inside so nobody else would know what I was going through. But that was wrong, too. I made it all so much harder than it had to be. I don’t want that for you. Or me. We need a place to get things off our chests. To ask questions and get answers. To get support. To get the facts. A place to come clean about the good, the bad and ugly that comes with losing weight, getting healthy, and learning to love ourselves just as we are.
Somewhere we can say that changing your life is fucking hard. But it is brave. And so completely worth it.
So go on. Tell me everything.