Tuesday, January 5, 2021

From XL to XS - I broke up with eating things that aren't good for me.


I have a secret to share with you all. I didn’t mean it to be a secret, but when you don’t actually see anybody in your life for nine months, sometimes things just don’t get out. 



First I have a little story to tell...

Have you ever had one of those experiences where something happens and you just know you’ve got to make a big change in your life? 

Well, something happened for me. It was a photograph, an ordinary everyday photograph. I didn’t take the photograph, I certainly didn’t put it online, someone else did. I thought it was clear that I didn't want to be photographed. But they did, and then posted it online.  As you may have noticed, I rarely post pictures of myself on this blog or on social media. That’s not what this is about. But this particular photograph got to me. Got under my skin. I thought to myself, “If that’s how I look, it’s time for me to make a change.” 

Gretchen Rubin, in one of her books, talks about different ways people go about making personal changes. We can change our lives and slow gradual “tortoise and the hare” kinds of ways, or we can have an experience that changes everything, particularly how we think in a big way very quickly. 

Lots of people make sudden huge changes, someone suddenly gets sober, or take good care of themselves for the first time because they’re pregnant. Some other events that precipitate major changes are a move, starting a new job, and get into a new school program. For me, this photograph was it:

 

Over the years, like just about every single woman that I know, I have struggled with my weight. Women can be overweight, struggle to maintain weight, want to be stronger, want certain features to stand out less or stand out more, but rarely do we love the skin we’re in. Whether it’s our culture and ideals of beauty, or self-esteem and self-value issues, wounded inner child, or any of a host of other perfectly valid reasons, it doesn’t really matter. 

I knew, if I was going to keep up with my children, I had to make a change. Several months later, I decided to commit to taking a year, just a year, and go all in. For that year, 2020, I decided I would eat super clean. I would break up with eating everything that is bad for me. I would break the cycle of substituting foods for emotional self-care.

Just after Thanksgiving of 2019, right before my daughter's birthday party, I stopped eating sugar (and all non-natural and refined sweeteners) grains, white potatoes, coffee, alcohol, corn, soy, and dairy, with the exception of butter. I committed to go for all of 2020 a year and use that first month as practice. 

I didn't count calories, write a single food/diet journal, or go hungry.

By the time of this writing, it’s been 13 months. I am proud to say that I’ve lost more than 40 pounds and have gone from lying to myself that a size large still fit to buying an extra small because my size small was a bit baggy.


January 3rd, 2021

When it comes to changing your body composition and your waistline, there are a few main factors: diet, exercise, and some would add in supplements of various types. As I was in school full-time, homeschooling two children full-time (this was still pre-COVID), and the loving and supportive wife of a man who was going to deploy, I knew that what I had full control over was my diet. If you can do well in each of these three areas, you can spread out how careful you are, because I was focusing on one, I went all in.

With such a widely varying and irregular schedule, I knew that diet was going to be the factor that would be most easy for me to plan and create a discipline to get my body back. 

At no point during this past year did I exercise intentionally, I gardened, played, kept up with my children, and generally enjoyed moving my body. In the first couple of months of the spring semester of 2020, I would walk a handful of miles per week between classes at school. Cut to March, everything shutting down, my school put on the computer, and my husband away for large chunks of time due to his service in the military, I was home alone with two children almost all the time. 

By the time things did shut down I had a 3.5-month streak of eating clean and was starting to see big results. With that success as a backbone, I kept resolute in my breakup with unhealthy eating habits and daily chose to eat clean and healthy. 

In the midst of the pandemic and solo-parenting due to my husband's deployment, eating clean has allowed me to keep my balance, be there for my family, and even have the energy to work toward other goals and projects I'm excited to share with you soon.

This fall, even before the continued weight loss of the last few months, I took my girls to the beach on my own. I never thought I'd post a picture of myself in a swimsuit online but I seem to keep surprising myself. 


How are you choosing to take the more challenging path that will lead to a better future? What negative patterns are you willing to break to move you toward living your best life? 
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2 comments:

  1. Awesome story! Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  2. You were beautiful then and are now.
    You were always beautiful.
    What I see now is your strength in body, mind, and soul.
    And that is quite beautiful, too.

    ReplyDelete