So I'm about to take a huge jump (like...jumping across an ocean jump) out of my comfort zone. I am going to talk about a subject that has been a taboo since middle school. My body. When I hit 5th grade that's when I started to notice some "changes." Of course all young girls go through these changes but mine felt a little different. My clothes didn't fit just right. Shirts didn't look as cute on me as other girls and I constantly heard the words "it's just a phase...you'll grow out of it." and I held onto those words and didn't put much thought into it.
Time for the brutally honest part. Once high school hit that is when I felt like my body was really affecting my life. I did not get asked out as much as my friends. Boys did not try to reach out to me like they did other girls. I was not as athetic or quick as other girls on my sports teams. I started to pin my worth on my weight. There were so many nights when I would look into the mirror and just cry wishing I could just look like the others. There were so many times when I would hear girls who were at least 20-30 lbs lighter than me complain about their weight and how fat they were. If they were fat...what did that make me? Why couldn't I lose the weight? It wasn't like I wasn't active. I participated in 2-hour daily sports practices throughout the school year, I was in multiple extra curricular activities and still the weight was there. I would try watching my friends and eat the same portions as they did but it was hard. We would sit around a plate of brownies and no one else would touch them when I just wanted to throw the whole pan in my face.
Fast forward to my first year of college. I had great friends and loved my life. My dating life was still eh...but I was having too much fun with friends to care that much. My active lifestyle had changed. Instead of working out up to 10 hours a week I would maybe (BIG maybe) work out 1 time a week. I thought I was being smart because I was living off of a weekly $20 grocery budget. But those groceries consisted of about million processed foods and zero fruits or veggies. I was having so much fun that first year that I didn't even notice how I was changing. Near the end of my first year of college I stepped on the scale for the first time since I left home. I was shocked! I stepped on it again and again. There was no way it was right. I found another one and it said the same number. Impossible. You've heard of the freshman 15 right? Well I doubled that to a whopping freshman 30. How had I not noticed. Was I just lying to myself when I looked in the mirror. What had I done!?!
Although I tried to get control, I continued to spiral and I continued to deny what was happening. That summer I moved to Bear Lake to work at a restaurant. I was allowed 1 meal there each day and you better believe I took advantage of that! By the end of the summer I had gained an additional 8 lbs.
That whole summer I continued to be in denial. I didn't feel THAT much different and honestly when I looked at myself in the mirror I didn't see that much of a difference. The first time I really saw what I looked like was when I saw the pictures that my best friend posted from her wedding. I literally was bigger than her pregnant sister. I could no longer deny it because there it was, picture after picture, displaying the body that I had created. It finally hit me. I wasn't going to "grow out of it, this wasn't just because of genetics, or stress. I was unhealthy and I had done this to myself.
Let's fast forward to today. I weight 20 lbs less than I did in high school. I have a smoking hot husband who loved me BEFORE I lost all the weight. I feel healthy, I have energy and for the first time I love my body. I want to share how I did that. It's been a journey, but once I got started and built good habits, everything else fell into place. I promise that I'm not trying to advertise for anyone but I will say exactly what products I used.
1. How I met my smoking hot husband.
Tinder....let's be honest...I got lucky.
haha okay but for reals this is how I lost 50 lbs
1. I SLOWLY changed my eating habits.
During my unhealthy phase there were multiple times that I would get super determined to lose all the weight and run to the grocery store, buy all ridiculously healthy food, do it for a day and then quit. Don't lie. We've all done it. I learned that it was easier to cut one thing out at a time. I started with soda. As many of you have probably heard, soda is a major enemy to anyone who is trying to lose weight. The biggest reason? Sugar. The maximum amount of additional sugar a woman should be consuming a day is 25 grams while a man can have up to 37.5 grams. That is the maximum. One bottle of Dr. Pepper contains almost 70 grams of sugar! That is almost 3 times the amount of sugar that we are supposed to have daily in one bottle! Gross! So first the soda was gone. After a few months the cravings went away. It wasn't something I even wanted anymore. I continued to cut out different things and replace foods with healthier options when I could. Instead of buying white bread, I looked for the whole wheat options. Instead of buying the fried chicken I went with the grilled. Here is a list of some changes that I made ONE BY ONE:
1. Cut out Soda
2. Bought Whole Wheat instead of White
3. Stopped buying sugary cereals
4. ate fruit or eggs for breakfast
5. replaced sugary granola bars, with healthier homemade options for snacks
6. Cut out fried food. (not buying combo meals)
7. Ordered water whenever I ate out.
8. Made sure there were vegetables with at least one meal each day.
I did each of these one by one which made it easier to build a healthy foundation. Suddenly the idea of fried food or anything with a lot of sugar made my stomach curl, I craved water more and more, and fruits and veggies were more appealing. This did not happen all at once, but once I felt like I had conquered one habit I moved onto the next. Does this mean I 100% cut all of the unhealthy options out? No! You better believe that I still had (and still do) my ice cream and pizza fixes. But now I didn't constantly crave these foods like I had before. If it was in front of me I didn't HAVE to eat it. I was in control.
2. Track the Calories burned.
One of the frustrating things when I was first trying to lose weight was counting calories. I would work super hard to not eat over that standard daily 2000 calories, but still, very little or no weight would come off. It was exhausting and I would end up quitting for long periods of time because I saw absolutely no results.
Almost 2 years ago my boyfriend (now husband) bought me a Fitbit for my birthday, which was something I had really been wanting. That Fitbit was an absolute game changer. It tracks the calories that your body is burning and guess what?? I was not burning 2000 calories a day. On a day where I didn't work out I would burn between 1300-1400 calories. And on the days that I did work out I barely made it over that "average" 2000 calorie margin. I wasn't losing weight because I had been eating almost 700 calories more than I needed daily!
A calorie is a unit of heat or energy that your body uses. We get calories from the food we eat. The calories that are not burned are moved into storage for later use (fat). If you are eating more calories than your body is using YOU WILL NOT LOSE WEIGHT. If you are eating less calories than your body is using you will lose weight. Simple.
Learning about how many calories my body used helped change my eating habits. For example: I am an avid Chick fil a lover. I have probably single handedly put the founder S. Truett Cathy's (bless that man) grandchildren through college. One regular sandwhich with fries and a milk shake is between 1200 and 1400 calories. Well if that is all I'm going to eat that day I guess I'm fine! Just that one meal would wipe out my calorie budget in one delcious sitting. Is it tasty? Duh? Is it smart? Probably not. I learned that if I wanted to eat something tasty...maybe just get one tasty thing instead of three. One sandwhich is 440 calories. Pair that with a water and some fruit and I'm set to still have three meals that day!
Again I'm not trying to advertise for anything specifically (I'm sure that other fitness tracking watches work great!) but for me that Fitbit helped me lose 15 lbs in less than 4 months.
3. Clean Eating
Over the last few months I tried clean eating which is basically fruits and veggies, whole grains, and lean meats and proteins. The results were incredible. I had lost a lot of weight by calorie counting but I didn't exactly feel super duper. You can lose weight by eating whatever as long as it is below your calorie budget, but that won't make you neccessarily more healthy.
As many of you know, I made a resolution this year to learn or try a new skill each month. For the month of April I decided to take on clean eating. It was hard. Even though I had really changed my eating habits over the last couple years I wasn't prepared for what I was hit with. For the first 2 weeks I went through serious withdrawals. Mostly from cutting out sugar. My body ached, my head hurt, I was moody, tired, and constantly hungry (have I convinced you to try this yet?). Slowly though I felt stronger. I didn't feel as tired. When one of those nasty colds hit my work...you know...the kind that keeps you sniffling for a few weeks...I felt gross for a day and then was fine. My skin was clearing up and I had energy! It was amazing! On Easter Day I had one cheat moment where I ate one of the Reese's Peanut Butter Eggs. I thought it would taste like heaven...but it kind of tasted bland. I regretted that moment because within a few hours I had a rocking migraine that lasted throughout the next day.
During this time period I did not work out once and I didn't even count my calories, yet I still managed to lose 5 lbs in 6 weeks. Although I no longer eat clean at 100% the habits I learned from clean eating have affected my life and health. I crave those healthier options.
Clean eating tips:
- Pinterest....enough said.
- If it doesn't have an expiration date within 2 years don't buy it.
- Reach out to friends and family who you know eat well. They have probably tested out a lot of recipes and can steer you towards the good ones and away from the ones that make you throw up.
- Find someone to support you. Jake had to console me a couple times while I cried over the lack of pizza in my life. That support was critical.
- Be honest with yourself. I know how hard it is when you're alone and there is a basket of Easter goodies in your reach. No one would know if you grabbed a Jelly Bean. That's a lie. You would know, and everytime you say "No" to the candy, it gets a little easier to say "NO!" the next time you're faced with that choice.
- Eat protein with every meal. I had 2-4 eggs every day, chicken or a veggie with high protein content and a natural protein powder that I stacked into things like shakes, smoothies, oatmeal, granola bars, and more. The protein keeps the hungry beast away.
- Plan your meals and snacks. It may take a little bit of extra time but it's so worth it and helps your budget. When you go to the grocery store and get EXACTLY what you've planned, it saves loads of money. My fear was that I would end up dropping a load of extra cash to eat healthy but my weekly grocery spending stayed either the same as before or was even a little lower some weeks. Plan. It's worth it.
These are the 3 major things that have gotten me to where I am today. All of them were from eating. Over this time period my gym habits kind of fell off the grid....but I still lost the weight. This month's skill is to be a "gym rat" so that I can start toning those muscles that I'm finally starting to see in my stomach, arms and legs.
I get how hard it is to be healthy. I get how it feels to look at yourself in the mirror and be disgusted by the person looking back. And to all those young girls who have body images issues, I get how it feels to watch your friends get asked out and have fun while you feel like you are throwing a party for one in the pit of the eternal friend zone. I get it. It hurts. But guess what? Your weight and how you look does not determine the person you are. I was still overweight when I met my husband. When I first saw him my first thoughts were "Ha! Well he's out of my league!" but I quickly learned that he fell in love with the person that I was on the inside. Plus he loved how I looked on the outside! We recently were looking at pictures from when we first met and he was shocked! At the time he never noticed the extra weight. He only now noticed because of how different I currently look. So yes girls. There is hope. You do not have to look like a model to find your Prince Charming. How you look does not determine the person that you are. But we only get one body, so why not take care of it?
The fun thing about this is that I'm not done! I've learned what it takes to be healthy and it's hard and takes time but it's worth it. I'm excited to continue on this journey and see just how far I can go!
A few of my favorite recipes:
Tasted like a no bake cookie. Instead of chia seeds I would throw in a scoop of protein powder. It takes a couple tries to find just the right consistancy.
Such an easy delicioius go to recipe! Pouring this over some whole wheat penne with some steamed broccoli on top was delicious! The only thing that I really noticed that made it different from regular alfredo sauce was the consistancy. The longer you process it (or blend it since I don't have a food processor) the more creamy it will be.
Again. Easy. Quick. Delicious. I did make sure to replace any butter when I was cooking with avacado oil. It's cheaper than olive oil and you can get a good deal at Costco. If I didn't serve it with Quinoa I would use Brown Rice. I loved cooking Brown Rice in bulk so I could keep in in my fridge for any meals that came up later that week. Saves LOTS of time and dishes.
Clean eating on a budget tip:
-Buy large: I bought large frozen bags of fruits, veggies, chicken, large containers of oatmeal and brown rice, and the large bottles of honey at Costco. I got all of this for under $70. I only had to make one purchase of these and it lasted me the month and I still have a lot left over! It was so easy to just steam some veggies to add to my dinner, or throw some frozen fruit with some almond milk in a blender for a smoothie to get my sweet kick! I had one of these items in almost every meal and it made my life SO much easier!