My drivers license (obtained at age 15 and a half) states my weight as 113 pounds.
With a 5’5″ frame, I’ve come to terms with the fact that I will never be that size again – and also that I never should be that size again. Actually, let’s just not go back to any of the qualities I possessed at the time of this photo. I mean, come on, I was wearing a puka shell necklace.
College was a tumultuous time. I frequently went up and down in weight…but mostly up. I graduated college weighing nearly 25 pounds more than my license said I did.
I moved home, jobless, with nothing to do. I started doing exercise videos or jogging in the morning, and watching Food Network all day until I cooked dinner. I learned about different foods, their benefits, and healthy ways to prepare them. I downloaded a calorie counting app to control my portions and snacking.
When I started dating my junk food-loving boyfriend, I got off track. Darn him for saying he loves me even if I get fat! But with his support and a diligent lunch time jogging routine (plus his willingness to eat salad every once in a while), I’ve kept off all the weight I’ve lost. I know that I was not severely overweight when I started, but I also wasn’t satisfied with myself. Now, I can honestly say that I feel good about my body…and that’s the most important goal you can have.
Today, this post is an ode to progress. The post is primarily an ode to healthier living, but today is also a day to celebrate progress, as it is move-in day at my new apartment!
Here are some important things I’ve learned about how to keep a healthy weight.
1) Exercise. If you’re having success with the strictest of diets without exercising, your body is probably suffering. The best way to feel healthy and good about your body is to create a balance of giving it what it wants while also kicking its ass every once in a while! I try to exercise at least 3x a week, whether it be running, using the elliptical, doing crunches (What up 8 Minute Abs?!), or even playing dodgeball. I’m pretty sure dancing at the club counts too. Yes…dancing definitely counts.
2) Learn about nutrition. Something I learned early on was that fiber plays a key role in weight loss, and is also a factor in your overall digestive health. Making sure you include things like vegetables, whole grains, healthy greens, and beans in your diet will not only keep ya regular…It will also keep you lean! Learn which foods are high in fat, and try not to indulge in those too often (or allow yourself a handful of chips, not the whole bag!).
3) Calorie counting is not always best. I have used a calorie counting app (Lose It!) for a long time. Though it’s helpful in learning which foods are high in fat and fiber, it’s easy to become obsessive. Sometimes I’ll be on the verge of not allowing myself to eat a cookie because it would send me “over my limit”. This isn’t what finding a healthy weight is about. It’s about eating what you want and finding a balance…NOT depriving yourself! I never calorie count on the weekends — Friday through Sunday I indulge, guilt-free!
4) Portion control. This is key, people. My mom used to use an entire box of pasta to feed 2-3 people. There are 7+ servings in that box! Unless you plan on needing leftovers, only make what you know you can eat. When you go out to eat in a restaurant, stop when you’re full! Save the 2nd half of the sandwich for later! Substitute fries for a salad! Or, the dreaded alternative…….
5) Just don’t eat out. This one is hard. Boyfriend & I love going out to dinner. But I feel like a lot of people eat more than they usually would when they eat out. I mean, this is Amurrica, and the portions are all Amurrica-sized. Being as such, I try to limit myself to one meal out per week. It never happens that way, but I can at least say I tried, right?
6) Drink less alcohol. Once again, another difficult one for most people. I am always stunned to see how many calories are in a pint of beer. (maybe that’s why I like IPA’s…stronger beer, more bang for your buck!) I think a common theme here is moderation. Allow yourself what you want, but not more than you need.
The moral of the story is: eat well, eat what you want, and eat in moderation. What are your philosophies on weight loss and body image?