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Healthy eating can be define differently by many people but for me, it goes beyond what you put in your mouth or the labels on the packaging. It’s about “why” you are eating what you are eating and it begins with a healthy mindset. For as long as I could remember, my relationship with food was horrendous. As I got older, it became more destructive and I never thought I would be able to get out of it.
Through therapy and my first prep, I began to learn the reasons behind my disordered eating and learned to identified emotions that were attached to my impulsive, self-abusive episodes. I rebounded terribly after my first show and even though I added 30 pounds really quickly, I noticed something shifted inside of me. I didn’t like what I saw in the mirror but I didn’t hate me. It took some time to level out my post-show binges but when I did, I made the decision to spend the next 3 years eating what I wanted with no fear.
I accepted my body but this was easier said than done. I always had aesthetic goals of losing fat, but my failed attempts to limiting my food intake was a clear sign that I wasn’t ready to categorize my food again. Slowly but surely, my weight became just a number, I enjoyed my workouts and embraced my athletic physique.
I stopped categorizing food. We live in world where if you don’t follow the categories of food then you are doing something wrong. Well, I said “F*ck that!”. Obviously, I knew that certain foods were more nutritious than others. I knew sugar wasn’t great, too much caffeine can negatively impact you, processed foods can be damaging…etc. but I didn’t care. My fitness friends would often make comments like, “We have to earn that meal!” or “We shouldn’t be eating this.” I would respond with, “Who’s we? I eat whatever I want. I have no fears…” I’m sure they didn’t get it, but I didn’t care. Saying out loud that I eat whatever I want wasn’t for them, it was reinforcement for me.
I stopped “earning” meals”. This was probably one of my biggest pet peeves with society. The idea of earning meals. What the hell is that?! I don’t need to earn my meal! I’m human; I need food to survive, I enjoy food for pleasure and the only thing I should be earning is the money to afford to put that food in my mouth. I cringe anytime I hear or see people saying that they earned a meal as I feel that it puts this negative meaning behind delicious food. “I must torture myself in the gym so I can feel less guilty about eating something I enjoy and don’t want to live without!” No, that won’t be me.
Don’t get me wrong; if you have aesthetic goals then you need to eat accordingly. If you want to gain muscle and keep your fat increase at a minimum then you need to strategically eat above your maintenance. If you want to lose fat, then you need to restrict your intake. There will be foods that you should or shouldn’t eat based on your goal and foods that are more healthier than others, but these decisions should be based on the purpose of your goal not the purpose of your happiness. I needed to spend the 3 years not being afraid of carbs, not regretting indulging, appreciating what my body looks like and is capable of doing, but most importantly, enjoying life and not letting food dictate me. It hasn’t been an easy road and I still have my struggles, but I also have a lot of self-awareness to recognize when I need to take step back and focus on my mental health.
We all have our food issues, but my hope is that my stories can help someone else work through theirs and stop fearing food because it’s pretty freaking amazing. Oh and get this, when you start taking care of your mind/body, your mind/body will start taking care of you!
Let’s just say I’m doing like a Whole 20-something because I cheated again. Yes, yes, I know, but honestly, I don’t care. True, I’m not getting the full effects of the program but I’m learning a lot which is what I wanted. This isn’t about weight loss for me like it is for some. This is about changing my dietary habits for the long run and paying attention to my body and how it really responds to food.
So what have I learned?
Well, I cheated Sunday night and it took me TWO full days to recover from this cheat of processed, high sugar, high carbs, high shit-filled meal. Yes, two freakin’ full days! I was exhausted, run down, couldn’t sleep well and was cranky AF. In some ways, I was disappointed because after 3 days of amazing energy I was literally back to the way I felt and the way I’ve always felt not realizing I could feel better. On the flip side, it made me realized that my body really does not handle this type of processed crap.
- highly processed crap that is loaded with sugar/carbs/shitstorm of chemicals = totes no Bueno.
- A meal with simple carbohydrates like bread or pasta, I could handle but in moderation. Like for real…moderation.
It gave me a new appreciation of my body and how smart it is; it really does what it wants depending on how you take care of it. If I really, truly, invest in smarter choices than my body will pay me back in return with happy, sustainable energy. The rest of the week I worked to get myself back on track and my urges to eat processed foods have slowly diminished because it’s not worth it. I’m loving how I feel when I’m not eating crap and I’m mad it has taken me so long to really experience and take note of the difference, but it all begins with mindset. I wasn’t ready until now!
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I feel less than inspired lately. I feel stagnant which is funny because I’m not. I’m closing on my first house this week, work is going really well, and I actually try to have a social life. Life is far beyond stagnant, but I was looking through my facebook memories today and came across this quote I posted last year (I have no idea where I got it from but we can pretend I’m that deep…)
Goals are like magnets that attract us to a higher ground and new horizons. They give our eyes a focus, our mind an aim, and our strength a purpose. Without their pull, we would remain forever stationary, incapable of moving forward…a goal is a possibility that fulfills a dream.
That’s what is missing; a GOAL. Training for my first bodybuilding show was the first goal that I ever accomplished. Since then, I’ve been goal oriented and have dedicated my energy to accomplishing some goal (usually fitness related).I postponed my prep for this season because I decided to purchase a home and use my money elsewhere, which I don’t regret but now I’m antsy. Establishing my home is fun and I’m excited but this isn’t a goal that drives me because it’s forever and more of a “duh”. There is no rush, no sense of urgency, no due date because it’s life. To some, the Whole 30 could be a goal but it’s not for me as this too is forever. Yes, it ends in 30 days but not for me. Sure, I’ll be bit more flexible than the initial 30 days but this is about long-term health. Learning how to live a healthy lifestyle and make quality food choices will take time, but this is life. There is no rush, no sense of urgency and no due date. Honestly, I really miss prepping and I am just trying to figure out how to get a bit of some of that without that set date, routine, and end goal.
In a conversation I had with a good friend, she encouraged me to just “live” and let things roll as they will. I lived my life with such strict guidelines in accomplishing these goals that maybe it was now time to change my mind frame. At first, I thought she had a point and I thought maybe this was time to learn how to embrace just living an “average” life. But the truth is, that just isn’t me. I wasn’t meant to be average. I was meant to do amazing things even if they are just for sport. I was meant to accomplish the impossible even if the only thing I get out of is a sense of pride. I don’t dream of living a Cinderella lifestyle or follow down my parent’s footsteps. And while I am excited for the day that I have a family of my own, that day is far in the future. So now, now I want to live, set goals and crush goals.
I don’t want to sound like I’m complaining because I am not, but I am confused. I am happy but confused. Lost in the direction to take and looking for the drive to push me forward. Just like anything, it will come but now I am antsy.