It's amazing for me to reflect on this and think that I've lost 40lbs. I've gotten a lot of questions of how I did it and such, but before I answer that question for you guys the one question that has stuck in my head since it's been asked was "Don't you wish you would've done it sooner?". Without even thinking I looked at my grandma after she asked me that and said "I know that I wouldn't have been able to."
In order for me to figure out why I was living to eat, I needed to figure out what was eating me. I traced back through the years to figure out what sent me to food. I was a stress eater, an emotional eater, a boredom eater. Any kind of eater you could think of I was it. Going through pictures of my childhood I pinpointed around the third grade my weight beginning to climb. Although I am not going to get into all the details of my childhood because that is the past, I will say that it was a difficult childhood and around that age is when I really sought out food as a comfort and void filler. It was something that made me feel good no matter what. It just became a snowball effect after that. As I look back on those pictures before I see a girl who was trying to save everyone, but herself and that turned to food as her only comfort. I will be the first to vouch that weight problems often stem from emotional issues. It's more than a physical struggle.
So what did I do about it? When I moved down to Albany for school I didn't have anyone to care for or worry about but myself. While living at home I constantly ate out, whether it was with my family or socially, it was a constant for me. The first thing that I did was cut out all fast food. I cooked everything for myself. In order to save money, I made enough to live off of left overs for a few days before I had to cook another dinner for myself, so I was forced to eat only enough for one. I could live off of $125 or less of groceries for a month. So for those that say eating healthy is expensive, it's not if you shop in the right places. One shopping trip would take me a whole afternoon and two to three stores, sometimes even driving to Corvallis to just buy stuff from Winco. Also it's not as expensive as my future healthcare costs would've been if I had kept up my bad habits.
Another thing I started doing was eating breakfast. I cannot stress this enough, please make time for breakfast!! You will thank me, I promise. I used to never eat breakfast and now I make sure that I make time for it. My favorite breakfast and I could easily live off of it is oatmeal with a little brown sugar, cinnamon, and blueberries. Blueberries are apart of my daily breakfast and for those of you with skin problems, I swear by blueberries. I've never had bad skin, but I used to breakout around my mouth and on my chin. After cutting out all fast food and taking up blueberries everyday, I haven't had a breakout.
I kept my eating on a schedule as well, which is a lot easier to do during school time or if you have a job. Breakfast was my first priority when I got up in the morning, so I generally eat around 9 or so depending on my schedule, I would eat lunch around noon or one and typically it would be a sandwich and fresh fruit and sometimes soup. I would have a pre-workout snack around 3 or 3:30 which always varied, but some of my favorites would be apple and natural peanut butter or slice of whole wheat toast with peanut butter and a sliced up banana. I would eat dinner around 7 and often I would make chicken or fish with veggies. I would still make spaghetti or roast with potatoes. The thing about what I ate was that I didn't deprive myself of my favorite meals, I just wouldn't make them every night and I would watch my portions. I cannot stress not depriving yourself. I generally would give myself one cheat day because I found that if I didn't I would binge on large amounts of unhealthy food and then feel extremely awful.
Now obviously I just didn't eat better and I could magically drop 40lbs and run a 5k. When I first decided to start exercising I started walking around the track and wellness trail at my school. I began to add running into the mix and the more I did it the farther I could run before having to stop. As the weather began to get bad I knew I was going to have to do something else so I joined a gym. I would spend at least 45 minutes to an hour there. I stuck to my familiar treadmill or elliptical for awhile, but as I got more comfortable I branched out more. I would do cardio six days a week with strength training mixed in on three of those days. I finally decided to start taking a class there. For those of you that are hard to find that self motivation I highly recommend a class! I started with Zumba and I loved it so much that I didn't think of it as exercise and I was kind of forced to keep going to the end. Now my two favorites are kick boxing and Zumba! I'm now to a point where I will spend close to an hour and a half to two hours at the gym.
Now as I look back on those old pictures of myself I see a very sad, sick girl. I was frequently bullied and even by one of my family members. One of my biggest challenges of this journey is learning to love myself. I still have a very damaged self esteem, but it's getting better. I will openly admit that there were days that I would just stand in the mirror and cry because I was still haunted by comments, "No one is ever going to love you unless you change the way you look", "You are just making yourself fatter". I even had a child that I was babysitting for once tell me that their mom told them to make sure they were nice to me and didn't say anything to me because I was a chubby girl. That stuff I won't ever forget, but as apart of this journey I've had to realize that something was wrong with those people, not me. It makes me sad that I couldn't have helped myself sooner. But I'm proud to say I have come as far as I have and although I am not done, I still am continuing on this journey with my head held high and with an appreciation of what my body can do and what I can do for my body.
If you get anything out of this post or any tips to living healthier I hope it's this:
1.) Do it for yourself and for your own health.
2.) Drink LOTS of water, no pop!
3.) Any exercise is better than nothing.
4.) Don't deprive yourself.
5.) LOVE yourself!
6.) Eat to nourish your body.
7.) Take your stress out in the gym.
8.) Exercise to be fit, not skinny.
9.) Progress is progress no matter how small.
10.) Don't skip breakfast!
The fact the you're willing to change yourself for the better is the greatest thing you can do. Healthy is finally feeling good about yourself while adding years to yourself in the meantime.
Lastly, I want to say a HUGE thank you to my family and friends for your love and support during this time! I love you all and appreciate it so much!
If anyone has any other questions or would just like to talk, please feel free to contact me! :)