Friday, May 6, 2016

Love Yourself and Lose Weight

Like most people, losing weight is something I have thought about most of my adult life. Even though I have never been considered "overweight" or even "big" I have still struggled with having too much fat in this area, this area here, and right here. It has occurred to me that the problem might not even be my weight, but instead with society. I have also come to realize that the solution to losing weight has nothing to do with actually losing weight.  Let me explain.

In 2002 my husband decided to purchase Power 90. It was a Beach Body program, he probably saw a commercial late one night. Soon after it arrived we were waking up and working out 6 days a week. We also used the food guide to change the foods we ate. We both worked during the day and at night we played video games. We did not eat the same foods.

I can't remember exactly what I ate but I am pretty sure this is what I ate during the 90 days we did Power 90.

Breakfast: Rice Krispies, Whole Milk, Banana
Snack: Granola Bar (not a healthy one either)
Lunch: Ham or Turkey Sandwich, Wheat Bread, Cheese, Mayo and a Yogurt (and not Greek)
Snack: Peanuts
Dinner: Spaghetti Sauce (no meat) with pasta (white, not wheat)

I remember getting on that scale, taking measurement and pictures and loving the results. I think lost about 10 pounds, which is pretty amazing considering I also gained a lot of muscle.

Day 1, 30, 60 and 90 days using Power 90 back in 2002

I am pretty sure that I didn't eat a single vegetable in 90 days, unless you want to consider the tomato in the spaghetti sauce as a vegetable. 

I had amazing results, I ate small meals. I drank water because that's all I ever drink. I had energy, I was happy, I was also in my 20's.

My goal was losing weight and watching the numbers on the scale go down, watching the numbers on the tape measure change, seeing the sides of my thighs shrink. And they did. And in 90 days, I was happy. 

But I hadn't learned anything. Since I had no more goals I eventually reverted back to my old ways. I stopped working out, I went back to eating larger portions and the muscles shrank and the weight came back. At that time I really didn't care, life was good.

Spring forward 15 years. Now in my late 30's I find myself gaining more weight. Still not "fat" but just overall not happy with how I look. In June 2015 I joined a Facebook group with the goal of losing the last 10 pounds. I worked out a few days a week, I ate much better, adding vegetables in my diet and getting rid of the unhealthy white carbs, and I learned to drink a lot more water. I stepped on the scare every other day and was encouraged with the numbers would go down. Not only did I lose 10 pounds, I kept losing. After losing an amazing 15 pounds I had won, again. There was one slight problem. When I looked in the mirror, I wasn't any happier with what I saw!

I realized that it didn't really matter what I looked like because I didn't want to look like me, I wanted to look like a supermodel! I still felt like I had fat thighs! I lost all that weight and I didn't have more to lose, I had no more motivation, no more scale to encourage me each morning. 

So, I decided to start building muscle. Prior I had been doing zumba classes 2-4 times a week. I loved zumba and dancing. Maybe if I had muscle, maybe I would like the way I looked then! One weekend I took a zumba class at a new studio and the studio had mirrors. It was the first time I had really seen myself and what I saw shocked me. I thought I looked too thin!

How was it possible to look too thin yet still have too much fat? I even felt self conscious in the room with all the other normal looking women. I felt like I was probably being judged by how small I was. What must they think of me? I bet they think I am anorexic. Maybe they wonder if I am sick. All my hard work for the past 6 months and I felt worse than before!

I decided it was time to try something new. I would start taking a body pump class at the gym. Twice a week I would build muscle so I wouldn't look so thin. This would make me happy! I had new goals, something else to work for.  It didn't take long to start building muscle on my small frame. 6 weeks? I was looking good in pictures!

But guess what! Yep, I still didn't like how I looked! In December I became self depressed. I stopped eating healthy, started eating crap. I didn't care anymore about my weight. I didn't care if I had muscles. I didn't like myself and I realized I was never going to look like the model that I envisioned.

Slowly I starting having some issues. My anxiety was coming back. My digestion issues were once again bothering me. My face was breaking out. My fingernails were brittle. My guilt was insane. When I ate bad, my kids ate bad. I hated myself for being so weak and my family and I were suffering for it.

In April I created a 5 day event and invited everyone on Facebook to join me. It focused on clean eating. I didn't know if I could really do it but I wanted to try. For me, for my kids, and to encourage others.

It was a huge success and a small failure. I learned so much about myself and about food. I discovered I had been addicted to sugar and I had horrible withdrawals from it! Eating clean was an eye opener and I learned something I will never forget. I could do it. It wasn't easy but what in life is?

I also recently starting vlogging. Watching the videos of myself made me realize a few things. I don't really hate myself. Surprise! Somehow seeing myself on video has made me realize that I look ok. Even without makeup and having my hair fixed, I still look ok! And slowly, somehow, I have learned to love myself. ??? How did this happen? Maybe turning 40 last month had something to do with it. Maybe I am finally there. I don't know what happened but I am happy it finally did.

Since I am no longer hating myself I realized I love myself. My body is mine. I only get one. I have to take care of it! I can't keep hating it, poor thing, what has it ever done to me except allow me to live! It works perfectly most of the time, even with all the abuse I give it. 

Oh, back to the point of losing weight, guess what, I don't care about weight anymore! Losing weight should never be a focus. Loving yourself should. If you love yourself you will take care of yourself. You will put healthy food into your body because that's what your body needs. You will work out because you want to be stronger and you will drink water because you are thirsty. You will stay out of the sun and wear sunscreen because you don't want to end up with wrinkles or skin cancer. You will get plenty of sleep so your body has energy. You will take time for yourself because you are worth it! 

If you truly love yourself and you take care of yourself, your body will respond. You will look good, you won't have extra weight, you will be happy, you will have energy. And your positivity will reflect on others. You will make others happy. You will encourage others to love themselves because you know how good it feels to finally accept who you are.

How many years have I spent trying to change things about myself. My hair, my nails, my skin, my shape, my attitude. Well, I am always working on my attitude! 

Do you want to lose weight? Guess what, just love yourself and take care of yourself. Learn how to eat healthy. Learn to eat small portions. Learn to eat mostly clean. Learn what benefits your body. When you eat something, think about what your body is using the food for. Give your body exercise. Make it fun. Make your body stronger. Drink lots of water! Keep your body flushed out and refreshed. Exercise your brain! Don't forget your brain! Don't harm your body, too much sun, too much alcohol, too much coffee ... and get enough sleep. 

Wow this was longer than I realized but if you made it this far I hope I have somehow encouraged you to love yourself completely! Look at you, you special thing you!

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