Brand New Month, Brand New Challenges
Monday, July 01, 2013
Well, here I am again, at the start of a new month with the same I-will-lose-weight-and-stay-on
-track-everyday attitude. Only this time, I am taking myself seriously. I have learned a lot from my past history of extreme yo-yo dieting (I would under eat one day and binge heavily the next). The difference with this "fresh start" is that I am actually TELLING people about my goals. At home, I have my planned workout schedule (graciously made up by a personal trainer friend, who unfortunately lives in NY) and July Goals and Challenges posted onto my family's fridge, so that my parents are aware of a) my workouts (to help push me to go to the gym on the days when my motivation is lacking), b) my July goals, challenges, and rewards (so everyone knows what I want to avoid eating/ want to increase in my diet, PLUS the reward that I am looking forward to at the end of the month, and c) the range of calories that I should be eating (so that I won't be asked if I want seconds, or dessert, etc.)
I think that actually saying: I'm unhappy with the way I have let myself get lazy and skip the gym and eat more unhealthily, will help me from reverting back to old (old, horrible, bad) habits. I think that it will allow for my family and friends to understand WHY I don't want to go out to get ice cream or a burger and fries or WHY I wanted to buy a monthly gym membership instead of workout at home alone. Hey, it's already getting my mom thinking of joining a gym to go to some group classes! Taking time this morning to reflect on my "diet past" as I worked on making lifting cards (to help track my weight and number of reps per exercise) almost made me cry, thinking about the amount of stress and ridiculousness I put my body under the last couple of years, especially during my last semester at college.
My struggle with my weight actually started in high school after my brother left for college. I began to binge eat and sneak food around the house because I felt as thought my mother was trying to punish me by not letting me eat whatever sweets or junk that everyone else did. Little did I know that she was trying to help me to eat and train like the athlete I was (I have been on a swim team since I was 7 years old.) I continued this pattern until it was my turn to leave for college (miraculously on a swim scholarship, even though my swimming suffered since I developed my binge-eating habits). Being busy with classes, practices, and friends kept my mind off of eating and my binge-eating stopped (partly because I wasn't telling myself that certain foods were "off limits" and partly because I shared a room with a roommate). However, I was eating to maintain my weight, so I was still pretty chubby. My second semester freshman year was a different story. I no longer had to go to practice! I no longer had to wake up early to lift weights! I had freedom to do what I wanted, and that was to not go to the gym. I still eat the same but the combination of greasy-carb-filled cafeteria food and a lack of workouts made me sluggish, overly tired, and I lost the muscle that I had during swim season and replaced it with fat. I didn't gain but 1 or 2 pounds that semester, but I was looking worse than ever. When I came home that summer, my parents and I all decided it was time for the family to get healthier, together! My dad ordered P90X and he and I did the workouts together in the evenings and my mom and I went swimming 3x a week together. After that summer my body completely changed. I had lost about 10 pounds, but had also gained a significant amount of muscle. I was lean and curvy in all the right places. I was happy, my parents were happy, and my coach was in awe over how hard I had worked over the summer. I was on cloud 9 that first semester of my sophomore year. I made better food choices in the dining hall and I was kicking butt in all of my classes! Then the second semester came and I promised myself that I wasn't going to gain weight and stop going to the gym like I had done the previous year. The problem was, that summer I hadn't actually LEARNED how to eat properly. Yes, I ate better and healthier, but I never learned the importance of eating too little or the effects of too many carbs, fat, or protein. I thought weight loss was all calories in/calories out. So, I put myself on a 1,300 calorie diet and went to the gym for an hour 5x a week doing cardio, but not lifting weights. By that summer I had lost muscle (but thankfully didn't gain any weight), so I still wasn't happy with the way that my butt, thighs, hips, and stomach were getting dimply and "pouchy". I put myself back on P90X (with my 1,300 cal diet) thinking that the weight would fall off just like it had the summer before. But it didn't. And because I wasn't feeding my body enough, I was binge-eating 2-3x a week! It was a mess. By start of my junior year I made empty promise after promise to myself that I was going to "lose the weight once and for all and get myself on a healthy diet".
Fast forward to my spring semester of my senior year. I was still not were I wanted to be weight and health-wise. The difference was, I became OBSESSED with tracking my calories and became extremely upset with myself if i even ate 1 little thing that wasn't on my strict diet. I also became lazy with my workouts. I knew that I needed to do a little cardio and/or lifting each day to reach my goals in a safe healthy manner, but when it didn't happen immediately, I go frustrated and would skip the gym to eat disgusting amounts of foods, which only left me feeling worse about myself. By the time my spring break came, I was desperate to lose at least a few pounds by graduation that I began to skip meals in order to make up for my lack of gym time. That plan, didn't curb my binging, it only made my cravings stronger! Because I wanted to look good at graduation, I started a cycle were i would only eat 300-500 calories one day and binge the next. I was a crazed woman, skipping social events because I was feeling fat or because I had to go tot he gym to "work off" my binge. I did manage to lose a few pounds by the time I walked across the stage to get my diploma, but I was the unhealthiest I had been in years. The praise I received from my family over losing a few pounds made me feel like a failure, rather than a success. How could my family be so happy over my unhealthy habits?! Didn't they realize what I had done to by body?! When I moved back home a week later, I had made yet another promise to myself that I was going to start eating the right number of calories and stop binging. I started out great the first week I was home. I did a little cardio and weights 6x a week, I ate small meals though out the day (I did have one night were my friend and I went out for drinks that turned into a few too many, but other than that I was on a roll!) But, I was lucky to land a full time job (within my major no less!!) the middle of my second week home. I grossly underestimated how exhausting working 8 hours a day was. By the time I made it home I was too exhausted (and hungry) to find the motivation to go down to our basement to workout. I would eat a sensible dinner and still feel hungry so I would end up making myself late night snack, which only fueled the fire that was by binge/restrict cycle through June. I was angry at myself that I let myself get so out of control with food and giving up on the gym. The last Friday in June (the 28th) I contacted a friend from school that recently landed a job as a personal trainer for a gym in NY. I asked him if he would help me create a workout plan, and thankfully he emailed me the next morning a whole month of workouts broken down by day and week. His generosity made me realize that if I explain what I am trying to do, that people will find a way to help me, not get in my way. I wrote out my list of small goals/challenges and posted them on the fridge AND I told my parents that I am trying to get back into shape and lose the fat that has grown on my body. They told me it would be tough but that they would support me 100000% of the way.
And here I am now. The first of a new month. A month waiting to be filled with new challenges and positive energy. I am excited to get out of work and drive to the gym. I am excited about the healthy lunch and snack I have packed today. I am even excited to tell people about my goals! This amount of positive energy is new to me and I can only hope that my motivation continues through out my (HEALTHY) journey. I know that I need to be patient to see the changes in my body and I know that I probably won't even see a change in the scale this week. But I am ready for that. I am better prepared (I think) this time around. I CAN and I WILL do this. It may take me all year, but It'll happen. I'll stumble, I won't be perfect everyday, but I will be doing the best that I can and that's what counts the most.