Sunday, November 5, 2017

What I've learned....

Hello, Hello!

I apologize for my absence. Thank you for those who are sticking with me. I'm really going to try to get it together and get back to posting regularly.

It's no secret that I've been struggling the last few months. Between traveling this summer, some health issues I was dealing with, some I'm continuing to deal with, and just life in general, this blog had to take a back seat. The truth is, it's hard to be inspirational or motivational when you feel like a failure. I've taken some time to reflect, think about this journey, think about my life and make some hard decisions about where I am, where I was, and where I need to be.

In that light, this post is going to be a bit different. Some other bloggers I follow have done a similar post, and I thought it would really help me process some things if I also thought about what I've learned on this journey.  So, I present:

The top 10 things losing 150 pounds has taught me (and continues to, every day)

1. When they say its a lifestyle, it's not just a stupid phrase, it's reality.

Do you know how many times I've said, "I cant wait until I can eat XYZ again." or "When I get down to ABC weight, I'm going to eat XYZ again."

You know what, that's crazy. Whatever method you're choosing to use to lose weight, has to be sustainable. Cutting out food groups, doing crazy challenges/cleanses, etc. are fine in a short term, or to help kickstart you, but ask yourself: can I live like this in 6 months, in a year? If the answer is no, you're not making it a lifestyle. Restricting yourself and then binging on those things you gave up is a viscous cycle and you will continue to lose/gain/lose/gain and does not create healthy relationships with food.

Enjoy the foods you love, but do it in moderation, and be sure to include the nutrients and protein your body needs. I've said it before and I'll say it again, balance is key.

2. If you don't love yourself and your body now, you never will.

Self-love is so important, and so hard. If you struggle with loving yourself as you are now, you will still struggle no matter how much weight you lose.

I can honestly say that I have more body image issues now than I did when I was 300+ pounds. I am constantly picking away at my flaws. We are our own worst critics, I know. I'm trying. Some days are better than others, but it's hard, really hard.

3. Losing weight is 1000% more a mind game than a physical one.

I can get up in the morning, go to the gym, have my meals prepped and packed for the day, and by 2pm have convinced myself that I deserve a "treat." Now, once in a while, this is fine; but when it gets to be an everyday thing, that's when it's a problem.

This also goes back to my body image issues. There are days that I look in the mirror and I still see the girl who is 300+ pounds. This is when I want to just say "Eff it, what's the point" and give up. But, its at these times I really have to dig deep and remember why I'm doing what I'm doing, give myself grace when needed, and remember why this is a lifestyle and how I feel when I'm treating my body well.

You won't always be motivated; you have to learn to be committed.

4. You must deal with whatever issues you have that have caused you to not take care of yourself to begin with.

This one is hard. Real hard. Once you're no longer using food to cover up your issues, or help you deal with them, you have no choice but to face them. Things will come to the surface you've been pushing away for a long time. But, if you don't take the time to deal with them and work through them, you're really no "healthier" than you were before.  Whew, things can get deep.

5. Social networks can be a big inspiration, but know when it's time to unplug.

Social media is a great tool, but it can also cause a lot of issues with comparing yourself to others and not thinking what you're doing is good enough. I have to constantly remind myself that I am, most of the time, showing my "highlight reel" and so is everyone else. It's hard to not get wrapped up in what everyone else is doing, and the progress they are making. This can be really hard to see/look at/read when you feel like you are not doing well, or you are not where you want to be.

Remember, we all struggle. We all have good days and bad, even if they are not documented on social media. Instagram can be great to find new workouts or recipes, but don't get so wrapped up in what everyone else is doing and where they are that you forget that you are on your own path and it's okay if it's different.

6. You will do things you never thought possible. And it feels damn good.

The first time I ran a mile straight? I cried. Real, crocodile tears, cried. The body is amazing. YOUR body is amazing. And you will do things you never imagined you ever would and it will make the sacrifices you made to get there SO worth it.

7. You will love this journey, and hate it, sometimes both in the same day.

I have had days where I have gotten up at 4am to hit the gym, and by dinner time I have stopped tracking my food and have said I'm not doing that anymore. I have looked at people with resentment in the grocery store as they purchased chips and cookies, and looked at my own cart with vegetables and lean meats and thought, "it's not fair." I have cried because some days its just all so overwhelming- working out, planning meals, tracking food- and swear I'm giving up and not doing it anymore.

But, I've also ran a few dozen 5ks, a 1/2 marathon, 10 miler, 4 Spartans, Rugged Maniac, 10ks and I'm signed up to run my second 1/2 marathon in a few months. I do a little dance everytime I PR on a lift at the gym. I love the way I feel (and look) when I am on my game and hitting my macros and workouts like a boss. I love meal prepping, and creating new things in the kitchen.

Sometimes, I feel all of this in one day. Like I said, before, it's so much of a mind game.

8. Everything has its season.

I read somewhere that in the trifecta of your life- work, fitness and family- that when you put your time in effort more into one, the other two will not be given as much time. So, if you're focusing on your career and spending a lot of time working or at work, you naturally won't have as much time for your family or your fitness. Same goes with fitness- if you're focusing on getting healthier, you are going to be using a lot of your extra time at the gym or meal prep, or whatever, so you may not have as much time to focus on your family or career.

All of these things are important and at different times, once may be more important than the other two. That's okay. It's okay that working out and meal prep isn't your priority all of the time; in fact, it's probably healthier that they aren't at the forefront all of the time.

9. Success looks different on everyone. Figure out what it means for you.

Not everyone is a runner. Not everyone wants to lift weights. Not everyone wants to count macros. That's okay. My journey is my journey. And, my successes are my successes. 

It's important to figure out what "success" looks like to you so that if you find yourself comparing your journey to someone else's you can remember how far you have come, and what you have accomplished.

10. Taking care of yourself is not selfish, and you don't have to explain yourself or your methods to anyone.

It's not selfish to want to take care of yourself, to want to go to the gym, or for a run, or to meal prep your food and make healthier choices. It's also not okay for other's to comment on any of those things that you are doing. I have to remind myself that when I hear comments from others ("Oh, you don't eat that...") that it is their own issues coming through, not my own. I do not need to justify what I'm doing, what I am or am not eating, or why to anyone. Neither do you.

You do you, boo.

If you've read this far, you're the real MVP- for real! Thank you for allowing me to get out some thoughts that have been on my mind and heart the last few months.

I promise I will get back to meal prep ideas next week! The weather is getting cooler (finally!) and I'm looking for some new ideas, since I'm craving comfort food. If you have any ideas, drop them below!

Or, if you're on your own journey and there's something you've learned, or something that's been on your heart, feel free to comment. We're all in this together.

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