As much as I would like to believe other wise, one of the most important, if not the most important keys to getting healthy is controlling what you put in your body. I hate the word “diet” and I refuse to use it…. I only refer to what I eat as nutrition! Diet sounds restricting and just plain mean. One of the reasons I’m so passionate about it is because I’ve tried it all. The skinny teas, the juice cleanses, the meal plans, the celebrity diets, the body wraps/treatments, the weight loss pills. I was desperate to try anything to make me lose weight fast. But after much trial and error, I sadly learned it’s all unrealistic!!!!! It works for a limited amount of time but in the long run, is it really going to be a stable lifestyle for years and years to come? No.
I had this whole nutrition thing backwards. For starters, I have the worlds BIGGEST sweet tooth!!! I could eat chocolate for every meal and be completely happy! And I used to. I couldn’t go a meal without eating some sort of sugary treat. For years I would work out for 2+ hours a day (on top of my dance rehearsals) and thought I could then justify eating whatever I wanted and an excessive amount of sugar at that. I would wake up and eat cookie dough straight out of the container, my portion sizes were doubled what they should have been, and I had absolutely no self control or understanding of what I was doing/putting into my body. Slowly but surely I ended up gaining a ton of weight. I was the heaviest I had ever been, my mood swings were insane, my acne was uncontrollable and my self-esteem was at an ultimate low. I was so confused and upset with what my body was doing that I started to punish it by starving myself of meals. I could go until nighttime without eating but would be so hungry that I would end up binge eating really late at night. I know this is a very sensitive subject for most people so I don’t want you to think that I thought I was “fat” by any means, but I think we all are aware our individual bodies and know when we feel our very best. At this stage in my life I felt at my worst. This caused a whole bunch of body image issues and for about 2 years I would only buy extra baggy clothes because all I wanted to do was hide behind fabric. I didn’t feel confident and comfortable in my own skin.
In August of 2015, I had a bit of a health scare and ended up having surgery. When I woke up after surgery I had an overwhelming feeling that I needed to make a change and this was my opportunity to do so. I was sick of feeling insecure and ashamed of my body and I knew that the only person that could take control and change how I felt was ultimately, me! This is what I decided to do…. Somebody once told me that you can do anything for a month if you put your mind to it. So for 30 days I challenged myself to no sugar (because I knew that it was/is my biggest weakness). To make it more motivating I promised myself that if I succeeded I was going to reward myself with something I had wanted for a very long time…. black tinted rims!! LOL. I am such a dork. During this time period I also decided that I was going to try to eliminate most processed foods. I stuck to a lot of protein, vegetables (tons of leafy greens), fruits, healthy grains and a lot of water. Knowing myself, if I didn’t have these meals prepared for the week I would never keep to eating healthy and would be tempted to cheat. So I would go to the grocery store at the beginning of each week and stock up for 5 healthy meals a day (three meals and two large snacks). Because I’m very O.C.D. and I like consistency, I would eat the same meals everyday for the whole week. It would make preparing them much easier too. The first 5 days were the worst. I thought there was definitely no way I could finish this month out. But once I hit a week it became easier and easier. Each day and week that went by I felt more amazing and didn’t have the cravings for the junk food I usually relied on. I felt like I had more natural energy, my skin started to clear up, I wasn’t having crazy emotional breakdowns, and I was dropping in weight. I ended up completing a month with absolutely no sugar!!! I truly felt like it reset my whole system by cleansing itself of what I craved most. I then didn’t have to workout nearly as hard because I was giving my engine the right foods to breakdown easily and I didn’t have to overcompensate by working out and practically killing myself of any energy.
This is what I’ve learned through this whole internal food battle. MODERATION IN EVERYTHING!! I promise you it works because that’s what I’m doing now to maintain my nutrition. Obviously I’ve incorporated sugar back into my everyday life but I am more aware of how much I intake and what I really don’t need. If I’m being truly honest, I am currently sitting here with a pint of Talenti Gelato in my hand and a spoon in the other…. which is fine. Treat yourself when you deserve it! But when I used to be able to finish the pint to myself in one sitting, I am slowly enjoying ginormous spoonfuls and then I will put the lid back on and call it a day! My main point is that I personally don’t think you need an extreme diet regiment that is raw, gluten free, vegan, dairy-free, or only a cup full of almonds a day. Now don’t get me wrong, some people do and that is great! But I think that the biggest battle is understanding what your body craves and what your bad eating habits are and finding moderation in all things. In my upcoming posts I will breakdown my daily food routine and be more specific but for now I challenge you to try the following:
- Make a list of foods your body craves and what you excessively eat
- Try to eliminate it for 30 days…. give yourself a reward to work towards 🙂
- Prep your meals for the week to help not eat out as much
- Eat every 3 to 4 hours – snacking on good healthy foods in between meals
- Drink a lot of water!!!!
My mom has a saying she would tell us growing up, “Eat to live, don’t live to eat.” I believe that to be true. You can do anything you put your mind to. Take control of your body and life starting today! And remember, I’m here with you every step of the way.