I’ve been perusing healthy living blogs for a while now, and I’ve decided that two things are absolutely certain.
1) I don’t have anything new or earth-shattering to add to the collective knowledge of the internet. I’ve been successful pulling resources from hundreds of websites. Everything I have to say is just re-hashed knowledge.
And. . .
2) That doesn’t matter and I’m going to blog about my life and experiences anyway.
In a real way, I’m not even doing this to try to benefit the world of people trying to lose weight or eat healthier. The things that got me inspired enough to commit to a blog are the people who have asked me for recipes or advice, and my innate need to talk. A lot. About myself. All the time. And one of the most remarkable things about me (and certainly the thing I love to talk about the most), has been my transformation from a hopelessly clueless, overweight, depressed girl to the me I am today: not perfect, but working on it. I love to eat healthy, and am learning to love physical activity. I am at a healthy weight. My depression is now under control thanks to my healthy habits, and I have been anti-depressant free for over three years.
Just about four years ago, I made a New Year’s resolution to lose weight. I had been overweight as long as I could remember, but going to college and gaining the dreaded freshman fifteen saw me topping the charts at 215 pounds. The only reason I even knew my weight at the point was because I went to the doctor, and had to step on the scale. I had no idea that I weight that much. At 5’7 and 215 pounds, that gave me a BMI of 33.7 . . . solidly in the obese category.
Obese? Me? I had always had a weight problem, but the term Obese was so. . . harsh. I tried not to focus on it too much. Instead, I started reading websites about weight loss. I signed up for SparkPeople and started tracking my calories. I tried eating less carbs. I ate pre-portioned snack packs of everything. I ate sugar free jell-o. The weight began to come off, but I still felt like something was missing. I was still hungry all the time. I was cranky even more often than I was hungry.
I had been walking regularly with a friend of mine, but decided it was time I signed up for a gym membership for times when that wasn’t convenient. They, of course, wanted to try to sell me a personal trainer. One of their tactics for getting you to sign up is to take your body fat with their little hand-held scanner. Had I had the money to afford a personal trainer, it would’ve worked. 44% body fat. Almost half of me was made of fat. And I had already lost 15 pounds! It took a lot of self-control not to run out of the gym right then. I waited until the end of the session to let the full realization of that number settle in. And then I walked outside, got in my car and cried. I cried the whole way back to my apartment. I cried for nearly the rest of the day. And then I cried some more about it the next day. How had this happened? And, more importantly, what was I going to do about it?
For months, I obsessively counted calories and tracked calories burned at the gym. Over time, I began to figure out what made me feel best. It wasn’t eating a certain amount of calories, but eating things that were good for me. I switched my emphasis from wanting to lose weight to wanting to be good to my body. Because, despite how I might have felt about the way it looked, it was doing everything I asked of it. It was amazing. And now we’re to the ongoing part of my development: eating whole foods, exercising regularly. Being as good to my body as possible. Because, so far, it’s been good to me.
Before and After:
Then: 215 pounds. 44% body fat. 33.7 BMI.
Now: 150 pounds. 25-ish% body fat. 23.5 BMI.