I was reminded a couple of weeks ago of some progress I’ve made on a goal I set for 2016. I’ve been working on my health and fitness this year. For the most part, my goals have been focused on the journey and not a particular destination. I don’t want to lift a certain amount of weight for a particular lift. I don’t want to run a marathon or half marathon. Instead I want to take care of my body, listen to it when it says it needs a rest day, and be consistent with my nutrition and physical activity.
What this person didn’t know was that the beginning of this journey didn’t start this year. Nor did it start last year with the photo from his time hop. This journey began all the way back in 2013……
In 2013 I set out to run a marathon. I started training in January and had my eye on the OBX marathon in November. I was doing kick boxing, running, some yoga, and swam in the summer. I did A LOT of research on nutrition, tracked my calories every day. My goal wasn’t to only run a marathon, but to lose weight and get in better shape. I was very conscious of the processed foods I had been putting in my body, and switched to a whole foods approach with less food coming from boxes. I decided to officially eliminate meat (anything but seafood) as of May 1st that year (it’s been 3 years as a vegetarian, except for 3 instances when I ate some fried chicken and 1 instance when I had a piece of bacon). In July of 2013 I eliminated dairy from my diet (at least direct forms of dairy). I stopped eating yogurt for breakfast, quit using creamer in my coffee, and switched to almond milk. I noticed a lot of positive benefits from eliminating meat and dairy. My acne cleared up for the most part, my gut felt better, and my head aches subsided. Overall on the outside everything was great. I lost 20 pounds, but I wasn’t properly fueling my body for my marathon. On the inside I ran into some health issues that didn’t fully clear up until January 2015. Here’s a picture of me from August 2013 when I was probably at my lowest weight, which was under 120. I feel like that woman in the picture is unrecognizable.
I got burnt out from running and training for that marathon. Running didn’t feel like it used to. I would go out and run, but I wasn’t getting that high anymore. I hoped that my health issues would rectify themselves once I stopped training and gained some weight. The stress that training puts on the body, especially a woman’s body, really affected me. I wasn’t too alarmed, but even after gaining 10 pounds, it wasn’t resolved. I gained more weight in the process of fixing things with a doctor and ended up right back where I had started (in 2013) weight wise as 2014 came to a close.
I wasn’t happy, but I was also apprehensive of tracking calories and reining in my eating habits to the point where I would fall back into the same situation. I’m a perfectionist and tend to fall into two categories when I pursue something: It’s all or nothing. I don’t know how to kinda focus on a goal. So I started crossfit and hoped that working with weights would give me a new routine and change my body shape.
It changed my body shape alright because I ate what I wanted and pushed my body to go 4-5 times a week. They say women don’t “bulk” up like men….that’s a bunch of bullshit because I can gain muscle real easy. I gained 10 pounds within the first 5 months of crossfit and it stayed with me through the rest of 2015.
I took a step back and took a break from crossfit for about 6 weeks at the end of 2015. I needed a reset button. I needed to figure out how to make crossfit work for me and my goals and what truly was going to make me happy. I decided I didn’t want to compete anymore, I didn’t want to lift heavy, I didn’t want traps, and that this was ALL OKAY. What makes me happy isn’t what makes other people happy. I’ve got to be true to myself. I don’t care about what society says on how I should look. I wanted my clothes to fit. I wanted to be able to move around in a suit jacket. I wanted to be happy with my body again.
At the beginning of this year I decided to take control and that I needed to rein in my eating habits and figure out my health and fitness. It helped to talk with someone and figure out my appropriate calorie intake. I didn’t want to get in trouble again with not properly fueling my body for my daily activity. Instead of focusing solely on calorie total this time, I got help on breaking up the calories in to macro goals for protein, carbs, and fat. As a vegetarian I was relying more on fats to keep me feeling full and then carbs and lastly proteins. I didn’t want to compromise my values as a vegetarian or eat processed crap to meet my goal. Logging and tracking my food has helped me understand what I am eating and the calorie values of things again. It hasn’t been a perfect linear progression but I’m more focused on fueling my body and still enjoying life (donuts, cookies, even some fried chicken and waffles)! It’s also helped to have people check-in on my progress and ask how the journey has been going.
My official goal was to get under 130 pounds, and I’m officially there. My clothes fit better, I have more energy, I have less traps, I feel great. The journey doesn’t end here. Although my goal was kind of a specific number I wanted to give myself the flexibility to be somewhere that would allow me to be happy with my body and not restrictive with my eating. My weight now is still at least 13 pounds more than the lowest weight I reached training for that marathon. But I feel healthier than I was at that point and know that my body is in a better place.
I’m glad I stopped settling for where I was at physically last year. Although there was nothing wrong with that place, I’m not the kind of girl who’s satisfied with the status quo. I like to live life like Harvey Specter: