Striving to live a healthy life is an ever changing and evolving journey. Today, I want to share some changes in my journey.
In the pursuit to become the healthiest and happiest version of me, I have been learning a lot. Learning about lifting, different approaches to nutrition and ideas on how to best nourish our bodies. A lot has resonated with me. I’ve done some thinking, which I have now written down.
I have thought a lot about my weight loss journey. Counting calories worked for me in the sense that I lost weight but looking back now there’s a reason why they call them 100 calorie packs and not 100 nourishment packs [Source]
For almost two years, I tracked every bite of this and tablespoon of that in my Livestrong app. I thought I needed to do this in order to “be healthy.” Wrong. I associated “healthy” with “calories” (thank you mass media) so I counted them. Was I actually fueling my body off of a sugar-filled granola bar? No. But it was low-cal and that’s good right? Wrong again.
But it’s what, as women especially, are told. It is the message the mass media sends us. Eat less, low calorie foods. Do lots of cardio. Fit into the skinniest of jeans. And I bought into it. I lost more weight than I anticipated. I lost too much weight and I am changing that.
I have slowly but surely ditched this “diet mentality” but it took me longer than I thought it would. In the spring of last year, I started to read things other than women’s health magazines. I instead read books by doctors, articles by scientists and blogs by nutritionists to better educate myself about food, nutrition and the body. I started to learn that it is better to focus on the food rather than the calories – this is a new thing in our society. My definition of healthy changed (and continues to evolve) and I wanted to share my experience with healthy living, thus I began writing the Little Honey Bee.
I thought I had things mostly figured out. I was eating “healthy”, exercising and felt good. I started running a lot and limited my meat intake. Both “healthy” things in my mind. But then I hurt my knee and my skin began to breakout. Hm. My body was telling me things. What am I doing wrong? Running is “healthy” and going meat-less is “healthy” right?
I realized I needed to make some changes and better listen to what my body was telling me. Don’t get me wrong: I still love to run and as soon as the weather warms up I’ll be hitting the pavement and the thought of a “big, juicy steak” still makes me want to hurl. But over the past few months, and especially in 2014, I have been really focusing on listening to my body and fueling it properly: not pushing a run when I don’t feel 100% and recognizing that organic, free-range chicken is a good option for me.
I have stopped counting calories. I have changed how I was eating. I have been focusing on making every meal nutritious and eating more food because that’s what my body needs. This wasn’t so easy (and it still isn’t). My morning snack used to just be baby carrots. Now it actually has substance and nutrients.
My initial thought: more food = more calories. Oh no. I’m going to get “fat” again.
Yesterday I had three Larabars in-between breakfast and lunch. Three. I was hungry and my body said “feed me”. Realistically, I’m not going to get fat. I know this. I know I am not about to go back to guzzling 8 beers, 6 shots of tequila, 1/2 a pizza and a bag of Sun Chips – in one night. Now that that is out of the way, I still care about how I look. Yes, I’m going here. We care about how we look. Plain and simple. I think this is an awkward topic in the healthy living blog community but oh well. As much as we pretend not to care, we do. We all have insecurities and is saying “I don’t care” another way of hiding these insecurities? It isn’t about being a size zero or how much kale I eat. It is about my health, happiness and the reality is that my appearance affects my confidence.
I still want to look a certain way. I want to be healthy and look fit. I finally feel (mostly) confident in my own skin so what happens now? What if my body changes and I don’t feel happy and confident? I’ve been calling this feeling fat fears. I haven’t stepped on a scale in months. I don’t care about the number. But sorry I’m not sorry: I want to feel good about who I see in the mirror because I know the feeling when you don’t.
I know I am going to gain weight. I can write this today and tell you that I’m good with that. I want to gain weight. I want to get stronger and be able to do un-assisted pull-ups. I want to do a handstand. I want to run a marathon. I’m not stupid: I know a handful of l-b’s will be good for me and my body.
Ultimately, I am striving to eat and live intuitively. For me, I think this comes down to trust. Maybe for you too? Trusting yourself that you know how much food your body needs. Trusting yourself that you know your physical limits. Trusting yourself to eat when you’re hungry — not when the clock tells you to eat. Trusting yourself to exercise when you feel energized — not because you ate five cookies.
Because sometimes one tablespoon of peanut butter isn’t enough. Listen to your body and fuel it well. Don’t fear fat. Be happy. Eat egg yolks. Embrace change. Be confident. But most importantly, trust yourself. Because if you don’t, who will?
From the bottom of my heart, I thank you for reading my blog and following my journey.
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