Recently, I've had a lot of people asking me how I am losing this weight. When I tell them that I am just exercising 6 days a week and eating an 80% clean diet, I get a lot of sad or disbelieving looks. Because sadly, many people are impatient and/or lazy, and want a quick fix. The sad looks are mainly from people who were hoping I was using some pill or maybe a magic spell to lose weight, something that they can do too. The disbelieving looks are from people who just can't believe that something they have pretty much known their entire lives (namely, MOVE and don't eat a bunch of fake crap), could actually result in real weight loss. And honestly, 96.2 lbs ago, I might not have said no to a pill or magic spell. And I had my doubts that exercise and good nutrition could result in the massive amount of weight loss I needed to have happen. After all, 200 pounds is a pretty overwhelming amount of weight to lose. Now, I would not ever doubt my method and most of all, I wouldn't trade the experience I am having for a quick fix. There is something innately satisfying to work hard week after week, to know that you are making your body healthier and stronger every day, to see those numbers start to add up to something great. I have really put my blood, sweat, and tears into doing this (well, not really my blood, but definitely sweat and some happy tears). Why would I deprive myself of the chance to see that hard work and determination can bring me results that some people thought were not possible without gastric bypass? Now this is a cliche that I hear all the time on The Biggest Loser, but it really is true, so bear with me. It's about the journey, not the destination. If I waved my magic wand right now and was magically 128 lbs, what would I have learned? How would I have changed beyond the physical? I would just be the same unhappy girl who used food as comfort, the same girl with terrible self esteem, the same girl with awful exercise habits, just in a thinner body. And let me tell you, I know for sure that weight would come right back on because I would have learned nothing. So I treasure the time it is taking me to lose the weight, because I am getting so much more out of this experience than pounds lost on a scale.
I believe the secret to my success lies in the title to my blog....the space in between all or nothing (handy how that worked out, huh?). I have always been an extreme girl, as I've said before. It was either leaving a permanent butt indention in the couch and eating a diet that relied heavily on fast food and the absence of fruit and vegetables, or staying in the gym for hours and hours at a time, and eating iceberg lettuce and canned crab. The word moderation was not in my vocabulary. It is now. I truly believe I can maintain my current diet and exercise habits the rest of my life. Now, I'm not saying I don't have to make some sacrifices, or that I don't have some hard days. I have to find new ways to stay motivated every day. I try to work out 6 days a week, but if I miss a day, that is okay. I just go back the next day. I try to eat mainly fruits and vegetables, lean meats, and low fat dairy. I try to stay away from food in a box. But this past weekend, I had some peach pie and ice cream. And that's okay! And also, I eat a low sugar fudgecicle as a treat 3-4 times a week. Is that the most nutritious thing in the world? No, it's not, but it has a minimal amount of calories and I really enjoy them. So I eat them and I don't punish myself for that. The difference from my crazy extreme habits before is that this is not so hard and miserable that I want to slam my head against a wall when I think of doing this for the rest of my life. When I say before, you may think I am referring to just my crazy gym rat and canned crabbed days, but I am actually also referring to my couch potato days. Was it hard physically to sit on a couch and eat crap? Nope, but it was extremely hard to endure what that was doing my body and self-esteem. And it did definitely make me miserable, and I did sometimes want to slam my head against a wall when thinking about where a lifetime of those bad habits would get me.
I am so much healthier now physically, and just as important, mentally and emotionally. What am gaining through this journey so far outweighs the sacrifices I make that it was never even a contest. Whenever I want to eat something bad for me or skip my workout, I don't punish myself for these thoughts like before. I just ask myself if doing those things would be being kind to my body. My new philosophy is all about being kind to myself, and not tearing myself apart.
I feel kind of weird giving advice on how to lose weight. Mainly because, I by no means have all the answers. I'm still figuring out a lot of the answers for myself! But at the same time, I can't deny that I have had success. And losing weight this way has given me so much happiness and self-esteem that I can't help but want to tell others how to achieve the same thing. So thanks for allowing me to get on my soapbox (seriously, where did that term even come from?) and be a crazy proponent for the power of moderation. I leave you with this thought-provoking image: