I admit it, I’ve dieted, I’ve detoxed, I’ve counted calories, I’ve bought weight loss supplements. None of it worked. None of it made me happy.
I’m usually not one for catchy headlines or for talking about weight loss, but there’s a point that I really want to get across here. My point is this: losing weight doesn’t mean a thing. It took me a long time to figure this out.
In May, when I finished yet another semester of university, I felt like crap. All of those long nights of studying and the overconsumption of caffein and ice cream left me feeling like a bag of trash. Just like the actor on a weight loss commercial would say: I had no energy, I was irritable, and I just wasn’t feeling my best.
I’ve gone on major health kicks before. Last summer I cut refined and processed sugar out of my diet along with artificial sweeteners (because, let’s be honest, they aren’t all that great for you), I’ve been vegetarian, and I’ve been vegan. None of those really stuck with me though. I think part of the reason for that was that they were all too extreme (at least for me) and also because I just started it cold turkey.
This May I had my “Aha!” moment. I started working at a desk job in a windowless room with a coworker that drives me crazy. I felt like I had just gotten through the hell that was my previous semester of university just to start a new kind of hell. My moment came to me as I was on the bus to work one beautiful morning when I was thinking about how I’d much rather be outside. This brought back the memories of previous summers when I would walk an hour and a half to get to work (even if it meant waking up and leaving my house stupidly early). I felt good when I did that. Now, I didn’t do anything too exciting like quit my job and move to a new country, but I did decide that I needed to change what I was doing outside of work. At the end of a work day I would come home, eat, stay up late, snack, and not get enough sleep. Then I’d wake up feeling like crap in the morning. I decided that instead of doing something that I knew made me feel bad, I was going to do something that made me feel good. That day after work I signed up for my summer gym membership and went to bed early. The next day I started going to the gym and suddenly my annoying coworker didn’t get on my nerves as much.
One thing lead to the next and I started to focus more on eating better. I read an article about how most Canadians get a C when it comes to eating their daily servings of fruits and veggies. Turns out we’re supposed to be getting 10 servings a day. So I decided to challenge myself to eat my 10 servings. Oddly enough, it wasn’t that hard to do. I never felt like I was forcing myself to eat kale salad for lunch or chicken and broccoli for dinner. It was more like a game of “How can I get my 10 servings of veggies a day?”. Not only did it not feel like a punishment to eat properly, but I started to notice that the quality of my workouts improved immensely. My highlight was the first morning that I started back at running. I’ve always loved to run, but I’ve never been any good at it. My furthest distance ever was 5km and that took me a whole summer to accomplish once. Yet, that first morning when I started back at running I finished 3km flawlessly. I had never felt that good in such a long time.
Now my lifestyle had become about pushing myself to feel better physically. This meant pushing myself during my workouts, sleeping like a baby, and enjoying my kale salads. By the time the middle of June rolled around, I felt amazing. This is also around the time people started to comment on my body.
I’ve never really been one for using scales – I’ve been overweight my entire life and I have mostly just accepted that. I know I was somewhere around 162lbs at the end of April because I occasionally get curious as to where my body is at when I see the scale in the gym changing room. But, after my grandma gave me a hug and said I was shrinking that day in mid June, I couldn’t help but check. As it turns out, I had lost about 6lbs in just over a month. This was fairly significant to me because I had never seen this kind of weight loss in all my years of trying! Now, another month later, and I’m the lightest I have been since high school.
My friends and family keep asking me what I’m doing differently and what has changed for me. My answer to this is simple: I decided I wanted to start feeling good. I stopped caring about what I should and shouldn’t eat. I started eating my greens because I know they make me feel good, but that doesn’t stop me from eating a pint of icecream when the mood strikes. I started to exercise in the mornings because that’s what helped make me feel alive. Even though I am still terrible at running, my morning runs are “me time” where I just have a chance to get out and think. I started taking care of my body and it started to feel amazing.
(pictures to come)