The Vegetable Challenge: A Year Later

Hey everyone! Thank you for taking the time to read my blog. Today I wanted to take some time to go back to a post I did last year: The Vegetable Challenge. In this post I brought up an article I read on how Canadians were not eating enough veggies. Apparently, the average Canadian was getting a ‘C’ grade for how much veggies they consumes.

Looking Back

At that point I already thought I was eating pretty healthy, but I thought this meant I wasn’t eating healthy enough. During the summer of 2017, to say that I changed by diet would be an understatement. More accurately, I threw it out the window and replaced it with a completely overhauled version of what I thought was healthy eating. During this summer I ate:

  • 5 Cups of fresh veggies a day
  • 4 Cups of leafy greens
  • Legumes
  • Lean chicken
  • Eggs
  • Oatmeal
  • Whey Powder

This was what I ate for a whole summer. So what happened to my body this time? Well, not only was I eating like this, but I was also exercising 5-7 days a week. My workouts were mostly strength training, but I also tried to do cardio twice a week (these were often the two workouts I would skip). At first my body was doing alright, I felt better, I slept better, and I started to lose weight. Over those four months I lost 15lbs. This was a big deal for me. I’m about 5’5″ and have weighed over 160lbs for quite some time. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t say I was fat since I have a decent amount of muscle mass, but I was never really “skinny”. So, losing 15lbs felt great especially since my waist was almost down to 26″.

However, as the months started to go by, things started to get worse. I had absolutely no energy. I would spend my weekends on the couch because I had no energy to get up and do anything. My summer was spent with Netflix. I hung out with a friend once, but after that I kept using the excuse “I can’t eat that” or “I’ll miss my workout if I go out that late”. I was in bed by 7:30 each night so I could wake up at 4:30 to go to the gym before work. When it came to my workouts I no longer had the energy to push myself. I was lifting about 10% less weight than I was previously able to. Then, at work, I was irritable. Don’t get my wrong, my coworker at the time was downright annoying, but as I started to starve my body, I started to lash out at him.

I was still eating a decent amount of food in terms of volume, but I was clearly not getting enough calories. I was always hungry. But, the problem is that when I was eating so much salad I didn’t feel like eating anything else. Not to mention I didn’t have anything besides veggies and chicken breast in my house. I also began to get even more obsessive about the types of food I would eat. Somehow I got the idea that I had to have at least one serving of purple veggies, red veggies, orange veggies, and green veggies a day. The problem is that I hate beets and red cabbage so the purple veggies were a problem for me to eat.

Looking back now, there were some obvious red flags in my eating habits. The problem was that I lived alone and never socialized. When people would ask how I was doing I would say that work was killing my soul (I worked in a windowless room for 9hrs a day).

After that summer I was no longer able to maintain this way of eating. I was beginning my last semester of university with a full course load and still working part time. Stress took over and I caved to my cravings. Eating a whole medium Dominos pan pizza and a pint of ice-cream was a weekly (sometimes biweekly) occurrence for me. I ended up gaining all the weight I lost… and then some. In February of 2018 I weighed the most I ever had at 171lbs. That was a big deal for me. I noticed that I had gained weight, my clothes were fitting more tightly and I noticed my cheeks filling out. I told myself that I was working on gaining back my muscle mass. In reality I just couldn’t bring myself to take care of my body.

Today

Within the span of 8 months I went from eating “100% clean” (no sugar, no wheat, no dairy) to binging multiple times a week. Now, I’m working on picking up the pieces of this mess. I learned that both of these extremes are not healthy and that something had to be done about them.

Now, here I am; blogging about my experience. Learning for myself how to find the balance between the extremes of eating. I’m learning that it is, in fact, okay to have pizza and icecream from time to time and that veggies are good, but feeling good in all aspects of my life is more important. I’m learning to be okay with who I am and working on achieving goals that are not related to my bodyweight. The most important thing I’ve been learning is to be happy and that happiness doesn’t mean fitting into a certain size of clothes.

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