Stop Reading—Start Doing!!
Throughout high school and college I maintained a healthy weight by eating fairly sensibly and exercising. In 2009 I got married and moved over a thousand miles to a new home in Texas. After I got married I kind of slacked off in the exercise arena—my excuse was always, “It’s too hot!!” I was also for the first time balancing work, marriage, and social life, which led to lots of yummy Tex-Mex and a rise in my weight.
Then about two years ago I discovered blogs! I can’t even remember how, but all of the sudden I was “meeting” all these fit, inspiring people, reading about all the cool healthy food they ate, and cheering for every race they ran. I spent a year reading blogs, growing more and more fed up with my own weight, but somehow alleviating my own guilt by reading about other people doing healthy things! I figured the way to become healthy and reach my happy weight was to do what all these bloggers did—not eat right and exercise– but start a blog!!
And so I did. I would start a new exercise program and blog about it; I would lose motivation and stop. I blogged about starting weight watchers online, running a half marathon, eating “whole” foods, strength training programs and counting calories, but my weight kept climbing. It was frustrating: I had gained 30 pounds in less than 3 years and was really unhappy about it. My BMI was officially overweight. I was tired of reading about slim, healthy, active women; I wanted to be one! I was tired of dressing to hide my muffin top and my “comfy jeans” getting tight.
Last October I called my mom who has struggled with her weight for a long time and asked her if she wanted to join Weight Watchers and attend their meetings with me. I knew I needed to get my eating on course. Although I was eating some healthy things, I was using that to justify a lot of bacon cheeseburgers and chocolate. Weight Watchers has a reasonable plan that emphasizes healthy eating. I also love that there are no “forbidden foods” so you can treat yourself every now and then! I had tried the program online before but gave up after a few months; going to the meetings honestly scared me because it meant that I needed to go, that I wasn’t as healthy as I thought I was, and that I had a real problem with my eating habits.
Slowly, I actually began doing what I had been reading about (and half-heartedly blogging about) for so long: eating right and exercising! The truth is being healthy is simple, but not easy. Over the past 6 months I have lost 18 pounds and am getting closer everyday to my goal weight. More importantly, I have learned that no amount of exercise can undo a bad diet. I have focused on eating healthy, whole, homemade foods and avoided overly processed “diet” foods. I have found a new love of exercising as I have refocused on being active rather than completing certain number of minutes or reps. I remind myself that I work out because I like the way it makes me feel—happy, strong, and confident. I also consider it a personal win to have trained and ran a half marathon and not used it as an excuse to eat exorbitant amounts of ice cream! It also helps that I’m not doing it alone—my mom is my Weight Watchers buddy and my sister and I ran the half marathon together!
I have also realized how much being healthy starts in your mind and spirit. As a counselor I have a pretty good B.S. radar and I don’t let my clients make excuses for their choices; but I needed to open up my counselor’s toolbox and use it on myself. Every week I stop and take an honest look at how things have gone for me: I own up to my poor choices, make new goals, and figure out how to overcome potential obstacles. This process, as well as having motivation and support from my family, has been key for me to not burn out on this journey. To me, healthy living is not winning a marathon, or never eating cheesecake again, or reading all the right blogs and magazines: it is step by step becoming who I was meant to be and helping others to do the same.