What do mindful eating and exercise look like?
The photos were taken within almost a one year period (July 2013 – present):
Left: bikini competition, July 2013, living on bars, shakes and some food but definitely not eating properly.
Middle: post 7 months bikini comp and living a more active social life that included eating/drinking more and exercising less, February 2014
Right: finding a balance between left and middle photos and getting back to a more regular exercise routine and eating more mindfully and properly: actual food and not skipping meals.
I have my own fitness and health objectives but I have had to reset my mindset and beliefs to align with a healthy sustainable lifestyle and it’s been difficult b/c what wasn’t healthy is a look that the media promotes.
I support re-set systems and jumpstart programs for just that: to help ease into new habits that are sustainable.
A close friend recently stated that I have an eating disorder. I was shocked to hear this as I had always associated an eating disorder with being diagnosed with either bulimia or anorexia both of which I’m familiar with the symptoms. I don’t purge and/or starve myself so therefore I do not have an eating disorder.
I started thinking more about it in general terms and what my friend said was an abnormal relationship with food. So I googled it and came across a few links one of which was http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org where I took a diagnostic test and this was my result:
“Your screening results are consistent with symptoms of an eating disorder. However, this screening is not a substitute for a complete clinical evaluation. It is recommended that you see a health professional immediately for a complete evaluation.”
I have an eating disorder. What?! I think about food, reflect on what I eat during the day, am aware of the approximate caloric and carbohydrate content and will adjust accordingly throughout the day or week to maintain what I consider an ideal weight for my height and frame but is my ideal healthy?
A week ago, I had my measurements taken and myself weighed at my fitness facility where metrics are used to monitor progress. I avoid the scale because I like to pride myself on how I feel rather than what I weigh to determine my lifestyle. I have gained weight and my body fat has increased in the past 9 months because my lifestyle has changed: eating and drinking more and exercising less. So while I wasn’t surprised by my results, I wasn’t thrilled so I am making adjustments.
I am posting two photos because my unhealthy me is the one that I know is more universally appealing than the healthier version of me today whom eats more balanced meals and proper food more regularly throughout the day as opposed to skipping and replacing meals with bars and shakes.
I could go on and on about this topic because I can’t recall the last time I met a woman who declared that she was happy with her body as is including myself. I think about my weight (consciously and subconsciously) as long as I’m not at my ideal (based on how I feel) and though it doesn’t impede and affect me on a daily basis nor is it obvious to the outside world, it’s a constant chatter in my head that I hope will one day subside, dissipate and eventually disappear.
I am guilty of falling prey to the media’s look of ideal health but I hope to inspire and encourage a healthy sustainable lifestyle that involves eating to enjoy and fuel and eating anything but in moderation: treats and all. To health!
It occurred to me today during my workout that though I may know how I explained to my children my recent participation in a figure competition, a few of my Mommy friends and others may not know.
Now that we are living in a smaller space and our time together is that much more valuable, I have noticed that we tend to herd around the house. When I’m in my bathroom, the kids naturally gravitate to my bed and, when I’m in the kitchen, we are in the family area so naturally when I tried on my figure bikini, my children were close by and, consequently, I shared with them the competition.
I explained to them that everyone has their own reason(s) for competing and that Mommy’s primary reason was to illustrate that we define who we are and that if we allow labels to define us then we have essentially usurped our power to decide and make choices.
They are aware of my blog, fitness as part of my lifestyle and, now, they are also aware that we all have the power to make decisions and choices. Believe!
The photos represent a ten year span…Life is a journey and one that we may not always anticipate as planned but with each and every decision and opportunity, we create a path we choose and hope to look back upon with a smile and no regrets!
This past Saturday, I participated in my first figure competition in Oakland, CA: INBA’s “The Night of the Natural Champions” (International Natural Bodybuilding Association). It was a 2 month journey that should have involved a strict food plan (of macro numbers protein, fat, fiber and carbs), exercise and learning to walk and pose. I failed at meeting my food plan numbers but attribute a six year lifestyle and mindful eating to an extent as my preparation. I was honored to have placed at the show.
What I’m learning is each goal we set creates a path of memories, a patch in a quilt of life and either serves a specific purpose or is part of a longer term plan. This competition was an experience I chose because I wanted to prove to myself and represent to other Moms’ and women that we not only have the power to define ourselves by our choices but also to choose our mindset. I am a Mom in my 40’s recently divorced but I am also an individual who continues to have goals and dreams. One life, believe :)!