I am part of a fitness app community (all women) and have received quite a few questions. I posted a before and after and have shared my experience of cycling through ups and downs. I am NOT an expert in nutrition or movement, I am a 53-year-old Mom who has enjoyed activity for the last 12 years and had the fortune of great coaches who taught the basics of proper form and movement. I have also learned through my own trial and error.
A few tricks I shared with the fitness community that have worked for me:
1. post an inspirational photo on fridge or pantry door
2. buy what will support your lifestyle (you can’t eat what you don’t have)
3. pause before reaching for that snack and ask, am I hungry and do I need or want it and drink a glass of water
4. find a healthy alternative that satisfies your craving – for me, it’s rice cakes with peanut butter cause I love carbs
5. Eat to fuel and when hungry (with the good stuff :-)) don’t deprive…that usually ends-up in slowing down metabolism and indulging in bad stuff
6. trust the process, it takes time to reach an I love how I feel phase where momentum takes over
7. remember, it’s a lifestyle not a diet with a beg and end
8. be flexible and forgiving
9. it’s only a wish until action supports the desire to make the changes
You are not alone. Love yourself to be the best you can however that may be and may be and look. You vs you.
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!