I have been battling an inner struggle for literally the last year, and it’s been slowly chipping away at my sanity.
It’s no secret that I’ve always had an issue in one regard or the other when it comes to my weight. What I haven’t always had is an inability to do anything about it.
Last year, the beginning of 2015, I was about eight to ten pounds heavier than my normal. This wasn’t a big deal to me because it followed the normal pattern: be in great shape all year (which really translates to be as skinny as you can be all year) and then when the holidays roll around, go CRAZY! Crazy as in I’ll take an extra cup of pumpkin spice-peppermint mocha-double fudge-couple more beers-second platter of bacon cheese fries-let’s order a pizza-and bake more Christmas cookies type of crazy.
So when I hopped on the scale January first, the result didn’t come as quite a shock. I then did what I always do, commit to eating better (aka starving myself with a max of 1200 calories per day), start a new workout program, and try to shed those pounds before our spring beach vacation. Which I did. I looked phenomenal. I felt pretty good too, but I attributed that to something I learned those few months.
I had made the decision to try working with a trainer to change up my workouts and hopefully see some new results (aka abs instead of just flat skin). What I learned was that I actually liked lifting weights, and started seeing changes in my body without having to do as much cardio. The real kicker for me, was that I was able to increase my daily caloric intake to around 1800 per day (on average), and I looked and felt better than ever before.
What followed was an even deeper passion into my health and overall wellness. That year, I got into the best shape of my life, both mentally and physically. I truly felt, that after all this time, I had found a balance.
Feeling a little over confident and maybe a little cocky, I decided to try a little thing called the Whole30 (feel free to go back and read my bipolar posts on the subject. That’s how it makes me feel. Bipolar). I had read a lot of interesting things about it, and I was in the mood to kick things up a notch.
So, I timed my start date upon return from yet another vacation, and prepared to really get sculpted.
I only lasted one week. And actually, that week was only about five days. But during those five days I lost ten pounds of just water weight and extra bloat from our trip. Hey, that was fine with me. So I returned to my normal way of eating. What started happening then is what ultimately lead to huge discouragement. I gained twenty pounds. Twenty pounds without changing my workout routine, my “normal” eating habits, nothing.
I called my doctor and made an appointment demanding my thyroid be checked. It was fine. Actually, the only advice they adamantly gave me was to exercise. So, I exercised my right to give them the middle finger on my way out the door.
This went on. And on. And on. For fifteen months it has gone on. Over the course of fifteen months I was able to shed about 8-10 of those twenty pounds, depending on the day. But other than that, I have been stuck. How was it easier losing 70 pounds post-baby while still eating froyo every night than it’s been to lose ten by working my ass off? I have cut my calories. I have added calories. I have increased my cardio, I have decreased my cardio. I have read books, I have changed my workout time each day. I have cut out fruits, I have increased my fruit consumption. I have tried the Whole30, I have cursed the Whole30, I have blamed my trainers, I have blamed my genetics. I have thrown in the towel more times than I can count, only to start all over again.
I stopped working out. I started again, thankfully with a program I’m absolutely in love with. I’m stronger, but my weight stays the same. I know that it’s not about the number, but about the way one feels- well I feel horrible. Therefore, I’m frustrated and the focus becomes the number.
After seeing a holistic practitioner about a week ago, I made the decision to try one last thing. I wanted to see how my body would react if I cut out all processed food and additives. I didn’t want this to confuse my brain and go back into the Whole30 way of thinking, but I did want to focus on reaching for real, whole foods when I was hungry as opposed to what was easy. This meant no more protein cookies (I did shed a tear or two over my Lenny and Larry cookies) and no more Halo Top after dinner (I shed a lot of tears over that).
I really have been paying attention to the food I’m putting in my body over the last five days, and what I’ve learned is I wasn’t eating so clean before, despite my belief that I was.
For example, a typical lunch for me has always been wild brown rice, grilled chicken, and some form of vegetables. Healthy, clean, right? No. The rice I would buy would be those quick 90 seconds in the microwave package and you’re good to go. I challenge you to read the ingredient list on the back of those. I’m not sure “rice” is even listed. So, a small change was to buy the organic whole grains and rice option in my health food market. The only ingredients are rice and grains.
I have cut out calorie-free spray butter and have been cooking with olive oil and ghee. My peanut butter is made up of only 100% peanuts. I’m fueling my body with real food, instead of chemicals and sugar.
I haven’t felt hungry once these past five days. Normally, I feel like I’m starving constantly throughout the day. I haven’t had any cravings, and I haven’t worried about calories or even portion sizes. I eat to satisfaction.
I decided this morning to step on the scale and I was shocked. I am down almost four pounds. I also feel pretty damn good.
Now I’m not naive enough to think I’m going to eat this way forever. I haven’t given myself any timelines. I don’t have a goal to get so many days in a row. The good food is just there, so why not eat it when it’s available? I know this weekend I’ll probably have a treat, and I’m okay with that. I also think five days is too soon to really think I have all the answers, but, I do think the important thing is knowing what’s good for our bodies, and striving for that lifestyle. It makes the cheat meals all the more fun when they come around.
Natasha Funderburk is a wife, #boymom, NASM-Certified Personal Trainer, Certified Nutrition Consultant, and ACE-Behavior Change Specialist. When not watching her son play baseball, she can be found on various writing platforms, coaching her clients to live their best lives, drinking all the coffee, and conducting living-room dance parties.