Welcome again. If you haven’t checked out the About page, this may seem to start in the middle but I felt like there was so much involved in introducing myself that I didn’t want to clutter that page and left it to the basics. Over the course of this blog, I hope to be able to continue growing myself during this transitional post-undergraduate years. Most of what will surface in these posts will be about food and fitness – my two main hobbies. I’m not sure when these developed but they are certainly rooted in my life-long struggle to maintain a healthy weight. Women in my family tend to balloon out and I am no different. I will have to hunt down some photos from when I was younger to really emphasize this because I don’t look like someone who struggles with weight. Appearances can be deceiving.
Given this, it is interesting to me that I’ve only actually been on two diets. By this I mean, I’ve only followed two eating plans designed by someone else. I consider the way you eat to be your diet. One does not “go on a diet” to then come off of it. A diet evolves and changes with you. A plan – yes, a plan you can go on an off of. My history includes two such plans. The first was called the Ice Cream Diet. I kid you not. My mom had a subscription to Prevention Magazine and this gem was on its cover one month when I was 12 or 13. It caught our interest and we decided to give it a go. If it didn’t fit us, we’d find something else and, best case scenario, we might lose a pound or two.
The plan structured your calories during the day to allow a couple hundred to remain after dinner for some ice cream. I was skeptical. Having never been on a diet plan before and with little knowledge yet about how one worked, a scenario where I could eat ice cream and lose weight seemed contradictory.
That was lesson number one in weight loss and eating and, as it would turn out, I did lose weight! Exact numbers I can’t be sure of since I swore off the scale when I hit my largest around 160 lbs in 7th grade. To this day, I only weigh myself once a year and that is because the Gyno won’t renew my birth control without it. As I did with the Ice Cream Diet, I still measure weight loss by appearance and the ever-important how the clothing fits test. When I could fit back into the jeans I had outgrown from the year before, I was ecstatic!
And then I learned the next lesson of weight loss and eating: the dreaded plateau. I was following the plan just as I had been for weeks but I didn’t seem to be getting smaller. And as such, my dedication wore off. I probably didn’t gain all that weight back but I sure wasn’t losing it in the time between the Ice Cream Diet and diet plan #2: Weight Watchers.
My mom was the first to try Weight Watchers. She ordered the kit with meal samples, cook books and products galore! And she seemed to be liking this diet the way we had enjoyed the Ice Cream Diet so my sister and I decided to join in. Again, more success and more new skills learned. Weight Watchers continued to educate me on the caloric value of all the foods I was eating with the assigned points but it also gave me some insight into how other nutrients matter. For example, food that is higher in fiber is lower on the over all points scale because the fiber slows the digestion.
As with the Ice Cream Diet, I lost some weight and then plateaued, causing my motivation to drift. I was finishing up my freshmen year of high school when my mom and I began doing a running program together. Our goal was to run a 10K and this led to a training schedule consisting of shorter daily runs and a long run each Saturday morning.
We never actually made it to that 10K. By the time our weekend runs had reached 9 or 10 miles, they were so draining we didn’t have energy for the rest of the day and finally we made the decision to just run for running’s sake and not to worry about whether we competed in 5Ks or 10Ks. We ran 3 (maybe 4?) 5Ks before I left for college.
It was the running that has shaped how I approach my struggle with weight. I love food and this makes it hard for me to cut out various categories and restrict my intake to the level I need to keep my weight down. But with exercise, I get to eat. And eat. And eat. Once I found a way to make exercise an enjoyable part of my life, I began logging enough of it that I didn’t have to deprive myself of the foods I wanted. That doesn’t mean I eat whatever, whenever. I don’t exercise that much 😉 Plus, I do care about the other value of what I consume – nutrition. Calories are not the whole story. This has led me to experiment with a lot of different types of eating. Most recently, I’ve been trying to stay conscious of the amount of added sugar I eat. Beyond fruit, our bodies are not sure what to do with all the sugar we dump into them and this turns to fat and fat is no good! Eating less sugar has led to eating less processed food – which is a win/win! This post was very long and wordy.
Future posts will be shorter (or at least more visual). I promise!