Dedication to Fitness and Healthy Eating

16 Oct

The last few weeks I slowly came to a realization.  I officially started my “lifestyle change” in October of last year, so I’m coming up on a full year of fitness (hooray!!!!). Perhaps it’s the length of time, or the stress of wanting to fit in my dresses for all these weddings. ;)  But I kept having the thought, “oh my gosh, I’m going to have to do this for the rest of my life.” (Editor’s note: duh). “This” referring to eating well (and fitness too).  And you know what?  I was pretty grumpy about it.  Dear goodness, I’m going to have to put in ALL this work for the rest of my life to stay this way???!!  I’m going to always have to pack and plan food?  Always have to get up super early to work out??  Never have a week of eating Qdoba for lunch and pizza for dinner every day?  Nooooo……

I cannot carry on at the thought of not eating delicious Qdoba multiple times a week.

Image courtesy of Imgur

It was the realization that I enjoy being fit, that I like fitting in my clothes, and I love the stress of not worrying about pictures ‘getting a bad angle’  … all things I worried about before I started my ‘get fit’ kick almost a year ago.  But this mood brought up not so pleasant feelings like:

  • Dear goodness, am I ever going to be able to enjoy eating junk without the thought of gaining the weight back? (or falling off the wagon)
  • Will I ever be able to just go out to lunch regularly like a normal person and not pack and plan meticulously?
  • Why can’t I just be like Adam and several of my other friends that don’t gain weight no matter what they eat?  Will I always have to carefully watch what I eat? Life is so unfair, wahhhh…
  • Why do so many people seem to eat whatever they want and live so happy and care free?  Some blogs only reinforce the thought, “Oh look at how much I can eat, I’m not a girly girl. Being careful about what you eat is for the birds!  You must be obsessive or weird to watch your food closely.”  When the reality is: some people gain weight much more easily than others.  And it’s okay to be that way too.  I mean right?  I am normal, right!?  Right??
  • Does it make me weird to have to watch what I eat?  I get razzed all the time at work about my affinity for avoiding sweets and packing healthy.  I’m not doing it to make others feel bad, I’m not doing it to prove my healthy supremacy, and honestly I just wish I could eat my weird healthy food in peace and quiet (and maybe hide it ;)).  AND, and… I don’t do it every day and I’m not perfect at it.  It doesn’t make me a bad person to have to watch my food.  It’s just my reality. Heck, it might be your reality too.

I was feeling sort of bogged down by all of these feelings.  A big contributor is not being able to run.  I think I never realized how much my running allowed me to be more flexible with my eating.  Now that I can’t run I do have to be much more careful.  I don’t want to say that I look at cake and gain weight, but let’s just say I’ve never been blessed with a super fast metabolism.  Such is life.

See! I’m running!

Image courtesy of Imgur

I have let the thought of meal planning for the rest of my days overwhelm me.  I sort of sulked about it and went to the “woe is me, poor Kelly will always have to be careful because she doesn’t have a killer metabolism. Life is so unfair.  What a tragedy.”  Yeah… let’s just say it was a pretty pathetic thing. Generally I just read the news and that helps me figure out there are much bigger problems in the world (seriously I recommend this tactic if you’re ever feeling some self-pity).  But still, it was a mood killer to be filled with these thoughts.  I continued to packed my lunch, still ate well, but I did so with a certain bitter flair.

Let’s face it… living healthy is a lot of effort.  I’m certainly not perfect at it, but I do try my best to be healthy (garh, cupcakes, cheese, and pb nom nom nom). To me my ideal ‘healthy-living’ looks like:

  • Packing a balanced lunch everyday
  • Grocery shopping once a week to make sure I have fresh stuff
  • Chopping parties to make sure I have easy to eat veggies/fruits.
  • Exercising 5-6 days a week.  And I love sleeping, so this is a big one.
  • Avoiding yummy, delicious foods in an office with treat bowls and tons of snacks/candy.
  • Will power. Using my stinking will power. Gosh it’s draining.

The past weekend I didn’t have full control of what I ate, (and I ate many sweets because, duh, it was a wedding) so I splurged a bit.  I was left feeling pretty lethargic, out of sorts, and honestly, kind of grumpy.  It sort of shook me out of my pathetic sadness funk and made me realize: Healthy living IS SO WORTH IT.  So I  dedicate this post to those days where you don’t want to keep living the healthy lifestyle, when you feel jealous that you can’t eat whatever you want all the time, and when you’ve forgotten why you keep at it every day.

Why it’s worth it:

  • Healthy living makes you feel your best.  It just does.  It’s like filling your car with the right fuel… it runs better.  When I’m eating well and exercising I feel more energized, less stressed, and happier.
  • Healthy living can help with other health problems.  When I’m eating well I also gain a clearer complexion, and less chronic aches and pains (less headaches mainly). Awesome side effect.
  • Healthy living to me means moderation.  It doesn’t mean I can’t ever eat sweets again (like mopey Kelly was convincing me), it just means that they stay treats.  They stay something I eat and enjoy on occasion.
  • Being stronger is awesome.  Seriously I love feeling like I can step up to the plate whether it’s moving boxes, cleaning, running, or dancing… I just feel more durable.
  • Eventually it is a great coping mechanism (instead of turning to food when I’m stressed).  For me, I FINALLY feel like this is starting to happen.  Honestly, I still turn to food when I’m super stressed (oh gosh, huge wedding decision must eat peanut butter.  THE WHOLE JAR YUM!).  But… it’s getting better.  I don’t feel the need to emotionally eat all the time.  It still happens, but I want my new coping mechanism to be exercise or yoga.  It’s taken me about a year to fix this habit (honestly I didn’t realize that I did it until a few months ago), but changing habits is hard.  Again – so worth it.
  • And a little vanity – heck it’s awesome fitting into clothes, it makes shopping less stressful, and I’m not scared of getting my picture taken.
  • Long-term.  I’m taking care of my body to last a long time.  I’m doing it for me, but also my future husband (eek!), future kids (I’m on the 10 year plan), friends, family, or anybody that wants me around for a while.  I want to be healthy for me, but also for them!
  • Healthy living makes me feel more ambitious and outgoing.  When I’m healthy I feel like I can conquer the world.  It’s an awesome feeling and is worth all the effort to make it happen.
  • Living my old lifestyle was JUST as draining, though not in the same ways.  Sure I’m not spending all the time up front… but I pay for it in the long run.  I feel more sluggish, less happy, and not nearly as optimistic.

Any more to add to the list?  Leave me your thoughts in the comments.  Let’s get pumped up on why it’s worth the effort!!

There’s a reason it’s called a “change of lifestyle” – it means learning new habits and acquiring new skills.  And it’s hard.  If it was easy we’d be a population of lean, healthy, fit people!  And there wouldn’t be such things as “healthy-living” blogs.  But at the end of the day… it is so worth it.  Now next time I’m complaining about being burned out or not wanting to chop another pepper, just point me to this post.  Truthfully, I just needed to write this letter to myself to remind me why I began it all!  And what an awesome journey it has been!

Happy Fitness, friends!

-Kelly

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14 Responses to “Dedication to Fitness and Healthy Eating”

  1. hkzwart October 16, 2013 at 8:43 am #

    Well said… as always! :)

    • kelly @ racesrepsramblings October 16, 2013 at 11:20 am #

      Hahah awww thanks! :) This is my post to return to when I don’t want to wake up and exercise!!

  2. Lucy @ Lucy On The Lookout October 16, 2013 at 10:47 am #

    LOVE this Kelly! Mainly because I too had a bit of a “moment” when I was talking to my friend about almond milk and ‘chocomole’ and I was like “what on earth have I become?!” haha! But you are completely right on all the plus points especially making me feel at my best and making me address the issue of emotional eating (still a work in progress, the yumminess of pb makes it difficult to completely tackle ;) )!

    • kelly @ racesrepsramblings October 16, 2013 at 11:22 am #

      So glad you enjoyed it!! Hahah, I can totally relate to the “what on earth have I become?!” feeling… totally normal. And I feel like emotional eating will maybe always be a thing…but awareness is so key. I really wasn’t aware how much I did it! Oops :)

  3. Abby @ Change of Pace October 16, 2013 at 9:19 pm #

    Such a fantastic post! I think you get it, too. Healthy living is a lifestyle, not just something you force yourself to do!
    If I can’t run, my weight goes up…fast. With that being said, I always treat myself if I want something. If I don’t, I’ll eat a lot of other stuff before realizing I’m not satisfied and go for the treat anyway!
    I’m proud of you!! Congrats on the lifestyle change!!!

    • kelly @ racesrepsramblings October 17, 2013 at 9:02 am #

      Thanks so much! Yep, it’s not something to do for a few months – it really has to be a total life change! And I AGREE about enjoying treats… because that same thing happens to me! Funny how that works :) Thanks so much for your sweet words!

  4. Kimberly A. Daly October 16, 2013 at 10:05 pm #

    This post rocks and so do you! Congratulations on giving yourself the gift of healthy living! :) It’s tough being the girl at work with the green smoothie, but knowing you’re thinking more clearly, feeling more energetic, sleeping better, and living longer definitely makes it all worth it!

    • kelly @ racesrepsramblings October 17, 2013 at 9:04 am #

      Thanks so much! And you are so right, it really is a gift! Also glad to know I’m not the only one munching on my healthy snacks at work :) It is all worth it in the end!

  5. sincerelylily October 17, 2013 at 7:20 am #

    yayyyyy fabulous! sounds like you are loving all the benefits for the new lifestyle… keep it up girl :)

    “chopping parties” ahhhh this sounds like me. takes forever but worth it!

    • kelly @ racesrepsramblings October 17, 2013 at 9:06 am #

      Thanks lady!! So far so good. And yeah… chopping parties are the best. Pretty much the only way to guarantee healthy eating… it’s just so easy to eat veggies when they are portable and quick!

  6. Alex @ Brain, Body, Because October 17, 2013 at 10:18 pm #

    Kelly, you cover SO many important, major points in this post! I have also grappled with “healthy living” and all of the crazy things that it can entail. I have definitely experienced it in many extremes – being “too” physically healthy at the expense of mental health, being totally reckless and hedonistic, and being everything in between :P

    I think that focusing on WHY you want to be healthy is so important! For me, I feel best when it comes from a place of self-respect and interest in doing the best thing for my body and mind…when I rely on external factors (fitting into dresses, etc), then it makes me a lot crazier and more obsessive.

    Thank you for sharing! We’re all right there with ya :)

    • kelly @ racesrepsramblings October 18, 2013 at 9:30 am #

      Aww, I love it! I feel like I’m not alone!! :) Such common themes it seems. It is really hard to walk the line of moderation. Being healthy, but not going to an obsessive level. And you are so right – it is the WHY that matters. Focusing on the why can be really really helpful. I used this tactic this morning when I did not want to do Yoga. Instead of leaving my mat and stopping the DVD (which I REALLY wanted to do!) I paused and reflected on my ‘Why I do it’….”to improve flexibility, reduce stress, find calm, etc.” And it was incredibly helpful! I’m definitely going to keep these “Whys” in the fore front of my mind. MUCH more useful than “oh crap my dress.” Thanks for your thoughtful comment!!

  7. Catherine @ A Two Storey Home October 18, 2013 at 8:29 am #

    Awesome, honest post! I love it! I’ve definitely had similar thoughts–“I have to do this forever?? I can never just eat 4 slices of pizza every day??” If not for the word, “moderation” I’m pretty sure I’d throw in the towel :) Like you, I do not have a super fast metabolism, and I try to keep the perspective that ultimately it keeps me healthier–if I didn’t have vanity motivating me at least a little bit, I probably would eat a lot more crap. Now, when the desire to eat pizza outweighs the abstract desire to be healthy for my kids at some point in the future, I still have the real and present desire to fit into my jeans. :-D

    Have you ever read the book “Intuitive Eating”? If you haven’t, go buy a copy today and read it. The general principle is that our bodies know what they need, and if we learn to listen to them, we’re not going to want to eat an entire pizza in one sitting. It completely transformed my relationship with food in a great way! It touches on (and provides a solution to) a lot of those fears/bad feelings you mentioned at the beginning of your post.

    Also, in regards to those people who can eat whatever the heck they want and not gain weight… one time in college, I was at the gym with a friend (a fellow not-super-fast metabolism friend :)), and we bumped into another friend who I’m pretty sure was actually a model at the time–tall, thin, beautiful. She said, “Hey guys! Can y’all show me what to do? I’m not really a gym person…” After helping her we walked away and were both like, “That jerk…” :-D
    Sorry this comment is a novel…

    • kelly @ racesrepsramblings October 18, 2013 at 4:17 pm #

      I love novel comments!! :) It is always so awesome to hear “hey yep, not the only one!!” And you are right, it is the word moderation that is a life saver. It makes me realize, hey yeah you can eat fun things… you don’t have to live a life of no pizza… it just means maybe not pizza for every meal, all the time. And you bring up a brilliant point – that little bit of vanity is super helpful. Because you’re right, if I had Adam’s metabolism… I would likely eat a whole lot more candy. So good work body – thanks for making me be healthy! ;) I do think kids will help as well – I want to be a good example… I always said I wanted to get in control of my eating before I ever had to lead the way for someone else. When I think about the strides I’ve made as far as incorporating veggies and healthier foods it’s pretty awesome. In a few more years I should be ready to really lead the way! :)

      I have not read that book! I’ve heard of it, but haven’t gotten around to it. But clearly I need to! And… based on some of the things I’ve heard about it – I do think it’s true! I will definitely take a chance to read it, I’m sure it will make me feel validated in my thoughts! Let me know if you ever do a book review post of it ;)

      And HILARIOUS about your non-gym friend… so true. I have a few friends like that and it cracks me up. It’s like – how the heck do you have THAT body with no effort?? Amazing. Le sigh.

      Happy Friday and hope all is well! :)

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