I am not a fitness-oriented person by any means. As a kid, gym was my most hated subject and when the option came in high school to forgo it altogether, I took it and never looked back. It didn’t help that I’ve always been the fat kid, the chubby girl, the awkward one with no grace or speed or strength and I was always incredibly self-conscious whenever I failed to do a push-up or pull-up. It wasn’t until much later, when I was in college and surrounded by skinny Florida bombshells that I decided to stop feeling sorry for myself and do a little something for my health.
No, it wasn’t going to the gym. I did give it a try, but well… I already said that I hated exercising.
It began with food, learning more about what was healthy for me and what was not. Adding more vegetables and greens, trading steaks and pork for chicken and fish, opting to cook rather than dining out, drinking water instead of tea and soda, eating fruits rather than candy bars. And what amazing progress I made with it! Just from changing what I stuff in my face, I damn near lost 15 pounds and I felt great! For the first time in my life I felt confident in how I looked – even better, I felt powerful for taking control like that! It was me that did this and nobody else. I started to be proud of the person I saw in the mirror, and my newfound confidence reflected in my appearance as well. Instead of hoodies, I wore tank tops and form-fitting shirts; loose jeans became tighter, Converse were switched to heels. I even colored and styled my hair for the first time, and played around with makeup. All the stuff I thought only ‘pretty’ girls could do, and now I was doing them as well!
Over the years I’ve retained that confidence and used it as a foundation to build myself into the person that I am today. I used it to strengthen my voice and my self-esteem so I could stop caring so much about what other people thought and start caring more about what I thought. I gained friends and lost them, dated, traveled and basically started exploring my personality. I realized that the Old Me was someone who wouldn’t live past 30, so I laid her to rest and use her blueprints to make the New Me. I’m bigger, badder, stronger, harder and I love it! Sure, I still have some tune-ups I need to make, but doesn’t everyone?
If there’s one thing I don’t like about the New Me however, it’s that I started going backwards on the one thing that boosted all this change : my diet. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t use “diet” in the way that the commercial industry uses it today. I mean it in that it’s literally what I’m eating, and currently I am not proud of it. Oh, I’m still stubbornly clinging on to my healthy habits – I’ve switched to becoming a “flexitarian” (which apparently just means being a terrible vegetarian and eating meat occasionally) and I’ve signed up to a yoga membership (which I’m lucky to go to 1x week). But I’ve also started eating out more, eating more sweets, walking less, and generally sitting around on my ass and letting my inner (haha) fat kid take over. While I will never regret stuffing my face with delicious Indian curries or burgers (mmm) because I do not promote restricting yourself from your pleasures, I do regret how much I do it. What used to be a bi-monthly or even monthly vice has become weekly, and now it’s not a surprise to find that I’ve dined out four times that week and none of the foods I’ve chosen have been remotely good for me.
To be fair, I don’t really have the free life of a college student anymore. I’ve moved out of my parents house and now I have bills to pay. I can’t afford to buy the nice selections of fish or fresh vegetables and fruits, and I definitely can’t shop at the organic food stores anymore. When I wake up at 4:30am to work for 10 hours of my waking day, the last thing I want to do is go for a walk or drive to my yoga studio after I get home. I just want to grab something quick, park myself in front of the computer, and chill with my cats. It’s the unfortunate life of most working Americans and I’ve fallen into it hard.
It wouldn’t bother me too much, except now when I look in the mirror I see all the progress I’ve made over the years fall to the wayside. Yeah, I still consider myself ‘pretty’ and I try not to be so harsh about my weight, but 5 years of confidence-building is not enough to cover 20+ years of doubt and self-hate. I refuse to allow the Old Me to rise from the ashes and I am going to take charge again if it kills me. I’ll still eat delicious food, I’ll still go out and have fun, but I’m going to do it in moderation. I’m going to get my lazy ass out of the chair and go take a walk or drive to yoga. It’s going to be hard and I’m going to slip sometimes, but it’s something that needs to be done. This is the only life that I have, the only body I’m going to get, and I want it to still be in good condition when I’m 50. I want to climb mountains when I’m 70, and when I’m 90 I want to look in the mirror and tell myself “Damn, I did good!”
My plan is two-fold: First, it’s the Fitbit. A $100 piece of technology that would otherwise be useless to me except it’s going to remind me of my goal. Every time I look at it, every time I go to the app, I’m going to use it as the motivation I need to move. Whether it’s just getting away from my desk at work or walking around my block at home, I’m going to stop being so friggin’ lazy. Yes I’ll be tired after work, but my exhaustion will be worth it when I’m in my 60s and still haven’t had a hip replacement.
Second, this blog. My issue with calorie counters (which the Fitbit has) is that you have to know the nutritional content and calories that are in your food, and that’s pretty worthless when you’re home-cooking most of the time or eating international foods. So I’m going to use this blog to keep me accountable on what I eat. My plan is to take pictures of my major meals whenever possible and any excess snacks (ex. I’m not going to care about one piece of fun-sized candy, but if I eat 6 of them then that’s a problem), then update every Sunday and Wednesday the foods I’ve eaten those 3-4 days. Maybe I’ll also include my exercise/fitness/Fitbit results. I’ve used a food diary before, but I’ve always been a visual person and I’m hoping taking this extra step will force me to be more accountable about my diet.
I’ve heard about blogs changing people’s life and I’m hoping it’ll do the same for me. It’s going to be a tough road, but I’ve done enough bitching and whining over the past two years that even I’m getting sick of hearing myself. So, we’ll see how it goes….
It’s time to turn this whimper into a bang!