How many of you have weight loss (in one form or another) as one of your New Year’s Resolutions? And how many of you have ever had weight loss as one of your New Year’s Resolutions?
In walks the New Year and we are all bright eyed at the thought of starting over with a fresh, new beginning. We want to be better with money, have more enjoyable jobs and ameliorate our relationships with spouses, children, siblings, parents, friends and co-workers. And we want to improve our health. Sometimes it sounds so simple, but by the end of the year, we’ve lost a few, gained a few, lost a few more, gained a few more and the cycle continues.
We needlessly guilt ourselves into thinking we’ll be better people if only we can fit into a smaller size dress, or have a “bikini ready body” whatever that is. This ideal seems to be in a constant state of change. We want less fat, or no fat, toner arms, a flat stomach and more slender thighs. And we surrender to a state of utter despair every time we weigh in at the bathroom scale.
We restrict certain foods we love because they are “bad”. We eat less and exercise more. We try fad diet after fad diet in hopes that this will be the one that finally helps us lose weight and keep it off.
I’ve been there and I’ve done that in my pre-vegan days. And I hate to admit it, but rather recently as well. Last month I was in a bad place. I had gained a fair amount of weight since the move to California… I actually weighed (and probably still do, but refuse to look at the scale for fear of it demolishing what little self-esteem I have left) more than I have since my pre-vegan days. And in the month of October I lost almost every last pound… which to my startling discovery was over 10 pounds in the span of about 4 weeks. I didn’t eat any of my favourite foods for fear of weight gain and I exercised at least 2 hours a day. Wednesdays I actually went to a 1-hour bootcamp at 6am in the morning, took a 4 mile bike ride later in the day and went back for another hour of bootcamp at 6pm. I ran a minimum of 10km (usually 13km+) every Saturday without fail and was seeing a personal trainer. I was determined to get the weight off. But was I determined or desperate?
Then I sprained my ankle and was on bed rest for a month! An entire month of no exercise at all. I gained weight as I overcompensated for having not eaten all of my favourite foods in October and ate them every day in November.
So by the time December rolled around, I was feeling pretty crappy. I had also experienced a very large stress in the month of November, which only added fuel to the fire.
Then I walked in to my Naturopath’s office for my weigh in to see this:
And it got me thinking. I am in a constant battle with myself to look better and in the past 4 years (before moving here), I managed to find a pretty healthy relationship with food. I initially lost weight in a healthy way, without really trying. I got rid of the junk in my cupboards and starting being more active. I wasn’t actively cutting certain foods out and exercising to the point of complete exhaustion. I maintained my weight within a 10-pound radius for over three years and set healthy goals for myself.
I tried to figure out why after gaining a fair amount of weight why I was being so hard on myself. I am a perfectionist at heart and am a Certified Group Fitness Instructor and a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and I feel like I should look a certain way (thin, slender, little fat etc). I then tried to think of all of the qualities my closest friends have. Not once did I think of thin or slender as things I like best about them. My friends are the most beautiful people I know and it’s because they are kind, compassionate, empathetic, funny, smart, caring, energetic, sweet, helpful, thoughtful… and the list is endless.
I remember a very close friend of mine once told me she used to be made fun of for her large nose. I remember looking at her confused, trying to see this big schnoz, but couldn’t find it anywhere on her face. To this day, I never notice her nose. I think her face is beautiful. And if I don’t notice the flaws my friends seem to think they have in themselves, then maybe, just maybe, they don’t notice the flaws I think I have either.
I have gained weight, and I do want to lose it. But I’ve gained something more important; perspective. My goal is to rediscover that healthy relationship with food I found after becoming vegan and the passion for fitness when I first started teaching… and the rest, well, it will fall in to place.