Have you heard of “Diet Culture?” The professional definition is “a belief system that focuses on and values weight, shape, and size over well-being.”1 My own personal definition is “the reason why this whole thing is so freaking hard.”
Diet Culture: Yeah, you need to lose weight. Me: Well, first of all, why? Diet Culture: Because you look terrible so that must mean you are unhealthy. In other words, you need to try these diets to fix yourself. Me: But when I’ve used those I feel sad, angry, and then the weight comes back right after. Diet Culture: Well, that’s because you’re a fat sack of s*** that has no motivation. Look at this skinny girl, she’s intermittent fasting. Me: I call that “skipping breakfast,” which has been proven to slow your metabolism. Diet Culture: Okay, but these keto girls really look like they know what they’re doing. Me: Shouldn’t you have carbs if you lift weights? I’ve been getting into lifting lately. Diet Culture: Well that just sounds like quitter-talk. You’re supposed to run on a treadmill for hours to lose weight. Look at that skinny girl on the Stair-Master! Me: She looks legitimately bony. That doesn’t look healthy. Diet Culture: But skinny = healthy. What are you missing here? Do you think being fat is healthy? Me: Of course not, I – Diet Culture: Then we agree! Now next time your husband says he’d like to go out tell him that you can’t because you need to lose weight…
You get the picture.
Diet culture assumes that a skinny person is a healthy person and then encourages different eating/living patterns to support that. It is assumed that if a larger person is doing “healthy” things, they are doing it to lose weight. With diet culture, you can encourage any kind of disordered behavior in order to encourage weight loss.
“I started wrapping myself in sea weed and plastic wrap!” “I count every morsel of food that passes my lips.” “I only eat between 10-2 now.” “I have pills that make me not hungry at all, I practically have to force food down my throat.”
Seriously, can anyone see how crazy this is?
I don’t think I have to reiterate the health benefits that come with being a smaller size, but I think we should be encouraging healthy behaviors to get there. If we crash diet all the way to the smallest size, what’s going to happen when we try to “go back to normal?” Well, I can tell you. We do what 98% of dieters do: gain all the weight back and then some.2
Just like the beauty industry gains by making you feel ugly, diet culture gains by making you feel fat.
The whole philosophy of my brand is “ALL ROADS.” Freedom is the key. Living in freedom keeps you from these stupid habits that Diet Culture has taught us. But Freedom for me is not just “do whatever I want,” but it is “freedom from and in all things.”
If I go to binge and give myself the “freedom” to eat what I want, I’m not free at all. I’ve been captured by my binge and feel out of control. We have to be free to make the right choice in order for it to be real freedom.
All Foods? Are you sure?
Why not? It’s proven that restricting a thing brings it to the forefront of your mind more than if you were to indulge. How many times have you denied yourself a cookie at the office only to eat an extra helping of dessert at home? You would have saved yourself the guilt and pain of an over-full stomach and sugar crash if you had just had the darn cookie.
Maybe avoid food you’re allergic to, or food that hurts you. I have learned that soda makes my face break out, but sparkling water doesn’t… and I like sparkling water.
Whatever you decide, make the decision for yourself!
So in an effort to increase my knowledge of “ALL FOODS,” I’ll be expanding and adding updates more often about recipes I’m trying! Don’t forget to check out my recipe page to see all the goodies or try them out yourself.
1From “Eating Disorder Registered Dietitians & Professionals” website. 2Just as I have! I wrote about this in Weight Loss History.
I have been attempting to come up with a system of “dieting” that allows me to feel freedom and avoid binge-ing and anxiety. I came up with and tested the idea of a “Green Week” – a week where I spend 7 days eating between 1400-1750 calories a day.
I posted along the way on my Instagram story, but here below is a journal record of each day:
Saturday, September 12 – Day One
First day completed – not too shabby. The only draw back I experienced was going out to eat that night. We had some friends over and went to eat at my favorite local Mexican BBQ place. Normally, I would order a beautiful large Kansas BBQ Nachos, but today I ordered the small and a margarita. Surprisingly, I felt very satisfied when I finished.
When we stopped by a frozen yogurt shop, I ordered a latte instead and capped my calories at 1750. I would have felt a little left out if not for the latte – but I rank lattes and ice cream at the same pleasure level, so I was very happy.
Sancho’s Kansas BBQ Nachos are heaven – if you haven’t tried them, you haven’t lived.
Sunday, September 13 – Day Two
My husband and I walked around a local park and played Pokemon Go and bought ourselves some coffees. We ate at home, and I had mostly starches and proteins that kept me pleasantly full: even after our long walk that morning. 1600 calories
Monday, September 14 – Day Three
First day back to work for the week, and I’m always motivated on Mondays. I was already hungry when I got to work, so I had a granola bar. I made a protein shake at work (y’all should be jealous – we get a free smoothie every day for either breakfast or lunch). The husband had thawed some salmon for us to have for dinner. We polished off a filet each and some rice and I had a baked potato.
We finished the day feeling like we needed something sweet, but we luckily had some Ghost Chips Ahoy protein laying around. We each had a Chips Ahoy shake and I finished the day at 1550.
Tuesday, September 15 – Day Four
This was an EASY day. I was sore from a workout, which was reminding me to make good choices for the rest of the day. I had a coffee, a granola bar, a shake, and made some homemade fried rice ready at home.
I also walked 11,000 steps and finished the day at 1500 cal.
Wednesday, September 16 – Day Five
This day was a hard day – I had only a coffee for breakfast, and some left over fried rice for lunch. I ordered some DoorDash for a friend and I to get some Sonic (frozen lemonades for the win) and the husband made some Beef Stroganoff that I horked down really quickly. By the end of the day I was still hungry and only had about 200 calories left.
I finished it off with a baked potato (I have been LOVING baked potatoes lately) and finished the day at barely 1750.
Thursday, September 17 – Day Six
Hard by design – I woke up hungry and took no lunch to work. I had a coffee, couldn’t stomach another shake and ordered a breakfast wrap from ProteinHouse. This would normally be okay, as I’d be at 900 calories for the day and could have something filling for dinner – but we had plans.
Our friends came over so we could finish the big finale for my husband’s D&D campaign. We had homemade pizzas (by my estimation, about 700 calories), and I couldn’t resist dipping in the candy bowl several times. Between the drinks I had and the candy I ate, I easily went over a yellow day, and probably into a red day.
Friday, September 18 – Day Seven
I’ve been trying to figure out why yesterday went so poorly, but as I look back on these entries I can see why – when I went to bed on Day Four, I was easily very far below my calories burned for the day. I woke up hungry on Day Five and had nutrient-poor things to eat. Day Six I ordered something that had sounded healthy – a protein-dense lunch, but when I looked up the calories afterward, the avocado and other items inside had racked up the calorie count to close to 900.
So when dinner came, I ate the pizza and wanted sweets. I didn’t restrain myself to just the carrots and by the time I’d had my second drink in hand I knew I was at yellow. I gave myself in to “Oh well, I’ve blown it,” and dove in headfirst. I have to find a way that lets me feel like even if one meal throws me off balance, it’s not too hard to correct.
Today I woke up not very hungry, but could feel it setting in by the time I got to work. I had a granola bar, my coffee, and a friend bought me my first Acai bowl (which was freaking delicious, wow!). By the end of lunch, I had about 700 calories in my system.
Hubby and I did a Datebox with Happily.co on Friday – we made some scones together (that turned out terrible!) I finished the day barely green!
It is now Monday as I write this, and I’ve already noticed a couple of things:
With eating protein and starches still, I’ve found it difficult to even reach high numbers without being morbidly full.
I accidentally had a Green Day on Saturday (we spent so much of our evening at IKEA and then building a table, I had forgotten to eat! By the time it was 7:00 I was starting to feel hungry, so I had a baked potato and was pretty quickly satiated.
Yellow – 2000 calories seems doable to me now. I think that small period of slight restriction might have been enough for me to… recalibrate? I’m satisfied at 2000, I’m eating foods that don’t take up 1700 calories in one meal, my hunger isn’t as strong as it was…
Overall, it definitely produced some interesting results and I’m excited to try it again next month, and do some research in the interim.
Do you have any questions about how it went? Comment, message, save – I’d love to answer and talk about it.
Here we are, about four months after the conception of this blog, and I think it’s time to examine the data! (That sentence sounds a lot more exciting if you imagine Howie Mandel reading it)
As some of you might have seen on my blog, I’ve made my very own version of goal setting and keeping in my Erin Condren LifePlanner – A small box to add to my monthly dashboard that keeps a record of my calories. For the last two and a half months, I have labeled every day I’ve had as either a GREEN day, a YELLOW day, or a RED day.
The idea is that if I got my calories around 1500, then I had a GREEN day. 1500 is the number I’m using because I am mainly sedentary at my job, and I only work out two or three times a week. I still count a 1700 calorie day as a GREEN day.
A YELLOW day, then, is a day where I ate about the same amount of calories that I likely expended, meaning I had no change. I estimate this around 2000, though a lot of calculators might suggest that would be closer to 2400 if my metabolism were to increase.
A RED day is a day where I definitely ate more than I expended. This is a day when I had a second piece of cheesecake, or a day where I was around family and we mindlessly grazed together. (You might see a couple of those around my Labor Day Weekend)
For now, I’m using MyFitnessPal to track the amount of calories in the foods I am eating, but it really is becoming intuitive now. I can usually estimate by the end of the day whether I have had a green, yellow, or red day. That is the hope by the end of this experiment – that I will intuitively know what kind of day I had by thinking back on it, rather than spending my time obsessively adding every ounce of olive oil I put on my toast.
So DATA ANALYSIS TIME > > >
Both July & August I had a near even amount of Green and Red days while being somewhat conscious of my eating. If I were to have eaten recklessly, those green days would not exist at all. So with a slight change, I’ve managed to stop my weight gain (Since I was still working out in the meantime and have been going on walks, some of those yellow days may have counted as green days, but also some of those yellow days may have really been red days in disguise).
In both July and August, I lost 0.4 lb, but as of September 1, have lost:
1.5 inches at my bust
0.5 inches at my waist
0.5 inches at my hips
0.5 inches on each arm
Slow progress is still progress!
So an idea: since my every day has been by-and-large successful, let’s jump start my progress for just one week. For one week a month, I will log every meal on my Instagram story and get Green Days every day.
Then follow that Green Week (patent pending) with a Yellow Week. This is to give my metabolism a chance to catch its breath. Then back to normal for two weeks.
There are tons of pros to the system that I can think of and I’ve outlined them below.
What are your thoughts? Is this a terrible idea? A great idea? Do you want to join me?
Sometimes… I am KILLING it. Two weeks ago, I had my Thursday 5k, I ate about 1350 calories – some of it in the delicious pasta recipe I had seen. I didn’t go back for seconds, and I crocheted and watched This is Us instead of late-night snacking.
Some days, I do great – even on the weekend. I do everything I am supposed to – I work out! I go to bed at a good time! I even clean! …And there have been a lot of days where this doesn’t happen. I wake up late, I grab a sugary granola bar for a snack, I dump some creamer in my coffee, I make a peanut butter cheesecake and have a second piece.
I made an Insta post this week with the caption: “Anxiety, you don’t go away overnight – but I am trying to pack your bags.” I don’t know how to go about making everything better all at once, and it drives me crazy. I’m still trying to climb that mountain in one, single, Superman-esque bound.
My therapist says I do not forgive myself easily, and I see it. I tend to always find a way to put the blame on myself, no matter what the circumstance was. I should have tried harder, I should have gritted my teeth – it is within me to make the change or to fix the relationship… even when I know that not everything can be controlled or fixed with such determination.
In fact, just today, I realized (in a session with the glorious Michelle of course) that a lot of my fear stems from this idea that when I fail or mess up, it causes people to leave. I fear that those who love me or care about me are pretending or that I tricked them somehow – so the idea of messing up? That’s terrifying. Messing up breaks the spell I put on them, or is the straw that makes someone not care enough to pretend to like me. I think somewhere along the line I decided that I was only beneficial/loveable to people if I did my very best.
One of my professors in college used to sit me down and say “Jessica is enough,” and the words never sunk in. I thought “Well, I am not enough if I don’t do what is right, if I don’t do the right things to keep people around.” These thoughts are hard to get rid of, because in some ways, they are true. We have to be good people, we should be helpful, but worth doesn’t come from our actions.
I struggled this past week with getting the nerve to write another post because I was afraid I would come off like a hypocrite who was trying to teach the world to be better when I had nothing together. I also didn’t want an emotional post that gave no one any benefit. Here’s my concession for both: I don’t have anything together. I am fighting all of the time against my anxiety and my fears. I am constantly reminding myself of reality. Here is what I am doing to get through the valleys and the days I don’t do what I am supposed to do… and maybe it helps someone else.
I am learning to ground myself – not to my room, but to the environment and reality around me. It reminds me of a book (that I am afraid to spoil the ending of) where the main character, after trauma unfolds in her life over and over again, learns to be okay by reciting every good thing she had ever seen someone do.
I am married to a husband who loves me and chose me. I am working at a company that chose me to work for them. I have friends who choose to hang out with me and talk to me about their lives. I remind myself of these things over and over again. This keeps me from sinking into my mind with uncontrollable thoughts of not deserving the things I have, or this weird impostor syndrome I seem to have developed.
I cannot fix all of me at once. This I must remember. I have so many anxiety-ridden habits and poor health habits.
I love to eat, as referenced in my Emotional Eating post. I bite my nails and the inside of my mouth. I pick at scabs. A lot of my favorite hobbies involve sitting still. I love carbs, and I love late night eating… and every time I feel like I am cracking the whip on one bad habit, the others swing to the forefront again.
I have to focus on one thing at a time and let the others lay where they lay for the moment. If I have to get a manicure to cover my nails, that’s okay. If I have some pasta dishes more often than not, but I am not binging at 11pm anymore, that’s okay. If the only workout I do for the day is a short walk, that is okay.
It may be possible as well that we can re-frame those days where we’re not as productive, and even do them on purpose. A friend of mine, Jess, describes these days as “Expand Days.” These days are for when you need to refresh or reset. The point is to allow your mind to expand to new ideas, avenues of thought or ways of doing things. You achieve it by just chilling out and “being,” not actively doing anything but enjoying the present moment. Having “Expand Days” or even just good-old rest days on purpose may help me feel like I am not slipping up, but being intentional.
In 7th grade, I dreaded gym class. I was your average gym student – not the slowest or the fastest – but mannnn I hated it. I heard we were going to have the 20-minute run in the Spring and I would have sworn to you that my stomach turned to lead. The day of came and the gym teacher said a phrase that sounded like heaven: “Even if you granny-shuffle the whole thing, I will be happy and you’ll still pass.”
You best believe I did just above a granny-shuffle. And I even found a way to pass the time as we ran around the football track: I pretended I was on the field and dodging other players. I found out what the minimum was, and because I am that kind of person, made sure I did better than at least that. I knew I couldn’t be the best, but as soon as I found out I didn’t have to, I felt so much better.
I am not your skinny Instagram fitgirl and blogger. I am focusing on small successes and personal progress. I am becoming more full with smaller meals. I am making better choices on dinners. I am feeling better in my clothes, even if the scale hasn’t changed much yet. Personal Bests are all I can get right now, and it still feels pretty good.
Thanks for reading y’all. Let me know what solutions you use for ignoring that voice in your head. What do you do when your progress doesn’t feel like it’s enough?
“I have been thinking about the idea of excuses for some time now. They are like menacing demons that creep into our lives without us knowing. They are roadblocks, white lies to ourselves, a reason to set the bar lower, and self-justification for achieving less than our full potential.”
Lorii Myers, No Excuses, The Fit Mind-Fit Body Strategy Book
It’s time! The time has come! It’s time to get real. Gettin’ Real with Jessica. No, that’s awful – I’m not calling it that. Let’s just call it honesty and move on.
I talked in my last post about my weight loss history and about how my pattern is to all-or-nothing, lose a bunch of weight fast for one event, then gain it all back (and sometimes then-some) only to repeat the process over and over again. This may not be the case for you, or for anyone else, but this is mine.
The obvious solution? Make real, lasting changes to my entire lifestyle. Make better choices in food and activity, make healthier dinners, go on walks, exercise. So why don’t I do it? Because it’s freaking terrifying! I love when “fit girls” go “It’s a lifestyle change, not a diet,” because that sounds scary af. Who wants to change the entire way they are living life cold turkey? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?
Another thing I’m scared of? Hiking. (Please stop laughing.) I get up to the foot of whatever darned thing I’m hiking up and stare up at that stinking summit and just groan. “How am I supposed to get up there? This is a huge task!” I think. The few times I have gone hiking, I’ve had these thoughts and it is only when I stop looking up at the summit that I can just think about one step at a time and only about halfway through do I start to think that I can actually reach the top.
Perhaps this is one and the same fear. I stare at the summit – the summit here being “a Jessica who is free of her anxiety habits (biting nails, chewing cheeks, excessive worrying, OCD habits, spiraling), a Jessica who is at a healthy weight, who exercises regularly, makes amazing healthy dishes, never emotionally eats, gets to enjoy back dimples and maybe a little abs. “That is an insane amount of ground to cover, how on earth am I supposed to do that?”
And my health blueprint says “All or nothing! Jump in with both feet or it’s not worth doing! Do it for three weeks until that big thing coming up so you’ll be able to wear that dress you like!” If we’re going with the hiking analogy, I tell myself I can jump from the bottom to the top in one go and that’s the only way that it’ll be worth it. This analogy is starting to fall apart though, so I am going to let it go.
So instead of doing what I normally do, let’s start by identifying the roadblocks that always get in the way, and maybe by the end of identifying them, I’ll have a few simple steps I can start with. Now, which things stop me from having better health and mental habits?
Emotional Eating (Eating for Comfort)
This is the excuse I believe we are all familiar with. Our busy schedules, trips, events, and daily lives can all take away that precious time we need. This is not a topic I feel I should or need to preach on, because my daily schedule is not busy enough to have a good excuse here. I don’t have children to cart about, and my husband and I have regular office jobs. We do little else but work and go home, and the occasional weekend get-together or D&D sesh.
However, I can identify a special time when “Time” itself gets in the way, and it’s holidays. Whenever I am out of town or have family or friends by, I find it hard to stick to things I want to. Who wants to work out when they could hang out with their best friend? Or wants to have a salad when you need to show your family the place with the amazing nachos you’ve been talking about?
Here is a crossroads for me, and for all of us. We have three options.
Abandon all healthy habits with family/friends. Eat dessert first, eat as much as you like because events are the only time you can let go.
Ease off the gas on holidays and with family/friends. Enjoy the time you have, but in moderation. You can have a piece of cake, but don’t have the second.
Stay strict at all times. Be the guy who brings pretend dressing to Thanksgiving or better yet, the guy who sips a protein smoothie at Christmas dinner. (You can see I’m not fond of this option)
I think pure abandon is probably not the best route, but it is the route I am most familiar with (and is the reason I’ve gotten sick at Christmas, twice!). I need to make practical steps towards ordering the smaller ice cream, getting water, and moderation at holidays and with family, but not using it as an excuse. I can also feel free to avoid hour-long workouts when I am on vacation, but it’s not a bad idea to go on an afternoon walk with some family.
There, Jessica, not so hard to take one step up that huge mountain!
*shudder* I have so much money anxiety. I’ll probably get to talking more about it at a later date, but I think just the one anecdote may get the idea across:
Leaving college, my wonderful grandparents sent me some graduation money that I used to deposit on a rental and furnish said-house. After doing all of that, I had some money left over and decided to get an Xbox so I would be able to play with my then-boyfriend. As I left Wal-Mart with the box under my arm, I had a panic attack in the car. I hyperventilated and would have returned it immediately had my boyfriend not started driving me away.
And so, you see, money and I are not usually friends. Particularly ~ spending money ~ and I are not friends.
Last year, I followed a diet plan with FitGirls and budgeting extra money for the expensive healthy meals they wanted had helped a bit, but only for the month that I did it and not for a long-term solution.
A couple of things have already begun to help me: following healthy blogs and other ladies on Instagram for one! They have great recipes that look not only easy to make, but like they are delicious. I also found ALDI, a grocery store which sells overstock goods, as well as off-brand foods (which are just as good), and cheap produce! *ahem* Let me repeat myself. “CHEAP PRODUCE.” The same grocery products I bought at a Wal-Mart when I lived in small town Kansas are 40-80% cheaper at ALDI now that I live in the Kansas City area.
I feel like money is one of those easy arguments, but at-home workouts have always been an option, and especially now, during and after the Stay-At-Home order, I think that is becoming more and more apparent. I do wonder how our gyms around the nation will be affected by this realization.
This is so big a topic (especially for me), I believe I will be writing a post about this over the weekend. Stay tuned!
By this, I mean dates! Hanging out! Galas, banquets, and events literally built around the food we will eat! I can’t say no to you, crab puff. Nor you, buffet. Nor you, ice cream date.
My husband and I bond over food. We love to eat together and to go to restaurants. Local places, chains, sit-downs, drive-thrus, you name it.
One solution I’m implementing? Our date is now a walk and cooking together. Chop these veggies, I’ll make the pasta. I’d love to Pokemon Go again and do that for a whole Saturday afternoon. Let’s find festivals of food, where we’ll have to walk around in the sun to enjoy the tastes. Let’s try new things and not just new foods!
“I’ll give you something to cry about!” Anyone else hear that one growing up?
You want motivation? I’ll give you motivation.
Working out increases your metabolism, improves your mood, helps to prevent all kinds of health problems like diabetes, poor circulation, poor immune systems, etc.
Having better nutrition helps your skin, your energy levels, your longevity, etc.
Taking better care of your mental health… is self-explanatory.
But all of this is head knowledge that I am sure you and I already have. Motivation comes from within – from wanting to be better.
And I want to be better. I’m done being worse, or being okay. I’m ready to be better. This, my motivation, will drive the rest of those roadblocks out of the way with time. Even if I stumble or fall back, there’s always tomorrow.
Here, by the way, is the summit of the first mountain I really hiked:
We all have a history. Sometimes it’s our childhood, our 20’s, a weirdly obsessive ex… sometimes it’s our weight loss.
Man, oh man, do me and my weight loss have a history. In high school I barely had to think about it. I was more concerned with the drama my family was always having or with ignoring it by focusing on the drama my friends were having. It was easier to think on things like the boy I liked at the time or on my friend’s most recent fight with another friend than to dwell on anything else.
I knew I wasn’t a stick figure, but I knew I wasn’t fat, so I ignored my weight and ate what I wanted. I did my Senior Pictures in the December snow of 2012 and then headed off for my year-long missionary program.
Three months in Montana with my missionary group was a blast, of course. I went to Bible classes, made close friends with the other 11 members of my class and prepared to start the six-month middle leg of the journey in Costa Rica. I ate and ate and ate at every meal. By the time I returned I felt overweight for the first time.
However, six months in Costa Rica quickly changed that. I was outside and in the sun daily, drinking tons of water, eating nearly nothing but fruit and vegetables from the local farmer’s market, and playing with kids 6 out of my 7 days a week. By the time I returned from Montana, without doing anything on purpose, I was the smallest I had ever been.
I felt amazing! Everything fit beautifully, I could put on anything I wanted and feel comfortable, and I had done nothing on purpose! I headed back to live with my parents in November and stayed through January, celebrating the holidays with gusto and returned back to my normal right before college.
College brought its own set of insecurities, and while I’d love to talk more about the people and moments that brought some of that on, I feel that it may still be too fresh for the people I know and would be out of taste. Regardless, my first year of college brought my first year – ever – dieting. I did MyFitnessPal and lost 10lbs for my banquet dress, and then relaxed again, reinflating over the summer. I lost again another 10lbs before the holidays, and reinflated even more after the holidays of 2014 and following. So on the cycle continued until I began to date my now husband, Matthew.
We found that we were a lazy couple – we loved video games, TV shows, card games, strategy games. We loved driving around and going to eat. Every year I would start to lose some weight – a max of 15 lbs at a time – and immediately after gain it back.
When we got engaged, I was convinced that I was going to lose weight for the wedding. #sweatingforthewedding I called it, of course. I used MyFitnessPal, I joined FitGirls, I tried Advocare and Smart Coffee. I hit 150lbs in 2019, not quite what I was post-Costa Rica, but so close, and all the wedding events leading up were getting in the way of workouts and spending money on more expensive food. I also couldn’t really afford to lose any more, as my wedding dress would have need torn apart to make it any smaller.
When the wedding day came, I had regained 5lbs, going back to 155 lbs, but I felt great in my dress. Of course, I always take advantage of any time I get to post a wedding photo, so enjoy:
Since our wedding and honeymoon, we’ve hunkered down like true newlyweds, doing all of our favorite things and eating all of our favorite things. Before we knew it, we had gained what we’re calling “the marriage-30″(+).
I can tell you that I never expected to regain all of the weight. I had hoped that with my greater loss, when I bounced back I would just go up the normal 10-15lbs, and then I could lose it again afterwards and it wouldn’t take too long once I decided to nose-to-the-grindstone. LORDY WAS I WRONG. It all came back with a vengeance.
Now I say all this (boring) history because our history is usually a good indicator of what I am calling our Body-Blueprint. Our habits and our ways of thinking typically follow a blueprint that we’ve created long ago (on purpose or not), and when we let an aspect of ourselves go on auto-pilot, we follow the blueprint to a tee. This also applies to money and the way we spend, but here I found it helpful to really examine the way I handle my body – and to see the way my weight loss journey has twisted and turned.
My habits are:
Find a special event to lose weight for. (Banquets, Dances, Summer, Wedding, Vacation, Birthday, etc.)
Lose the weight as intensely as I can in an all-or-nothing attitude. (Calorie restrictions, 6 days a week exercise, etc.)
Immediately jump into my “life back to normal” afterwards. (Little to no exercise, eating what I want when I want)
Ignore the damage I’m doing until all my progress is gone. (“5 lbs is easy to lose” “I can do this this weekend and I’ll diet next week”)
Feel terrible about it.
Clearly, my problem is not losing weight, but in making it unsustainable and then having no plan to keep it all off. I’m tired of fitting into my favorite clothes for one trip or event! I want to fit in them for the rest of my life! It’s time for me to dig deep, and find some lasting strategies.
Check out my Instagram for some “before” pictures. I am going to be putting on the clothes I want to keep for the rest of my life and use them as my signposts for success as the months go on.
What do you find to be your biggest roadblock in your blueprint? What in your blueprint needs a red line markup? Thanks for reading and let me know what strategies you find helpful.
This week was the start of what I am calling my new beginning. See, I have a tendency to avoid these hard-line statements in favor of qualifiers. I love “for now” and “we’ll see” and “I’m hoping,” because these give me an out. When I mess up, I have license to throw the whole idea away… but this time I won’t let myself do it. I am saying, right here, right now, that this is the beginning of a Jessica that cares about her well-being. As comfortable as sad and anxious and chunky can be (and we can talk about the comfort of staying where we are later), I need to step out of that, and learn that “Yum,” isn’t just what I am used to. “Yum” can be found wherever we are.
Why do this? Why a blog and an Instagram?
Accountability! The more people I have on my team, watching my posts, reading my words, the more liable I am to stay on track! (The Stick)
Fun! I love writing, and I enjoy making content. Everyone enjoys that sweet, sweet validation of likes and comments, but just the creation process makes me feel worth-while. (The Carrot)
I hope that as I create content and post that you, you reading this, will be one of my helpers. I need a community around me. The fewer people I tell, the more likely I am to quit. The more people I have to help me… well, many hands make light work. So thank you in advance for helping me in the changes I am making.
So now for another big question: “But why though? What needs changing so bad?” This is the hard part, the honesty. Here, I am hoping that as I become honest, you’ll feel the real urgency of the change that needs wrought.
The most obvious and easiest thing to change; my outward appearance. This includes both losing weight and getting in shape. “But Jessica, you look great!” Nah, I don’t need that! What I need is to have a healthy BMI, be able to go up the stairs without panting, and darn if I wouldn’t love to look slammin’ in a bikini. These outward changes are worth making, but your point does lead me to my next change.
I need to change the way I see myself. I am your everyday girl, and I feel just as insecure about my body, about my opinions, about myself as any other girl (Not to say that guys can’t feel insecure, but stay with me). Isn’t it… exhausting? It’s bad enough to have the rest of the world question your authority, your education, your abilities, your appearance, your motives without doing it to your-darn-self. I am ready to leave that behind, and learn to trust myself.
It’s time to stop embracing my anxiety as a part of me. I have been diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) and my therapist is constantly giving me tips and books to help me control/understand it. What do I normally do with these wonderful resources? IGNORE THEM. It is so much more comfortable to sit in my worries and sift through them over and over again – to let the current of the whirlpool take me down to the bottom again – than it is to fight against it. Fighting your own nature…. #feelsbadman
Each of these has its own subtopics and side-rants that I can get into as I address each. There’s no fix-all for this stuff, and there’s no guarantees. There isn’t a manual and no one-size-fits-all.
That’s where the name of this blog comes from: “All Roads Lead to Yum” means that we can find happiness where we are. That ice cream and avocado toast are both acceptable. That size 2 or size 10 are okay. That anxiety doesn’t go away overnight, but that we can take a road, take one step at a time and make choices that lead down the road to… well, I’m calling it “Yum,” because there is no perfect this side of heaven. There’s progress, but no perfection.
So here we go. Let’s get started. Take my advice with a grain of salt, since really I am giving the advice to me – but hear me out – and comment and like so I can know where your head is at. Thanks for reading, guys and let’s dive in. Step…. one.