Improving myself on my own terms

t5520_DearDiet_COTT_BLK__29656.1405362027.600.600Weight loss is usually never fun and dieting is even worse. The word alone causes some people to break out into hives because the whole process stresses them out so much. I, like many before and after me, have been through my fair share of diet plans, aka “YoYo diets,” and every single one of them failed because together we just weren’t a perfect fit. Plans like Weight Watchers where points dictate the foods you eat, Nutrisystem where the pre-packaged “meals” look worse than cafeteria lunches in high school and taste the same while leaving you lusting over the cardboard box afterward because you’re still starving, Slim-Fast where the shakes and meal replacement bars are all fruit and/or chocolate flavored so every single meal during the day is a faux dessert and you’re just never satisfied and you’re hungry, Visalus where the shake powder tastes great but you never lose a pound and you still don’t know what the hell that plan was even about, Special K where the food is similar to Slim-Fast but it tastes better but you’re still hungry and looking for more diverse choices, Flat Belly Diet which I loved but it cost me so much money to create the meals I now just use the cookbook sparingly, and now the 21 Day Fix by Team Beachbody.

Like all diet plans, the cost involved is usually more than anyone intends to spend on groceries and the people promoting them are rich so eating all organic, whole foods for every meal is easy for them. Well, for folks like myself, this just isn’t true. When I did my shopping for the 21 Day FIx last weekend, I almost vomited at the register when the cashier told me I owed almost $200 for what I felt barely looked like anything. My bags were filled with so many fruits and vegetables that I’m surprised the produce section was still there. I also had some meat, although that was barely anything since I had some still in my freezer at home. This bag was mainly the whole foods I’d have to eat during the week on this meal plan and checking out hurt so bad. I was tempted to say screw it and leave it all right there but I didn’t. Instead, I vowed to give myself a fully devoted first week and see how I felt. Well, that week is over and now it’s time to weigh in on the subject.

MjAxMy0yNzEzZTZlODNlNzU1MmZlIn a perfect world, everyone would be their ideal weight and eating healthy would be affordable for everyone. Unfortunately, we live in the real world that is as flawed as we are, and eating well is just not so simple for everyone, especially college students that are living paycheck to paycheck. So, we do what we can to make the best choices for us and we compromise on things that we can in order to live as comfortably as possible. This plan, while having several awesome benefits, is also lacking in areas that make me uneasy and therefore I am going to tweak it and live by what makes me feel good. Everyone has an opinion about what everyone else is doing, especially strangers, but it’s truly none of their business. People have said things like, “eat less, lose weight,” “this is only temporary, it won’t last forever,” “food doesn’t have to taste good, this is about becoming healthy and then you can go back to the things you love in moderation.” When I say that I’m going to tweak the plan, I am met with looks that I’ve seen so many times. Those that shout “oh, you’re giving up on yet another plan. I knew this wouldn’t last.” But you know what? It is lasting, I am just smarter now. I am fully committed to attaining a healthier lifestyle because it makes me feel good to exercise and eat great food, contrary to what some may think, and I am realizing that it doesn’t matter what others feel. This is my life, not theirs, and I will listen to my body above all else. Even if such comments or looks are put out there with positive intentions, they make people, myself in this case, feel dejected and it robs us of the motivation to keep going. I am not motivated by negativity like some people may be, in my case it turns me into a weeping mess of self abuse and that is not my cup of tea.

keep-calm-and-forget-fad-diets-e1389328766791It’s been a week since I began the 21 Day Fix, which is one of those uber popular Team Beachbody programs (others include P90X, Insanity, Focus T25, etc.) and I’ve followed it to the letter so far. For the most part, it hasn’t been horrible, but I haven’t loved it either. For my weight bracket I am in the highest container amount for the day, which is so odd to me considering that the old adage of, “eat less, lose weight” is hammered into all of society’s heads, including mine. Apparently eating more of these specific foods every day though is what our bodies need to burn the calories during workouts. I’ve read so many things about this plan that I feel like a spokesperson who is on the fence about it at this point. The amount of food I am REQUIRED to eat every day is actually insane and I am struggling to eat it all. Here is an example of my DAILY containers and their measurements:

  • 21-day-fix-containers6 Purple (Fruits)
  • 6 Green (Vegetables)
  • 6 Red (Proteins)
  • 4 Yellow (Carbs)
  • 1 Blue (Nuts & Cheese)
  • 1 Orange (Dressings & Seeds)

As someone who has had terrible eating habits for too long, this has been hard for me. I am one who believed that eating less and skipping meals was the key to losing pounds only to find that the fat just held on tighter. Eating breakfast has been my biggest improvement this year as I usually skipped it altogether and just had water. Super unhealthy but those days are gone. This amount of food is crazy to me though! I mean, 12 cups of fruits AND vegetables per day?!?! This paired with being told to drink half of my body weight in water daily is absolutely ludicrous. I feel bloated and unable to move with that much in my system, even when spacing things out to 6 meals a day, plus I never get anything accomplished because all I do is pee. (sorry for the TMI) This just doesn’t work for me and I hate the food I am making, even with trying to spice it up with herbs and etc. It’s still bland and quite frankly, unappealing to look at, which bugs me since I am also a food blogger and I was so hoping to share this journey of healthy living with my Love & Lemonades readers too.

So anyway, after a week of doing the plan exactly as directed and feeling like a walking barrel of water that needs to pee every ten minutes, I have decided that this plan needs to be modified to suit my needs. We are all different and therefore the way we eat should be tailored to the things that make us all feel our best. If having dairy makes you feel sick, don’t eat it. If the occasional chocolate bar has your stomach turning in angry cramps afterward (or other TMI issues), don’t eat it. The list goes on and on. Our bodies are smart, and although the brain controls every aspect of things, we often don’t listen to it often enough. My thought here, however, is to start listening to it more. Eating something (while still adhering to serving sizes, because those containers in the Fix are pretty awesome) and if I feel good after, than it stays in my life, if not than it goes.

lifestyle

The only other thing that I love about the 21 Day Fix is the workout plan because it’s hella awesome! Autumn Calabrese, while annoying me with her meal plan, seems like such a nice person who truly aims to help people who use her product. The workouts are 30 minutes each and you can modify any of the moves as needed by watching the woman behind her who does the lower intensity exercises. Since starting, I’ve been in what I call “mini-beast mode” where I’ve felt like anything is possible, even though I hate her during that sweat-filled-burn-in-your-every-limb 30 minutes. I love her at the end as she says that if I give her 21 days, she will give me the body I want. Granted I know that the body I want will take longer, the motivation is still equally as powerful and I definitely plan to keep these workouts going every day along with incorporating more yoga. This part should be super easy since my dad is a yoga instructor (in another state but his wisdom is easily shared via email) AND I have a pretty awesome app on my iPhone called All-In Yoga, so check it out if you’re interested.

So, going forward, I am focusing on still eating as clean as I can afford, and continuing to drink Shakeology (although they are pricey, they make me feel good). My main concept here is simple: healthy foods CAN TASTE GOOD AND THEY SHOULD just as exercising CAN BE FUN AND SHOULD BE! Not feeling like I’m on a diet is essential to me because I am not trying to do something temporary, I am changing my life permanently, which includes how I eat and move. Sacrifices are part of life but pleasure is too. It’s all about balance; the good, the bad, and the sometimes ugly. This journey will work for me because I believe it will and the power of my intentions are a massive driving force. Cupcakes and salads are friends when they hang out in moderation. 😉

None of us should feel guilty about anything and we should all just strive to be our best selves while also enjoying life. We owe it to ourselves to feel joy in everything we do, which is why I also went back to school. My journey may not be quite what I anticipated for myself at this age but I feel that it is the right one nevertheless. Personal growth and happiness matter so much and no one is a cookie cutter, so why live with such conformity? Break out and do you!

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