“Biggest Challenge; biggest Change” That’s the motivation I heard yesterday from one of my favorite instructors. She said it related to our immediate challenge of an abdominal workout, but it is one of the many gems she mentions while she motivates at Pure Barre. Now, this wonderful reminder is written on my bathroom mirror because tomorrow, January 9th, I will continue to work on my biggest challenge: my relationship with food.
I’ve often thought that the best thing about my love for exercise, is that it allows me to stay relatively healthy without regularly restricting food options. At times, I’ve been disciplined about my food; limiting treats, doing cleanses, and logging calories to yield weight loss. In many ways I justify my eating habits with the idea that working out allows me to eat what I want. But last year, I started to wonder what I could do if I started to make better choices. In other words, what could I look like if I worked out AND modified my diet? January 2016 began with tiny steps towards my improvement in healthy eating and a better relationship with food.
Last January I started intermittent fasting. The main part of this eating regime is consuming all meals in an 8 hour window and then allowing one’s body to get into a fasted state for the next 16 hours. In this state, more body fat is used. While this directly conflicts with the ” breakfast is the most important meal of the day” I was always taught, I saw friends yield amazing results from intermittent fasting, and I wanted to see similar changes too. I ate all my food from noon until 8:00 p.m and then the kitchen was closed. I managed to follow this for about 5 months until the beginning of last summer. I lost about 15 lbs by the end of the school year and got back to the weight when I was a college athlete- my lowest weight as an adult.
Then, at the start of summer I wanted more flexibility in my eating and I wanted to eat breakfast again, so I went back to sensible eating-well, kinda. Summer is the hardest time of my year to eat well. Sure I have more time to workout, but with travel and less activity it is hard to stay in a routine. But, I went back to typical eating routine and kept the weight off all summer. In fact, I’ve kept the weight off for the past seven months. The bad news is that I have also been at that plateau for seven months. So with a new year, I wonder what will help me get to a new level?
Hopefully, taking on the biggest challenge will make the biggest change. I have the aforementioned quote on my mirror because tomorrow I am starting the Whole30 challenge with many of my Pure Barre buddies. Along with my workouts, I am finally gonna clean up my diet and see how my body responds. I don’t have to count calories, but I do have to confront my relationship with food. Yesterday, to get us ready, we took measurements, snapped before photos, and got educated on the key aspects related to the eating plan from the resident nutritionist.
The main reason I’m taking on this challenge is to improve my unhealthy relationship with food. I want to view food for it’s main purpose- energy and sustenance for my body. Currently, I view food as a comfort and all too often as a reward. Hopefully without added sugar, dairy, and grains for at least a month that’s going to change. I think of myself as disciplined in many matters of my life other than my diet, and I’m ready to change that missing link.
One of my friends doing this challenge acknowledged that food is not her problem. Well, friends, food IS my problem. Food is an old friend that picks me up when down, comforts me when alone, and rewards me for work when done. I’ve given food that role and opportunity in my life. Tomorrow, I begin a process where I’ll control my diet and hopefully I’ll create a healthier relationship with food along the way. I plan on keeping a journal, the old fashioned way, but I’ll also share major “ah ha” moments with you as well. I’m anxious to start the process tomorrow, but I’m equally excited to learn more about myself in the process. So here goes something, more than nothing, to make a change in 2017!