First, let me confess I am that I am just like you. I have played the diet game; fallen for the gimmicks that promise you can eat anything you want and still lose weight; and been in outright denial about my weight and health. Honestly, I had no excuse.
As a registered nurse, I had spent many, many hours studying on how to take care of people in a holistic approach: mind, body and spirit. Why could I not follow the same ideas that I taught my patients? The answer is honestly I had bought the lie that the things I ate weren’t that bad, and I was still healthy even though I didn’t exercise. Nothing could have been further from the truth.
At the beginning of this year, I was the most unhealthy that I have ever been. I had a constant distain for my appearance and was starting to have aches and pains in my joints. I was tired all the time, but really felt there was nothing I could do about it. I would have conversations with myself, trying to convince myself that I didn’t really look that bad. My thought was life was too short, and I should be able to eat what I want! However, I found myself becoming more and more unable to accept that reasoning. I remember thinking to myself, “Either accept you for the way you are now and quit whining or do something about it.” I was tired of feeling starved and deprived from food. I was tired of dieting! I wanted to be able to eat food!
Every diet, including Weight Watchers only made me obsess on what food I was going to have and the foods I couldn’t have. It was never satisfying and I couldn’t sustain it. My results were mediocre, to say the least; only losing a minuscule amount of weight in comparison to the time I took obsessing about food. The idea of walking into a gym was horrendous to me. When I had done that in the past I felt so self conscious all I could do was think about leaving. I was sure everyone was staring at the fat girl (which probably wasn’t true, but I was sure they were). I wanted to eat normally, and I realized and finally accepted that the only way to do this was I was going to have to exercise. There was no other way. With all this baggage you would think I wouldn’t have had any hope…but there was! It was in the form of my friend, Staci.
I had watched her transform her body in just a few months by doing something called Crossfit. We talked about it and hesitantly I agreed to go. I really wasn’t sure what it was or if I could do it. After all, it had been more than 10 years since I had worked out in any form. I remember being a nervous wreck my first day. However, with Staci and the awesome trainers helping me along with the workout of the day (WOD) I completed my first work out and felt pretty darn good about finishing it too! I remember one of the trainers telling me, “Becky, if you will just do it, it WILL work. I promise.” What I found out was that I could do it! No, I was not the fastest or the most agile, but I could do it. I could complete the WOD and it felt GREAT! The confidence that came from that was amazing. Crossfit was a place where I was encouraged by the other members and trainers. There were others at the same place as I was; some worse than me and better than me and it was okay. What mattered was that we were all there…it didn’t matter where you were starting from but that you started!
I learned that weights are not just for guys. I could lift the weight bar over my head and do a clean press! I could eventually do a hundred squats, pushup and sit-ups in a total workout and it felt great! With each passing week I got stronger, faster and had more confidence. I found I was pushing myself more and more and finding out I could do it. It was a wonderful feeling to get to the end of a work out and high five someone else and say “Yes! I did it!”.
What I want you to know is – you can do it too! It isn’t just reserved for me. I am not special or a superhuman just an average girl wanting to look and feel better.
After about 3 weeks of exercising, I chose to measure myself and not weigh on the scale. I needed to know if what I was doing was making any difference. The trainers strongly discouraged the scale because it will drive you crazy. In all reality it probably won’t move very much. Muscle weighs more than fat and the scale can’t determine what it is weighing so stay off of it. Using a measuring tape on the same day of every week I measured everything – arms, chest, waist, hips and thighs. With every passing week I noticed more and more inches coming off until I had lost 5 inches from my waist and chest in a matter of about 2 ½ months. I couldn’t believe it. My clothes started to get bigger because I was getting smaller! Hallelujah!
Since starting Crossfit, I had already changed my diet some, but the more results I had the less I desired the “bad” stuff, such as diet coke and sweets. Here are the things I have learned:
1. All sodas, regular and diet, are just plain awful.
The stuff in diet sodas is especially evil because they stimulate the hunger center in your brain only making you hungrier and dehydrated. This makes you want to eat and causes you to be FATTER than you already were!It is only causing the calcium to be leached from your bones and causing memory loss to start. You don’t need it. Give it up.
2. Read the labels
Have you done this? I mean really done it and tried to understand what is in the products we buy at the grocery store? There is sugar, sugar, sugar in EVERYTHING! It is ridiculous the amount of it in our foods. Americans have a sugar addiction in epic proportions. The food industry has put it in everything and called it a few dozen names so we don’t know what we are eating. We have such an obesity problem in our country because of this in my opinion.
3. Adopt European practices
Have you noticed what Europeans look like in comparison to Americans? Most of them are within their weight range. I find it highly interesting. We need to adopt some European practices into our American lifestyles – walking, eating whole foods and appropriate portions. Believe it or not you don’t need an extra biggie size anything to fuel your body and stay away from the fast food in all forms. This is the greatest country in the world, and we should look great and be healthy too.
4. Processed foods have no nutritional value
The grocery business and food distributers have duped people into believing fat free and low calorie options are the best alternative to the fattening stuff. People! The fattening stuff is not nutritional and neither is the fat free low calorie options – it does not fuel the body. No wonder we feel run down and drained we are pumping our bodies full of chemicals!
5. Clean eating is where it’s at!
This is when I went to “clean” eating. Honestly, there is not much reason to go passed the front of the grocery store where the produce, lean meats, dairy and whole grains are located. The rest of the stuff on the other isles is pretty much junk. Don’t waste your money and stay away from it. There should not need to be any other foods listed on a label other than those that are natural. If you are buying strawberries then all that should need to be listed on the label is strawberries. It doesn’t take any more time to eat clean than it does to eat all the processed junk. I am not hungry, haven’t sacrificed flavor and taste, and I think I actually eat more than I did! I just go by the personal rule: if there are 49 or even 10 chemicals in something and will have a shelf-life that lasts years, DO NOT EAT IT!
As of today I have been on my new path since February 4, 2013. I have lost a total of 31 pounds, 3 inches off my arms, 7 inches from my chest and waist, 4 inches from my hips and 3 inches off my thighs. I have gone from a size 14 to a 7. All I can say is my trainer told the truth, it did work. All I had to do was do it. Crossfit definitely worked for me and continues to work. I feel better, have more energy, sleep better, manage stress better and feel good about physical appearance. You can do it too! All you have to do is make the choice. It really doesn’t matter where you are starting from, what matters is you start! You can do it!