A little more than 7 weeks ago, I made a commitment to myself.
I was going to start taking better care of health. In particular, I was going to change the way I was eating.
I had gained back all the weight I lost after having kids, I was the heaviest I had ever been, none of my clothes fit, I was prediabetic, my blood pressure was higher than it had ever been and for the first time in my life it was too high, and in general, I felt like garbage.
I wish I could say that I’m one of those people who can just decide to make a change and then stick to it all by myself with no help from anyone else.
But I’m not.
At least not right now with food.
But I’m getting there.
For me to make changes, it helps me to have someone to be accountable to. Then I will eventually get to a place where I can maintain things on my own without assistance.
Take smoking, for example.
I used to be a serious smoker. And the only thing that got me to quit was finding out I was pregnant. It came as a complete surprise, and when there was another person growing inside of me, quitting was a no brainer.
I didn’t know if I’d stay a non smoker after the baby was born. I thought I might go back to my smoky ways. But I never did. Because as soon as I had logged enough non-smoking time under my belt, my habits had changed and smoking went from being pleasureable and something I craved to just totally gross.
In order for me to make exercise a habit I joined a weight loss competition at the Y about four and a half years ago.
That gave me a lot of accountability in several ways, but being part of a team was one of them. I definitely didn’t want to let my team down. And for added security, I agreed to be the team leader. Then I really couldn’t slack off.
Now, four years later, exercise is a part of my everyday routine. I’m definitely competitive, and I like to run in 5K races and triathlons, and sometimes I exercise because I am training for something. But even when I’m not training for anything, there aren’t too many days where I don’t do some sort of physical activity.
I need it for my brain as much as my body, and exercise is now a firmly established part of my life.
A year or so ago, I decided to ditch the scale. I didn’t want to be focusing on a number. I realized a while ago that I was chasing my pre-baby body, and that was just completely unrealistic. Plus I realized that when I was a size 2, I was not any happier than when I was as a size 12, and I wasn’t even healthy in the single digits because I maintained that size by smoking a lot and not really eating all that much. And I never exercised back then.
But here is where that accountability thing comes back in…
Without that form of measurement, without that accountability, I completely fell off the rails. I started eating everything that wasn’t nailed down, and I gained at least twenty pounds landing myself where I was eight weeks ago, at my heaviest weight ever.
I also wrote this post about two years ago.
In it, I proclaimed that I was done with before and after pictures. That I thought I was sending the wrong message to my kids about their bodies. That rather than focusing on the difference in my body after ten years of marriage and five pregnancies that I was now going to focus on the things my body could now do that it had never done before.
In that post, I showed this before and after picture:
I changed the usual perception of before and after bodies. My after body was heavier than my before body, but it was also healthier. Much healthier.
This was around the time I ditched the scale.
And now, two years later, I am writing posts with before and after pictures. Again.
But it’s not for vanity. It’s not to get to some intangible bikini body status. I strongly believe that as long as you have a body you have a bikini body. If you wanna rock a bikini, rock a damn bikini.
And someone called me out on the before and after pictures I’ve been posting in the last six weeks.
It’s a valid point.
But the truth is, I don’t mind wearing a bikini now. I have worn a bikini at 120, 130, 140, 150, 160 and 170 pounds.
These before and after pictures aren’t about vanity.
They are about not being healthy now.
In 2016 I was the picture on the right below:
And now, two years later, here I am:
I am at least twenty-five pounds heavier than I was in that gray bikini.
That’s a lot of weight to gain in two years for no reason at all other than not taking care of myself.
So while I wish I could make changes to the way I eat solely on willpower alone, I can’t.
My husband can. My father can.
I have not been able to do that yet.
And using the scale and taking these pictures provides me with the accountability that I need right now while changing the way I eat becomes a habit.
So that’s why I’m weighing myself now. And that’s why I’m taking pictures to monitor my progress (with a timer in my room alone so my kids don’t get the wrong message).
I need to see that the changes I’m making are making a difference in my body and overall health so that I stick to them. And eventually, just as the quitting smoking and incorporating exercise became automatic, so will the healthier eating. And I won’t need so much accountability. Or any at all.
Because it will have become a firmly established habit.
And habits are what help us to make changes in our lives.
If you, like me, have healthier habits you’d like to establish or if you benefit from accountability, then my e-course, Not Your Average Fitness Course, may be just the thing you need.
It’s not about before and after pictures or a scale. It’s more about having support and working on developing sustainable habits to help you become more fit in many different areas of your life, while accepting and appreciating the body that you have!
The next round begins on Monday, June 4th. It’s flexible, manageable, and adaptable to any level of fitness.
I’d love to have you join me. I participate right along with you. We are currently finishing up the last week of the spring session, and in the last six weeks, I’ve gone from only being able to run one mile without a break to four miles now! I’m getting my mojo back!
If you have lost your mojo (or never really had it), I can help you find yours, too.