*Disclaimer, remember that these weights are on a 5'0" person and there is no one "healthy weight" for everyone. I am no expert and I can only speak for my experience and what I've seen around me.
Growing up, I was always tiny, in height and weight. I recall my mom begging me to drink milk shakes and driving me through In N Out whenever possible (Note: I do not condone this as healthy way to lose weight.) Yet due to metabolism and the intense hours of the ballet I was doing, I remained a stick. I was less than 100 lbs most of high school. I was jealous of other girls that developed earlier and actually had some womanly curves.
Yes - we all want what someone else has! But for the most part, I was innocent and had strong self confidence. I didn't understand when other girls complained about their little flaws - I was pretty happy with myself!
Fast forward and I am on my way to college on the East Coast. As a former dancer, I had never worked out in a gym. When I began the usual college lifestyle of unlimited cafeteria swipes, alcohol, and no exercise - I gained a few pounds. In 2013, at 110 lbs, I joined online Weight Watchers. I tracked for a few weeks and gave up.
My first goal weight was 105 lbs.
The following years and tribulations merit many other posts, but I'll keep it short and sweet. As college continued, the partying and late night pizza ordering increased. My self confidence plummeted and resulted in poor behaviors. Being petite, every pound can really compound on your body and I was not happy.
At the height of irresponsibility and destructive behaviors, I weighed 139 lbs.
I cried when I saw my graduation pictures. I did not look like myself.
I had hit rock bottom in more ways than one. Again, the details of which require many more blog posts. Yet, I had a great first job and amazing boyfriend, so I must have done at least a couple things right. Both my employer and guy had seen my passion and who I was inside and knew I could excel.
Getting Serious: Eating
I joined weight watchers again and followed it to a T. I went to meetings every week religiously and thrived in the community setting. I did not have many friends and with my boyfriend working late hours, I found solace in the hodge-podge group at WW. I lost 1-2 lbs per week and after about 4 months, I had lost 20 lbs. I felt that it worked for me, because I did not try to trick the system. (See: Honest Thoughts on Weight Watchers).
I lost it all with very minimal exercise, just focused on eating.
I was on Cloud Nine! I remember telling my mom that 120 lbs was a great weight for me. I was heavier than that first time I thought I needed to lost weight but I felt good in my own skin. As a side effect, I had also curbed my drinking, something that became more clear as I was tracking.
At this point, I will admit that yes I am privileged to have fast metabolism. It is not as easy for others to lose weight, but given the portions of food I was eating previously, it is no wonder my body could not handle it!
I was fortunate to join a company next that offered free Crossfit (shout to NCFit). I tried it out and fell in love with it! It is such a powerful feeling as a woman to lift your own weights and get stronger. I could never get hooked on gyms because my friends' workouts seemed to be 45 min of treadmill followed by 100 crunches. I was bored and did not like the extended cardio sessions. Now weightlifting and circuits - that stuff is fun!
It became my ritual and stress relief. I began looking at food as more than just calories. My body needed FUEL. I used an app called Macrostax to calculate my macros - protein, fat, and carbs that were optimal for workout and rest days. I found that when I increased my protein intake I stayed full for much longer!
I naturally lost about 15 more lbs with this lifestyle. However, it is important to note that I was HAPPY at 120 lbs. I embraced a mindset of: If I lose weight and am not restricting myself, then that is where my body should be. If not and I gain it back over the holidays or other times of the year, that is OK too.
I am human. Since starting my MBA program in September, I have hardly exercised in a gym. While it would be good for stress relief, I am giving myself grace. We go through ebbs and flows in our life and it's so important to build a sustainable lifestyle. I have never turned down a treat I wanted or seriously tracked my calories in over 6 months.
And, guess what: I have not gained a pound! I have actually lost a couple, but I'm suspecting it may have been some muscle loss (hello weak arms, let's strengthen you up again!)
In future posts, I will discuss little things I do during my busy schedule to stay healthy and strong while also enjoying life. As this was my first post, I wanted to give you all more of a background of where I come from.
To Think About:
Will a new body make you truly be happy? The turning point in my journey was after college when I became my own cheerleader. I celebrated every tidbit of knowledge and non-scale victories too. Food is not a stress relief mechanism. It is FUEL for your body.
My thought process when I see a yummy snack (and yes this took time to train):
"Ooh that looks delicious and it's exactly what I've been craving. I'm definitely going to take one and since I'll be less hungry for lunch, I'll skip the bun on my sandwich."
For many, the reaction is: "Damn, I could have it, but I'm trying to lose weight. Now I'll feel shame for the rest of the day. But oh well, let's just do it."
Stop beating yourself up and celebrate every time you make good decisions! Having a dessert is not a bad decision. And if you adjust your eating for the rest of the day to take it into account, that is a phenomenal decision!
While there are so many healthy ways to lose and maintain weight, I truly believe, none of them are healthy in the long term. Ultimately, the goal should be to listen to what your body intuitively wants. You will, eventually, find an exercise rhythm or meal choices that work for you. What's a hobby you've always wanted to do? The end goal of weight journey should not be the number on the scale but your confidence and the amount of space it takes up in your mind.
If you can't be your own cheerleader right now, find someone who can!
I'm always happy to be that person. Happy New Year!
- Kaitlin Rose F.