Ditch The Diet! Eat Right. Move More. Move On!
So there I was, hitting all 3 calorie-free-zone rules all at once! Hovering over my kitchen table. Eating 2 slices of pizza (margarita my fav yum!). At 9:30 at night. Calorie-free-zone rules all in check: standing up (check), in the dark (check), no one was watching (check).
Long day! Went straight from work all day to hosting an event all evening. No dinner, just picky snacks and of course… if I’m running an event, let there be WINE!
So the pizza happened, I took a shower, and went to bed. And you know what?
I didn’t feel guilty about it at all.
I was hungry. We had pizza left over. I ate it. It tasted great. It felt awesome. I felt great.
I downed 2 slices of pizza standing up, in the dark, while no one was watching… at 9:30 at night. And I didn’t feel guilty.
What’s the point?
Tomorrow is a new day.
Rewind to 10ish years ago:
I had just lost 70 pounds and was 127lbs soaking wet. I’m 5’7″. That’s kinda skinny. Very skinny. But that’s not the point.
I walk into my grandmom’s (mom-mom’s) house and she says this:
“Ooh gads April Kathleen, you are too skinny! You need to eat a cheeseburger already!”
Was my mom-mom serious? Eating a cheeseburger would TOTALLY DERAIL what I’ve just worked so hard for!
You see back then I had just lost all this weight. I got a lot of compliments. I was fitting into sizes I thought were reserved for runway models. It felt good. To fit in. To finally be skinny. To fit that mold that we’re all trying to fit into.
That’s the outside picture. Just the wrapping on the package.
On the inside, I had become terrified to eat.
Eating too many calories would make me gain all the weight back.
Eating fat would make me fat.
Same breakfast every day. Egg white omelet with veggies mixed in. Whole wheat english muffin with Jelly. OJ.
Lunch was tuna (mixed with mustard, to save fat calories). Carrots. Fruit. Water.
My standard dinner was grilled chicken (dry, nothing on it). Steamed broccoli. Water.
All while running 20-30 miles per week.
I went to bed hungry all the time. My stomach would growl and my roommate would tell me to eat something. No way. I’ll just go to bed, I’ll fall asleep soon. It’ll stop.
I became afraid of fat. Obsessed with calories. Terrified to gain the weight back.
If a part of an egg yolk fell in my omelet, I’d throw the whole thing out and start over. Yolks have fat in it. Can’t have it. At all. No fat.
At parties, work functions, friends houses, etc. where normal hors d’oeuvres were out (cheese, pepperoni, dips), I’d stick to my guns. And be proud/relieved when I left. Proud that I didn’t touch any of the fattening food. Proud that my willpower got me through another skinny day.
Reminder: This was all while running 20-30 miles per week. (No. Gas. In. Tank.)
Fast forward to my first semester as a dietetics (fancy for nutrition) student. My professor blew my mind. Blew it. Done.
She’s talking about the macronutrients and how our body NEEDS them. Needs protein. Needs carbs (ooph, another topic all together!). Needs fat. Wait. Needs fat?
It serves as insulation. Keeps us warm, body temperature regulated. Protects our vital organs from injury. Is the only vehicle used to absorb certain vitamins so they can go to work for us.
Fat. Fat does all that. That’s what my professor said. The book backed it up.
Calories provide the energy we need to move around all day. Provides the fuel to keep normal body processes going (yikes, that’s why I stopped getting my period).
Calories do that. Gotta make sure you get enough to keep your engine running. Professor said that too. Book backed it up.
What the heck had I been doing to myself? Obsessing over calories and fat. Feeling guilt from eating. Reward from abstaining. Practicing willpower.
Back to my mom-mom. She was right.
Maybe I did need to eat a cheeseburger.
Maybe my body did need the stuff I was fighting so hard (with my big fancy willpower) to abstain from.
Maybe food didn’t have to be about guilt.
Maybe one cheeseburger wouldn’t derail everything I had just worked for.
Maybe I’d be HEALTHIER if I started eating appropriate calories. HEALTHIER if I made well-rounded meals. HEALTHY. Not SKINNY.
Back to me hovering over my kitchen table the other night, pizza in hand. I’ve come a long way. And I didn’t care that I ate the pizza. At 9:30 at night. In the dark. When no one was watching.
I listened to my body, it was hungry. I had pizza leftover, I ate it.
Done. Time for bed. Tomorrow is a new day.
(Love you Mom-mom… miss you every single day. Thanks for the life lesson!)