I always considered myself a “healthy” eater. I am not picky and truly enjoy most foods, but months back I started to think… I am really that healthy of an eater as I think?…and moreover, do we all really EAT to LIVE or do we LIVE to EAT? This could be a very hot topic to digest (literally and figuratively). I am sure we’d all love to say that we ‘eat to live’ that we basically eat to get through our day, it is our fuel and we need it to survive, so we all only eat when we are hungry, right??? WRONG!
Food can be in a word…comfort! No matter how you cut, slice or dice it, eating yummy food makes you feel good, sometimes too good that we ignore that inner voice that says “STOP” OR “I’M FULL” or “THIS WILL GO RIGHT TO YOUR SPARE TIRE.” We’ve all been there, eating that extra cookie, having that second helping, snacking on something while we watch our favorite show or movie, surrendering to that late night craving, or even heating up something quick or ordering food for dinner because its easy, but not really ‘the best for you.’
A little after my daughter Juliette turned one, I started to think a whole lot more about food, and how I always make sure my daughter has the proper food, nutrients and vitamins, so why am I not doing that for myself? Why not??? This led to the “Top Ten Reasons Why We Need to be More Like a Baby” entry I wrote right before Christmas (http://juliettesworldblog.wordpress.com/2012/12/19/top-ten-reasons-why-we-need-to-be-more-like-a-baby/). That entry was not completely dedicated to food, however it really made me rethink why I eat the way I eat, or really it made me start to think about that dreaded word… “DIET!”
I am NOT a fan of the word DIET. Now I know some people call it a “lifestyle change,” but I am not really a fan of that phrase either, it’s such a cliché to me. I prefer the phrases “healthy living” or “eating healthy.” Whatever you want to call it, you have to be truly ready and committed to go on a diet, and I never really realized that before. You have to remember that this comes from a girl whom when she was younger couldn’t gain an ounce if I tried!!! I know, I know, I hate me too when I look back and think about it, because oh how I wish that still were the case!
I understand that every body type is different and growing up I was often made fun of because I was very tall and very thin, almost too thin…in other words, the good ol’ days, haha! Luckily, after puberty kicked in I got a bit more of a shape to me than just skin and bones, but still could pretty much eat whatever I wanted and not gain an ounce. I should have cherished that time in my life much more when it was around! I could eat a whole bag of salt and vinegar chips and not feel bad about myself or grossly bloated afterwards. Granted, I was also very active and very athletic in those days, always participating in a sport. Even in college when I was forced to give up track due to an injury, I didn’t even gain the dreaded “freshman 15.” However, you metabolism does change into your 20’s and even more so as you get older.
What kicked started this weight gain? Well, it wasn’t baby weight. In the summer of 2009, I had two foot surgeries only two months apart, one on each foot and something bad happened to me…I GAINED WEIGHT!!! I had to be off my feet for a while after each surgery, so my metabolism slowed way down, plus with no real movement going on for many weeks at a time you can’t really burn anything off…at all!! To top it off I went on a cruise after one of the surgeries and definitely splurged on the lavish menu options. So, by the end of 2009, even though I had recovered from my foot surgeries I did start to notice my pants were all a little bit tighter. At this point though, my husband and I happily decided to work on expanding our family, so I thought, “hey its ok if my waistline expands a little too, I should be pregnant soon,” right? WRONG!!! At about the 6-month point after trying to have a baby and having not succeeded yet, I started to get down on myself about my increased weight and my lack to reproduce as of yet.
By the end of the summer in 2010 I decided it was time for a change, I started to exercise much more and eat much better, healthier foods. Then, just as I was starting to lose weight and not worry about my ovulation cycle, a wonderful thing happened that made me forget all about the scale…I GOT PREGNANT! At this point, I WAS OVERJOYED!!! (you can read all about my 11 month process of getting pregnant here http://juliettesworldblog.wordpress.com/2012/08/26/11-months-later-and-we-are-pregnant-or-are-we-get-the-digital-testand-get-a-new-obgyn)
I gained a total of 35 pounds while pregnant and actually taking off the baby weight afterward wasn’t the hard part. Thanks to breastfeeding and the life of a busy first time mom I lost all of the baby weight very easily after only three weeks. I wasn’t so concerned about the rest of the weight that I hadn’t taken off yet from before I had gotten pregnant, as I now had bigger things to worry about…like a new baby! Plus, a lot happened only a few months after Juliette was born. My husband got a new job in NJ and we quickly had to move from one state (CT) to another and started looking for a new house. I also became a stay-at-home mother, and your life changes in many ways when that happens. Anyway I am straying from the point.
I started to realize last summer that I needed to lose some weight when some of my clothes got so tight that they didn’t even fit anymore. I actually had to go to the stores and buy bigger clothes and this was the first time in my life that I DID NOT ENJOY SHOPPING! When this happened I realized that I needed to start working out much more. In addition to that, anyone who knows me well enough knows how much I love to take pictures, and once my daughter was born, this got even worse as most pictures were of her. When I did see myself in some of the photos, I began to not like how I looked as much. Of course I felt much bigger than I was, and because I am very tall, I carry my weight well and many people didn’t notice…but I DID NOTICE! And that is the most important thing, that I wasn’t losing for anyone else, I needed to lose the weight for MYSELF! I started to notice that no matter how much I exercised something had to be done. To top it off, I recently learned that I had a mild case of scoliosis in my lower back, and the extra weight did not help with that problem. I did not feel that great about how I looked or felt. My wonderful husband always reassured that I was beautiful not matter what weight I was, and while that was lovely of him, I didn’t feel that way. Not that a number on the scale defined me, but not feeling good about the way I was did define me. As a woman I always wanted to exude confidence and be a great role model for my daughter.
My breaking point came when my younger sister came to visit on Thanksgiving 2012 and I saw how wonderful she looked, she had taken off a quite a bit of weight and I was so proud of her. She went on the South Beach Diet, which I knew a little bit about from her. She had been on that diet before and when she lived with me for a short period of time a few years back, we had made some recipes from the book, and I had read a little bit of the book, so I had some knowledge about it. I thought to myself, if Tara could do it, so can I! (thanks again Tar) Luckily, she had left the South Beach Diet book with me and one day after I had really had enough, I ended up reading it probably 3 or 4 times in a row and came to a decision…it was time, I finally admitted it to myself that MOMMY NEEDS TO GO ON A DIET!!!
Of course coming to this conclusion with Christmas just a few weeks away I thought it might be too difficult. I didn’t want to miss out on Christmas cookies, or be that annoying person at the holiday get parties who couldn’t eat certain things because they were “on a diet.” So I decided to only loosely follow the diet and still splurge for holiday things…then after the New Year, (January 2 to be exact) I would totally and completely surrender and start myself strictly onto the South Beach Diet.
If you want to know more about my journey of dieting Part 2 of this “dieting” entry will be up very shortly. I will tell you, that this diet is one of the best things I have ever done for myself! What I realized so much more than anything else is that being on a diet is way more mental than anything else! You have to truly be willing to surrender yourself and follow a strict regimen and NOT to stray from it. Exercise was a part of this too, but I had already conquered that many months ago, which is why I began the diet, it was the missing link because I wasn’t seeing all the results I wanted from just exercising. So…if you are at all curious about how much weight I lost, how I did it, stuck to it and any pratfalls in between, I’ll meet you at Part 2!!
“It’s not how much you eat, it’s what you eat.”