After struggling with controlling my weight and eating properly for the majority of my life, I’ve decided to make some permanent changes. The coming months (and hopefully the rest of my life!) will be about making positive, sustainable changes to benefit my health. My progress (and failures) will be shared here. Check in for updates, new recipes, tips on what works (and doesn’t), interesting articles, and random thoughts. Wish me luck!
For the last four years, my weight has fluctuated within a 35lb range (130lb-165lb). My highest weights? Around exams, while on exchange in Germany, and during the winter in general (big sweaters that cover my rolls? PERFECT!). My lowest weights? My first year of university (somehow had a negative freshman 15), when I have more free time (to work out) and less stress (I’m a major stress-eater and use cooking as a procrastination tool), and the summer when I thoroughly enjoy lying out in the sun (and like to feel at least somewhat confident). I’ve been on many diets during the years and through these have learned four key things about myself:
I need to count calories. I need to weigh my food. Without counting, I go incredibly overboard. It’s pretty brutal, really. However, seeing the numbers really makes me wake up and realize what I’m putting in my mouth. Every gram is tracked, and I soon realize I can either indulge in a cupcake so small that my five-year-old-self would have used it while playing with dolls, OR I can cook an amazing and filling stir-fry with plentiful fresh produce. The best tool that I’ve discovered for counting and recording calories is Calorie Count. The site is incredible and has an amazing community to offer support (whether you’re losing, gaining, or maintaining). I’m not very active in the group forums, but have used the site’s tools to track my calories and weight on-and-off since November 2007.
I don’t like the gym. Running on a treadmill for an hour at a time? SO not for me. I can manage the elliptical for maybe 45 minutes (60 if I’m really committed and have a brand new Cosmo to read) and then I get bored. Thus, I need to find more creative and entertaining ways to exercise. Dance Dance Revolution (DDR) has been my biggest savior in this department – an hour and 400 calories (on the standard setting, which is actually pretty difficult) can fly by in the blink of an eye. Wait! What? This children’s video game is a great exercise tool? Hell yes, when you work on the harder settings. Additionally, I’ve discovered I like to jog because a) it gets me away from the house and outside, b) you can create a new route each time, c) with good music, you might not even notice how long you’ve been out for, and d) you can’t just simply give up and quit – you have to make it back home – which forces you to extend your route even after you’re worn out.
I like food. Hell, I love food. I adore it. I enjoy cooking it probably more than I enjoy eating it. I love spices (garlic is essential – at least I know I’d survive a vampire attack) and flavours and all the things that you can do with them. If I didn’t go to school for accounting, I probably would have gone to culinary school and become a lovely rotund chef at some awesome restaurant (maybe abroad? I’ve always liked Italy…) Unfortunately, my aptitude and love of cooking have done major damage to my waist line. From now on, I will be trying to create new recipes – healthy versions of my favourite meals – and watch my portion sizes.
I am a binger. I eat when I’m bored. I eat when I’m stressed. I eat when I watch TV (and I follow a LOT of shows). I pretty much eat too much, too much of the time. I eat for the sake of eating and not for the sake of hunger. After this, I feel guilty, and I usually purge. It is a terrible and dangerous habit that I have had on-and-off since I was 13 years old. I recognize the health problems associated with this behaviour and have heard the horror stories. I am an educated and intelligent person, and know how illogical and bad this is. Yet, I continue to do it. The only way I’ve found to control it is counting calories (see #1), but even this does not always work. This is the biggest problem that I will have to overcome in the coming months.