I’ve always been a really thin person. That “freshman 15” never really applied to me. I was fortunate that way – I drank like a fish and ate like a pig, but never really gained weight. I did exercise fairly regularly, but I was certainly no athlete. Growing up, I despised competitive sports, and although there were many athletics I was interested in (like dancing or figure skating), my options were a bit limited in isolated Newfoundland.
Since I graduated university and started working in an office/at a desk, I’ve ramped up my activity level tenfold. I started gaining a bit in my mid 20s, and before I left for Europe, I was about 150 pounds. I returned six months later at 165 lbs. Travel weight gain = a big problem.
I’m still not obese, and I’m just dangling around the periphery of overweightness, but the effect the gain had on my energy levels was unbelievable. I had turned into a gingery sloth. At my best friend’s wedding in Nova Scotia, a photograph captured me standing alongside the other bridesmaids (including one pregnant girl), and I looked like a mammoth. I cried about it. That was about two months after my return home from Europe, and then when I got home from my trip to Nova Scotia, I knew it was time for some changes. This post will probably irritate some of you, because I’ve never known obesity, but I can assure you that a 15-pound weight gain has done a lot of damage.
And so here I am, about three months later, and so far I’ve lost five pounds. As it turns out, I don’t/didn’t know what the fuck I was doing.
Okay, that’s not entirely true. I’ve spent about ten years devoted to the gym and fitness. I’ve done enough group training to know how to take an athletic stance, and I know HOW to work out. At this moment, I go to the gym anywhere from five to six times a week. Sometimes I’ll go for a long hike instead, and I do yoga once or twice a week. Everything else is group activity: Body Pump, and RPM. I’ve become so devoted to RPM class, that I get a special little thrill every time the music starts up. And then 15 minutes into the class I’m sweating like a gorilla and my face is as red as a baboon’s ass but goddammit I WORK HARD.
It’s paid off in many ways. I am stronger. I have a rock-hard ass. My cardio has improved. But I still have not lost weight.
And THIS, of course, is thanks to my eating habits. When I first resolved to lose weight in August, I meticulously recorded every detail of my daily intake, but I was too strict. I denied myself a few simple pleasures (I even cut out cheese entirely!) and found myself CRAVING sugar like a crack addict. And then I’d binge-eat my way through five chocolate bars and serve myself a platter of nachos just to tide me over.
Needless to say, this isn’t how you do it. MODERATION. USE IT.
I talked about this on my Facebook once, expressing my frustration, and a wonderful woman told me that I needed to love my body for what it is. And she’s right. The funny thing is, even back in those early university days, when I was around 130 pounds, I STILL despised my body. I felt NO DIFFERENTLY about my body at 130 lbs than I did at 165 lbs. When I came to this realization, in a way, it made me START loving my body again. Does that make sense to you? It makes a little sense to me. Not much, but a little. I realized that so much of what I hated was image, not health. And so that’s why my quest to lose weight and gain muscle isn’t about how I look, but how I FEEL. It’s remarkable how food and diet influence my lifestyle, and it’s even more remarkable that I’ve never really paid attention to this. Now that I’ve taken control, I actually SLEEP through the night. Whaaaaat!
So here’s my vow. When I travel, I will put in more effort. I always make sure that I’m active while on the road, and I spend a great deal of time hiking or walking or scouting out yoga classes, but I can’t just make this happen at my convenience. It has to be a part of my lifestyle.
I will eat better. I will not deny myself those tiny pleasures of chocolate or cheese, but I will treat myself in moderation. (Side note: If you know a good supplement for suppressing sugar cravings, please do let me know. I’m a monster.) I simply refuse to give up beer as well, but instead of drinking like, six days out of seven days a week (just kidding lol?), I now tend to have social drinks once a week. My goal is to get back down to 145 lbs.
HERE are some apps/websites I use to help keep me on track.
MyFitnessPal – This app is THE way to stay on track with your diet and exercise. SERIOUSLY! You configure the app to suit your needs (weight and how much you’d like to lose), and then you enter every single item you eat throughout the day, plus your exercise regime. It tells you how many calories you need to consume, and it’ll tell you if your diet is off-balance (you’re eating too many fatty foods, you’re eating too many carbs, etc.). It can be tedious sometimes, but the app even has a barcode to scan your products. Seriously.
Nike Training Club – This app will destroy you. I am not joking. This is THE go-to app for when you want to strength-train and gain muscle, but you’re on the road or have limited amount of time. It’s all high impact interval training, with up to 45-minute sessions. And let me tell you, just a 30-minute intermediate-level session is enough to leave me sore for days. It’s glorious.
Nova Yoga’s Video Classes – I have mostly been attending moksha yoga classes over the past year, but found myself disheartened by the atmosphere in the studio. It felt like a lot of competition to me. BUT then I signed up for a 30-day unlimited trial pass for Nova Yoga, because the studio is just around the corner from my place, and I LOVED the experience. Everyone was welcoming, the instructors know me by name, etc. The classes are always a treat, and I have thoroughly begun to enjoy yoga in a way I always mocked. You won’t see me performing any full wheels against a sunset anytime soon, but my improvement in balance and strength is noticeable. THIS link to Melanie Caines’ VIMEO page has been a godsend when I’m home visiting my parents and can’t practice. You can rent videos for $0.99, or buy for $4.99. And it’s worth it.
OhSheGlows – The problem with all these fitness apps is that nobody ACTUALLY tells you how to eat, and nobody has EVER taught me what constitutes a healthy diet. I’ve been struggling with this one a fair bit, and I welcome all your suggestions when it comes to creating meal plans/finding healthy recipes, but I’ve been referring to OhSheGlows quite a bit for this. She’s FABULOUS. Her recipes are out of this world, and she mostly caters to vegans. I’m no vegan, but I tend to prefer vegan foods these days, oddly.
So tell me, friends. What do YOU do to stay fit? What apps do you suggest? What recipes, or healthy eating websites do you turn to? Where do you seek inspiration? I’m looking for support, encouragement, and advice. Let me have it.