Weight Loss - Part One - Backstory
I've struggled with body image issues since I was 10 years old. Up until that point, I had been a relatively scrawny kid. But, as I started to move into puberty, the fat started to pile onto my body. Realistically, I was more chubby than fat at that age, but I was still considered the fat kid in my class. Let me tell you, it really sticks with a child when they find out that other people are commenting and laughing about how their fat flaps around when they run. I always loved food but this became a problem as I began to seek comfort in it. Combine that with a once slow eater being constantly told to hurry up, and you can imagine how easy it was for me to start overeating and gaining even more weight.
This ultimately resulted in an unhealthy relationship with food: comfort eat > gain weight > hate my body even more... and the cycle continues...
The thing is, growing up with my grandma, I actually ate a lot of home-cooked meals. What I was eating wasn't the healthiest per se, but it also wasn't the unhealthiest either. My problem really was the amount. The funny thing is, the more I would eat, the hungrier I would seem to be.
Things got really bad when my grandma passed away in 2011, just before my 21st birthday. Between school, work, and a string of not so great roommates, not only did my finances take a hit, but my diet as well. There were a good few years where I mostly ate a lot of pre-packaged or frozen meals. Takeout too. This led me to packing on so much extra weight that I hit a whopping 220lbs by 2014. To put that into context, I am 5'7" and have next to no muscle mass.
Aside from occasional calorie counting, I had never really tried any "diet" before. Fact is, I don't like the idea of dieting because that implies something temporary, which will mean returning to your old ways, which defeats the purpose. As much as I hated being "fat," my main drive to lose weight is and always has been tied to wanting to be healthy.
So, I kept experimenting. I tried calorie counting on a more consistent basis, and saw some progress. However, I also found myself falling into the habit of eating less healthy foods simply because it was easier to figure out the calorie content. Next, I tried doing a clean eating challenge I found on Buzzfeed. Some of the meals I tried were really good, but there was so much prep work that I found myself crying more than once when I got home late from work and was already really hungry but still had to cook. Plus, the challenge used a ton of arugula... which it turns out I don't like. I was honestly pretty miserable during most of that challenge, but I was happy when I found I had lost weight by the end. Looking back, I'm pretty sure it's because I was basically starving myself after cutting out all the bits I didn't like.
Thankfully, the story doesn't end there! In 2018, I asked my doctor to refer me to a nutritionist, who I met with for a few months and learned a bit more about how to properly balance my meals. Turns out no matter the meal, half of your plate is supposed to be vegetables (well fruit can be included there as well, but mainly the focus is on veggies). Now, meals don't always divide up easily into the different food groups, but the point is to aim for half of your meal to be made up of vegetables.
However, it seems like just eating the right balance isn't enough for my body. I can eat 90% veggies and still find myself either weighing the same or even gaining weight. If I was working out, I'd be less concerned because then there would be a possibility that I'm just gaining muscle. But the fact is that I don't like most exercises and I work a job where I sit at a desk all day. I definitely move more in the warmer seasons, preferring to go for a walk in the early morning when the sun is just starting to come up. However, winters in Saskatchewan are no joke, and I tend to go into full hibernation mode once the weather cools down.
One of my friends eventually convinced me to try more Arbonne products and I ended up doing the Arbonne30, which is basically clean eating with added supplements, but with way more flexibility than that old Buzzfeed challenge I did. I am actually really glad I did the challenge because it taught me a couple things:
I do not especially like protein shakes, but can tolerate them - even better if blended into a smoothie
Clean eating actually doesn't have to be as hard as I thought it did - there are a ton of clean-eating meals that are actually delicious and make more than 2 servings so I don't have to constantly be cooking
The other thing Arbonne did for me is provide me with a community of people who focus so much on self-acceptance and love. And while I'm still not necessarily happy with the shape of my body, I don't hate it the way I once did. I understand that I've been through trauma and loss and also that I've learned a lot along the way and am on my way to a healthier version of myself.
Good health isn't a destination, it's a journey, and I've decided to document what happens in 2022 as I shine a light on my journey to the healthiest me I can be.