Well that was anticlimactic.
I’m seeing “369 Day Streak” at the top of my My Fitness Pal home page.
No bells, no notifications, no fireworks exploding out of my phone in accomplishment.
An entire year has flown by since I sent a frantic text message to Shari asking for her to pull me out of the whirlwind of mindless eating I’d been living in for the previous six months. No amount of time in the gym could get me out of this funky funk.
This funk had nothing to do with food and everything to do with my inability to manage stress.
One week I was having the time of my life with my brand new husband on the beaches of La Jolla and the next, I was the single individual responsible for the coordination of a local natural disaster volunteer response of which I had no experience (see Instagram feed around October 8, 2016).
Bring on the Pumpkin Munchkins and 14 hour work days.
In celebration of my 365+ days of food logging here are five lessons learned:
- BEFORE AND AFTER PHOTOS SUCK
While I do have progress photos, I will not be flashing before and after pics of my transition. I’m learning more and more that there is no “before” or “after” it’s just “during” and frankly I look back at the “before” photo of me and I want to hug that woman. I want to squeeze the living daylights out of her and tell her she is strong, and smart and bigger than her body gives her credit for. I will not shame the woman in that “before” photo. She is awesome.
- PROGRESS IS NOT LINIER
- I AM AN OBLIGER
According to Gretchen Rubin. Being an obliger, I am very likely to stick to a coaches instruction due to my incessant need to fulfill the expectations of others. If you take a look at the graph above, you will see that my time with Shari started about two weeks before the 3/30 mark. After six months of kicking ass and taking names, Shari dumped me. That is to say, she put me on maintenance and sent me on my way. This is easily identified by the creeping growth happening around October 1st. I had to find a new reason to be healthy. As an obliger, I knew it would be difficult to force expectations on myself without the fear of Shari’s wrath (of which there really never was a wrath – it was totally self-inflicted worry about stepping on the INBODY machine). With time, I was able to figure out that I could maintain a healthy and strong body composition with a few tweaks. If ever I strayed off path, the next meal/day/week I would adjust my diet and move on.
- MACRO COUNTING, MEH
I will not tell you that “macro-counting” or counting caloric makeup is “the way” cause it might not be for you. Of course scientifically it has merit. But anyone who tells you all calories were created equal is full of sh*t. The whole IIFYM thing is so misleading and dangerous. Could I have hit my macros eating processed diet foods and protein shakes? Yes. Would I feel like absolutely crap, mess with my natural bodily functions/hormones and let my overall health take a nosedive? No doubt. The key for me was always loading up on huge amounts of vegetables, drinking lots of water, and making sure that MOST of my macros were made up of natural/whole foods.Another thing to be aware of is that macro-counting can be obsessive and super destructive for those who seek perfectionism. What macro-counting was for me is a way to be more cognizant about the food I put in my body and how those nutrients made me feel and perform. It also helped me set boundaries. Yes. You can have a piece of cake. No. You cannot have the WHOLE cake. In addition to boundaries, it also reminded me not to be too restrictive if my body is rejecting said restriction.
For example: It taught me that while cutting fat will give me those abs I’ve always wanted (I had them for like two weeks — y’all it wasn’t that cool) it also caused my hair to fall out (even more so than it already was from Hashimoto’s). I learned what proteins made me feel good and which ones made my digestive tract revolt.
- ALCOHOL IS KIND OF THE WORST
For the first 90 days, I was challenged by Shari to not drink alcohol. I could not understand why, but I knew my habits in the past had not served me well so without hesitation, alcohol was out. Girls trips, beach weekends, trips to the brewery. LaCroix LaCroix LaCroix. Most of my friends were super supportive. My husband was the best. But of course you will be faced with what I refer to as “Challenges and Challengers” (boot campers get an earful about this). Challenges are those moments where you surround yourself with temptation (tailgate, happy hour, sports outings, family events, etc. basically any time where you traditionally involve alcohol in your plans) and challengers are those friends/coworkers/family members that will pressure or question your motives to make healthy choices. When it comes to alcohol, anyone who judges you or gives you sh*t for saying no to a drink, is more than likely dealing with their own insecurities or embarrassing behavior.The first drink I had after my 90 days was on the 4th of July for an anniversary party. I had half a glass of rosé and needed four rolaides to fall asleep. Heartburn would now be my body’s natural response to alcohol. Since then, I’ve had a few drinks here and there (most of the time just to “fit in” cause frankly I miss my friends) and each time I try to stick to a two drink limit with significant amounts of water before and after.
Sooooo 369 days. Now what?
Came in for the Vanity, Stayed for the Sanity
I’ll probably keep going. I’ve hit a few health pot-holes in the road of life these past few months and a healthy diet filled with lots of nutrients will be really important for me in the upcoming months.
If I forget a meal or a day on MFP, I won’t throw the baby out with the bath water. If I have learned nothing in this year (or by bingeing Netflix on rainy weekends)…
“The days you are uncomfortable are the days you learn the most about yourself.” – NA
I dedicate this lil piece of electronic journal to one Shari Langrall. No words will ever describe the love and adoration I have for you. Thank you for the past 370+ days, entertaining my need to discuss digestion, and our heart-to-heart coffee talks. I wish you all the best in your mountain adventures. Miss you already.