Not my proudest (or happiest) moment.
Since I’ve recently been trying to be a little healthier, I decided to weigh myself after months.
Probably not the best idea after a long day (you’re heavier at night, apparently), but I wanted to see where my weight range was.
I’ve always fluctuated, but this is on a whole ‘nother level…
I’m going to be brutally honest…I’m 5’6” and weigh between 175-180 lbs.
That’s calculated to a BMI of between 25-30…which is overweight.
Yeah, needless to say, I don’t feel great about myself.
This is a break down of how I got to this point.
Oily comfort foods…and too much of them.
I went pescatarian for 2 weeks in Cape Verde…and I ate a lot of junk and drank a lot of booze.
Swore to myself that as soon as I got back to the states, I’d be back to my good ol’ healthy vegan diet.
And I did…sort of.
I was totally back to vegan/plant-based with minimally processed foods, but I wouldn’t say I was eating the healthiest I’ve ever eaten.
I loved a good helping of roasted tomatoes in olive oil over some pasta with veggies.
The problem wasn’t that it “wasn’t healthy”, per se… it was just too much. Too many fat calories mixed with refined wheat pasta.
I coulda done worse, but I coulda done better, too.
As much as I love fitness, yoga, working out, etc., I lost interest for it when I started working full-time last year. It was hard to get up in the morning and do it, or get myself motivated to do it before bed.
I tried to move at least 3 days a week by walking to lunch, but between staying so sedentary (at my desk) and snacking, I wasn’t burning enough of the calories I was taking in.
Even though I was eating a plant-based vegan diet and eating healthier than the average American at my age, I wasn’t watching my calorie intake.
Some of it was willful ignorance, but I also just didn’t care.
Stress and lack of sleep.
As much as I appreciate the people I worked with, I wasn’t in the healthiest of work environments. It had a tendency to be emotionally charged, unpredictable, and full of resentments.
And when you hang out around that stuff for 8 hours a day, 3 days a week (I was working 2 jobs), you can’t help but take some of that shit on. Especially if you struggle with your own issues behind the scenes.
The more I took on, the more stressed I got, the less I slept. And the more I snacked. It’s a vicious cycle.
I stuck to unhealthy patterns as I sank further down.
Time went by and I quit the second job to relieve some of the stress. And it worked… for a little while. But I never did pick my workout routine back up.
From there, I just kind of went down. I won’t get into too many details, but I found myself in other less-than-healthy situations as we entered the Holiday Season of 2017.
By January 2018, I was in full-blown decline, I’d say. Just miserable almost all day every day. I wasn’t receptive to good things, STILL wasn’t exercising, stopped meditating altogether, resented everyone I loved (and who loved me) for their attachment to me.
Honestly, I’m still working through some of it, even though I’m feeling better now.
Worst of all, I don’t think I even realized how bad I’d gotten.
Outwardly, I probably looked fine: didn’t have any trouble with hygiene, didn’t take sick days from work, still ate pretty healthy compared to other people… but a lot of that was autopilot.
That stuff was ‘easy’ to do because I’d made it second nature. I didn’t have to think about it. But exercising, writing, living– anything that required me to pay attention? NOPE… I had totally checked out.
When I didn’t have an obligation to fulfill, I didn’t do anything but sit in my room and watch YouTube videos. Everything else seemed pointless.
Pretty soon, even the things I had been maintaining started to slip.
I felt like I kept messing things up, no matter how hard I tried. And I didn’t want to feel like this anymore.
By this time, I had 2 options: continue on whatever awful path I was on or start working harder in therapy to get on track…
… I chose the latter.
So I worked my ass off between therapy and self-care, trying to be ok.
And I’m happy to say that, although I’m not perfect, I’m feeling much better. Switched up my meds, started exploring different things in therapy, listed different ways to say ‘no’.
At the moment, I’m feeling much better. But I definitely gained about 5-10 lbs since last year.
Here are the steps I’m taking to change that.
Tracking my food in Cronometer
It’s a common enough app that I see a lot of vegans use. Honestly, I’ve had it for a while but could never really be fussed to use it until today. I’m realizing now that I had no reason to procrastinate, because it’s really easy to use.
For the most part, all I have to do is scan the barcode of the different foods I eat, then input the number of servings I had. The app calculates the rest: daily values as well as the number of kcal I’ve consumed.
(Maybe I’ll do another What I Ate In A Day to better explain how I’ve been using it.)
Of course, some things aren’t in the database and you have to enter the nutrition facts manually, which can be a pain in the ass. But once it’s done, it’s done. And every time you eat that food, it’ll be there for you to select.
You can put in your exercises, too: the type of exercise and the duration. And the app calculates the number of kcal that you burn.
It’s really that simple. And it’ll be a great way to keep track of what I’m eating, even when I’m feeling blue. May be a way to prevent the same thing from happening in the future.
Exercise 10-30 minutes everyday.
I used to have a pretty ‘all-or-nothing’ attitude. In fact, sometimes I still do. But as I work in therapy (and on my own) on trying to let go of some of that, I’m realizing that every little bit counts.
So even if I’m feeling unmotivated and down, I can commit myself to a minimum of 10 minutes of exercise every day.
On the days that I’m feeling more daring (or like I’m needing a really long, mindful yoga practice), I can always do more.
Nix the all-nighters
Yeeeeaaaahhh, I’m notorious for this.
As a creative (and anxious) person, my mind is buzzing when other people’s minds are quieting down. I’m also a TERRIBLE procrastinator. I mean, AWFUL.
I’ll stay up until about 5 a.m. some nights cranking out these blog posts before 9 a.m. It’s not good for my sleep pattern, and it definitely hasn’t done me any favors in the weight loss department.
So even though I’m a natural night owl, I’m going to commit to cutting myself off and settling in by 1:30 a.m. at the latest.
This’ll insure that I can get at least 7 ½ – 8 hours of sleep without sleeping half the day away…
… or having to cram something less than healthy into my face before rushing out the door to work.
Letting go of what others think of me.
So this seems a little cliché, but I’d say about 99.99% of my stress comes from my inability to say ‘no’ and let people think/feel how they will.
Even my therapist thinks I care too much. Fuck.
So I’m committing to myself here and now that I’m gonna let more and more of that shit go everyday.
Because I am literally carrying my baggage around with me. On my body. In the form of extra weight.
So even though it’s hard A.F., because it’s not the way I’m wired, I’m going to work on letting go of other people’s feelings.
This means that if my first desire is to say ‘no’ to something, maybe I should just say it. Then let them pout or cry or have a tantrum, because that’s on them, not me.
It also means doing the things that I do want to do, because Y.O.L.O. … who has time to worry about how everyone else is going to feel about it? If I’m doing it for me and not trying to hurt someone else, then I should do it.
When you take care of yourself physically, you feel better mentally/emotionally.
When you feel your best, you feel your best.
At least, that’s true for me.
What about you? How can you make a change for yourself this week?