This just in, it’s official, I went up a jeans size. None of my jeans are comfortable, I’m finding it frustrating to get ready in the morning as I search for any pair of clean leggings. Tonight after work I decided to buy a new pair of jeans. Tried on maybe 16 pairs, sweat profusely in the dressing room. And I for sure went up a size. I was sad on the subway on the way home, feeling anxious. The way I’ve always felt in my life when I gain weight. And as I’m scrolling on Instagram looking at so many amazing weight loss stories I thought, no one posts when they gain weight. It’s like a big secret we all have to deny. Weight gain has become a big secret we have to hide with loose sweaters and leggings. Why? How did we get here? There are a million reasons why I am maybe up a few pounds now. But the most discouraging thing about this situation is I’m doing so many things right in life and focusing only on this so called “failure”. I’ve gotten myself back to the gym 4 times a week. I just got bloodwork and am very healthy. Oh, and I’m so happy. So why in the world should I care that my pants aren’t currently reflecting how I feel on the inside. And why in the world do we have to hide weight gain. Hiding the gain is like hiding who we are at this moment in time. Oh you gained some weight but landed your dream job, f*ckin celebrate that weight. Oh you had a baby and you’re up a pants size, flaunt that shit. Life can so easily be equated to our weight at any given time and that’s ok!! I’m feverishly typing this because I’m screaming with passion. We don’t need to hide in shame, celebrate everything you may have gained with each pound.
The definition of metabolism is: a series of chemical reactions that take place inside our body to sustain life. I know that shocked me too but I always assumed metabolism just meant the process by which someone is fat or skinny.
So then why is the word metabolism so closely associated with weight loss ?
Well, the bodies ability to sustain life (think back to the definition) boils down to the bodies ability to use 4 bio molecules, protein, fat, carbs and something called, “nucleic acids.” Nucleic acids are things like DNA & RNA.
So in the simplest terms we eat food to obtain these necessary bio molecules for metabolism. But every food we eat isn’t the perfect configuration of what our body needs. So what happens is, a food is broken down during digestion into simple and more scientific sounding particles. I like to think of each piece of food we eat as a bowl of rainbow M&Ms that then get separated by color. So after digestion we take our food (bowl of rainbow M&Ms) and break them down into 4 bowls of individual colors (blue, red, green and yellow)
So you’ve eaten a food that contains protein, fat, carbs & nucleic acids and digestion breaks it down into fatty acids (fat) glucose (carbs) amino acids (protein) & nucleotides. With me so far?
Then we need to use what our body needs. So we take the configuration of colors our body needs. And that takes energy. So the same food we eat is being broken down but also built back up at the same time. It’s a cycle. And guys…what regulates that cycle?! you guessed it…hormones.
And it is still very confusing. So did I help? Eh, not sure:)
For so many of us food has developed a negative connotation. Eating out feels gluttonous and unhealthy. Having a drink with a friend feels like a diet derailment. We look at parties as calories instead of conversation.
On Friday after a long day I was on my way home and was mentally checking everything off my to-do list. I did this, I did that, ok good. And I thought, it feels like everything we do is an obligation. We’re not present, we’re just enduring and then checking it off the list. Well that’s no way to live life I thought. And then I started of thinking of times I was very present in life. And I found myself always around the table surrounded by food. I am so present when I’m out to dinner with friends or family. Hmm I thought, all of a sudden food was morphing into a form of self care. I tested my theory and the next morning, Saturday, I asked my husband if he wanted to go out to breakfast. So him, myself and my daughter went to one of my favorite little family friendly breakfast establishments and I had the best pancake. And he had a French press coffee and our daughter put stickers all up and down our arms while we waited for the food. And I thought, this is so lovely. We didn’t have our phones. We had no where else to be. And if my daughter hadn’t already overstayed her welcome my husband and I probably would have stayed another hour talking and drinking lattes and consuming more calories. And although we may have left eating more than we planned, we were recharged and happy.
Today everyone is always talking about self care. Meditation and baths and massages and “me time” and we never think of eating as a form of self care. That’s because most of us look back on each meal with shame for overeating.
But I think back to the last 6 months and my most present times, times of peace and happiness and enjoyment were out to eat. And every single time, I had high calorie fattening food. I over indulged way more than I planned. Could I have ordered something healthier? Yup. But for some reason that’s like going to an amusement park and not riding a single ride. Maybe we all need to admit that indulging in food is how we indulge in life. When I looked at food this way, it became such a positive thing. Calories became conversations. And fat became friendship.
I went out for coffee with a friend on Sunday night and told her how I felt about this new theory. Explained to her how food can be in vehicle to bring calm into our crazy lives. She agreed that some of her best most relaxing times is out to a good meal with her husband.
And I’ll tell you this much, I wouldn’t have made a memory eating cottage cheese and egg whites alone at my kitchen table. My point is, you can be on a strict diet and eat perfect and lose weight but look at how meals become obligations and your social life feels stressful. For so many years I thought happiness would come from weight loss. But maybe weight loss comes from happiness.
Marie Kondo and her methods for tidying up are sweeping the nation. It seems like everyone is talking about her and implementing her advice into their lives. On Saturday morning my husband and I started tidying up our bedroom. And I said, if we’re going to really do this I need coffee first. And I thought, I need a latte, because that latte sparks so much joy. A lightbulb went off in my head. What if we all used her simple principle of “does this spark joy?” to everything we eat. I began thinking of the foods that really sparked joy in my life. I made a list of four: lattes, big bakery style cookies, Australian red licorice and recess peanut butter holiday shaped cups. Nothing else made the list because even though I like it, it doesn’t spark joy. It actually sparked feelings of angst and regret and shame.
Most of the foods that spark joy in all of our lives will probably be high fat, high sugar, “non diet” foods. All foods we assume we shouldn’t eat on a diet. Wrong. Don’t think of it like that. Think, anything that’s not on this list of joy foods should be removed from my diet.
Most of the time when we fall of our diets its not even for something we love. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve eaten 150 chips and salsa mindlessly while watching football or 6 lackluster store bought cookies at a BBQs or 9 random pieces of candy from a bowl at work. None of this food brought me joy. I eat that stuff because it was there and because I think I like it. I think I need it. But the truth is, cutting out all of these foods are going to be the key to success. Because that’s the stuff that’s around more. Those are the foods that are more detrimental because we eat more servings of them. And since we don’t enjoy them when we’re eating it’s usually mindless. And this food isn’t satisfying so we continue to eat to find the satisfaction.
It’s ok to eat what you love. But if you love pizza, make sure you eat the best piece of pizza in NYC. If you love cookies, go to the best bakery and get the best cookie. Let yourself enjoy the things you truly love. Make a list in your head of the things you truly love and those things should never be removed from your diet. And if you eat them with love and the best versions of them, you will have success.
Remember, understanding your mind will always be the key to weight loss success.
Today, think about a food that pop culture has deemed unhealthy that you actually enjoy. Or a healthy food that you loathe but eat because you think you have to. For me, it’s peanut butter. I love peanut butter! I know there are healthier nut butters I can choose, I’ve tried them all because most diets call for the removal of peanut butter but you know what I love peanut butter and it can easily be part of my daily life without being detrimental. Maybe you’ve sworn off carbs but you want bread, add a slice back in. Maybe the diet your on calls for you to eat plain Greek yogurt and you just want your strawberry more sugary version back. Maybe you love pasta but are struggling to choke down zoodles each night. Portion it the same way you’d portion a healthy good. That’s right, Bring it back! All foods can be part of a healthy diet.
What’s a health food you just can’t get on board with? And what can you replace it with that brings you more joy?
Yesterday was Superbowl Sunday. Frankly, there is nothing I love more then sitting on the couch in leggings and an oversized football shirt eating chips and salsa and watching a game. This morning, as I was driving to work, I was thinking about all the people that woke up feeling bad this morning about doing just that. I too, didn’t feel the greatest. I went to a Superbowl party for the first half of the game, planned on not drinking. But of course, I drank two spiked seltzers which led to me eating half a box of cereal at home during the 4th quarter.
Then, I joined a weight loss challenge my good friends are having. It’s called Diet Bet and everyone pays $10 and if you lose 4% of your body weight in 4 week you get to split the pot with everyone who reached that goal. And today and tomorrow are the final weigh ins and I’m pretty positive I am not going to be one of the winners. So that, compounded with overeating on Superbowl Sunday, made it easy for me to go to a place where I felt pretty down on myself.
Because of that I started thinking of failed dieting attempts in general. Many of us can’t even count the number of times we’ve failed when trying to make a healthy change. And I thought, what can we learn from these? Can we find a way to make every failure feel like a huge success?! Yes, we all can. And we have to change our mind state to that mentality. And we have to find that one thing that we did succeed at and hold onto it tightly. For me, even though I didn’t have the return on the scale I hoped for, I went to the gym upwards of 15 times this month. Even though I didn’t have a return on the scale, I brought my lunch to work every single day this month. And once again, the post is a public service announcement to remind everyone that even though the scale seems to be the only thing that can determine our success, it’s not. Only we can determine our success and that’s why it’s up to us to constantly find the silver lining to a failure and constantly work to find peace within ourselves.
You deserve happiness and peace no matter what you weigh today.
As many of my loyal readers know, I like to treat myself as a human science experiment to get answers to burning questions I have. And when it comes to the scale, I will do anything to take the emotional power away from that little square that sits on the floor.
Earlier this month, I said to my girlfriend over coffee that I want to weigh myself everyday in January. I said, I don’t know why, but I know there is something to learn and a good post within. She encouraged me to do it and said, the post will shape itself through the month. So I began weighing myself everyday for two weeks waiting to have a revelation about water or poop or food.
And I was kind of bored. But I kept doing it looking for patterns.
And then one day, on my subway ride home from work, it hit me, I need a better scale. A scale that tells the whole story. So I got out my scissors, and tape, started cutting up a journal I had just bought and I made my own PERFECT SCALE.
If I eat more fruit and veggies to nourish my body and I step on the scale… I don’t need a number… I need to read about how my body feels on the inside and I’m sure it is “sparkling”
I recommit to the gym and start to feel strong again, I don’t need to read XXX.X, I need to be told & feel “powerful”
When I swap a 7 million calorie dessert for something healthier, I don’t need to read XXX.X, I need to feel “proud”
If it’s mid-January and I am still going strong on my resolution…I need to be reminded that I am “Capable”
If we do something out of our comfort zone, maybe we take a new class or finally ask for that raise, we need to be reminded that we are “daring” & “bold”
And every single day…if you are up or down on the scale…you need to feel “GRATEFUL” & “BLESSED”
The bottom line is that the scale has become one of the only ways we know how to measure progress. Sure we can use clothes or pictures or energy levels but for some reason we let the scale take superiority. And at this time, especially this time when so many of us are working to make positive changes in our life…we need to have a constant reminder that you are making progress and that every little step you take to better yourself or your health should be celebrated!