Sunday, November 16, 2014

How I Got Started

Many of you have asked how I got started (and I've actually shared this story on the fabulous blog, Wellness Witness) and I wanted to share, in a very condensed version, on how I decide enough was enough.
The picture on the left is from October 2012 and on the right is April 2014

Since I can remember, I've been overweight and self conscious.  I've always been athletic and loved all things outdoors, but I let my weight get in the way of living my life!  I gained 60 pounds in my 4 years of college.  When I got engaged, I crash dieted and lost that weight for my wedding.  Guess what happened soon after I got married? I gained back that weight and THEN SOME in less that 3 years. I knew that I had to lose weight by eating right and exercising, but it took me many years to get in the right mind set.  I tried every fad diet, pill, and even more extreme ways to try to lose the weight.  It didn't work for me.  My body was ready to lose the weight, but my mind was not ready.  It's a VERY mental process.

After my grandpa died 2 years ago, I heard Jesus speak to me.  People always say that "I found Jesus, but really... Jesus found me (well He was always there, I just needed to listen).  He saw that I was hurting in all aspects of my life (physical, spiritual, mental) and called out to me.  I started going back to church and praying regularly. This is when my life started to just fall into place.  He was showing me THE way and I was going to start doing the work (thank you to my friend Deanna who said that so perfectly).

My whole perspective on life changed and I wanted to be better in all aspects. I knew that my body needed a whole overhaul.  I had bad acne, headaches, stomach issues, back problems, and knee issues. As I was researching online about how to clear acne without antibiotics, I noticed that many sites recommended eliminating certain foods from your diet.  The first suggestion was dairy, sugar and gluten.  I eliminated dairy and immediately my face got better! WHAT?  Food can help my face?  I wonder what in the world else food can do for me.  This started my search on what was ACTUALLY in my food.  Whoa. I was shocked!  I read many articles, blogs, websites, and books.  I researched food and preservatives.  I was appalled! I don't recommend you do this though. It was a *little* overwhelming. Just take baby steps and you'll be fine. HA! {Look at #6 on this list for ideas on websites/articles to read}
*What I learned was that all of my issues with my body could be helped (if not completely healed) by FOOD.  It really does start with food.

This is when my husband and I started to make small changes in our diet to move more towards whole food eating...or like I call it, clean eating.  You can read more about my journey with clean eating {here}.

I saw huge changes just by eliminating dairy and gluten (and we stopped drinking soda).  My stomach wasn't upset all of the time and my acne started to clear up (with a huge help from a holistic skincare regimen).  ALSO, I started to lose weight each week. I started to eat even more clean (no preservatives and lots of fruits/veggies/meat/nuts/seeds).  But I don't shun any food really. I'm not the food police.  I still enjoy a good piece of pizza and cupcake once in a while. I try to just fuel my body with the best food possible without feeling deprived (I make a lot of food swaps- spaghetti squash instead of noodles, etc.).  I was very consistent in my weight loss and it seemed to fall off.  I wasn't really working out too much.

When I lost about 50 pounds, I started to workout with an amazing trainer.  Soon after, she moved and I was left alone.  Luckily, I found Jazzercise!  It's the BEST and recommend it for everyone!   I also lift heavy weights in the gym.  Strength training has really changed my body. I have also started at Orange Theory Fitness.  I love working out now...and believe me,  it's not always been like that.  I used to loathe working out. It also helps that I have many friends and family members who are on this journey with me. I couldn't do it without them.

I've lost over 100 pounds in 2 years. Losing weight is hard.  But you know what else is hard? It's hard to be obese, out of breath, depressed, achy, sleepless, and angry. I choose to live a healthy lifestyle because I want to live a long time.  I want to take care of this body and mind that the Lord has so graciously given me. It's been a hard road, but a road that I will keep trudging on!

My tips for you:
Love your body at every size
Take steps towards eating more whole foods and less processed 
Don't weigh yourself more than once a week (or even at all)
Set SMALL goals (my first goal was to not wear an XXL anymore)
Ask for help (get a trainer and/or nutritionist)
Surround yourself with supporters (I have the best family and cheerleading squad...aka best friends)
Pray and ask for His guidance
Read the book, "It Starts With Food"
Believe in yourself

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Food Judging

A lot of "clean eaters" get pegged as judging others for their food choices. Just like a lot of macro counters get pegged as Pop-Tart addicts.  In my case, there's no judging going on.  I've researched for years with reading, eating, studying... and I've found food that makes ME feel good (not just psychologically, but physically too).  Let me emphasize the fact that I've researched this for ME. I put whole foods in my cupboards because it's what makes ME feel good when I eat it.  Because it works for Rachelle doesn't mean it works for you.  I share my love for clean eating because that's what I know how to do. It doesn't mean you have to do it. There are a lot of ways to get healthy and even more ways to lose weight. Find what works for you. YAY, you!

I don't care if you have Ding-Dongs in your cupboards.  Actually, I might just be a little jealous. ;)
I hear this a lot "Oh you would just die if you saw what was in my pantry!"  Would I really die? Probably not.  I really wouldn't care at all.  You're an adult and you can eat whatever you want.  Unless you ask me my opinion and you want me to come and look through your pantry, then I don't really care what you have in there.  Maybe you have some candy and cereal?  Cool beans.

I am not an eating robot and I truly don't believe that clean eating means that I'm supposed to eat whole foods 100% of the time and therefore be "perfect" in my eating choices. There are foods that are nutrient dense and not nutrient dense. There are foods that are processed and not processed. There are not perfect foods.  I do eat a lot of fresh veggies, fruit, meat, eggs, nuts, and seeds. I choose to eat this way because it makes me feel soooo good (think: unicorns and rainbows).  But I also eat cheesecake and have a Reese's Peanut Butter Egg that is the size of my head sometimes. It doesn't make me a hypocrite, it makes me a human.

Let me tell you a little story about one of my sweet friends (name has been excluded to protect the guilty- hahaha)!  We hadn't seen each other in months and we were meeting at the airport.  We saw each other and hugged! I was so excited to see her.  Before even saying hello to me, she just said "Don't judge me, but I have Cheez-Its in my carry-on"!  This brings me to my last point:

In conclusion, I want you to be healthy.  Get there how you want to. I chose clean eating because it works for me. I'll share my clean eating ideas with you because that's what I know about. This doesn't mean I believe it is for everyone. It's not. But it's helped me lose over 100 pounds, cured my acne, eliminated my depression/anxiety, sleep better, and so much more.