I think this is one of those posts that I’ve edited more times than my dissertation (<—-and trust me, that says a lot!).
But I want to talk to you about a journey I’ve been through lately because (1) I always like to be honest about what I’m going through (2) you all are just a rockstar community of support and (3) perhaps you are going through it too and with me halfway out of this, perhaps I can clutch you by the hand and take you out of it too.
One of the absolute GREATEST blessings in my life is becoming a fitness coach. Every day, people pour open their hearts to me. Quite often I’m their last hope. And it feels amazing to be used as a tool to help pull someone out of a dark place. They’ve given up on themselves. They’ve lost who they are. They sometimes even hate who they are. And to be used to help someone with that is….well…humbling.
But sometimes there is this added pressure I put on myself as a coach. Like perhaps I need this “perfect body” in order for people to trust me. I can’t help but giggle (and gulp) when I tell someone I am an online fitness coach and I am fairly convinced that their eyes accidentally scan me up & down, then they realize their instinctive error and go back up to my eyes. Or when I’m talking in a group and I watch someone in my peripheral view taking a sneak glance at my love handles that, yes, are still there. Or maybe it is all in my head. Who knows, right?
When I share the coaching opportunity with someone, and they tell me they can’t because they are not in their best shape yet, I explain how that is the BEST time to be a coach because you can go on the amazing journey WITH your clients (and it’s true, I’ve seen it time and time again). And I have to say, my clients truly do experience this journey WITH me. Sure, I can pass on tips as I learn them, but they don’t expect me to be perfect, they carry me through my own tough times, and THEY are the ones to show me I’m great how I am.
But I’ve let my OWN voices and paranoia get to me lately and I’ve developed an unhealthy relationship with food. I’ve encountered problems I’ve never had before—it crept on over the last year and once I truly confronted it HEAD ON, I was able to make some changes.
So here is what happened
I started to get to a place where food was one of two things: GOOD or BAD. Now Beachbody has some AMAZING nutrition plans that are truly life-changing for my clients, but once I got my weight loss, I labeled foods “approved for the plan” vs “those not” as “good” vs. “bad”. If I ate a “BAD” food—I’d feel terrible. Disappointed. And I’d say, “Screw it, I went off track, let’s BINGE”
It’s kind of a combination of the eating disorder orthorexia nervosa (those who get uber obsessed with foods, weighing them, etc to an unhealthy state), and binge eating. I’d be obsessed, but repeatedly screw up, and then I’d sit and down a row of Oreos without blinking an eye.
THAT IS NOT HEALTHY.
And it got to a place where I gained back what I had lost. Here is what I had lost before:
And then here is how I was this last July:
You probably remember my post when I saw this photo and started this new journey. That photo was an eye opener for me, because I didn’t realize how out of control it got. It wasn’t just how I looked on the outside, it was moreso just how I felt. Weak. Disappointed.
So I went on a journey (I’ll explain below what I did!), and I’m still on it, but I’m losing weight and feel BETTER about food (I’ll share my transformation photo below).
Here’s how I fixed it
I went back to my roots. Take a look up at the top of this website—what is this site called? FIT BABY STEPS. I created that title because I found that what made the BIGGEST impact on me and my clients were the SMALL steps I could make, not the big ones. And yet I veered away from that logic. You follow the plan or you don’t. You eat good or you eat all bad.
So this time around, I started with these baby steps:
Baby Step #1 – Eat at home
We were at a place where we were eating out AT LEAST 7 times a week. That is insane! And we aren’t talking healthy foods either! It got really, really bad.
So we put a spending freeze on us. NO eating out.
That has been INCREDIBLE for our family. We have had such a sense of peace in our home (and we are able to save some money too!). I guess it doesn’t hurt that we also have an awesome system for saving money on our groceries (shameless plug!).
Baby Step #2 – Drink a glass of water and take my medicine first thing in the morning
A silly step, I’m sure, but an important one because when I am dehydrated, I’m tired and want to eat everything in sight
Baby Step #3 – Eating yogurt mid-day
I haaaaaate protein sources. It’s hard to get them in, but I found a yogurt I like and while it isn’t 100% “clean”, since eating it, I’ve fit my protein needs and lost inches.
Baby Step #4 – Preparing my lunch the night before
I found I ate out the most when food wasn’t waiting for me when I got home from getting my son. I was HANGRY! So now I prepare my lunch the night before and I’m far less tempted to eat out!
Baby Step #5 – Do Workouts I Love
I LOVE lifting weights at night, but I also felt like my body craved some fun workouts. So I started to do some dance workouts mid-day. It brought me to a whole new level of happy (and as an added bonus, it burned off a little extra too!)
Baby Step #6 – This is where I am at now – Follow my nutrition plan, but count my containers even if I go off plan
I was following my meal plan really well (I personally use those color coded 21 Day Fix containers), but if I went off course a little, I wasn’t sure how on earth to get back on it. So I’d go rogue.
Now I tweak things. This I got help from with MY coach (that is why it helps to have a coach, to give you an outside perspective!). One day this last week, I snuck in a cupcake, so she helped me learn to call that a yellow and orange. Is that ideal? No, of course not. But by continuing to COUNT my containers no matter WHAT (even if I have 11 carb containers in a day!) at least I am mindful of things! And it makes me more motivated to get back on track.
I also want to have ONE disclaimer: I think it’s ok for life-time eating to tweak things a little, but if you are on something like the 21 Day Fix for the first time, I recommend doing what you can to follow it (forgiving yourself if you go off track though!). I say this because in those times of desperation, you’ll discover a different, healthier solution. For example, I LOVED my carb containers, but it wasn’t until I was on the 21 Day Fix that I discovered cauliflower rice!!!!! By putting yourself through something new, you might discover something new too!
After all of this, here is where I am at now (see below–and no, I’m not sucking in or pushing out, I swear). On the left is me about 3 months ago, on the right is me now. I know, very blurry, sorry! The progress has been veeeeeery gradual (and recent thyroid issues haven’t helped!). I know I’m not perfect, but I am working on a healthier relationship with food and, most importantly, with myself.
So if you are struggling with this GOOD vs BAD issue with food, can I make a small plea that you take some small baby steps?
Work on one thing at a time! I recommend using something like my calendar system to track what you are doing that is great, and what needs improvement. Soon you’ll start to discover a unique nutrition plan that works right for YOU.
I also want to give you a few disclaimers:
- I love who I am. I was raised with a pretty healthy view of who I am. Sure, I can want to improve, but please don’t think you need to tell me to love myself!
- I’m not writing this article from a position of expertise, but moreso as a friend who puts her arm around your shoulder and said, “I get it” if you are there too.
- I worry I paint coaching as BAD. But honestly, it is the very process of coaching that has helped me to be more aware of who I am and what I am doing! It took coaching to help me discover this! So if you are in any way considering coaching, I’d gladly talk about this with you (and you all know me, I’m pretty blunt honest!).
And if you want someone to coach you and help you through it, please know I’d gladly help you! It’s my passion! You can lose some weight or tone up with me in my next group–just fill out the application here:
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