This is the biggest obstacle standing between people and their fitness goals. There has to be a shift from this obsession with just losing weight to adopting an overall healthy lifestyle. Overall health includes proper nutrition, exercising, getting proper sleep, finding ways to cope with everyday stress, and self acceptance.
Stressing over losing weight will NOT help a person lose weight. Restricting calories or overexercising are not going to help you lose weight.
For today's Friday inspiration, I want to highlight one of our veteran challenge participants and my close friend Kim. Kim has been on an amazing fitness journey that included many ups and downs. Her focus entering our first few clean eating challenges was to lose weight and that was it. This proved to be frustrating for her because her focus was not in the right place. Below is a comment Kim left halfway through our last challenge.
Kim's Evolution (hopefully this will help some of you)
My first challenge9-09
In August Dawn had been trying to talk me into doing a challenge and I immediately shrugged it off and thought there is no way I can give up cheese, sweets, and creamer in my coffee and all the other stuff. I told her no way that I couldn't do it. She has a way of making me feel her disappointment and I can't deal with that. I decided to go for it and do it, but I felt kind of like I was going to be in prison and was going to torture myself for 30 days. I said it was just for 30 days and then I can add my favorite foods back in. I did fantasize about what I was going to eat after the 30 days. I also had a lot of weight to lose and I wanted to lose as much as possible during this 30 days. To my surprise I think I lost like 5 lbs. the first week so I was liking that, but I know I still was longing for the day when I could have my favorite foods after the 30 days. It was all about losing weight that first challenge. So after the 30 days I bombed. I was trying to lose as much weight as possible before a school reunion in October and when I didn't lose enough weight I just kind of gave up.
1-10 30 day challenge -
I knew what I was getting myself into and this time my husband came along for the challenge. It was so helpful to have him cooking for me and with me. It was a great start to the New Year and we were well stocked which was good since we were snowed in most of January. After the 30 days, we were okay for a while, but my husband and I went back to our old ways again and we stopped eating clean..I think I thought that I would be able to control my appetite and stay away from certain foods when the 30 days were over. Like I could have some junk food and then the next day get right back into eating clean. That didn't happen and when I had something not clean, I kept wanting more and more not clean food. Again, I wasn't concerned with the fact that the unclean food is not good for me.
That same year I think they did a 15 day challenge and I didn't even do it. I felt awful that I didn't participate but I just couldn't, wouldn't.
December 2010 - I was trying to do my own thing and relied on Lean Cuisines a lot when I didn't want to prepare any foods. I was trying to be mindful of what I was eating and I tried to exercise here and there. I told Dawn I was going to do it my way for a while. So she naturally thought I was out for the upcoming Jan. challenge. As I had a birthday in December and Christmas came, I started to acknowledge that I have had this heel spur that wouldn't go away, a tight back, and one of my fingers seemed to have some kind of itis. I wasn't feeling good. I just turned 35 and I have 3 children under the age of 7. I want to feel better and be healthy for my kids. Of course I want to lose all the excess weight but this time, more importantly, I want to feel better. I decided to do the challenge some time between Christmas and New Years. I am going to do this challenge to cleanse my system and to see if I feel better (this was a first for me). I want control over my diet and I want to be healthy. So this time I have a totally different mentality and I know that if I am not careful eating certain foods I will be in trouble. Certain foods trigger me to go to the dark side. I will feel awful after eating the forbidden foods and may dig myself into a deeper hole. So since I have a lot of weight to lose, I know this time, It won't happen in just 30 days. I will change my lifestyle and I know I need to try to eat this way for the rest of my life. It is not hard and it doesn't seem as foreign to me since I have been learning about this way of eating through Dawn and Paul since 2009. I just wanted to share with you my experience and how I evolved over several 30 day challenges. My husband and I are going to continue eating this way and we are trying harder with our kids, but that will come in time.
Below Kim shares her approach to eating clean and life since our January challange.
This time I am 100 % committed and I have faith in myself this time. This is so key and why it is so easy for me to eat clean, paleo friendly foods. My mindset is so clear and focused and I know longer have the mind clutter going on. For example, when I see a restaurant/food commercial or when when people are eating unclean foods in front of me, I don't even get phased by it, or, what I think is about the amount of sugar and saturated fat in the foods and say to myself things like I don't want to eat that stuff because its not healthy and I don't want to feel bad. If there is a food that I normally don't eat and I do crave it, I just say I can wait until my open meal. I only eat one open meal a week. My cravings aren't very strong anymore so it really is not much of an issue and I might even forget about it by the time I eat my open meal. I love the feeling of filling myself on clean foods after I eat them. Food is fuel/energy and I feel so much more full and satisfied after fueling up with clean foods. I had Mexican food for my open meal last Saturday and as I was eating it, I was feeling bloated and had a small headache. I wanted to get back home and get right back to work with my painting project that I consciously decided I would stop eating the rest of my food. I did get back from the restaurant and we did the whole bedtime routine with kids and we got back to painting. Since my mentality is to think about my health and what I am putting in my body and how I will feel, I have been very successful in eating clean. I feel so good and I don't want to bring back strong cravings again by eating too many unclean (high bad fat and high sugar) foods. Cravings are like the devil and I have the commitment and control I need to be successful against them.
I've been eating clean since January 3rd and now I have 1 open meal a week and I am seeing results on the scale and in how my body is changing shape. I try to workout 3-4 times a week but I have to go with the flow and adjust since sometimes life gets in the way and I don't have time. I am taking more time to reflect and I try to write down my feelings because it helps me to compare how I am feeling now and how I used to feel. I also can start to see the reality of myself fitting back into my smaller clothes again soon and I truly believe everything is lining up the right way.
I want to help people feel the same way I am feeling, especially those who have emotional eating issues. I was really missing out before and it is wonderful that my new clean eating lifestyle has enriched my life. I now believe that my dependency on food was a result of my body relying on it and the messages it was sending to my brain. Taste buds also have a memory and by taking away the tastes of certain unclean foods like fast foods, I don't crave it. I have changed my mentality from an overweight persons to a thin persons.
Kim ended our last challenge with a different mindset. Weight was not her priority. She decided that feeling good, both mentally and physically, was more important than a number on the scale. As she focused on her health, the weight loss happened naturally. She had many epiphanys along the way and has begun to accept herself and live her life to the fullest. I am happy to share her story. Kim, thanks for letting us be a part of your journey! You are truly an inspiration!!!