Why did you start the behavioral nutrition program?
I had lost 115 pounds through physical exercise and extreme calorie restriction, then I burnt out, hit rock bottom and gave up. Afterwards, I proceeded in gaining a large majority of that weight back.
I gathered knowledge of how to exercise (thanks to CrossFit and Yoga), however I never learned about nutrition. With the media feeding us conflicting information on the topic of nutrition on almost a daily basis, I wasn’t sure where to turn. I had come to accept the fact that I was ignorant when it came to proper nutrition and using food as fuel for my body.
I had a lifetime of using food as comfort, indulging in sweet and overly processed foods and a minimal amount of cooking experience (with no planning).
Then one day, I happened to hear Maya tell her story and I knew I needed to learn more.
How are you losing the weight the weight this time?
This time around I’m not looking at calories at all, and some people cringe when they hear that. I’ve come to accept that its not the calories that count, it’s the quality of food and the nutritional value of that food. I’ve started to look at food as fuel for my body instead of a sense of comfort, or as an outlet for boredom. I ensure that the food I’m putting into my body is what is needed to promote a healthy well-being as well as fuel to keep my energy levels balanced.
That may sound boring, but let me tell you, I’m eating the best food I’ve ever eaten – both in quality and in taste. Once I had completely changed my relationship with food, I started adding in exercise. Started slow at first with some hiking and yoga, but gradually I’ve built up to where I’m going to CrossFit 5 times a week. Now that’s not for everyone, but I personally enjoy it so it’s become a hobby to me. Finding a hobby that’ll keeps me physically active was a game changer.
What have you accomplished in the past year during your time in the Behavioral Nutrition Program?
I have learned so much about food and using food as fuel for my body.
I have learned to love cooking.
I have learned how meal planning can be a powerful and useful tool.
I have learned to eat out by choosing good, better, best items on a menu.
I have learned that my body and well being are worth it.
I have learned that I am worthy of a happy and healthy life.
I have learned that balance in my diet, leads to balance in my sleep, energy levels, mood and productiveness.
I have learned that fake food and chemicals wage a war within our bodies.
I have learned that my body is resilient and that given time and proper care, balance can be attained.
I have learned to make myself more available to new people and social settings.
I have learned to rid negativity from my life and surround myself with positive influences and friendship.
I have learned to accept my weaknesses and keep moving forward.
Weight loss isn’t always just about the food, as you know. What has been the most important lesson on your thus far?
While I am my own worse enemy, I am also my own savior.
That is powerful! Tell us what you mean by being your own worst enemy and your own savior.
This all goes back to bad mental habits and negative thoughts that are emotionally self destructive. The only one that can truly battle these negative thoughts and self destructive tendencies is myself. I’m the only one hearing that voice in my head telling me that I’m not enough and I’m not strong enough.
When those bad thoughts start to creep in, I have to tell myself that I am enough, I am strong, I am worthy of happier and healthier life and that all I need to do is trust the journey I’m on.
What was the hardest part about the weight loss journey?
Hands down, having patience.
Patience isn’t my strong suit, but when I’m feeling impatient, I remind myself of how far I’ve come and what changes I am seeing and that I NEED to trust the journey. I remind myself that while in the past, where losing the weight fast was instantly gratefully, it caused my health to suffer in the long term and wasn’t sustainable.
What was the simplest part about the journey?
This is a surprisingly hard question.
Each step along the way was challenging because we like to resist change, but with each baby step I made, I felt momentum build. Having some momentum behind me made things a bit easier.
For example, meal planning and prep felt like a lot at first. But once I got one simple dish down and it felt easy to make weekly, all of a sudden making two things didn’t feel like a challenge; then after awhile I was making three and four things and it still didn’t feel like a lot.
What would you tell another woman in your shoes, who was the you one year ago with your same goals?
Take every day, one day at a time, one meal at a time. Perfectionism is fundamentally flawed; let go and embrace the journey for what it is at this very moment. We are human and beautiful in our own way, accept it and yourself.