I had been working out at the gym five days a week, doing two-hour sessions; 35-40 minutes of cardio, then weight training, followed by stretching. I was in a good routine. The gym was part of my day; I would go in every morning at 9:30 a.m. and leave at 11:30 a.m. My two young children knew the drill, so drop-offs, and pick-ups at the daycare became less stressful. Also, my eating was becoming more structured, and for the first time I felt power over food.
Let's talk about food for a moment: it's such a complex subject, which I find interesting because it's such a basic need. In high school I had an eating disorder -- like all teens I wanted to look my best, and that meant being thin. I had no idea what I was doing, so I would try not to eat (of course that can't last), then I would binge because of extreme hunger, then the guilt would set in ... which felt so bad that I made myself puke to get the food out. It was a horrible cycle. This unhealthy habit lasted until I went to college, where the only reason I stopped was because I couldn't afford my binge food anymore; the poverty of student life forced me to grow up and eat like I meant it.
As a young adult I was never really an athlete. I would do some exercises at home, but nothing very structured. I went to college in Chicago, then moved to New York City, so I was urban for roughly twenty years. During that time I was a night owl, drank cocktails, smoked a pack of cigarettes a day, ate what I wanted, and managed to maintained an average body, I was never thin, rather an acceptable sort of thickness. Looking back, I never had that glorious moment of standing in front of a mirror naked and saying, "Wow, I look good!"
Anyway back to the gym, and my new-found routine. It had now been about eight months and I was lingering at 203 pounds. It got to the point where I thought I would stay a deuce forever, I almost tried to convince myself that 200 pounds was healthy and attractive ( and considering where I had come from, it was). Well, on this day it changed: I got on the scale and I was 198 pounds. I was so happy I had tears in my eyes! I remember walking into the workout room holding my head high, and feeling completely elated. I didn't tell anyone, but I was beaming from within. I truly got a sense that I was going to lose this weight once and for all. To this day I view this as a breakthrough moment.
To beat obesity, I really think you need to make working out and eating healthy your normal daily habit, make it a no-brainier. Start with a breakfast you like, (for me it was oatmeal skim milk, 1/2 banana, 1/2 apple, walnuts, and cinnamon). Eat the same thing every day make it easy for yourself. Plan your workouts at the same time each day. Routine is key, it makes all those good little habits easy to follow.
Remember that food is your friend; you really need to eat to lose weight. Once you embrace food as a partner in weight loss and good health everything else falls in line. When was the last time you ate something and let yourself enjoy every bite, then after eating, sat back, and told yourself, "I'm so happy I ate that," not feeling a shred of guilt? Trust me, it's a great feeling, and surprisingly simple. With that said, it took me 37 years to get to that point.
Krista tip -- eating without guilt is empowering. Eat deliberately, with purpose, educate yourself and plan meal times ... food is friend.
Published On: October 07, 2010