Let’s face it, we have all been there. We look in the mirror and look for things that we like about how we look, some days are better than others. The reality is though that we want to lose those extra few pounds and we struggle with it. You know that feeling…yep that one.
I have always had an issue with how my body looks, since I was 11 years old actually. Yeah, 11. At that age a kid should be focusing on playing with their friends, painting her nails all sorts of crazy colors, and going through Teen Beat to find the newest and hottest pictures of her celebrity crushes (I did all these things, but…). Instead, I worried about how “fat” my stomach looked compared to my sister and my best friend. I also would see the actresses on TV or in the movies and think “why don’t I look like that?” At 11 years old I dieted to try to lose weight, but at 11 it never worked. At 11 the average kid is still growing!!
As I got older and into my teens I remember trying every fad diet that came about, but nothing ever seemed to work. Even now in my 30’s, my biggest barrier to weight loss is my constant craving for sugar AND temptation. I love sweets and I could literally eat them all day if I had the chance too and if temptation is in sight, I am a goner. Growing up I remember limiting my sweets during the day at school, but when I would get home from school the little snacks in the pantry where there were always sweets of some kind…Little Debbie snack cakes, Nutter Butters, Swiss Cake Rolls, the works! We had huge bowls of ice cream almost every night for dessert too. I remember having dessert every night growing up. Now, I sound like I am bashing my parents for giving us lots of sweets, but back in the 1990’s we did not hear about how sugar was as addictive as cocaine or how gluten could be the base for a lot of digestive issues. This I am sure was the norm for families across the country! But, thinking back on it, maybe, just maybe, it is part of the reason it is harder for some people to break the habit.
As I have gotten more into my field of exercise science and a better understanding of nutrition, doing several challenges such as the Whole 30 and going Paleo (which I have been for 5+ years now), my will power has improved tremendously, BUT I still struggle with how much sugar I eat and other issues too. My biggest struggle is with balancing out my macros (protein, carbohydrates, and fat)…I have found that even with eating healthy on Paleo, my food choices have been way too high on fat and I do not eat enough protein. Carbs I do ok in, and have added in some grains back into my diet, but not many as grains (gluten) absolutely kills my GI tract. So, I have let this consume me and sadly I am just eating whatever fits into my macros without really looking at the nutritional value of it all. I know better than this, and I want to make that change.
I enjoy counting my macros, I do, it makes me think about what I put into my mouth (at least the first two weeks it did), but now it has made me lose focus on the success I had with eating Paleo. On Paleo I first lost 10# and 5% body fat and I loved how it changed me, inside and out. I do have some issues with eating too much of leafy greens and do have to be careful with adding in whole milk (not Paleo), but overall it has helped me add real food back into my diet, not pre-processed food. I have not had McDonald’s or Taco Bell in over 7 years and do not care to ever have it again. With Paleo I have found something I am passionate about and believe in, but when I started counting my macros it made me sad seeing that I was eating too much fat and that was hindering me losing weight. Currently I am at a weight that I do not like to see on the scale, but I also am all muscle, however, I would not mind to lose a few pounds. So I have been working to try to find my love for Paleo again and make it work with my macros.
I do not need to be afraid, but just be aware of which recipes I cook throughout the week and balance it out. If one recipe is higher in fat one day, then I should add in more veggies and protein throughout the day and then pick other recipes for the rest of the week that might not have as much. A lot of the Paleo cookbooks these days actually have in the macro numbers on the recipe page, making it super easy for you to add it into your MyFitnessPal app. There are tons of websites too that break down the macros in food as well, just type in macro counting or macro counting apps and Google will find the best option for you.
Yesterday, I finally had enough of feeling sorry for myself with not having balanced out macros perfectly. Yeah, I eat too much fat, but I have to look at the quality of the food I am eating and its all healthy fats so I cannot get too down about it, but just be aware to not overeat the everyday. As for my sugar problem, well I do not keep any sweets in the house, so if we want cookies or brownies I usually make them from scratch so that provides less temptation for my husband and myself during the week. It does help. If we have a serious need for sugar, then I typically will have an apple or a little cup of fresh berries to satisfy my craving. Some days/weeks are better than others, but I have come a long way in that department.
So, if you are struggling right now, I get it, I have been there and there are millions of others in the same boat as you. Find the support system that you need and will be there for you as you work towards bettering your nutrition, use an app like MyFitnessPal (its awesome and works), and clean out your pantry. Fit exercise into your schedule, whether its 30 minutes a day or an hour, just do it. There is more time in the day then you let yourself think. You can do this!