Disclaimer: It's never a good idea to start a diet simply because it's the start of a new year. This tends to be a 'quick fix' that bring people back to square one because they're just not ready for it. I've never been a dieter. I'm the kind of person who will sit down and eat half a pizza. Come to think of it, I'm the kind of person who should probably sign up for a hot dog eating contest. Anyway, my view on eating was very c'est la vie; indulge in life every day (and I took the indulging aspect très far.) My diet started as a personal experiment with no articles attached. With temptation all around me, and my two year old son to take care of, I forged forward and looked at my diet as a 7 week trial that I would stick to fervently in order to see the honest results of such major change. In fact, I didn't actually feel the repercussions of my poor eating habits until I fully committed to healthier ways, and then stopped committing and the results were greater than I ever could have imagined. This article reflects my personal experience with dieting and just how profoundly my view on it has changed.
The Diet. I didn't think I would ever have the self control to commit to a diet. After all, I had never made a serious enough attempt and eating unhealthy foods brought me immense satisfaction. Potato chips, macaroni and cheese, Chinese take-out, burgers - the list of processed, sodium, nitrate, and GMO foods were the only foods making up my diet; fruits and vegetables were lightly sprinkled in. And entering into adulthood is tricky. When the foods we eat are no longer chosen for us, this 'freedom' can often translate into harmful habits. Being at my heaviest; I felt bloated and uncomfortable in my own skin, my clothes were not fitting the same way they used to and I rarely started my day motivated. Subsequently, mulling the idea over with a friend and mother of similar circumstance, we decided to commit to the experiment together. After going out with a bang, I cut dairy, gluten, potato, rice, sugar and alcohol out of my diet, and I was very strict. This was not calorie counting or weight watching. I ate as many fruits and vegetables as I wanted, a third or less of my diet was meat and half the food I was eating was fresh, all for the sake of sticking to the experiment.
Not Until Your Ready Will Results Come. I came to a point of realization: I was ready to experience real change, so I made real change. Without that drive and a friend to encourage me throughout the process (and hold me accountable), my attempt would have been an unsuccessful one. I did not step on the scale every day, in fact I didn't even step on the scale every week. My focus was on making healthy choices and being honest with myself to see the best results. And halfway through my "trial" I even started a gentle exercise regimen in Gardiner twice a week. The changes I experienced over those weeks were small and very gradual, but the overall results? After seven weeks, I had lost 17 lbs. My pants became baggy and clothing that used to barely fit, fit me comfortably. I felt confident, focused, motivated and relaxed. Small stressors didn't affect me the way they used to - and the kicker? I didn't realize just how good I was feeling until I went back to my old habits and stopped reaping the benefits. That piece of cake that was supposed to give me the ultimate satisfaction instead gave me a rush of feelings - but none of them were very good. After going back to my harmful diet, I had less control over my temperament and I experienced mood spikes at different times of the day. Small stressors had a large affect on me and my focus lacked focus. At the end of it all, the realization of "you are what you eat" hit me big time.
The Solution. Becoming healthy is not a trend, it's striking a balance and a lifestyle that your mind and body should commit to. If changing your diet and exercise regimen is a healthy change, do it. If you're not in the right mindset or it's a harmful quick fix, don't. And if you want results that will last a lifetime, get active and stay active. Join your local gym and be a part of a team effort, like Gardiner Athletics. Gardiner Athletics teaches it's members to build strength, to do it with support, and experience the benefits. With classes that range from Pilates, to competitive Strength Training, to Endurance, it's not hard to find one that's right for you. Don't forget fun classes like swing dance lessons (coming up!). And instructors are always there to encourage you throughout the process. Pair that with a healthy diet and you've got a brand new you, just in time to break out your newfound confidence with the warmer weather. Just remember, as you strive towards a better year, be good to your bodies, this year and next year, today and always.
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Pictures and Article By:
LACE Photo Media