Before I lost all of my weight, all I could ever think about was how much I wanted to be “skinny”. I was sick of hearing the word fat that I wanted to be the extreme opposite. I wanted to get so thin that I would never be associated with the word fat again. I didn’t care how I got there as long as I never heard that word with my name in the same sentence ever again. I went to great lengths to make that happen, not realizing the damage I was doing to my body. I deprived my body of everything it needed just so I could get that skinny feeling. I even stopped drinking water because it made the number on the scale go up. I finally reached that look and feeling of being skinny, but I had never felt so weak, so deprived and so lifeless. Still in my mind I thought as long as I am skinny, no one will ever think I am fat. It has been about 5 years since I have lost all of my weight and I am finally realizing that being skinny is not the answer. Being skinny for me was a mental thing. I didn’t feel good when I was skinny. I was always tired, lethargic and cranky. People told me I was too thin, I looked flushed and weak. Secretly, I thrived off of those comments because that is exactly what I wanted people to associate me with, “skinny”.
It finally got to a point where my health was starting to suffer. Besides feeling weak all the time I had stopped menstruating. The doctor told me if I didn’t cut it out I wasn’t going to be able to have children one day. That I think was the turning point for me because starting a family someday is something I cherish so much. To make this depressing story short (it has a positive ending I promise!), I slowly got myself back to a healthy weight. Although on the outside I looked healthier, I still really struggled with it on the inside.
I needed to focus my mind on something else, something that I enjoyed. Even though I abused fitness at the time, it was still a passion of mine. I began to focus on functional fitness; becoming stronger and all around healthier. My obsession of eating too little became an obsession of making sure I got every meal in to fuel my workouts. My fixation on feeling skinny turned into wanting to be stronger then I was last week. I had never felt more alive. I continued to adapt this new mindset of being healthy and strong, turning it into a career. I have been working for a Corporate Fitness company for about a half of year now and I couldn’t be happier. I absolutely love my job and I love sharing my story, encouraging my clients to reach their optimal health. I turned my unhealthy obsession to a passion and career that has changed my life forever. I want to help people adapt a healthier mindset, focusing more on good mental health and physical health rather than appearance. Because when you do focus on how you feel physically and mentally, everything else will fall into place. I hope my experience can help others find their true meaning of being healthy.
Here are a few tips on creating a healthier mindset that helped me:
Instead of wanting to lose weight focus more on losing inches. As I always emphasize, weight fluctuates. Remember muscle weighs more than fat. If you are gaining muscle you may be gaining weight but you will be losing inches off your waist. Measurements can be a great indicator of your health; weight is just a number that does not have a direct indication of your health.
Instead of being obsessive with your calories, focus more on choosing more nutrient dense foods.Although it comes down to calories in calories out, choosing more nutrient dense foods will control your hunger, causing you to eat less naturally. Fill up on foods high in protein and fiber to keep you satiated and satisfied. Think of your body as a machine, in order to keep the machine running soundly, you have to fuel it. Also, don’t deprive yourself of the foods you love because if you do it will lead to a binge session. Just focus on eating nutritious foods and you will find yourself not having to count calories so much anymore.
Instead of wanting to look like “her”, want to be a better and healthier version of you. Stop comparing yourself to your friend or your co-worker. Every BODY is different. Focus on being a healthier you. Set daily goals for yourself so that at the end of the day you know you are better than you were yesterday.
Instead of staring at all your flaws in the mirror, look at the progress you have made.Everyone is guilty of spending time in front of the mirror pinching their love handles and picking out every little imperfection on their body. Look at how far you have come in your journey to being a healthier individual. Instead of sulking about the rolls you have when you sit down (which everyone has no matter how thin you are), realize how lucky you are to have your health, friends and family.
Finally and most importantly: Stop focusing on how much more you have to go to get where you want to be, focus on how far you’ve come already. We are all going to have our setbacks, but in the end, what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.
God bless and stay healthy!