Food. It’s a love/hate thing. I love it. I love how wonderful and yummy it can be. I love to have a great meal with my family or friends. I love finding a great recipe and baking. But, I hate how much I think about food. Before I lost weight, I thought about it because I wanted to eat it. I dwelled on what I was going to eat, and wondered why I couldn’t eat better. At night I would think back on the day and beat myself up for not making better choices.
Now, I still think about it. I have to plan to eat well, or I won’t. I wake up and think through the day, plan what I will eat to stay on track, to maintain my weight loss. But, it’s still hard. I have to commit each day to eating clean. I wake up every day wanting to eat pancakes or a donut for breakfast. I still want to go out for pizza. I still want to go get ice cream. The cravings have not left me. But I now know I can control them and take better care of myself.
I have received so many questions about my nutrition, and how I stay on track. Honestly, it’s not really even about the food anymore. My light bulb moment was when Chris Powell talked to us about keeping promises to ourselves. I am a loyal mom, wife, daughter, sister, and friend. But was I ever loyal to myself? Did I treat myself with dignity, uplift myself? Did I put my needs above anyone else’s? I would have never broken promises to my family. Did I say I was going to do something with them? Then I was going to be there. Did I offer to volunteer at church? Then I was there. But what happened when I promised myself I would get up and walk? I might have, but only a couple of times. What happened when I told myself I was going to eat better? I tried, but didn’t really commit to it.
I was my own worst enemy. If I were my own friend, I would have been a terrible one. Broken promises resulted in me having no trust in myself. I “talked” to myself in a terrible way. “You are stupid. You are an embarrassment to your family.” I would never have talked to anyone I know in the manner I talked to myself!
I had to learn to trust myself again. I had to teach myself that I could keep a promise. But, could I commit to something and succeed? My first promise was to drink enough water each day. And it stuck. Next promise. Give every workout 100%. Done. I began to see that I could keep my promises. So, as the challenges got tougher, I knew I was up for it. I trusted myself to stick with it. And I did. I began to realize I could make myself a priority, I could push myself, I could make changes, and I was going to finally win the battle I had been fighting for 20 years.
As Chris taught me how to eat and how to commit to making changes, it stuck. I realized I could do it. To answer your nutrition questions, it all starts with the commitment. It all starts with the willingness to make it happen at whatever cost. Don’t tell yourself “I’ll try.” Tell yourself, “I’m doing this.”
I do “Carb Cycle”. Which means there is a mix of high carb and low carb days each week. During my year on the show, our cycle was based on weighing in on Sundays. We followed this schedule:
- High carb Monday through Thursday.
- Low carb Friday and Saturday.
- Weigh in/Reward Day on Sunday. (Yay for Sunday Fundays!!)
I ate 1,500 calories a day made up of five consistent meals of 300 calories each. I ate every three hours, beginning within 30 minutes of waking. There was a protein and veggies at every meal. I ate a carb every day for breakfast, even on low carb days. I never (maybe occasionally now) ate a carb at my last meal. If it’s a low carb meal, I ate a healthy fat instead of a carb. Reward day I had 800 extra calories. Hello, pasta!
Having the reward day helped me immensely this year. If you would have told me that I couldn’t have a donut, or pasta, or cake (do you see a pattern forming here? Total carb addict) it would have seemed overwhelming. But to know that if I was totally craving something, that I could have it on Sunday, saved my sanity. I could always tell myself: “Hang in there. You can have that on Sunday.” It really made the difference for me. There was definitely a lot of Saturday daydreaming about what I might get on Sunday.
Working out early in the morning is big for me too. There is something about working out first thing that sets the tone for the day. At boot camp we did two hours of cardio first thing every day. If I have worked hard already, I don’t want to ruin it with bad food. Why bust my butt in a workout only to counter it with feeding myself crap? No way. You can’t just eat well, OR work hard. They go hand in hand.
Nutrition is a major key in succeeding at weight loss. But, the mindset has to change first. You can buy all the healthy food in the world, but if you are not mentally ready to stick to something, not ready to commit 100%, it’s not going to work. Treat yourself well. Keep promises to yourself. Don’t back out of it just because it gets hard. Don’t give up on yourself. You’re worth the effort. You matter and you need to treat yourself as the amazing child of God that you are. What part of changing the way you eat seems the most difficult right now? What’s one thing you can commit to change today?