This year, 2014 marks a significant milestone in this thing called life. I'm celebrating a 5 year victory over emotional eating! Here's my story.
For most of my life, I have been athletic and fit. Gymnastics was my sport of choice and I spent countless hours practicing and competing all the way through my high school years.
In my early 20's I began to gain weight, usually 5 or 10 pounds at a time. My pattern of gaining and loosing, continued on into my late 30's, only the weight gain eventually increased to 30 pounds. It was a frustrating cycle in which I would emotionally eat myseft into an uncomfortable weight, spend 5 or so months feeling disappointed in myself, diet, loose the weight, keep it off for maybe 4-6 months and then gradually put it back on.
It was right before my 40th birthday that I realized this unhealthy cycle needed to stop- forever. I spent some time thinking about the future and mostly about my role as a mom. Being my best self for my son, emotionally and physically was at the top of my list of priorities.
At that point, I came to terms with the exact reason why I had spent so many years in a vicious cycle of gaining and loosing. Food had a hold on me. When I would overeat, I felt out of control. The food and my emotions were winning. It was a terrible way to live.
I truly believe, weight gain happens when we choose not to deal with the emotions at hand and instead turn to food for comfort. Trust me, I know. It seems the deeper the emotional pain, the bigger the weight gain.
So here's what I did next. I made a promise to myself to loose the excess weight, get healthy and to never gain it back again.
So.... in order to loose the 30 pounds, I had to hit the gym 4x a week for 50 minutes of cardio. I figured out about how many calories I could eat in order to loose the weight. My meal plan consisted of (three) 300-400 calorie meals and (two) 100 calorie snacks. In the beginning, I focused more on calories than the types of foods I was eating. I didn't want to feel deprived. And because I had a tendency to consume a lot of empty calories at night, I decided I wouldn't consume anything after dinner unless it was a fruit or a vegetable. I have kept that rule over these last 5 years as it seems to work well for me. I still pretty much eat the same now, only I eat (one) 200 calorie snack and I keep a closer eye on how much fat and carbs I'm consuming daily.
Once I met my weight loss goal, I cut my workouts down to 3x a week for 40 minutes and began to take the weekends off, eating wise. Now that didn't mean going crazy and consuming all the unhealthy foods I could possibly fit into one weekend. It meant allowing myself to enjoy a few more treats while always practicing portion control. Once I made these changes, I ended up loosing an additional 10 pounds! Woot!
I like to think of food like money. How do I want to spend my calories today? If I know I'll be going out to dinner or party that evening, I'll eat light for most of the day and save my calories for the evening. Or... if I splurge a little too much that day, I might have a smaller dinner to compensate for the additional calories.
Over the years, I have taken to eating a diet high in fruits and vegetables, some carbs (brown rice mostly & oats) nuts and seeds, beans and lentils, and a little animal based protein, like lean chicken and turkey. I'm not a fan of the "carb-free" diets. Everything in moderation. I have also learned a lot from the Weight Watchers program. Highly recommend.
Now, five years later, I have kept my promise to myself. And if I'm being honest, it has not been without a struggle. Emotional eating still happens, only I fight hard not to let it win. At least not for very long.
My hope is that by sharing this milestone with you, it will somehow inspire you or someone you know to think about their lifestyle, their health and their future. We can have power over emotional eating! It's not a "diet," but rather a choice and a lifestyle.
Lastly, I love helping people when it comes to weightloss. Please feel free to reach out to me as I would enjoy encouraging you in your journey.
Thank you Jesus for giving me strength every day! I'd be lost without you. And probably 30 pounds heavier too!
AFTER! Taken a few weeks ago.
Thanks for taking the time to read about my weightloss journey. I hope it inspires you. xo
Photo credit Jen Z Photography. http://jenzphoto.blogspot.com/