When I first started this journey I had my idea of how it was supposed to go. No matter how much reading, or talking I did, no one could talk me out of it, because I justified it ALL.
- Move as much as possible, cardio, cardio, cardio, BURN those calories
- Cardio now, Strength later (like when I'm done or close to goal)
- The closer to 1200 calories, the better
- No "bad" foods, because you have to eat clean to lose weight, and those are what got you fat in the first place
- Losing weight is hard and painful and you won't enjoy it
- Lose the weight as fast as possible
The result, I lost weight. BUT I felt like a failure every time I didn't burn enough calories, have the energy to workout, ate something "bad", or lost less than 2lbs. I felt like when I enjoyed my exercise I must not have given it my all.
Basically I was torturing and punishing myself for allowing my body to get into the state it was in.
For me, things have changed. It's been gradual, one thing evolving at a time. First, I LOVE my cardio, and will get it in when I can but I don't beat myself up if I 'only' burn 250 calories in a day.
I am finding that I absolutely love strength training. I'm finding muscles popping out all over the place, and my body feels different. It really sunk in for me after months of trying to deny it, that the rest of my journey will be easier, and more well-rounded if I strength train now. Not to mention all that muscle will help me look better and burn more fat in the process. The numbers *may* not drop as quickly but the progress will be there.
I now eat between 1800-1900 calories per day on average. What I have noticed, is that my energy is higher and way more consistent than when I was eating 1300-1500cals a day. I used to have an almost yo-yo effect where one week I felt great and kept my calories around 1300-1400, and then the next week I would crash, miss workouts, and often those were the times where I would lose control of my eating.
There is so much conflicting information out there about what is the 'right' diet. "Don't eat sweets, fruit is better", "Fruit is too high in sugar and carbs, eat vegetables", "Meat is bad for you", "carbs are bad for you", "fat is bad for you". I started trying to eat as clean as possible. That lasted a whole DAY. Every time I ate something that wasn't a vegetable I felt like a failure. These days, I just try to make more good choices than bad, and if I'm under my cal goal, then I'm happy. I eat more fruits and vegetables now, but not because I am "supposed to". Now I do it simple because I enjoy them, I know they nourish my body, some of them actually taste pretty good, and they are usually lower calorie and help keep me feeling full longer. I try not to think of many foods as 'bad'. I try to think of foods on a scale, one side being foods I should eat more of, and the other being foods I should eat less of. Just last week, I had pizza and cheesecake one night, and margaritas and sliders another, but I also had a lot of healthier meals to balance it all out.
While there are definitely parts of this journey that are hard and and painful, I DO enjoy it. I look forward to my runs (mostly because I still remember a time where I couldn't run at all), I look forward to lifting with Chalene, and even the pain I experience after said lifting. It STARTS as a struggle every day, but eventually I struggle less and succeed more. I guess I would still say "It's not easy", I mean just this morning I almost chose not to workout. I ended up getting up 30 minutes later and then getting it done, I just cut it close.
At the beginning of this journey I was very "balls to the wall". I was an extremist. After watching John in Biggest Loser 12, I started to recognize this and realized that if I wanted to be successful over the long-term I was going to need to REALLY work on moderation and long-term living. THERE IS NO END to this journey so what I do to live a healthier life has to be things that I feel that I can maintain for a very long time.
With all that being said, this is where I am at NOW. This journey is a process, and I expect that there are parts of it that will change and evolve even more. Hell, maybe I will become a "clean eater" one day. I'm just not there right now, and thats ok with me :)