Let me start this post out by saying that I love my body. I loved my body when it looked like the photo on the left. I loved it every time I looked like an orbiting planet—my huge tummy full of each one of my three daughters.
I won't lie and say that I don't look in a mirror and try to suck my tummy in sometimes. The sad truth about our society is, we're all faced with body issues, and I certainly am not immune. But, for the most part, I LOVE my body. For real. It has been so good to me. It's healthy, fully functioning, beautiful, and simply perfect. And that's why my main goal has always been to take care of it.
Since long before it was a cool thing to do, I was shopping at natural food stores, knowing that less processed foods were better for me. People made fun of me for only eating "bird food," but I didn't care. It felt right for my body. I've been a runner (let's be honest...more of an awkward jogger actually) for years, loving the lung burn that comes with pushing yourself. "My body loves this!" I'd remind myself as I pushed another mile in.
As most people do, I've gone in and out of different eating routines. Mine might look a little different than others: from Vegetarian, to Vegan, to a Raw Food Diet, back to Vegan...Like I said, health has always been my number one priority.
Last year, my diet literally consisted of 80% vegetables. Not kidding. I'd have a fresh-pressed juice in the morning, an embarrassingly huge salad for lunch, and some sort of veggie stir fry for dinner. The other 20% of what I ate went toward noshing on some almonds for snacks and maybe adding quinoa or brown rice to my stir fry.
So, why in the world did I look like that picture on the left? I weighed 122 pounds! I ate ridiculously clean! I ran every day! Something wasn't adding up. On a whim, I found Kayla Itsines' program, #BBG. "Sure, why not?" I thought. It felt like it was time to switch it up a bit. Maybe a little strength training wasn't such a bad idea to help tone things up. Plus, the workouts were only 28 minutes and I could do them at home. Huge perk! Because, between chasing around three small children, and trying to finish up my next book, ain't nobody got time for the gym.
The workouts were great. I felt stronger and loved how much they made me sweat (I know, I'm weird like that). But, five months had passed, and I wasn't seeing any results (middle photo). I had gained weight (which I knew I would because I was gaining muscle), but the problem was, I wasn't looking any more toned. Instead, I was just looking chubbier. No bueno.
What was wrong? I felt like I was betraying my body—the one that was always so good to me. "I'm trying," I told it. "I'm really trying to make you stronger and healthier, but it's not working!" That's when I delved in to figure out what needed to shift. Up until then, I hadn't even considered changing my diet. I mean, it was perfect, right? How could I eat any better? I read articles about how important protein was. No problem, I had my handful of almonds every day. Yay, protein!
But somewhere along the way, I was tipped off to tracking my protein intake using MyFitnessPal. As a vegan, I was SHOCKED at how little protein I actually ate in a day. It was downright embarrassing. Things had to change. So, I decided to add eggs and some milk products back in. I found a protein powder made from natural ingredients that I loved, and I started a new philosophy around food: focusing on my MACROS. I still eat mostly veggies, but I intentionally add an egg or a scoop of greek yogurt on EVERYTHING.
And here I am today, on the right. A mere year later, ten pounds heavier, and SO proud of all of it. I still do Kayla's workouts, but I also throw in some BeachBody routines just for variety (gotta love Tony Horton's dad jokes). I sweat every single day, but my bigger goal is to hit my protein numbers every day. Since doing that, I notice a huge difference in my strength and stamina during workouts.
I think my body is loving me just as much as I'm loving it these days.
Like what you see? Check out my quirky memoir about finding your path in life.
I'D RATHER WEAR PAJAMAS