So. Where to begin? Let’s take it back to high school. When in high school I never really thought much about my health and fitness. I truthfully ate whatever I wanted, without thinking twice. I was able to get away with it at the time, though, because I was staying active through my school activities.
Flash forward a bit to my freshman year of college. You’re thinking it right now, right? The Freshman Fifteen. WRONG. Try the freshman twenty five. That’s right. In about one year I gained twenty five pounds. How? Easy. Continuing to eat whatever I wanted, but having no idea what the gym was. The most activity I ever did was walking to and from class. Truthfully, I don’t remember it all happening as it happened SO fast. I truthfully think I was oblivious to it as it was happening. In my mind it WASN’T happening.
My sophomore year of college I started to become very uncomfortable with my body. I was constantly unhappy but put on a brave face. It took me awhile before I actually took action. I over heard people talking about the app, MyFitnessPal. We can say my health and fitness journey started here. I began tracking my food, going to the gym, and drinking more water. It took awhile, and a lot of hard work, but I began to regain that confidence and happiness that I had once had. I was losing weight and feeling good. Notice I said feeling ‘good’ not feeling ‘healthy.’
Because of the comments I was getting and the confidence I was feeling, I kept losing more and more weight and found myself around 100 pounds. This phase of my life included daily hour cardio sessions (if not longer) and limiting my diet to 1,200 calories a day. I was constantly tired, hungry, and irritable, but was motivated by that number on the scale. So I kept at it. I had achieved what I wanted, right? Losing weight, looking ‘skinny’, and feeling noticed. Little did I know this was NOT being healthy. At all.
Once I realized that number I was seeing was MUCH too low, the next step was putting ON weight. I discovered weight lifting and macro counting. This was a good chunk of my life. About three years to be exact. Over this time I gained about fifteen pounds. I stuck to this way of living as I considered this very healthy. And no doubt it was, but my BRAIN still wasn’t healthy. I wasn’t viewing health and fitness for what it was. I was still viewing it as a number. Not the number on the body scale, but the number on the FOOD scale. This consumed me.
Finally, at the start of summer of 2018 I told myself it needed to stop. No macro counting, no calorie counting. I also spent the summer ‘training’ for a half marathon. I hated it. But I kept doing it. Why? It wasn’t serving me in the way I wanted it to, and I wasn’t enjoying myself. Why spend the time on it? So now, as I write this. I have a NEW plan. If I want to feel strong I go lift. If I want to get my heart rate up I do some sort of cardio. What matters is that I’m giving my body what it needs. No matter the form of movement it comes in. I’m nourishing my body with the foods it needs and treating it with the foods it wants. There’s a very happy balance. Has the scale gone up? Absolutely. But am I happy? Hell yes.
What’s most important is that I take care of my mental health, before the physical. Life is about balance. What’s important is for you to listen to your body and what it needs. If it needs rest, give it rest. If it needs greens, eat a salad. And damnit, if it needs pizza give it the pizza. It’s about moderation. Are there days now where I wish the number on the scale was lower? Definitely. I’m human. BUT I’m happy, I’m healthy, and no experience in life can EVER be measured by a scale.