When I started this journey to shedding body fat, I was 210 pounds. I loved myself. In fact, I loved myself so much that I almost had to be talked into losing fat. I wasn’t unhealthy, I could dress my curves, I was strong af…I didn’t see what the problem was.
You see, I was/am so committed to ensuring that I was not playing into the fucked up standards of beauty that society had. One of the proudest things for me was that I had never been on a diet. I had never given up a good group, never vowed off alcohol or grains or fat or anything. I was so proud of this. In a society where every other ad tells women that here less than and have to be skinny to be considered beautiful, I was committed to proving that I wasn’t one of those women.
And by and large, I had succeeded in my quest to eschew societal standards of beautiful. I was big, strong, and beautiful. That was me 95% of the time. There was this other 5% that always wondered how much more agile I could be if I was less than 35% body fat. I would look at people who could maneuver their bodies into pretzel-like shapes and handstand on one hand and do one hand pull ups and pistol squat and the list goes on and on with such envy. I didn’t think I couldn’t learn to master those skills at 210lbs, I just knew it would be easier if I was lighter.
So, with much trepidation, I hired a nutrition coach. Also, apart from wanting to do all the skills, I had some hang ups around food that I wanted to clear up once and for all. My partner makes fun of me that there isn’t a new food item I wouldn’t try and clean the plate with my tongue.
I literally can.not.leave.food.on.my.plate.
I’m MUCH better at this but growing up with a mom who managed her stress and depression with food, and never being allowed to leave any food on my plate, I just didn’t know how to say no to food even when I know without a doubt that I’m full to the point of discomfort.
So, yeah I had several reasons why I wanted to shed some pounds. I would always make sure to point it out to my coach that I LOVED my body and that I’m NEVER cutting out any food item and never going below xyz calories and I wasn’t going to do two a days in the gym or hours of cardio…I had a long list of things she shouldn’t think of asking me to do.
Thankfully, her methods were science based (which is why I chose her to begin with) and we were going with the IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros) approach to nutrition so no food item had to be cut out ever! In addition to that, she prioritized weightlifting over cardio, sleep over hours of cardio, meditation, yoga and journaling as ways to work through the emotional stuff I had surrounding food. So, we were a match made in heaven!
Over 2 years of working with her, I gradually, sustainably lost 45lbs. I wasn’t happier, neither did I feel more beautiful. Those weren’t my goals to begin with so I wasn’t surprised by the lack of elation at having gone from size 14 to size 8. It just meant I had to buy new clothes and I did just that. What I had gained in those 2 years though was a profound understanding of all the stuff I had surrounding food and nutrition.
How I had/have such a FOMO i.e.
I MUST TRY EVERYTHING ON THE MENU BECAUSE WHO KNOWS WHEN I GET TO COME BACK!
That is basically how I approached food in social situations. I also began to notice my tendency to comfort myself by ordering $1,0000 worth of Indian food after a fight with my partner. And how not being able to leave food on the plate goes back to the scarcity mentality I had grown up with as a kid in Africa.
So, yeah being with a nutrition coach for that long taught me so many invaluable lessons that I still have to practice and work on everyday. Now to those acrobatic moves…I am thiiiisss close to getting my first pull up so…yeah turns out in addition to being smaller, I have to train the moves I want to be able to do and I haven’t been doing that. But I’m not worried, this is a lifelong project after all (and only one aspect of all my other goals like playing a musical instrument, learning Spanish, and traveling to all continents).
After all this success with my coach, I had to let her go in July of this year for reasons I’ll talk about later. Without a coach to check in with weekly, I sound myself eating out more, giving into my feelings of FOMO and with stress from Wedding planning and inactivity from surgery, I was ordering out more Indian food than I had in the last two years. I had learned a lot from my coach and know a lot about nutrition but I became somewhat lax…intentionally.
To stay lean all the time requires a certain amount of commitment and dedication. The leaner you are, the more effort it’s going to take. Even though I’m not cutting out food groups and restricting food items, I can’t go out every night of the week and drink and eat as much as I want if my goal is to stay within a certain weight range (this isn’t my goal). There is SOME sacrifice involved in maintain a weight-loss especially if you’re coming from a not-so-healthy relationship with food where you tend to overeat. For two months, I chose to give into my tendency to overeat as a way to manage stress.
As a result, and no surprise to me, I gained back about 10lbs. Do I suddenly hate myself? NO. The weight gain didn’t just happen to me…I chose to take a break from tracking all my food. I don’t have a goal weight. I don’t HAVE to be 165lbs. And one thing it certainly didn’t affect was my self-worth. That has never had anything to do with my weight or my dress size.
Fast forward 2 months, I rehired my coach with a new goal…to get my muscles back because I have a sexy ass wedding dress and I think muscles are sexy and even when I was 210lbs, I had the sexiest arms (to me), because of my muscles. I need to get back into the gym. It’s been almost 3 months since I had surgery and while she coaches me just nutritionally, when I’m tracking my food, I’m more apt to dial things in in the gym as well.
This is to say, it is ok to have goals of lower body fat or more muscles or increased endurance and all that stuff as long as Irs coming from a place of self-love and not self-loathing. If you have a negative history of poor body confidence, I think it’s prudent to first of all work diligently at improving that before tackling body changes. This will ensure that any change you embark on will be borne out of love and not hate. Because guess what, be you a size 28 or a size 00, you are so worthy of love…especially love from self!
I’ll check back in on my wedding day to see if I managed to get those sexy af muscular arms back. And even if I didn’t…who the fuck cares?! I’m still going to be sexy as all get out on my wedding day..to me.