It’s a lifestyle change, they say. It’s not a diet, it’s a way of life. You aren’t doing this for a 3 week challenge group, you are doing this to change your lifestyle.
You know how people keep telling you that “it’s a lifestyle change” and you are like yea I know, but I don’t have to work this hard on normal “lifestyle” decisions. And then you wonder, Oh My Gosh is it going to be like this forever? Is the rest of my life going to revolve around an argument of my left brain and right brain trying to get me out of bed to work out, and then sweating at work because someone brought in donuts and Its taking everything I have not to reach out, grab one, eat it really fast and then cut another one in half and take that so people think I am only having a half of a donut so I don’t look like pig. Does lifestyle change really mean that from now on life as I know it is going to be hours of searching healthy recipes online for something I will actually eat, buying produce at the grocery store and then throwing it away because I ended up cooking frozen pizza instead and then felt guilty for 3 days because I failed at my new “lifestyle”? Lifestyle change, is that code for this sucks and now every day will be a battle with myself on whether or not it’s worth it or if I should just stay overweight and buy new clothes? Am I going to die wishing I would have just eaten that last Cinnabon? . . .I better get a Cinnabon, what if I die tomorrow and never get to eat one again. Wait, what if I die from the Cinnabom because my arteries clog. This is no lifestyle change this is a nightmare!! I’m tired, my brain hurts, and I am at constant ends with myself, THIS IS HARD.
Do you ever feel like the above is playing out in your mind? I did!
I was there. I wondered all of these things. And after working hard, overcoming set back after set back, obstacle after obstacle, donut after donut, it happened. My lifestyle changed, and I didn’t even know that it had. I never even realized that it just wasn’t hard anymore.
Welcome to my epiphany:
This past weekend was my lifestyle change. . . or rather my recognition that it had changed without my knowing.
Sunday morning was Mother’s Day. I love this day, simply because I start it out every year with a 5K walk with lots of family. This year I was staying in a hotel so my son and I went downstairs for breakfast. Without even thinking I took him straight to the eggs, and then let him pick out a yogurt. My three year old had eggs, a small piece of bacon, quarter of a bagel, and yogurt for breakfast. We finished and headed out. I made a nutrition shake for breakfast while on my walk. Literally made it while walking. This didn’t seem odd to me, just second nature.
After our morning 5K we went to brunch. Food and family, what could be better. We tried somewhere new this year. It was a brunch buffet with food set up throughout the ENTIRE restaurant! I went to get my 3 year old a plate and quickly realized that I couldn’t find fruit. I could have missed it since there literally was food everywhere, but I was unable to spot any during my initial stroll through the food areas. So I went for some yogurt and a waffle since he had already had a banana during the walk. There was a waffle and yogurt bar in one area. My favorite option for waffles is fruit topping with a little whip cream. This waffle bar included waffles, yogurt, syrup, whip cream, sprinkles, chocolate shavings, a couple different types of candy, and maybe coconut shavings or something else I can’t remember. I found myself staring at this table thinking hmm that’s odd. So I threw a little syrup on the waffle and left the yogurt plain and brought it to my son. I went back to get a plate for myself and grabbed a small apple filled pastry on my way past the giant pastry table that would have had me grabbing giant cinnamon rolls just weeks ago. I found the sausage and grabbed a few links, and then passed some other interesting concoctions that were likely yummy but didn’t strike me as something I wanted to mix with breakfast, so I passed on those. After another lap of trying to find fruit I found myself at the waffle table again. I grabbed a waffle (which was delicious by the way) threw a little syrup on it, and headed back to the table. After finishing most of what was on my plate and Easton finishing most of what was on his plate, he was all jacked up to go get some dessert.
The dessert bar was HUGE. While looking over everything presented, I had no urge to try it all or eat everything. I was actually struggling to find something that I did want to eat. A month ago I would have had a full plate and probably would have cleaned them out of cheesecake. Easton decided on a “cupcake” which was actually a muffin with frosting, and I ended up grabbing a tiny caramel cheesecake bite and a big chocolate covered strawberry. The strawberry was fabulous! I then took a bite of the cheesecake bite and ended up scraping the caramel off the top because it was too sweet. Easton took two big bites of frosting and he was done too.
That evening Easton and I went shopping at the nummy store (grocery store if you are an adult). This has become one of our favorite things to do together. Easton gets his own cart and helps pick out EVERYTHING. We spent about an hour at the store, 25 minutes in the produce section, 15 minutes in the main area of the store, and 20 minutes checking out and bagging. What does this have to do with anything? Have you ever paid attention to which areas most of your groceries are coming from? Are you spending most of your time in the frozen foods or cereal aisle? We were not just moseying around in the produce section, we legitimately spent that much time shopping for produce. At one point I realized that without directing him Easton knew where everything was. Just 60 days ago I would buy 1 type of berries (for Easton), bananas, broccoli, and maybe an onion or potatoes depending on whether or not I had a meal in mind (so mashed potatoes or lasagna). On Sunday we filled up most of the cart with blueberries, raspberries, apples, LOTS of bananas, lettuce, a giant container of spinach, broccoli, three different colored peppers and cucumbers. Meanwhile we still have sweet potato, squash, cherry tomatoes, carrots, green beans, and peapods left over from last week at home. As we were picking everything out Easton even asked if we were getting tomatoes too. Ah, he’s paying attention! What’s even better is that we are actually eating these things. These items are the basis on what we cook around. We strolled through the store and picked out almond milk and regular milk, mom’s peanut butter and dad’s peanut butter, noodles, cereal, and bars of course! We made it to the checkout line without even veering toward the donuts . . . for reference Easton’s FAVORITE part of the nummy store used to be checking out the donuts in hopes that he might get one. This was a stop we couldn’t leave without making.
Easton loaded all the groceries on the conveyer and then parked his cart. He insisted on bagging the groceries too. In the past I would have told him no and had him wait on the bench because I would be trying to load them in bags as fast as possible to get out of peoples way. I would feel bad if we were taking too long. This time was different. I set up a bag for him and moved everything he could bag on his own to where he could reach it. I explained that he needed to load them in like a puzzle. He did great, and he was so happy that he helped. That part has nothing to do with the lifestyle change of eating healthy but everything to do with the lifestyle change that involves teaching my kids.
We got home and since Easton could not carry any of the bags he just made the trip back and forth to the car with me and opened the door to the house to let me in each time. He then helped unload all the groceries and sat down for some blueberries.
What’s the point?
The point is that I never thought about it. I didn’t struggle to buy the right groceries. I didn’t think well I’ll just buy mac and cheese, I didn’t wander aimlessly thinking do I need French fries this time, or should I get those chocolate teddy grams. I didn’t panic about needing breakfast, and I was never starving because I was prepared. I did think about the fact that I couldn’t find fruit, and I didn’t want to devour the entire dessert bar, in fact it never even occurred to me and I didn’t even notice.
How did this happen?
How did I go from baking cookies every night just so that I could have warm out of the oven sugary treats after dinner every night and after lunch every afternoon, to struggling to find something I wanted on a giant dessert table complete with a chocolate fountain and giant slices of strawberry cheesecake? How did I go from I’ll pick up Dominos to losing sleep over the fact that I just heard a child say that after being sick and out of commission for over a week, the first “real” thing he ate was pizza bagels? How did I go from pizza and chocolate cake for lunch to making my own lunch that get’s the response “Oh that looks really healthy” multiple times as people see what I am eating.
It happened slowly. It happened every time that I tried a new healthy recipe and failed miserably. It happened every time that I missed a workout and noticed. It happened every time that my three year old saw me eat a banana. It happened every time that my three year old saw me being active and every time I included him in my activity. My “lifestyle” was changing every day and I had no idea. I thought I was just forcing something this didn’t come naturally.
I stumbled. I failed. I started and I restarted. I searched for support, and I ran into walls. I was laughed at, ignored, criticized, and eyes were rolled. People didn’t agree with the avenue I took because I choose to share my story as it unfolded, and openly supported the tools that got me there. People who were eating donuts and chili cheese fries proceeded to tell me that what I was doing was not healthy because I was working out to much and not eating enough. FYI I was eating more than before and MUCH better! I lost touch with some who struggled to fit in to my positive, energetic, healthy new environment and I gained friendships with those who could. I not only developed physically and mentally but I developed socially as well. I realized my energy feeds of the energy around me, so I made sure the energy around me was greater than my own.
It’s not a quick fix. It’s not a 3 week challenge group. It’s not a diet, fad, trend, or even an obligation.
It’s a choice. It’s an option. It’s not feeling tired, bloated, uncomfortable, or unable. It’s a lifestyle with no limits!