It’s been a while since I have gotten real and shared about anything other than running on here. I have been wanting to write this post for a while – but haven’t known exactly what I wanted to say or share. If you’ve followed by blog for a bit or if you know me IRL, you know that I work as a dietitian for a living. Specifically I work as a weight management dietitian, mostly helping patients prepare for weight loss surgery. I have often heard patients say, “Of course you’re skinny, you’re a dietitian.” First of all, part of me is like, “Who, me?” when someone calls me skinny. That is not an adjective that I have ever used to describe myself in my whole life… which maybe that’s part of my problem. And second of all, I want to be like, “Just because I am a dietitian doesn’t mean that weight management is any easier for me.”
While I have never been obese, I have had weight fluctuations my whole adult life. I’ve overate, dieted, restricted, over-exercised – I’ve done all of those unhealthy things. It has taken me a long time to make peace with my body and make peace with food. Still, I sometimes feel funny sharing about my “struggles” because I know that I have patients who have dealt with far worse. Then I remember that someone once told me just because someone else is going through something that you see as more difficult doesn’t mean what you are going through ISN’T difficult. You get to define what your version of “challenging” is.
So here I am, being real. I had some huge person life struggles in 2017, all of which seemed to come to a final climax at the Detroit Marathon. Not that the marathon was bad – in fact, the marathon was one of my favorite memories of 2017, but when it was over it almost felt like all of the bad stuff was, too. And I celebrated… and celebrated… and celebrated.
One of the things I love about hard training seasons, like training for a marathon, is that I naturally tend to eat really well – except for after long runs. After long runs I like to enjoy things like burgers and craft beer, and I really enjoy the fact that the intense training keeps my body and weight in check. After I finished the marathon I felt like I was celebrating a long run almost every day. My eating got lazy and especially when the holidays came I was turning to sweets. My hydration totally suffered and of course my training was not as intense – although I was still working out. And for a while nothing really changed. And then all of a sudden, it did.
By the end of 2017 I had re-gained almost all of the weight I had lost during the year. During the summer of 2017 I had gotten to my very first goal – reaching a BMI of less than 25. I was fit and strong, thanks to training for a triathlon. Everything stayed pretty stable through marathon training, and I even hit my lowest weight again early in November. But after that, it crept back on, and before I knew it my scale was reading only one pound less than where I had started in January 2017.
I won’t lie – I was pretty upset about this. Not to the point of “Well screw it, I might as well do whatever I want.” But to the point of… “I need to find a marathon to run this year and train for.” (I’ll save the rest of that story for another post.) I started off thinking “Okay let’s try intermittent fasting. Let’s try carb cycling. Let’s do the 21 Day Fix or the new 80 Day Obsession eating plan.” I felt myself sinking back into those unhealthy ideas about quick fixes, wanting those pounds to fly away as fast as they seemed to come back on.
On January 2nd, 2018, I took a picture that I have taken every year since 2015 when I had reached my highest weight and vowed I would never be that weight again. The difference between then and now is drastic, but what was most important was the difference I saw between this year and last year. Yes, I am only one pound less than I was last year. However, that picture made me realize that (like I always tell my patients) we really do put too much focus onto that silly number. Comparing last year to this year isn’t a huge difference but you can see that I am fitter. You can see that I am leaner. You can see that I am healthier. You can see that I am more confident! In years past I would put the phone in front of my face… this year without even realizing it I showed my face.
And after that, I took a step back. I re-thought my goals and how I was going to get there. And I took my own advice. I’m taking things one step at a time. I’m starting small. I’m adding rather than taking away. I’m making SMART goals – focusing especially on the R for Realistic. And in due time, I’ll share these goals and these steps with all of you.
But for now I wanted to start by being honest with myself and honest with my readers. That as confident as I can seem, I am also self conscious. That even though I support health at every size, I do find myself wishing I was a different size. That I do love myself, but I am also my own worst critic. These are things that I need to work on – I think a lot of people need to work on these things. So I am going into 2018 refreshed. This year I will be the best me that I can be. I hope that you will stick around to watch my journey – I am so excited to see how it all turns out!