How I Started To Lose Weight (And Made A Bazillion Mistakes)

I remember when I finally decided to get my shit together and try this "healthy living" thing.

I had just graduated college with a degree in journalism, and was working part time as a waitress at a chili diner. I had no idea where my life was going to take me, but I knew I was unhealthy. I drank four to five nights per week, ate take out for most of my dinners, smoked and didn't exercise. 

Disney Beth

I tried "dieting" a few times in college. When my weight would creep up to a point where I was uncomfortable, there was about a month's time where I'd eat more salads and go to the rec center. Once the weight came off, I hopped back into my drawer of takeout menus. There was a time I drank chocolate weightloss shakes as a breakfast. There was also a time I wrote down my idea weight, and taped it into my wardrobe so I would be reminded of it every time I opened the little door. 

So, without any idea what the heck I was doing, I put myself on a "diet" once and for all. I tried to eat less and I also picked up running. I reigned in how much takeout I ate, and tried cooking at home a bit more. I was still eating a lot of processed "diet foods" and drinking a bit, but the weight slowly came off. I was also running about 10 miles per week.

But, my definition of "healthy" was a bit skewed. I would eat half a bag of baked potato chips paired with half a bottle of wine because it was healthier than greasy chips and beer. (This was after eating a full portion of chicken curry.) My pantry was stocked with fat-free, sugar-free and taste-free bull shit. I regularly swapped artificial sweeteners into my baked goods because I was afraid of calories. I would feel guilty about eating certain foods, push unhealthier foods onto others, and often felt deprived. Because of this feeling of deprivation, I would go "hog wild" on weekends and wake up with regret and on Monday mornings. 

However, I was eating more vegetables and I was still there's that. 

After I finally lost my desired amount of weight, I then spent years learning how to be truly happy and healthy. Weightloss was just a stepping stone into a new life. (Granted this new life also took me into the throngs of an eating disorder...but we'll save that topic for another newsletter.)

The more I read magazines, cookbooks, food blogs and Internet articles, the more I became immersed and obsessed with health culture. I started learning about different diets and through my research, I started learning more about "whole foods." Something clicked, and I started transitioning my diet into more wholesome and less-processed foods and ingredients. This is where I learned how unhealthy dieting truly is. 

70.3 Chuck Norris

I'm now deeply passionate about home cooked meals, veggie-packed dinners, exercise, using food as medicine and all things wellness. 

If I could do it all over again, I'd skip the "diet foods" and go right into a healthy combination of vegetables, whole grains and moderation. Because dieting culture was so engrained into my brain, I had set myself up for failure. I always looked at the short term and not the long term. 

Health and wellness did not come naturally to me. I had to work, and I had to work hard. I had to teach myself what choices would serve my body best. I had to figure out what foods made me feel my best. I had to learn why fat-free foods weren't the best options, and why avocados were. I had to learn how to be an athlete and find my limits. And I am still putting in the work because my definition of healthy is always changing. 

Yoga Beth

Does this sound all to familiar? You're not alone in your struggles with dieting and weight loss. It's scary and overwhelming. For me, it's not about dieting--it's about creating sustainable and healthful habits to help us with a lifetime of success. And, if we happen to lose excess weight in the progress, great. If we don't, that's fine too. It's about real food, portion control, self-love and mindset.