Two weeks ago, something drastically changed my outlook on life.
A night of heavy, heavy drinking. I got wasted at my husband’s (very small start-up) office party and made a total fool of myself.
The hangover was bad, but the shame was worse.
We’ve all been there… Hungover, feeling like hell swearing on our favorite relative’s grave that we’ll “never drink again”. But this time I meant it. I realized I had to clean up my act. I couldn’t keep treating my body so badly anymore. I couldn’t bare the thought of making such a fool of myself again.
I’m not an alcoholic. Getting that drunk is something I haven’t done for years. The wine was flowing, the jokes were good and I got carried away. This isn’t an issue with alcohol, this is an issue with a terrible kinda lifestyle.
I’m a young (24 years old) housewife with no kids. I loaf around a lot. I watch entire seasons of TV series within a day. I have been eating… Everything.
And I’ve felt like crap. I have severe anxiety, some mild depression, I’m overweight, I have acne and I got used to feeling generally lousy.
I’d had enough.
My nutritional education began about 3 months ago when I caught the movie “Fat Head” on Netflix. I loved the movie, watched it two or three times, but just kinda let the info sit in the back of my mind rather than do anything with it.
I mean it when I say nutritional education. I’m a 24 year old woman in the western world. I’ve been counting calories for half of my lifetime. I’ve weighed as little as 115lbs and as much as 150lbs. Point systems, green days, red days, whole grain bread, fat free yogurt, 5lb dumb bells and 2 hours of cardio a day. I was still carrying too much fat, I was hungry and unhappy, I even briefly spent time starving myself and weighing out half cups of cereal for meals. But I was skinny. For a few weeks, anyway. I have been there and done it all.
So, half blinded by whatever toxins in my body were causing the migrane that woke me up, I started reading. And reading, and watching movies (King Corn, Fat Head again, Fat Sick and Nearly Dead and Hungry for Change are all highly recommended) and reading more.
Believe it or not, I’ve always been interested in health – spiritual, mental and physical. I spend a lot of my time reading academic papers, going through the DSM, learning about the body. That made it easy for me to jump right into the science behind things like type-2 diabetes, hypoglycemia, obesity and food allergies etc. Things that I think everybody should have some quality education about.
Needless to say, I did spend a long time doing all the “right” things as well as a lot of time doing all the wrong, wrong things.
But then I had my “knowledge” challenged, and it turned out I knew nothing at all regarding nutrition or exercise.
I dove right in and cleaned up my diet. It was difficult with it being Christmas, but I just kept my head down and spread out the potato salad on my plate to make it look like I ate some. It’s terrible, I know, but I didn’t want to make a fuss.
2 weeks later and I’ve dropped 6 lbs. I haven’t been hungry once – I may actually be eating more, volume wise, possibly even calorie wise. The difference 5lbs makes is remarkable. My stomach is smaller, and the pajamas I got on Christmas Day are starting to fall down. My acne has dramatically improved (I’ve not seen much improvement on my keratosis pilaris unfortunately, but I’m giving it time) and my energy levels are through the roof.
And the biggest thing… I’ve gone from having daily panic attacks to… None. I haven’t had a single panic attack in two weeks. My general anxiety levels are much lower, and my depression has pretty much lifted.
I decided to take the plunge and join the gym. I gave up on cardio, weight machines and isolation exercises and learned about weight lifting. Waiting until New Year to join was an accidental stroke of genius because they have loads of deals on (did you know 80% of people who join a gym in January stop going after February?) and I got a great deal on a membership and 4 sessions with a personal trainer. I’m going to work with him on my form so I can get to those weights as quickly (and safely) as possible.
I was a gym bunny in a previous whole grain granola bar life so I’m pretty comfortable there. It’s a bit of a pretty boy gym (lots of bicep curls for the guys and elipticals for the girls) but it’s local and very clean. Don’t underestimate how important hygiene is! I had my first PT session this morning and it was great. They like to do a “structured” routine for you but this guy seemed to understand that I’m not interested in treadmills and smith machines. I learned to squat on a smith machine and I swear it’s the reason I have to go back for form correction, now.
I’ve had personal training before. It sucked. 5lb dumbells, 15 reps, 1 set. Lots of work on the machines.
Now I want to focus on compound lifts and getting that ONE pull-up! Hopefully when I go for my next session (the first was a kind of intro) we’ll still be working that way. We focused on my squat today and it was great – my form had improved after half an hour. I want to work on my deadlift on Friday. I really am hoping to stay away from their “structure” as it doesn’t address my goals at all. I want to take up powerlifting as a hobby and I’m not interested in weight loss knowing that the weight will come off with a clean diet and lifting anyway.
Anyway, I decided to start writing about this shit. My life, getting healthy… There are tonnes of blogs about eating paleo and weight lifting and I’m excited about joining that community. I’m hoping that posting my goals and progress might serve as inspiration for someone, just as the stories of others have inspired me, as well as make it easy for me to track my progress and record my goals.
I don’t have a “before” picture, though I’ll get one at the end of the month when I post a progress picture, and posting a pic of me now seems a little dishonest given that my body has already changed so much over the past 2 weeks, so I’ll just wait.
But I will let you know that I weigh 136lbs, my waist is 27.5″ and my hips are 38″ and that I’ve lost half an inch from my waist and an inch from my hips already. My bust is 36″ down from 38″ and I can’t help but be a tiny bit saddened by that in the best way possible.