Uh oh...it's officially happened. Well, technically it's been happening, but I'm officially acknowledging it: I have gotten fat again.
Ok ok, fat is an overstatement...but I packed on TWENTY POUNDS in 2016 and I am none too happy about it. I mean, let's face it: the irony of me gaining weight while steadily telling you how to lose it has not escaped me. However, out of problems come opportunity, and I believe this is what my middle school English teacher used to annoyingly call a teaching moment. So what can we learn from this?
How I got Fat
Well first, let's look at how I've allowed the pounds to creep on in the first place. Reflection and evaluation is a very important step in ANY process, and weight loss is no different. Without it, we're tempted to jump to silly conclusions and try to fix problems that don't exist, or even worse, remove ourselves from responsibility. Some of my friends posed the following (snarky) questions: Had the high fat diet I've touted for the past four years, the one that enabled me to lose 40 lbs and (until now) keep them off, finally failed me? Is high intensity interval training a fluke, and do you really need to spend hours in the gym on a treadmill to lose weight as you've always suspected? (Excuse my snarky paraphrasing. Weight gain makes you cranky.) In short, no. To figure out what went wrong in the past year that caused the scale to tip, I thought about what had happened in 2016:
- In 10 months, I moved interstate TWICE. Moving is tough. Moving interstate is tougher. Moving interstate twice?! Let's just say I don't recommend it. Even worse, one of those moves involved some roommates who didn't have the healthiest eating habits (looking at you, Mom and Dad). I admit that with the temptations around and everything that was going on, I indulged in some stress eating. (Side note: apparently, at Christmastime, my mother bakes cookies EVERYDAY. Why? For what? FOR WHO??? Having not lived at home at Christmastime since I was 18, I was not aware of this.)
- In 2016, I had three different jobs. The first move was a result of a new job back home in the DC area. That job was a f*cking nightmare. Worst job in the history of jobs. I lasted for three months before I got the hell outta dodge and quit without another offer in hand because it was just. that. bad. Thankfully, I got a new job about a week after I quit and it continues to generally be awesome. (You wanna know how awful my boss was? I was the 9th person in my position in two years. No one could stand working for Petty Betty.)
- My schedule (and lifestyle) has changed drastically. From 2013-Feb 2016 I worked primarily from home and it was amazing. I cooked most of my meals as I got hungry, I took breaks mid-day to ride my bike, and I got a GREAT amount of sleep. Also, there was plenty of time for household chores like laundry during weekdays. Now? I have a one hour commute each way and an 8-5 work schedule. So I guess, more like a 7-6 work schedule? Which means there is very little time for housework, meal prep, working out, spending QT with friends and family, general relaxing, and sleep (dear God, I miss all the sleep). Ugh. I still hate it, to be honest, even though I love my new job.
- I started a new relationship. You know how that goes...dates, lazy days in, shirking your responsibilities...yeah, all that.
- I put my client sessions on hold. Possibly my biggest mistake, as coaching people has been one of the biggest motivators to keep me focused. Without the constant reminders of why I do this and who I do it for, I kind of lost track.
So yeah. One day I looked up and was like, "Aww man, I'm fat. Wtf." (That's an exact quote.) I can acknowledge, without excusing myself, that I really did go through a lot of changes in one year, and not all for the better. Looking back, I can firmly say I failed to adapt to those changes. Instead of modifying a routine that I knew worked for me, I kind of just let the changes overwhelm me and gave into my stress and exhaustion more than I'd like to admit. Although I started off 2016 strong, by June (around when I started my current job) I was exercising sporadically, meal prepping when I remembered, and deviating from my high fat, low carb, ketogenic eating style more than I care to admit. I was barely on my bike in 2016 (with the exception of the Jamestown Gran Fondo Metric Century I completed last year—major accomplishment!*), which is usually both my favorite form of exercise in the warmer months and my method of finding peace and relaxation.
*Riding your bike 100 km with minimal training beforehand is highly not recommended. I did it, but it took me forever. I'm not joking, I think I finished like second to last, if not last, out of everyone. I don't know who I thought I was.
Truth be told, I recognized all this in about October when comparing Halloween pics from 2015 to 2016, and I (thank God) nipped the steady weight gain in the bud, at least. If you follow me on Instagram, you know I (mostly) got back on track with my eating, even if I didn't jump back into the gym right away, so that was a good start. So, in 2017, I've been absolutely steady with my weight, which is much better than the fast march back to pre-diabetes I was doing in 2016.
How i'll get Un-Fat
So what now? I get focused! While staying steady is cool when I'm at a weight I like, this ain't it. Time for some changes. I've identified what went wrong, and I've made a plan to fix what I'd been lacking:
- Consistency: The biggest factor in my weight gain was no consistency. I didn't work out or meal prep consistently, which are known essentials in weight loss and maintenance. I will help ensure I am hitting my movement and meal prep goals by planning them into my weekly calendar and filling out my daily log.
- Focus: Somewhere along the way, I forgot why I lost weight in the first place. I remember now: being heavier feels uncomfortable to me—I'm not able to wear the clothes I want and I don't feel as confident. In addition, my energy levels are waaaaay down. A good diet and regular exercise will help with that. To remind myself why I'm in it, I'll post my goal somewhere I can regularly see it, like my phone lock screen.
- Accountability: I'd unconsciously been using my coaching clients and friends at my old gym to hold me accountable. Without them, I kind of just had a free for all. No one noticed if I put on weight or hadn't been to the gym in two weeks! This time around, I'm going to use YOU! Follow along with me on IG and the blog as I post updates and make adjustments.
- Fun: If we're being honest, my new life is boring. It's ironic, because I moved back to the DC area from NJ because I felt like my social life was lacking (it was, severely), but when I came back, all these changes overwhelmed me so much that I kind of just shut down. In order to be my best self (cheese alert), I need to be doing things that fulfill me outside of work. This includes exercise, but it also includes traveling (you know I love me some travel), spending times with friends and family, and just a bit of the general carefree/happy-go-lucky vibe that's always been a hallmark of my personality.
Where You Come In
Maybe you're wondering, "Why is she telling us all this?" I mean, all around the blog I talk about how I lost the weight and kept it off. I'm sharing my setback and progress reports with you for two reasons:
- Because I selfishly need you guys to help me get back on track. Sue me.
- Because I want you to know that *life happens*...changes come at you fast, commitments come up, you lost your motivation, *whatever.* None of us is perfect, not even a health coach. I have certifications in nutrition and fitness and I still stumble at times. Don't worry lol, I'm not a fraud...I DID keep 40 lbs off for three years with no issues. But maintaining anything requires work! That goes for health, relationships, property, whatever. What's important is that I get back up, and I think it's important for you to see that.
So...here we go! I'm taking a MUCH needed vacation to Puerto Rico in a little under two months, and it would be awesome if I could look good on that beach. Yes I want to be healthy, too, etc etc...but let's be honest, when I look back at pics from the trip years from now, I don't want to remember how uncomfortable I felt in my swimsuit (you know what I mean), I want to remember what an awesome time I had.
Let's Get to Work!
I'll be posting bi-weekly check-ins here on the blog, and you can follow me on Instagram, where I'll be sharing my workouts, food, and other good stuff. See you soon!