Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Losing weight is 2nd, Becoming healthy is 1st - PT 1

Losing weight is not only a popular topic, but also a very contentious one.  Everyone has their two cents and every other person has a reactionary opinion about each other's two cents.  I think losing weight is a highly personal journey. One diet, workout-routine, lifestyle, or whatever, isn't one-size-fits-all.  When done correctly (by 'correctly,' I mean to exclude disordered eating), it is a journey that takes time, experimentation and patience (i.e. frustration is inevitable).  Everyone has a different body chemistry & homeostasis; everyone has a different biological history. It's what makes the spectrum of lives so interesting but also what can make it trying. 

My personal history with losing weight is dotted with periods of trendy-diet eating, unintentional and intentional life style changes, and both major & minor body image issues.  When I turned 29 in July, I decided that I want to make small steps towards a healthier life by the time I hit 30. Standing at approximately 10-15 lbs over my 'ideal' weight, of course I wanted 'healthier' to mean losing that extra stuff, but I made a conscious effort to make it about something else. 

I've been drinking Diet coke & mixing splenda or equal into my coffee since I was about 12 or 13 years old (I was born in Belgium, so drinking caffeine that early wasn't exactly shocking in my house), and I knew that in some capacity, it was detrimental to my body.  My mother who was prediabetic at the time, thought it'd be a good preventitive measure against diabetes for me. Of course, she didn't know what a heavy habit it would become for me.  Let me note here that I was drinking at a minimum 2 cans of diet coke and mixing in at least a half dozen packets of sweetener to my coffees every day. 

Although the science behind the headline-making news linking diet soft drinks to heart disease this year, isn't the completely sound (in my opinion), I knew there was nothing beneficial to my heavy aspartame intake.  Aspartame wasn't the only chemical I was a total junky for.  I loved my protein bars, vending machine snacks, and most disgusting: I can't believe it's not butter spray.  The last thing was the grossest because I got to the point where I was pouring the spray liquid, not even spraying it.  It was so chemically that when I poured it on a hot english muffin, it wouldn't even melt or move!  I used to pour the spray liquid on a hot english muffin and then sprinkle that with splenda. I know.. gross!  Even then, I knew there was nothing attractive about this sort of eating, but I was addicted! I loved the junky salt taste from the butter spray and the artificial sweetness from the splenda.  At the time, I couldn't imagine not having it! 

It suffices to say, I was in need of a major diet detox & overhaul.  I knew I couldn't quit coffee but I the chemicals I could try to quit.  During the first week, I was a b!$&#.  Oh, I was so cranky..  for the first 10 days or so, I craved back the bubbly tingle of a cold diet coke, and the artificial junky tastes.  Drinking coffee with just milk and no splenda, was the weirdest.  At first, I couldn't enjoy the coffee, but as I kept at it, I started to learn what coffee tasted like.  A few weeks in, I really started to enjoy coffee with milk. It's been 60+ days now, and although there are times that I desire that sweet coffee taste, I still prefer the pure taste of coffee.  Plus, knowing that I'm not putting sweetener chemicals into my body is rewarding! 

OK, this post is getting long, so I will continue this in my next post. 

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