Posted in Healthy Living

Cleaning Up. Day 22

Cleaning Up. Day 22 Posted on July 2, 2017Leave a comment

I’m an addict.
I didn’t know it, but I was pretty thin before I had my little buddle of joy. I’d look in the mirror and pick apart the little pieces here and there that could be skinnier or more contoured. It got so bad that in college I wanted to make sure that I could be a flier on the cheerleading squad that I ended up starving myself and at my lowest weighing  98 pounds. In my mind “being a flier” meant that you obviously were very fit and skinny.

I’d sleep so that I didn’t have to eat and when I woke I’d make sure that I was wearing workout clothes so I could immediately go to the gym and exercise. Going to class seemed like a terrible chore and the only thing I would concentrate on was how I could conserve my energy so I could workout. At my “prime” I would exercise a total of 5-6 hours on a daily basis and then cheer on top of this. For those who make a living from body building or types of body competitions, I know that 5-6 hours may seem like nothing, but for a college student going to class, having practices for two hours, and then working out for 5-6 hours, this was a serious task. One might even say, ‘skill’.

Then on top of that I found out coffee was a great way to help me feel full, so at times I would consume around 20 cups of coffee a day. I was miserable, but… hey I looked good right?

 

prized-skinny-picture
This has been my prized “skinny” picture because it documented my lowest weight.

The sad thing is, yeah… I felt like I looked good and I wanted to continue looking good, but it came at a terrible price.

I remember folding my clothes in the dorm laundry room and choosing to do so late at night because I was having trouble sleeping. Once I stopped eating I ended up having terrible night terrors and it kept me from wanting to sleep. Reflecting on this fact makes me think this must be a way our body tries to protect itself from starvation.

My exhaustion had completely overwhelmed me – I just wanted to rest. My hands fell to my sides still holding onto an unfolded t-shirt and my head rested face down on top of the dryer. My body ready to collapse from the stress I was putting it under, but just then someone saw me and asked if I was alright.

I jumped to my feet and of course replied in a peppy voice, “Yeah! Just a little tired!”

I was so embarrassed, but they couldn’t have known what was going on… or so I thought. It was such a strange place to be in – wanting to hide and show off at the same time. A new body, but a deep secret.

The person who had asked if I was ok had pulled me aside a few months after this and shared her struggle with anorexia… I acted like I had no idea what she was talking about… like we had nothing in common…

I’ve been dreading this post, but part of my “cleaning up” campaign has been getting my body back to health.

coming-home-hospital-picture
Taken only a few days after giving birth to LeEssa I weighed 177 pounds…

Just like in college, during my pregnancy, I didn’t take care of my body. Instead of starvation, I made poor choices for the types and amounts of food I consumed. The weight that was being gained soon made me hate working out and I was sore all over. I often heard, “You’re so tiny that you’ll just lose the weight once you give birth”, or “breastfeeding helps you lose so much weight you won’t even have to worry about it.” Little did anyone know that being “tiny” has always been a struggle of mine.

I did lose the baby weight quickly! Within about a month I had lost 30 pounds from my pregnancy. I weight 155 pounds, but that’s where the weight loss stopped.

About 4 months after giving birth to Little L I decided that I should start working out. Asa and I started cooking regularly (the first three months with Essie were very difficult to have any sort of schedule) and I was hoping that with my hypothyroid medication, I’d start seeing the results I so longed for.

Mostly our meals consisted of a meat and some veggies and we thought this was the best way to get our protein and stay full. A perfect combo for a lean healthy physic, right?

During college, when I would eat I’d have cottage cheese and an apple with a side of coffee ;). Then if I needed a snack I’d have some yogurt. This diet made me feel full in college, so why not try it now?

Day after day I would work my butt off and eat small amounts of food. Quickly I saw results…the scale went…..up.

Fast forward to my “cleaning up” campaign, I soon discovered the documentaries listed below.

  • Fed Up
  • Food Choices
  • Forks Over Knives
  • Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead
  • Cooked
  • Chef’s Table

After years of being addicted to food, I’ve realized that not only did I need to change how I treat my mind, but I need to change how I treat my body also. My body was and still is completely broken, so how do I mend it?

Although the documentaries strictly discuss plant-based diets, Asa and I have not gone that far, but we have definitely made a change in what we eat. I have started to cook plant-based except for cheese toppings… who doesn’t love cheese? 😉

We’ve noticed a lot of changes from these new eating habits. When Asa and I go to buy food we normally only fill up two large cloth grocery bags. Going to the grocery store and buying foods for a plant-based diet looked a little different…

groceries
Here you can see we filled 4 LARGE bags with veggies and fruits!

I was SO excited to put the food away into our new fridge! We ended up running out of space!

Great! We have all this food… now, what do we do with it…? My hubby can tell you that I would gladly have him cook. There’s just something that gets under my skin when someone says that a woman’s place is in the kitchen. You could say I’m somewhat of a rebel ;). Well, this food inspired me so guess where I found myself. Yup, in the kitchen.

I have created more meals, but here are just two from last week. You can find the recipes in the caption. They were DELICIOUS!

 

stuffed-squash
Southwestern Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

 

 

 

stuffed-sweet-potatoes
BBQ Lentil Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

 

With the food being plant-based I was very nervous that Asa would become hungry, but he has been LOVING it! He is so happy that he has been able to come home from work and spend time with Essie and relax a little.

I noticed that I had a lot of energy and my stomach wasn’t hurting  (i.e not bloated ;)). So, I thought, “Alright, I guess I can weigh myself and see what damage is being done.” I hesitantly stepped on the scale and …. I had lost weight! Not only had I lost weight, but I made a break through past the 150 mark and I didn’t have to break a sweat!

That may sound funny to some people, but for an entire month, I was ONLY trying to get past that darn number! Without trying I have lost a total of 5.8 pounds. This really may sound like nothing, but to me this is everything. I didn’t starve myself and I didn’t give up!

From day one of trying to clean up my life, I have only seen positives. Like the rest of this journey, I’m nervous and scared, but I have to do it. I have to continue this journey to see what can and cannot be done and I hope you will continue with me. 😀

Again, until next time!

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