Lets talk about the shirt. You know the one. That skintight shirt in the back of your closet that you save for Fridays and days you wake up feeling extra lean. THAT shirt.
For me, the shirt is a bright pink V-neck shirt I’d bought during my half-year employment with Gap Outlet. It was on clearance, which is the main prerequisite I considered when purchasing clothing at that time. It was skintight, definitely made of the stretchy moisture-wicking material that athletic clothes these days are made up of. Looking back, I definitely wasn’t on any sort of a mission for fitness at the time. In fact, my days at Gap were fueled by fast food, Venti Starbucks Frappuccino’s, and candy from the vending machine in our crowded break room.
I’m still not sure exactly why I bought the shirt. What was I expecting to wear it with? It must have been REALLY marked down. But nonetheless, I did. And here I sit. Wearing the bright pink V-neck shirt I bought from my job more than 2 years ago.
Recently, I’ve moved and somehow this shirt keeps floating up to the top of my dresser drawer. The other day I thought “Why don’t I ever wear this? Super cute!” and threw it on with some yoga pants. Surprisingly I didn’t look absolutely horrible in it. I noticed when I bent over or to the side there was some visible rolls happening, but I didn’t care.
After a particularly stressful day at work, I found myself whipping into Sonic for some good old fashioned comfort food. I knew when I did it that I was going to be disappointed in myself. Sitting in the drive through line, I remember thinking “I can just drive off right now. I don’t have to do this.” But *shocker* I didn’t. I waited and got my food. When you’re thinking about cheating, you think about the hottest most wonderful meal you’ve ever had just melting in your mouth and your taste buds cheering. But in reality, that doesn’t happen. The food wasn’t fresh, it wasn’t hot, and it didn’t taste good. I instantly regretted my decision to cheat. And I knew my body was going to thank me for it appropriately.
When I went to bed that night, I was already bloated. I could see oil on my face just half an hour after washing it in the shower. My stomach was churning, and I could feel the lethargy setting in. I went to bed as early as I could that night but unfortunately didn’t sleep well (this often happens when I don’t go to the gym after work).
The next morning, I pulled on my jeans and boots and stood there trying to find a shirt. That’s when I saw it. The shirt. I had never worn it to work before for the plain fact that I knew I wasn’t very confident while wearing it. But an idea flashed through my mind – Wear the shirt today while you’re bloated and think about how it makes you feel the next time you want to cheat. I pulled the shirt on and looked in the mirror. Worn over jeans, my body looked lumpier than the last time I wore it. But I grabbed my keys and headed out anyway.
Two things happened on the day I wore the shirt. First was the expected – I was less confident. Walking past mirrors, I would catch a glance of myself and grimace at how bloated I looked. How round and lumpy I felt. I saved this feeling. I wanted to remind myself of this the next time I thought about cheating. The second thing that happened was completely unexpected, and I’m very proud of myself for this – I felt at peace with my cheat. Yes, I looked bloated. But even in my bloated state, I looked better than I did when I started my fitness journey. Hell, I looked better than I did when I bought the shirt in 2013. It didn’t take me one day to lose all that weight, and I certainly wouldn’t gain it all back in one day.
I encourage you to find the shirt in your closet. Find something relatively old, maybe a little snug. Wear it after a cheat meal, and see how it effects your day. I know that I’ve been much more mindful about how my cheats will affect me since my experience. Feel free to comment your feedback!
I Got Featured!
As I’ve said before in my blog posts, I frequently share my weight loss journey on social media. Instagram has to be my favorite platform – I share on Facebook mainly for the benefit of my friends and family. Out of the two, I’ve received the most support and one-on-one validation from Facebook. People will comment something kind, or message me telling me that they really enjoy seeing my journey. I can’t explain how much every like, comment, and message means to me. I see them ALL and they all touch my heart, but at the same time, I know I’m reaching more people on Instagram. Hashtags are really magical things.
I share my journey, not for validation or recognition, but in the hopes of inspiring someone to start or continue their weight loss journey. As a beginner, the only thing I had guiding me was the Instagram posts of strangers. I’ve mentioned a few (but not all) of them in a previous blog post, “Looking for Inspiration?”.
Two of my favorite accounts that I didn’t mention are @thelovelyaphrodite and @sunshinesjourney. The reason I didn’t choose to include these accounts is because for a beginner, these accounts may come across as overwhelming. Both account do regular shoutouts for other fitness accounts, and as a beginner, it was hard for me to develop an idea of their true account because they were doing so many shoutouts. But I’m not a beginner anymore. I look forward to the shoutouts, and I actually end up following most of the featured accounts.
Anyway. Back to me. A few weeks ago (three weeks ago I believe), I decided to post a #transformationtuesday picture in the hopes of getting a shoutout from @thelovelyaphrodite. I had never asked for a shoutout before, so I wasn’t exactly sure how it worked. I followed all of the instructions as best I could, and though my picture received a lot of likes, I wasn’t recognized by The Lovely Aphrodite.
Until yesterday. Yesterday I was having a rather shitty day. I was sitting at my desk, pouting, trying to distract myself by doing actual work, when my phone went off. The Lovely Aphrodite had liked my post from three weeks ago! I felt like a celebrity. She actually saw my photo! Some more time went by, and my phone went off again, only this time, she had FOLLOWED me! My account, with only 6 hundred something followers, was now being watched by someone who had inspired so many people (36 thousand to be exact). I was over the moon. I sent a screenshot to my best friend, who was excited as well. And then, the unthinkable happened. I got a notification saying that The Lovely Aphrodite had tagged me in a photo! I couldn’t unlock my phone fast enough. Sure enough, right there on my timeline, was MY FACE featured by one of my FAVORITE fitness accounts in the universe. I was crying. I was jumping up and down. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I immediately posted the good news on Facebook, then Instagram. I was so ecstatic. I was gaining followers by the minute. I cried some more.
Yesterday was amazing, definitely one for the books (or, ahem, blog). I am so happy that because of The Lovely Aphrodite, I was able to reach 36 thousand people, some of whom were inspired enough to follow my account. It’s an amazing feeling to feel like you’re making a difference. And hopefully this is just the beginning for me.
The Tortilla Dilemma
We all know carbs are something to avoid if you’re trying to lose weight. Things like white bread, tortillas, and potato chips understandably get a bad reputation. But if you’re trying to make long-term changes for the better of your body, it’s important to eat meals you actually enjoy eating. With that being said –
This past weekend I found myself at HEB, looking at fresh tortillas to bring home. I had two options – ‘butter tortillas’ which were white tortillas, or ‘whole wheat tortillas’ which were darker in color. I had never had whole wheat tortillas, so I wasn’t sure if I would like the texture or not. Naturally, you would assume that the whole wheat tortillas would be a significantly healthier option. But being a picky eater and being on the fence about trying a new food, I decided to look at the nutritional information before I made my decision. One white tortilla contained 110 calories, while one whole wheat tortilla contained 105 calories, a measly 5 calories less. Yes, 5 calories. The number of calories in the stick of gum you’re chewing.
If there were something like a 25 calorie deficit, I would feel a little more inclined to opt for the obviously healthier whole wheat tortillas. But since we’re talking about a difference of 5 teeny tiny calories, I went for the ‘butter tortillas’ which I already knew I enjoyed eating.
I’ve noticed subtle differences like this in several products. Tortillas, pretzals, and cheeses are all good examples of products where the “healthier” options don’t offer a significant nutritional difference. In cases like these, it’s best to just go with what you know. Every morsel that goes into your mouth is sacred. What’s 10 more calories? I’d take a delicious product with 10 more calories, over a nasty grainy product of 10 fewer calories, any day of the week.
Do you remember the first day at your very first job? How about the first time you ever went to a gym? How about the first time you ever received a paycheck, or when you got your first car?
Moments like these happen every single day, all around us. You may not notice them or recognize them for what they are, but they are happening.
Something I struggle with is the idea that everyone starts. Starts working, starts earning money, starts working out, starts driving. You can’t judge the first-timer working out next to you at the gym. You can’t snicker at the new girl in your office for not knowing how to work the copy machine. And you can’t judge people on Facebook for getting their first paycheck and expressing their pride. At one point, YOU were all of those people.
Channel your negative energy into a smile, or a friendly wave. Don’t you remember how scary it is to start something?
When I was eating a higher amount of calories, between 1000 and 1200, I had no problem losing weight and powering through my workouts. But as you guys know, a few weeks ago I got braces put on my teeth. As a result, I had to go down to a very restricted diet of only liquids (mainly soups and milkshakes). During those first weeks, I was experiencing a high amount of pain and was restricted from eating the diet foods I had come to know and love. Even so, I was losing weight because I kept going to the gym. Even if my visits only lasted 30 minutes at most.
Last week, I meal prepped on Sunday like I always do, but I noticed a major difference. The foods I had prepared for myself were very low in calories and other nutrients. I didn’t think much of it, because hello, less calories in = less calories that can cause you to gain weight. I thought it was a win-win situation!
But I’m here to say, I was wrong. Because I was eating fewer calories than I’m supposed to, my body didn’t have the nutrients it needed to make any more energy than was required for me to function. As a result, I was constantly tired. I still went to the gym every day, but I don’t think I did more than 30 minutes at a time.
At the end of the week, I weighed in like I always do. But for the first time, I saw an increase, and not just a few ounces. Two and a half whole pounds. I shrugged it off, saying it was probably my scale or I had set it on an uneven bit of floor. I didn’t think much of my gain over the weekend, and on Monday morning I stepped back on the scale again. Only this time, I was a full eight pounds heavier than my lowest weight exactly a week before.
I was shocked. Everything you’ve heard about bad eating habits is true. During the week, my body had gone into starvation mode because it barely had fuel to function. And when I finally ate like a normal person (over the weekend), it immediately stored all of that food because it was anticipating that it would starve again in the near future.
There’s no telling how much irreversible damage I did to my metabolism last week. Previous to last week, my body had settled into a very regular cycle of eating, digesting, and fueling. This week, I can tell that my energy levels are lower as my body readjusts to my normal eating habits.
I know I haven’t posted much this week. Being eight pounds heavier has taken its toll on me. That’s eight pounds I desperately fought to lose, that I now have to lose all over again because of my own ignorance. I hope all of my readers take this into consideration. Don’t deprive your body of the fuel it needs to survive! Food to your body is like gas to your car. I know I learned my lesson.
This is a theme I’ve seen repeating throughout my entire life. Everyone wants the end result, but no one wants to earn it. People want big homes, nice cars, meaningful relationships. But those same people won’t stay a few minutes late to finish a project. Those same people won’t go out on the weekends or go out of their way to speak to the guy smiling at them across the coffee shop.
Don’t spend your life with things that make you unhappy. Don’t spend your life waiting for things to magically get better. You’re just cheating yourself out of something potentially amazing!
If you have goals, work for them. Put in the work to make your dreams a reality. In real life, there aren’t any shortcuts, magic pills, or handouts. Just hard work, sweat, and determination.
I already know what happens when I give up. I want to see what will happen if I don't.