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!
Happy Friday, everyone!
Yesterday I took the day off of work to go to the dentist and have a cleaning and my initial orthodontic consultation. As a child, I was recommended for orthodontic treatment but for whatever reason, my parents decided not to go through with it. I spoke with my orthodontist about what I wanted to fix about my smile and told him that my deadline for any potential work would be the summer of 2016. Before I knew it I was filling out paperwork and to my surprise, they fit me in! I got my braces bonded onto my teeth yesterday. I was at the dentist literally all day, so I didn’t have a chance to have breakfast or lunch. When I got home, my teeth were starting to hurt so I had some noodles. I ate them and prepared myself some macaroni and cheese to eat today at work. Unfortunately, everything I’ve heard about braces is correct. It hurts SO BAD. Once I fell asleep, I woke up about every hour (according to my FitBit). At the time I just remember waking up with my mouth wide open, so I would take a sip of water and close my mouth and go back to bed. By 2:00 this morning, the pressure of closing my lips on top of my braces caused me such pain that I couldn’t go back to sleep. Luckily I make my own hours. I stayed in bed for a while scrolling through social media and finally decided to just get up. I was up getting ready for work by 2:45. I threw some Tylenol and Excedrin in my backpack along with 2 of my Fiber muffins and headed out the door. I drank cold water on the way to work which helped sooth my teeth some. I remember wondering if I should stop by McDonalds and buy a hash brown so I could have something on my stomach besides Tylenol. I decided against it and tried to eat my muffins when I got to work. Using a fork, I picked off small pieces and put them on my tongue, attempting to soften them and swallow them without chewing. I’m sure I looked hilarious doing that. It took me about 30 minutes to eat a muffin that way, and I ended up giving the other muffin away. In the middle of the morning, I heated up my macaroni and cheese and had a sudden wave of nausea come over me as I tried to eat it. My boss said that was probably a side effect of the pain, which makes sense because it couldn’t have been something I ate. By lunch time I was irritable. My boss bought me a chocolate milkshake from Whataburger which I half-drank and half-ate with a spoon. I made sure to swish it around in my mouth. I didn’t think it would help that much, but the difference was day and night. I had decreased sensitivity and irritability, and increased energy and tolerance for the pain. It’s been about 2 hours since I ate, and my mouth is becoming increasingly sore and sensitive like it was before lunch. I’m going to try to eat some soup tonight or maybe mashed potatoes.
As I said in my last post, LIFE HAPPENS. To everyone. I had no idea I would be getting braces just a few days after that post. I’m going to try to take my own advice and forgive myself for going off my diet for the next week or so. I’m going to try to moderate what I eat, although I’m limited in my options, and only eat small servings of things I wouldn’t otherwise indulge in. I’m going to try to keep going to the gym and having some sort of physical activity every day, which I can already tell is going to be difficult. Not only am I eating poor quality foods which aren’t giving me the natural energy I normally have, but I’m also in a fair amount of physical pain that I can’t really control. Like happens, and you just have to stay positive. I know I’m on my way to a better smile and a healthier lifestyle, and for now, that’s enough to keep me going.
I’m very blessed to have a job I love, that just so happens to make it easier for me to lose weight. I am on my feet all day, overseeing jobs and monitoring the actions of other employees. I work long shifts, which not only increases the amount of physical activity I do throughout the day, but it also enables me to take short breaks which I use to eat.
My typical day looks like this. Wake up at 4:45, leave the house at 5:15. Drink a cold bottle of water on my way to work, and clock in at 6:00. I normally drink 32 oz of water between 6:00 and 9:00. At 9:00 I eat my breakfast, which is normally 2 high-fiber muffins or a Special K Protein Shake. Between 9:00 and noon I normally down another 32 oz of water. At noon I eat my biggest meal of the day, always. No matter what I have prepped to eat for the week, I always eat the meal that takes up the most room in my lunch box at noon. Between noon and 2:00 I drink about 16 oz of water, and at 2:00 I have my snack. My favorite snack is either cubed cheese and gluten free pretzel sticks, or 2 hardboiled eggs. Between 2:00 and 3:30 I drink another 16 oz of water. I normally go to the gym right after I leave work, putting me there around 3:45 of 4:00. I drink at least another 32 oz of water while I’m at the gym, sometimes more. When I leave the gym I either drink my protein shake or a small Gatorade, depending on what I did in the gym that day. I normally get home between 5 and 6, shower, and go to bed shortly after.
**disclaimer: I really really really like sleeping**
So that’s my daily routine. Water all day long, as much as I can drink. 3 small meals, and 1 workout. Any given day I take between 5,000 steps (just a light work day) to 15,000 steps (heavy workload and cardio after work).
My biggest challenge on a daily basis is drinking water. I hate water. But water is ESSENTIAL to weight loss. My smallest challenge on a daily basis is cheating. When I’m at work, I only have the food I brought with me that day. I don’t keep snacks in my filing cabinet and I don’t keep candy on my desk. Cheating is literally the last thing on my mind.
On the weekend, though… That’s a totally different story. They might as well slap a sign on my forehead that says “Caution: Struggle bus coming through” because I struggle with everything. I struggle to get exercise, because I normally have plans all weekend long and my gym is 25 miles from my house. I struggle with the temptation of food, because it’s all around me. I struggle to get enough sleep, because somehow my weekends are busier than my weekdays (really don’t know how that happened because I love sleeping). I struggle with water intake, because I’m normally running around a shopping mall or getting my nails done. Weekends are really hard for me. I try to choose healthy options at restaurants. I try to eat smaller portions of home cooked meals. I go for a walk around the block if I can fit it in. But weekends aren’t typically good for me.
Yet somehow, through the cheat-induced weekends with little to no exercise and little to no water, I’ve still managed to lose almost 30 pounds in less than three months. I credit my success largely to the strict schedule that I maintain throughout the week. I give my body the nutrients and calories it needs to keep going – no more. I don’t indulge. I eat small, prepared meals throughout the day. I track my calories eaten vs. calories burned with the apps Lose It! and Fitbit. And I try to get a workout in at the very least three out of the five days of the week. I sleep as much as I can, but at the very least I get 7 hours a night.
I'm not saying life doesn't happen, because that would be a lie. If I have to come to work at 4:00am, I still eat my breakfast at 9:00. If I have to stay late, I will have a shorter gym session and not as much sleep. If I have a headache, I might down a Coke Zero. If I have a bad day, I might go out to eat with a friend. Life happens. And the main difference between my current weight loss journey and journeys I've taken in the past, is that NO MATTER WHAT I get back on my schedule the very next day. So I broke down and went to McDonalds. Okay! I'll just try not to do that tomorrow. So I was craving Starbucks and went and got myself a Venti Caramel Frappuccino with no whipped cream. Cool! Don't do that again for a while. Forgiveness is important. I forgive myself for cheating the same way I forgave myself for being fat. I accept it, and try every single day to change it.
I already know what happens when I give up. I want to see what will happen if I don't.