There is nothing more disingenuous about beauty and fashion world than young, beautiful girls who smile and smirk and say, “Oh, I’m naturally thin!” Especially when, deep down inside, you and they know it’s a lie. In this post I get real about fitness, health and weight loss.
Like many women, I began obsessively dieting at age 12, which happened to coincide with puberty for me. I tried everything from excessive exercise, fasting, cutting off eating after a certain time and calorie counting. None of these methods work because the truth is no “method” or “diet” works, at least not for me.
In college from age 18 to 21, I gained 10 to 15 pounds compared to my high school weight, putting me on the high end of a healthy BMI. Most people would say, “Oh, you were growing!” Not true. I was drinking, eating out a lot and not exercising. To boot, I lived in one of the most image-conscious places in the world: New York City.
From age 12 to 21, I was a flat out vegetarian. Around 20 to 21, I noticed I was getting sick about once a month to the point of being bed ridden. Blood work was done and revealed I had low vitamins and was technically malnourished. I started eating meat again for about eight months, but still found myself getting sick.
A turning point for me was a trip to Mexico to visit my friend Monica’s family. I was so sick at that point that I said to Monica, “I hate eating.” She in turn asked me, “Don’t you want to figure out what’s wrong?” On the flight home, I bought a copy of Shape magazine with Faith Hill on the cover and decided to change my life.
One of the first steps I did was to cut out dairy and consult with a doctor over the possibility of me being lactose intolerant. Turns out, I was. Next, I began exercising with a personal trainer, who I was able to go to for free because my little sister was dating her son at the time. She really got me thinking about my weight loss goals and healthy eating. I worked out with her for three months before I moved. In that time, I counted calories, read nutritional labels and learned to feel comfortable with myself.
In the span of 3 months, I was able to drop 10 pounds. I attribute most of this to cutting out dairy, which contains high saturated fats, and exercise. Since then, I have managed to lost 6 more pounds and maintain my weight.
It’s not easy to maintain. I have set rules for myself that I sometimes break:
No dairy in the house (though I eat it when in restaurants or at parties)
No junk food in the house (though I eat it when in restaurants or at parties)
Exercise three times a week at the gym no matter what (I go to the local YMCA and do cardio and some strength training)
I’ve stopped calories counting, though I still read labels. Now it’s more so for sodium and fat content then for calories. I eat what I want when I want it. I don’t deprive myself of anything inside my rules. I’ve replaced unhealthy snacks like chips with low fat popcorn.
I wanted to share my story to show you that no one “diet” is going to change the way you eat. It’s really about finding what works for you in your lifestyle. For me it was about cutting out food that made me sick and finding exercises I love to do (hello elliptical!).