I was the girl who constantly looked in the mirror and wondered why I wasn’t as slim as my friends. I would always suck in my stomach and wish for a flatter belly, bigger chest, smaller thighs. As I got older, I added toned arms to the list. In reality, I was not happy with my body, and it was a demon I constantly fought with.
It can be hard growing up and feeling pressured to look a certain way. I would workout sporadically or try to eat a healthy meal, but never stuck to it. After an elbow injury (that I did not deal with well) in high school, I gained about 10lbs and kept trying to squeeze into my jeans, which pushed me to the point where I began searching for an answer to weight loss.
I started researching weight loss where I found foods to eat and not eat. During my research, I read in a magazine that if I wanted a flat stomach, then I should cut out soda and chips. So what did I do? I cut out soda cold turkey my sophomore year of high school, and it worked. Chips, on the other hand, I was able to cut out, but still treated myself, because how can you not love chips and dip?!
There were a few times throughout high school where I would realize my jeans would be looser and I would think, “I did it.” Then I would stop working out and eating healthy, which became a vicious cycle. This continued on into college, but something changed; I realized how much I like wine. After realizing how much I liked wine in college, I got up to my highest weight ever; I didn’t know it until we had to weigh ourselves at work for a health challenge.
What was the issue? I was dieting and not living a consistently healthy lifestyle. I was stressed out, binge eating, and barely ever working out. I decided I didn’t want that for myself anymore and it was time to change. Around the same time, I found a fitness account on Pinterest I really liked: Tone It Up. What sets it apart from other fitness accounts is there is a community aspect, and they aren’t yelling at you to exercise or eat healthy; they’re doing it with you, educating you on nutrition, and encouraging you along the way. Tone It Up is where I learned I needed consistency in my life, but it didn’t happen overnight.
Consistency was a hard concept for me to grasp when it came to nutrition and working out. But after a while, I reached a point where I just wanted to be happy with myself. I got really serious and cut out some bad foods I really enjoyed, watched my portion sizes, worked out with the Tone It Up workouts and signed up for 5k’s. At that point in my wellness journey, I had a pretty good idea of what I was doing, but I needed something more.
When Tone It Up’s 31-day challenge came out, I knew it was time to sign up for something to stick to. I put the workouts on my fridge and followed it day by day. I got stronger and in the habit of working out in the morning. Then, I took it one step further and bought their Nutrition Plan during their Black Friday sale. With that, I received not only the plan, but all of the Beach Babe DVDs. It was honestly the best money I’ve ever spent.
Once I grew accustomed to meal prepping, following the Nutrition Plan, and using the Daily Workout tab on their website every day, I started seeing results. It made me wonder why I didn’t start sooner. I started getting compliments on losing weight or looking toner, and that’s when I realized that my hard work was paying off.
Something I love about this journey is all of the kind words and support from others. From family, friends, coworkers and the Tone It Up community, there’s nothing like kind words to keep me moving forward in this wellness journey. After fighting with body image for so long, I’m finally in a place where I’m in love with who I am and what I look like. I don’t compare myself to others, I don’t talk badly about myself, and I flaunt my flaws because I’m done with the demon I created in my head.
The best part of where I am at now is I am not dieting, I am living my life in a healthy way. I’m now more concerned with taking care of my body than losing weight and looking a certain way. There are no “cheat days,” just balance/”c’est la vie days.” That’s one of the many things I love about Tone It Up; they don’t believe in cheat days, and I decided I don’t either. Sometimes a glass of rosé is necessary with a kale salad for dinner, and sometimes I don’t want to order a high carb meal at a restaurant because I want to fuel my body with the proper nutrients I need to make it through tomorrow’s workout. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with any of that. Living this lifestyle means it is not going to end like a diet does because diets are only temporary results and I’m in it for the lifelong results.
Maybe you don’t see the point in meal prepping, eating five times a day, making protein pancakes, working out six times a week, or following a nutrition plan. Maybe you roll your eyes at the fact that I am doing all of this. But I’m seeing results because of it, and it makes me feel really good about myself for the first time ever. Being happy with myself allows me to find happiness in other aspects of life, making me more confident and open to new things.
It’s been quite a bumpy road to a healthier lifestyle, but through research, finding what works for me, and creating a healthier relationship with myself and body, I’ve found peace and happiness, which is all I want in this life.
So the next time you roll your eyes at what I am doing, just know I am not sorry for living this healthy lifestyle because I am finally happy.
This post was published on May 31, 2017, on rebeccalhowe.wordpress.com.