How have my views on being healthy changed over the past couple of years?
The above picture shows me three years ago in 2014, and me now, in the body I woke up in today. It has been a very slow progress of learning to love my body, learning how to not fear food, and learning to love working out rather than dreading it. If your interested to learn how I have completely changed my mindset and have now reached a place where I have accepted myself how I am, keep on reading!
My Struggle with Disordered Eating
During sophomore year of high school (I’ve also talked about this in my story, which you can read here) I struggled with disordered eating. I would meticulously count my calories and make sure I never went over 1,200. At this time I was doing many sports (volleyball, crew, swimming) so I was very active, but I always felt exhausted and never was able to reach my full potential athletically because I was so tired all the time. All of this stemmed when a boy in my grade called me fat. After I heard that, I made a vow to myself that I would start to lose lots of weight. I went from being a healthy 130 pounds (totally normal for 5’7 healthy teenager) to 112. I lost nearly 20 pounds in the span of 3 months (in an unhealthy way) all because of some ignorant comment from an irrelevant person in my life. I know it’s easier said than done, but not letting stupid comments get to you is so important. If someone says something mean about you, it actually means they are unhappy with themselves and so they feel the need to bring other people down. I know this now, but back then I didn’t. So I only ate the bare minimum of 1,200 calories and burned about 500 or more everyday, meaning I was only taking in about 700-800. The weight came off really quickly, but I started to get that really skinny look because I lost muscle too, not just fat. My nails became very weak, my skin looked pale, and my hair began to break off. These are all signs that your body is not receiving the nutrients it needs to perform basic functions. I also became sick way more often. My immune system was crap since I didn’t have enough vitamins, minerals, protein etc to help it. I survived off processed foods like 100 calorie yogurts, snack packs and sugary granola bars. I ate these foods because I could count the calories easier and enter them in the app knowing exactly how much was in it. I also chewed tons of gum and drank 0 calorie Lifewater drinks so I didn’t go insane. This continued for several months until it got to the point where my mom became really worried about me. She sat me down and told me I needed to start eating or I would have to see someone.
How I got my Nutrition in Check
The switch for me came when I quit swimming and started track. I actually really enjoyed track and the endorphins it gave me. The “running high” made me feel so good. I looked forward to running and being able to go for a long time. I realized though that I would get tired very quickly. I was browsing on the Internet and I came across a Youtuber who was showing how to make a green smoothie. She was glowing vibrant, beautiful and seemed so happy. I wanted to embody her. So, that day, I made myself a green smoothie exactly how she made it and drank it all up. I’m not gonna lie and say I loved the smoothie at first because I wasn’t used to drinking anything so healthy. But I drank one everyday, and I would always get an instant burst of energy after to go on my long run. Slowly but surely, my skin started to get a glow, and it no longer looked sallow. My mom and friends began complimenting me, telling me how I looked so much healthier. And something inside me just clicked. I was tired of obsessing over how my body looked and how much I weighed. I just wanted to be healthy. So, my diet completely changed. I cut out all the crap with long ingredient labels, and focused on real, whole foods from their most natural state. I simplified my meals and cooked from home. Every time I made a healthy meal, I felt like I was showing my body respect.
How my Fitness Changed
I will always be grateful for track and running because it gave me the exercise high that I love and crave today. However, I no longer go on long runs because I have found that shorter, more intense workouts have been more beneficial in changing my body and giving me more confidence. It started when I began incorporating weights into my routine. I would do a quick round of weights after my runs, and would lift very very light. I would do basic moves such as squats, lunges, overhead presses etc. I didn’t get really into weightlifting until college. Weightlifting was a way for me to relieve all my stress at the end of the day. I started to get really serious about lifting heavy. As time went on, I made sure to always increase my weight in small amounts, and soon I was able to squat 100 pounds. My muscle definition became more visible and I received compliments on the progress I was making. As I saw the change in my body, I began to realize that I wanted to look strong, not skinny. I no longer desired small arms, and skinny chicken legs. I wanted a bigger butt, defined back muscles, and muscular calves. These are all things I am still working towards, but have made significant progress, and that comes from not being scared to lift heavy and eating a lot more food.
Where I am Today
Today, I am all about balance in all aspects of my life. That is why the title of this blog is “HolisticallyKatie”, and not “Katie’s Diet” or “Katie’s Fitness.” I believe there are many important aspects of being healthy, and it’s not only how we exercise, what we eat, but it is also how we feel internally and our mental state. Now, I eat intuitively which means I eat a healthy meal when I’m hungry, and stop eating when I’m full. I don’t stuff my self, but I always make sure to eat enough to feel satisfied. If I want to grab an ice cream with my friends or indulge in a steak, I will. I no longer feel deprived or like I have a craving for unhealthy food. When it comes to exercise, I actually love working out now. I look forward to exercise, instead of view it as a punishment. I love lifting heavy and challenging myself, but at the same time, I also love switching up my workouts by trying out HIIT routines, or sweaty hot yoga sessions. I’m not saying I am perfect now at all. It has been a really long journey for me with many ups and downs, but I am happy to say that now I feel so much more confident in myself and the person I have become. I still have so many goals set for my health and fitness in the future, but for now, I’m happy with myself and I practice self-care everyday, which I encourage all of you to incorporate into your lives in some ways.