Because we all like to think of the New Year as an opportunity to make a fresh start and renew commitments to healthy eating and exercise, I’m going to do a little series on healthy living. I’m by no means an expert (and you should definitely talk to a doctor before going on any sort of diet or exercise plan) but having lost and gained weight, battled with diet and exercise and being a mom over 40, I feel like I have a pretty good understanding of the struggles and frustrations in this area.
I’d like to think of myself as a pretty healthy person. I think growing up as a dancer I’ve always been aware of what I should or should not eat and how important physical exercise is for overall fitness and well being.
But my relationship with food hasn’t always been as healthy as it should be. I grew up with a strong Type A personality. (Funny how having 4 kids in 6 years blows that right out the window!) I think I always wanted everything to be perfect. Straight A’s in school, involvement in as many extracurricular activities as possible, the list goes on. And fighting for the perfect body was always a struggle. In high school, I was always about 10 pounds heavier than I wanted to be and being a dancer made me very aware of that.
And then college was a bit of a yo-yo from being so thin my freshman year that my parents brought me home to make sure I was OK, to graduating at my heaviest to date. In pre-marital counseling, our pastor said the issues I have with body security would likely be a test in our marriage and my husband’s love and sensitivity to it would be super important to the health of both me and our marriage.
Right after we married, I joined Weight Watchers* to help me find a way back to a healthier, fitter version of myself. I wanted to lose 10-20 pounds and I found WW to be a great way to lose weight. It provided accountability and a healthy, realistic approach to, weight loss. I made lifetime status in a matter of months and felt great about myself.
Over the next 15 +years, I have maintained a healthy, mostly happy weight as I have gained and lost weight with the pregnancies and births of my four children. I have probably fluctuated 5-10 or so pounds like most people during this time but overall have felt mostly good about my body. I have also continued to use my lifetime status as ongoing accountability to stay within a healthy weight range for me.
But I’m not perfect and every once in a while, I find those old feelings of body insecurity popping up. The holiday overindulgence or the extra winter layer I have gained most years since moving to Maine brings those feelings right back to the surface. I think that when those periods of vulnerability come around, having a plan, a support system and tried and true methods to clean up your eating are key to helping you stay on track and feeling good about yourself. I have four daughters sprinting toward their tweens and teens so I want to be and sure and model a balanced and healthy relationship of diet and exercise for them.
S0 stay tuned because next in the series I’ll be talking about a few more things – exercise and intermittent fasting. Again, I’m not an expert but these are things that I practice in my daily life that I believe make a huge difference in overall health and weight maintenance.
*This is by no means an ad for Weight Watchers but I do think if you can find a program or group (whether official or just other mom friends looking to reach similar goals) it can make a huge difference to have support and accountability.