– My Fitness Journey, Part Three –

I'm getting nowhere Have you read parts one and two? Read them first here and here.

I woke up at 4:45 a.m. like I usually do, but something was off. I didn’t bounce out of bed and head straight for the coffee maker like most days, instead I just laid in bed. I was completely spent. So, I grabbed my phone from the nightstand and cancelled my class at OTF for the very first time. And I don’t cancel (in fact, I have all of my classes scheduled through September – yes, I am that girl), so that should tell you something.

I’d been doing everything right (or so I thought). I was working when it was time to work and resting when I needed to; listening to my body, pushing through when I could, increasing my weights and speed on the treadmill with each passing week, and getting my stretching in, but I felt like I was getting nowhere fast. It made no sense to me because I followed every instruction I was given…every instruction, except one.

Refuel.

Yep, here we are back to food. I finally put two and two together and realized my body was starving. I had literally worked myself to death. In 60 days, I had totally depleted my energy stores and I was on empty.

When I said ‘I couldn’t do it’, I was serious, I physically just couldn’t do it. I had nothing left.

What’s crazy is, I’m not a horrible eater. I eat pretty much all whole food (during the week anyway) with the occasional cheat, mostly cookies or pizza because those are my two weaknesses and I was eating 4 times a day. I don’t ever drink soda (or pop – whatever you call it LOL) and I was drinking tons of water everyday. I had also nearly completely cut out all refined sugar (except for cookies, in moderation, of course).

So, I did the only thing I knew to do – I reached out to two of my trainers at Orange Theory Fitness for help. HELP!

After a few conversations with them, it became clear to me that I had a lot to learn; I was eating all wrong and I definitely wasn’t eating enough. Apparently my ballet diet of 150-200 calorie meals 4 times day doesn’t cut it when you’re doing OTF classes 5-6 days a week. My body sure let me know how it felt about it. It gave me a BIG thumbs down on that action.

I spent the next several days doing a humongous amount Googling, reading, and researching and asking lots and lots of food questions whenever I took class at OTF. Things started to make some sense, but it was really hard for me to wrap my mind around the fact that I needed to eat A LOT of food (and the right kind of food). I have always operated under the less food is better mentality and this was challenging my whole way of thinking.

At first, I was not a fan. Nope, not at all. But I knew I couldn’t continue to do food the way I had been. It was time to change my mental game.

The mental aspect of all this was hands down the hardest part for me. I’ve thought about food a certain way for 35-ish years; and the idea of retraining my brain and doing things differently was so, so scary.

…But I did it anyway.

Initially, I just felt frustrated, all the time, because I struggled to find balance; I would be starving to death one week and full and bloated the next. My weight went up and down and all around. And that stressed me out even more (another hurdle I needed get over – the scale!).

My body was a HOT MESS (and I really just wanted to go back to surviving off coffee and cookies, hey that’s not so bad now is it?).

But I didn’t give up. I kept on with my research and continued to make little adjustments in my diet (with the help of a special trainer at OTF – you know who you are) and finally things started to even out. My weight had sunk to an all-time low, but was starting to recover and plateau at healthy number and I had plenty of energy again!

After a few weeks, I saw the light! Things were all coming together; this is how it’s supposed to work.

I’m not going to lie and say it was easy from then on, because it wasn’t. It still isn’t. I fight with myself most days because I want to revert back to my old ways of eating whenever I’m in a time crunch, when I’m stressed out, or when I’m just plain lazy, but I tell you what, it’s slightly easier with each week that passes and when I get off track, (and boy, do I – like every weekend, ugh) I make myself get right back on. I’m finding a new normal, one that feeds my body and allows me to work during my workouts and make the progress I want to make.

Baby steps, yo!

Here’s what I want you take away from all of this talk about food (learn from me, friends!):

  1. There is no short-term fix or diet; proper nutrition is a lifestyle and it is difficult. It’s a commitment; a choice you make over and over every single day, but it’s totally worth it.
  2. You will fall of the wagon, HARD (cookies, lots and lots of cookies, ha!). But there’s no sense in punishing yourself, it happens; just get up and get right back on track. This is about consistency, not perfection.
  3. Your best weight is the one you reach while you’re living the healthiest life you enjoy living. That’s the thing, you have to be happy in your own skin. The number on the scale only tells part of your story, it does not define you (are you listening, Kristine?). Food and nutrition should never be a source of discontent. Find balance, find what works for you, and know that you can have both (cookies and fitness, in my case LOL).
  4. And most importantly, believe in yourself, challenge yourself, work extra hard, and know that you can do this!

The final chapter is coming soon…

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