Friday, June 19, 2015

One Habit at a Time

"I couldn't succeed at a lifestyle change when I kept living the same life. And that is what I needed, a life style change."

You should know that I am sitting here finishing up the finale of my first two posts: My VERY PERSONAL Reason for Becoming a Full-Time Nanny and The Power to Say No while munching on a bag of potato chips.

Learning to Change. 

Before moving out to Seattle with my NannyFamily I only knew a few things about them. They were actively involved in the West African Drum and Dance community, MomBoss was a teacher, DadBoss did something with production (whatever that means), they ate mostly organic, DadBoss was (is) a vegetarian and he was (is) a really good cook. 

With this knowledge, along with some actual details about the job, I decided to make a career change. This career change was leading me to a total life-style change; some of the changes that I was aware of and some that I wasn't. Changes like getting to enjoy sunny days outside, walks on the beach, cuddle times with Bear and  Bug, exploring a new part of the country, weekends by the water, and days learning to hike. 
The change I looked forward to most of all was the one that I kept secret longest; a change in my eating.
15lbs Later. 
I had been in Seattle less than 5 full months before I decided to step on the scale for the first time. I was pleasantly surprised. The scale was reading numbers 15lb less than the last time it was stepped on. The crazy thing was that I wasn't do anything special or extra to try and loose weight. I was just eating normal foods; like a healthy person. 

I had stopped eating fast food every day, but still occasionally grabbed it on the go. I wasn't downing soda's and eating handfuls of chocolate everyday. Yet I still enjoyed a cold soda and bites of chocolate. I wasn't working out everyday or even a few times a week, but I was trying to take walks on the beach and become more active. I ate a lot of more whole foods and less processed foods. I still enjoyed cake but it was now from scratch not boxed. That was the standard for my Nanny Family, most anything was permissible to eat as long are there was no MSG and it was made from scratch.

Sadly it wasn't until I moved out here that I realized how unhealthy and not good my old life style habits were. They had become normal and kind of common ground, habits that led to complacency in my health. My normal habits in that small town had become so not normal for my body, I didn't know how starved my body was for healthy foods and habits.

Other Things Changed Too.

Besides just over all feeling better the two biggest changes I noticed were the massive decrease in headaches and the sudden regularity of my cycle. Headaches went from at least once a week to maybe once a month. Personally I think the reason these two things happened so quickly was first my drastic decrease in how much meat I ate (I went from eating it 1/2x a day to 1/2x a week). Secondly was that the meat that we did eat in the house was organic.

Energy started to seep back into my bones. Waking up in the morning, although still my least favorite part of the day, it was no longer a fight to put my feet on the ground. I no longer felt completely exhausted at the end of everyday with only the ability to soak in Netflix. Yes 3 O'clock was still my nasty tired hour but I now usually rebounded back from it. 

All of this just because of changing the foods that my body processed. 

Stalled Out.

After those initial 5 months not much else changed for about a year and a half. I had seasons of loosing and then gaining 5 pounds but overall I hit a plateau. During this time I watched my MomBoss faithfully work out almost everyday. I stopped eating fast food (ok I did slip up and grab some breakfast home fries last month) and I observed my NannyFamily's eating habits.  

One thing I have learned to appreciate is the normalcy of their eating habits. It is just natural for them to eat healthy 90% of the time - and by healthy I don't mean only nuts and fruit and veggies. Yes the house is stocked full of a variety of nuts that I still can't name but it is more than that. It is making pasta for dinner with homemade noodles bought at the farmer's market, with sauce that is made in our kitchen, and a salad stocked full of veggies. So when thick slices of bread covered in garlic and cheese are placed on the table no one makes a big deal out of eating a piece or two or three. 90% of the meal is healthy and nutritious so the 10% that isn't doesn't matter.

This is opposite from what I have been doing my whole life. Instead of making a big deal about the unhealthy dessert at the table and counting calories they have created a healthy lifestyle where the occasional fatty delicious dessert doesn't matter. When pizza is ordered in once every few months no one has to go run a couple extra miles the next day to sweat off the greasy pie. It hit me so hard, when most of your life is healthy the small amount of unhealthy really doesn't matter. When your life is unhealthy - the smallest choices matter. 

The other component I have been observing is the priority and emphases on the foods nutritional value not their calorie intake. Healthy eating around here is about how the food is helping your body not about the fat content that you are indulging in. 

The Final Piece.

Okay so what does this all have to do with my body image problem? Well...

...learning what true health is changed how I view my body. Healthy is not a pants size or number on a scale. I know that seems elementary but really let that sink in. Healthy is NOT determined by the size pants your wear and it is for sure NOT the numbers glaring back at you on a scale. 
My goal is no longer to become a size 6 or lose 20 more pounds. My goal is now to create a healthy life style that is maintainable. I want to be able to enjoy the finer foods (and things) in life. I don't want to worry what a stopping by the ice cream shop is going to do to my waste line and my self image. I want to be able to say yes to the 10% of "bad" food that comes my way because I am saying yes to the great food 90% the rest of the time. I want to be like the sweet 60 year old ladies I saw climbing a mountain a few weeks ago.

The only way that I am going to be like those ladies is to create those habits now. The biggest and hardest habit for me to create and keep is working out regularly - so I made it my goal. In April I posted on Facebook that I wanted to have 30 dates with my treadmill. Surprisingly a lot of people discouraged me, mainly because it was an unrealistic expectation. By the end of April I totally didn't reach my goal of 30 dates - I did however reach my real goal of creating a habit of heading out the treadmill on a regular basis. My expectation was never to hit the treadmill every single day but to be hitting it enough to create a healthy habit. May came and went; the treadmill and I became even better friends. It is now mid-June, last week I didn't step out for a run once, and my body noticed. 

My body felt that I hadn't hit the treadmill in a week and that made me really happy - not because I need to run everyday - but because it is showed me that my body is creating a healthy maintainable habit. I know I will never run everyday, that weeks will go by with out working out and that is okay. 

One Habit at a Time.

Redefining health as giving my body nutrients that it needs not the size of my thighs awakened in me a desire to create a healthy life and body.

Once my working out becomes a sustainable habit I can start on the next one - slightly healthier meals. Even without creating a second habit I am finally happy with my body. Granted I still have days I scowl at my stretch marked thighs or try to cover my muffin top but you know what? I no longer hate my body. I actually really like it. Without my thighs I wouldn't be able to climb these crazy Washington mountains, without a little extra around my mid section Bear's bouncing on me would hurt a whole lot more, and what would Bug pinch if I didn't have all that extra arm flab? Honestly having the boys poke and prod my body has helped me in appreciate it. Every time Bug pulls up my shirt to point out my "bee bo" (belly button) or Bear runs up laughing as he smacks or rubs his head on my booty I am reminded that my body is nothing more than skin and bones.

The reason I like my body has nothing at all to do with my current body shape either. As far as I know in the last 2 months I have maybe shed one pound. However in the last few months I have finally redefined what healthy is in my mind and this new definition has left me content, even happy. Content that we are all created in different shapes, sizes, colors, tones, heights, and builds. We, as a human race, have different tendencies and habits. We all need to learn how to be healthy and take care of the one and only body that we have on this earth. 
So if you are struggling with your body, if you are wishing you were 5 sizes smaller or 2 sizes bigger please remember your body is made to be different. It is yours to take care of and love. No matter your size, weight, or build - work to be healthy. Start out by creating one sustainable habit, get it down solid, and then start the next. Your body is beautiful. It is meant to bring you joy and keep you active. Your body is not here to keep you captive and immobile

ceconner© 6.18.2015


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