I wanted to start the Blog off with a post to share my story and tell you how I got to where I am today. In a world deeply ingrained diet culture, it’s not everyday that someone tells you to stop listening to all of the noise. So I want you to understand why.
Growing up I was the youngest of 5 girls. I was aware at an early age of the differences in our builds. With five girls, none of us really look all that much alike. We were so different and still are. But I think my first real memory of my size was when I realized how much chubbier I was than my older sister – who was 2 years older than me. It didn’t bother me that much. I used to joke that I outweighed her by the time I was 6 and she was 8. I don’t know how accurate that is, but we definitely have different body shapes. I don’t think that my parents emphasized all of the differences in our family of girls. I feel that I was lucky that all I was really aware of was that I was just a chubby little girl.
When I started dancing in 3rd and 4th grade it bothered me a little bit more because of the leotards and the tendency to compare myself with the other girls. But again, it wasn’t a huge issue. I don’t remember trying to change my diet at all. As I hit puberty my body naturally outgrew the baby chub that I had had my whole life. By the time I hit 9th grade I would dabble with a diet here or there, but mainly focused on exercising regularly. And it was in 9th grade that I looked at a friend sitting next to me and noticed how much thicker my thighs on the chair than hers. But if I sat on the edge of the chair my thighs didn’t spread out as much. Sadly, this is a habit that I carry even to this day – almost subconsciously – sitting on the edge of my seat.
So I danced some in high school, ran track a little – but nothing super involved or serious. But I just continued the comparison game all through high school. I was someone who could put on muscle easily, so I felt bulkier than most of my friends.
In college my weight went up and down like you would expect – 15 lbs my freshman year that I lost the summer after running and restricting my food. I did a number of silly diets in college – dabbled in Atkins, swore off sugar for 30 days, got a gym membership and promised to go 5 days a week. So you might say that none of this sounds bad – and truthfully it wasn’t really. I was getting a degree in public health education, so I was being educated, right?
Fast forward a few years and I was living in Italy, serving a mission for my church. I loved and still love the food there. But I also loved the way they enjoy the whole experience of eating. I was mesmerized by how much they could eat and how long their lunch meal would take too. Food and eating is an art in Italy.
Once I finished college I started working and traveling a lot for work. Suddenly I found myself eating out a lot because I was in a hotel. It was fun for awhile, but then I found myself concerned that I was putting on weight and maybe it was time to start doing Pilates regularly and go on the South Beach Diet for awhile.
In 2004 I started dating my husband and we were married in 2006. Before our wedding I focused really hard on portion control and exercising and really felt like I hit my ideal weight…. And that was where I would stay, right? Well, a little over a year after our wedding we found out that we were pregnant with twin boys! I immediately just stopped weighing myself. I was hungry all the time and I was going to eat. And I did! It was so much fun, I’m not going to lie. After my boys I was nursing both of them so I quickly lost all the weight and then some. I thought, ok, I’m one of those lucky women who will lose the baby weight easily. When I got pregnant with my third son, second pregnancy, I craved french fries and I continued to eat whatever – and I gained more weight with him and than the twins.
Well… after my third son – nothing happened. There was no magical weight loss – there was barely any weight loss at all. Well I’m a hard worker… so after 9 months I started watching portions, restricting sugar and exercising more.The weight came off with a lot of hard work, just in time for me to get pregnant with my 4th child, my daughter. With this pregnancy I was going to be super careful!! I was at an ideal weight in my mind, when I got pregnant with her. I weighed myself religiously and ran up until I was 36 weeks pregnant. I ate, but I didn’t indulge like I had the other pregnancies and I gained a lot less weight with my daughter. So I was convinced that the weight would come off easily. Well, I’m sure you can guess that it didn’t. So I started doing the same thing I’d done before… but I turned to competitions and prizes to motivate me to stick to rules and eat healthy, plan out my treats and get in enough steps. For years after my daughter was born I continued to fight the baby weight. I did cleanses, weight loss competitions, counting my macros, carb cycling, keto, intermittent fasting and just tracking my food.
I know that you’re probably thinking that this story sounds a lot like you. I’m sure you’ve tried a few of these if not all of them. They probably worked for a little while for you like they worked for me. Isn’t it amazing how great you can feel when you see a number on the scale that you haven’t seen in awhile! You feel like you won some crazy prize somehow. But nothing worked for very long. And each time I would try and get back on the diet horse, it never worked like the first time around. And at this point I was working out hard – lifting heavy and doing whatever I thought I needed to get the body I wanted.
But, I didn’t find the magical combination of exercise and food restriction that worked for me. I’m here to tell you that I didn’t magically lose any weight. I’m here to tell you that I have no idea how much I weigh. So how did I get from a long history of trying everything out there – aka disordered eating to intuitive eating with a focus on my whole person health?
Well, stay tuned for part two in a few days!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
I’m a certified Intuitive Eating Counselor and NASM Certified Personal Trainer, and the owner and creator of Spendlove Coaching.
My own wellness journey led me to getting my Master’s Degree in Health and Wellness Coaching from Creighton University – Go Blujays!
I help my clients discover that they are the experts of themselves. Using the tools learned inside my program and during coaching sessions, clients learn how to shift their mindset, taking back the power they have lost to dieting and diet culture