For all of you that are wondering how I transformed my body, I can honestly tell you that the change was more internal then external. I have spent my life fighting with my body and with food. I was either depriving or indulging depending on my mood or the time of year. I can’t remember the moment, but I am no longer that person. I can’t say that I don’t care about my outer shell, but I no longer look at food or my body in the same way. I can’t say that I don’t have moments of weakness, I do, but I know that I will never go back to a life controlled by food and a desperate need to look good.
Here are 5 changes I made that changed my life, in no particular order:
1. Pain vs. Pleasure
Want it. Need it. If the pain of being tired, overweight, depressed is greater then the pleasure you get from sitting on the couch and eating chips, or binge drinking on weekends and then eating poutine, then it is time. Do it for yourself. Make it your priority. If you are happy eating and drinking and being tired and lazy then enjoy your chips and don’t get up. Don’t do it.
2. Don’t deprive. Add the good stuff.
The truth is you don’t have to give it all up, but you have to start somewhere.
One of the most compelling movies and one that changed the way I looked at my body and food was called Hungry for Change (and is on Netflix). Rather then depriving yourself, just start by adding some good stuff. Eat and drink like you always have and then just add some more fruits and veggies. Eat real food. If it only has one ingredient, it should be fine. If there are more then three ingredients be aware that it might not be real food. Just a bunch of chemicals labelled as food.
3. Always be aware.
Sometimes food is fuel. It should always be, but sometimes it is used as a tool to cope with being a) tired, b)stressed or c)bored. Be aware at why you are eating. When I eat for fuel I tend to eat the good stuff. Most of the time I get myself in trouble when I eat for the other reasons. I used to call Ronald McDonald my therapist… Don’t stop yourself, just start by being aware that you are feeding something else then hunger. And eat whatever you want. Just try to make the right choices 80% of the time. For the other 20%, please don’t call it cheating and don’t feel guilty. It was your choice. Embrace it.
4. Be active. Move everyday.
Find something that you love. If you hate it, you will eventually give it up. I was friends with a bunch of runners. They loved to run, and for years I tried. The love never came. I never truly transformed until I found an activity that I truly loved to do. Being active doesn’t even mean joining a gym, or running. It may be something like gardening, walking, cycling, stretching, yoga. Was there a sport you loved to do as a kid? Gymnastics? Soccer? Find an adult club. I don’t care what it is. Just move your body every day.
5. Find a group of “like” people.
You will find them. Whether its a yoga studio, or a walking club, a sports club, or (in my case) a crossfit gym. Being surrounded with people like you, will be more motivating then trying to do it on your own. I still remember the first week at my crossfit gym. I did a handstand and everyone else started doing them too. I was like… I found my people. I am not alone.
This is just the beginning. Small changes make a huge difference. Start where you are, use what you have and do what you can. Break free and never give up. And always remember that NOTHING WILL MAKE YOU HAPPY. Be happy now and just have fun trying to be a better you.
And one last one…if you haven’t heard it enough from the media, Health Canada etc. stop smoking if you still are. Just stop. It will change your life.