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Do you have a specific weight in mind that absolutely terrifies you? I did and in early December, I stepped on the scale and I had surpassed that frightening number. I remember staring at the scale, with tears in my eyes, realizing that I had officially lost control of my body, but most of all, of my health. I was spiraling out of control and I needed help. I couldn’t allow myself to go one more day without changing my entire lifestyle. I was unhappy, unhealthy and so tired. I needed a change and more than anything, a healthier lifestyle.
Later that day, I was on Facebook, scrolling my newsfeed, when I saw a friend’s live video about her family’s vegetarian lifestyle. I became a vegetarian years ago and just couldn’t commit. I tried, but I failed miserably. This time was different. Watching Jessica’s video, I felt motivated. I know how busy and hectic her days are and I knew if she could do it, I had no excuse not to try. It might have just been that number on the scale but I knew I was ready to make a change. That week, I started the path to a new me and haven’t looked back.
Anxiety and My Diet
It’s no secret that I suffer from anxiety. This anxiety keeps me from going places, doing things and experiencing life. I’d been on medication for a couple of years and wasn’t seeing any improvement. I had spoken to multiple people who suggested that a change in my diet could be what I needed to eliminate my anxiety. The more I researched, the more I found that your mood is affected by the foods you put into your body. And suddenly a healthier lifestyle made even more sense. If I could feel better, look better AND be able to enjoy life to the fullest, why wouldn’t I do everything in my power to commit to this?
What the Health
I had heard about the documentary, “What the Health”, a film that uncovers the secret to preventing and reversing chronic diseases. I was honestly terrified to watch it. Everyone who had, was instantly turned off from so many of the foods we all love.
Since I had already stopped eating meat, I decided it was time to watch. Like a lot of people these days, diabetes, cancer and heart disease have affected both sides of my family. I’ve always been told to watch what I eat but never really listened. Like my friends, this documentary totally changed me. I was not only ready to change my eating habits and make healthier choices, but I was absolutely going full vegan (eventually). Like Jessica said in her video, baby steps.
In the past, each time I tried to change our eating habits, I would take away everything at once and it always came back to bite me. I would feel like I was depriving myself and would slowly add things back into our diet until I was back to eating the same garbage all over again. I would binge eat to make up for the lack of sweets or carbs or whatever the latest fad diet had me cutting out. I had such an unhealthy relationship with food. I ate when I was sad. I ate when I was happy. I rewarded myself for a healthy meal by eating a big dessert. They cancel each other out, right? WRONG. I would even watch these weight loss shows while eating an entire container of ice cream. I was a hot mess.
This Time it’s Different.
This time, I’m doing things differently. I’m removing one thing per month instead of everything all at once. By gradually making a change, I know that it will be less of a shock to my body and the more successful I will be.
5 Accomplishments in January:
- No More Sweets: Our home always had cookies, ice cream, chocolate and some sort of sugary something in the house. As of January 1st, it’s all stopped. Now, instead of ice cream for dessert, we eat fruit! We take the kids to have ice cream once a month, as a treat, but my husband and I just enjoy watching them instead of gaining the extra calories.
- Walking 2-3 Miles a Day: I went from sitting at my computer or laying in bed all day, to dedicating an hour to walking around our neighborhood every single day. Game changer.
- Dairy Free: While we are still working on cutting it out completely, I’d say we’re about 75% dairy free already. We stopped eating eggs, substituted regular milk for almond or coconut milk and have almost completely cut out cheese. We even swapped regular mayonnaise and yogurt for vegan mayonnaise and yogurt and we love them!
- No More Naps: I have so much more energy now and don’t feel like I have to nap in the afternoon which means I sleep better at night.
- 7 lbs Down: While losing weight wasn’t something I expected so soon, it was such a pleasant surprise to step on the scale and see that I had lost weight. I’m hoping that by the end of the year, I’ll be at my “healthy weight.”
And if all of that wasn’t great enough, I have found that my anxiety level has diminished. I’ve gotten out of the house more and pushed myself to go places I would have been afraid to go last year.
I can’t wait to see what February brings. I appreciate you following my journey to a healthier lifestyle. If you have any tips, I’d love to hear them in the comments below!
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Heather is the Mom of three and a marketing professional. She enjoys graphic design, writing, photography and making new memories with her family.