DISCLAIMER: THIS IS NOT ADVICE, THIS IS MY EXPERIENCE.
I want to make sure that you learn from my experiences so that you can make better decisions moving forward with whatever you decide to do! Also, I am by no means a medical expert on health, fitness or anything related. If you are doing ANYTHING, you should always consult your doctor or healthcare provider.
This has been one of the most challenging posts I have ever had to write.
First draft started with fitness, meal plans and my reviews on the ones I have done.
Second draft was a rant and emotional breakdown after speaking with a coach and a few people about body image, dieting, and fitness.
Third draft: a little more clear headed, pulled together, but still not quite hitting the goal of why I am writing this and messaging I want all of you to get out of this.
Fourth draft: Here it is…
I think the hardest part about writing this post is that it is 100% about me, which honestly makes me so uncomfortable. It is also very raw and open about where I am at right now in my life, as it relates to fitness and food. Something that has really defined me for what seems like my entire life.
The reason for all the drafts? I don’t think I was being honest with myself. I want to be as honest as possible, because what I have learned these past few days is that shame festers and grows when it is not exposed. Like mold hides under a dark rock, it will eventually spread over the entire rock, consuming it. This is how shame works and I don’t want it to consume me.
I think I am ashamed to share this part of myself with everyone and honestly, just scared.
GETTING HONEST WITH YOU ALL
So let’s talk fitness and food and why this is so hard to write about. This has been one of the most popular questions I have received over the past few months, as my Instagram continues to grow. It’s fair – I too have been in that same situation when you find someone on Insta and think, “how did they get that body?!”. Now, not saying I have that “body”, but what I am saying is, I get it. You feel like there is a recipe out there for a perfect body and that somehow if you follow it and find out exactly what someone did, you can achieve this “perfect life” and have everything you have always wanted.
Let’s remember that Instagram is just a snapshot of someone’s life. Some people are amazing at articulating and portraying exactly who they are. Others, like myself, use it more as a creative outlet. Regardless of what you use it for, as you grow and share more about yourself and your life, I think you have a responsibility to give the right message to your followers who may (or may not) look up to you.
I think it was Spider Man that said, “With great power, comes great responsibility”. LOL. I had to. But this is so true! And I for one want to make sure I am putting my most authentic self and message out there to hopefully inspire and guide all of you. Whether you are buying a top, making a recipe I posted, or thinking about following a fitness plan I spoke about.
So to be completely honest with you and if you haven’t picked up on this by now through some of the things that I have shared on my stories, I have struggled with an eating disorder for most of my life. This has been varying degrees from mild to severe, but I have always had a terrible body image and relationship with food. It has improved over time in areas and I have made huge strides managing this behavior. But, I am NOT the perfect example of health and what you should do, because I honestly don’t think I have the best relationship with food or my body at this point in time.
This is why I struggle to share my thoughts about food and fitness routines with all of you. Because I don’t want to be the one to spark any disordered behavior or create an unhealthy relationship with food. I am currently getting help in the areas that I need because I am determined to get to that “intuitive” and “balanced” place with food that almost seems euphoric at this point in my life. I am determined to find peace with my body and my relationship with food and encourage you all to do the same or foster it, if you already have it!
I am not saying that plans or macro counting is bad or can cause an eating disorder. I do think that these are amazing things you can incorporate into your life, IF YOU HAVE GOOD INTENTIONS. Like I said, if you struggle with disordered eating or body image issues already, something like a plan or counting might not be the best option and could potentially trigger disordered type of behavior. You have to be honest with yourself and make sure you do things for the right reasons.
And while I am being honest, I think some of these plans that I am going to share with you and the people who created them are AMAZING. They come from a place of love and confidence with themselves, food and their body. I think they have amazing recipes, inspiration and just vibes! Which is why I follow them and do them to this day!
YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH FOOD
This brings me to fitness and food. I love eating wholesome, healthy foods. I have seen first hand how they can fuel you for a race, make your body feel good and just support you. The more I eat these, the more I feel better physically and mentally. Now I love pizza and cookies too, but I am learning to balance that relationship with over doing it and making it an off-limit food, because I absolutely think they should be part of your life. Balance (i.e. pizza and cookies) are what make your life balanced. If you enjoy it, eat it!
I also want to reiterate that I am not a health expert and you should always speak with your doctor or professional before doing anything that might affect your health. If you struggle with body image or any type of disordered relationship with food and your body, please seek help and know that you are not alone.
Given my background and relationship with food, it is through MY EXERPIENCE that you should probably not follow a weight loss program to try to fix your relationship with food or “fix” your body. That is not to say that meal plans are wrong/bad or that you shouldn’t try them. But you need to make sure that you are coming from a place of love and respect for your body so that you can come out the other side with health, love and confidence, no matter what size you are.
If you don’t love your body now, what makes you think you will love it when you are 5 or 10 pounds lighter? Let me just tell you now, you won’t. Because it is never enough and you will constantly challenge that boundary and lose yourself. So know who you are, love it and all you imperfections and then make your decision.
I spoke with someone the other day who said to be “perfectly imperfect”. Love your imperfections because they are what make you, YOU. So rock them and wear them proudly.
COMPARING PLANS & MACROS
Here are some of the plans I have followed and if you think you want to do something like this to tone up, find new recipes, and are coming from a place of love, these are the ones I recommend and what I think after using them.
These girls (Karina & Katrina) are my OG. They radiate confidence, positivity, and just an overall lifestyle approach to food and fitness that I can’t help but want to be part of. I followed and still follow their plans to this day because I love their recipes, their protein powder is amazing and their workout will kick your booty.
They give you what to eat all week and make it so easy to follow. Plus they give endless substitutions for alternative meals, ingredients, etc. They also encourage things like “Wine not Wednesday”, which I love. To me, this is really more of a lifestyle approach and very realistic if you are looking to just clean up your eating and find some balance in your day to day diet.
I can’t say enough good things about them. They helped me so much when I was recovering with learning how to incorporate foods back into my diet and learn to love cooking and food again.
The other plan I started doing about a year ago was macro counting with
I Heart Macros. I love Quincey and she was so supportive and helpful all along the way. I am still counting macros today! When I emailed her saying I was a little too underweight, she insisted on upping my macros, which is what I love about her. She will look out for you and work with you if you are feeling deprived, not good and just need a coach to help build you up!
Her 30 day cut is challenging, but you will get into the best shape of your life. I always suggest doing this before an event if that’s how you feel about looking and feeling your best for a “big day”. You just have to remember that it is SHORT TERM (30 days!) and you can balance out after with maintenance macros or resume your normal lifestyle.
The eight week coaching program is amazing because you get the 1:1 coaching and the macros are more spread out. It’s more of a long term (spread out) weight loss program, but you can always ask her for a maintenance once too if you just want someone to hold you accountable. I was constantly adjusting mine based on my training schedule. Quincey worked with me every week during my check-ins and we found some good solutions to make sure I wasn’t feel deprived (hello adding carbs to my long run days!)
Macros to me are the scientific way to lose those last few pounds that you feel like you can never get off. And I want to repeat this, it is OK to count macros, but make sure you approach it with good intentions and that you don’t lose yourself in perfectionism or treating it in a disordered way.
What I like most about macro counting is that it shows you that you can eat carbs and fat and achieve your goals. It shows you that carbs are not an enemy and that fat does not have to be this forbidden thing you should never have. You need both of these (macro) nutrients to thrive and can have a healthy lifestyle while eating them.
REMINDER: Both of these plans are not a one-size-fits-all. Some plans work better for others and visa versa. If you are just not into counting, do the Tone it up! You will love their recipes!
If you want to just hone in your body and feel like you restrict certain foods, macros are great because you can eat anything and it really helps with portion control and learning to incorporate foods back into your diet without the fear (i.e. binging).
Also remember that any weight loss program is temporary and shouldn’t be looked at as a lifestyle plan. When you feel like you need to bring it back into gear, do it again and “reset”. This is why I loved the Tone it up program, because it really is more of a lifestyle plan. The macros can go this way too if you are on a “maintenance” program.
I hope this clears some of the plans up with you all and how I feel about them. I am not an expert, but this is just my experience and how I feel about them based on what I have done.
What I want to leave all of you with….
My goal of this post was to share my story with all of you. Hopefully, by sharing all of this, I will be able to continue to heal my relationship with food and my body.
I also hope that I was able to give you some insight into some of the plans out there through my personal experiences and allow you to make a decision based on love and confidence, instead of fear and hate.
Lastly, I want you to stop and repeat this to yourself: I AM BEAUTIFUL.
You are enough, you are loved, you are passionate, you are confidant and you are a goddess.
I know these are strange times, but do things that make you feel good. Try not to compare yourself, move your body to feel strong and empowered, feed your body what it craves, be graceful and forgiving to yourself. Health and fitness are more than just a diet, they are what our bodies need to survive and feel our best.
I will try to continue to update you all with my journey and what I learn about myself along the way, but if you made it this far down the page, thanks for reading and following along.