For the better part of my life I’ve tried to lose weight – from when I was in grade four and the class bully asked me if I was pregnant, to literally four months ago when I was down to the crunch of fitting into my wedding dress. I have tried it all: fad diets (so not worth it), weight loss programs, cutting out dairy and wheat, 30 day challenges – until I just didn’t anymore. After our wedding reception, I had grown weary of counting every step on my Fitbit and tracking every morsel of food that entered my mouth (except wine – wine doesn’t count, right?).
At first this new pursuit of “intuitive wellness” was effective. I lost five pounds in one week, keeping up my daily workouts whether it was sweating out 500 calories in the gym or taking some time to get grounded through sun salutations in my living room. I ate when I was hungry and only until I was full. ‘Ha!’ I thought at my previous weight loss attempts – I really had figured it all out.
Maybe it was too much too soon, or the pressure of moving to a new country and adjusting to a new lifestyle, but I very quickly found my pants getting a little tighter, my sweaters a little more constricting and my double chin on FaceTime a little more obvious. I partly blame American vanity sizing because, despite my old clothes from Canada feeling tighter, whenever I tried something on in America, I was often sizing down to a small from my regular medium. I quickly brushed it off as having shrunk my old clothes in the wash and carried on, ordering deep dish for supper and having boozy brunches. Soon, my healthy, home cooked meals were comprised of pre-packaged Trader Joe’s must-try’s, and my vegan cookbooks weren’t being cracked open quite as often.
It took 3-ish months, feeling lethargic and a solid 10 lbs on the scale for me to realize that my love affair with traditional American food needed to end. No more weekly beer and burger dates, no more brunches of waffles and fried chicken, and no more laziness in the kitchen. The decision came to fruition on a Sunday afternoon after J and I arrived home from grocery shopping and flopped (literally) into bed, out of breath and irritable from too-tight clothes and poor food choices. After a mutual confession of feeling like literal garbage (and J swearing he was losing hair due to it), we made the commitment to live better – starting with our food choices.
While I’ll be bidding farewell to my American football Sunday go-to: velveeta cheese dip (full disclosure: this is an American cheese staple that we had to text our Chicagoan friend about because we didn’t know what it was/where to find it in a grocery store). This time, I’ll be finding the balance that still allows me to treat myself while respecting my body and fuelling it for all of the adventures ahead. As someone who has always struggled with body image, I am hoping this new journey will allow me to treat my body with more kindness instead of constantly picking it apart, appreciating it for all of the cool things it does (like carry multiple bags home from the grocery store, run 10 km and twist into dancer’s pose when it really doesn’t feel like it).
Anyone who knows me knows I’m not lazy – I’m usually the friend finding creative ways to get active while catching up – but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t get sucked into the convenience of the American lifestyle. I’ll be returning to my healthy ways while taking a second stab at “intuitive living” to lose my American gains and embrace a healthier/happier life. I plan to chronicle J and I’s journey over the next three months as we find balance and adapt to our healthy lifestyle. I’ll be sharing some of my favourite healthy recipes and workouts on the blog and Instagram, so follow along!
This doesn’t mean we’ll be cleaning our cupboards of all carbs and processed foods, it just means we’ll be learning to enjoy those treats while being more gentle with our bodies. Bring on a healthier (and hopefully a more body positive) 2017!