by Torri Carver
Growing up in a small southern community, my family would frequently use food to show love. My fondest memories were spent gathered around the table, eating, laughing, and sharing quality time together. But nine times out of ten, the food we were consuming was fatty “comfort foods.”
After losing my dad when I was only nine years old, I naturally turned to food for comfort. I ignored the repercussions, and in my teenage years I noticed that my weight was slowly becoming a significant issue.
In the beginning, my motivation for losing weight had always largely been vanity. With everything we see today on TV, in magazines, and online, exercise was a means to an end. The health and wellness warnings seemed like idle threats at this point in my life.
Fast forward to college, a dear friend sat me down and talked to me straight about my health. I had attempted every fad diet, pill, potion, and lotion prior to this day, but only saw results for a few weeks, then I would gain the weight I had lost – plus more – back.
After that conversation, I began researching healthy eating, fitness, and wellness blogs. Now I was looking for long term and lasting results rather than a quick fix to being “skinny.” I began prepping my meals, paying close attention to labels, and eating whole foods when possible. I even learned the science behind some of the foods I was eating too.
The first thing I began to do and continue to do when planning my meals was to choose my protein source first, then a complex carb, and a vegetable to go with it. This allows my plate to balance without depriving myself or cutting out carbs completely.
Eating right is the MOST important part about losing weight. You could spend hours in the gym and never lose a pound if your food intake doesn’t match your exercise habits. I call it the 80/20 rule: 80% food. 20% exercise.
I eat breakfast within thirty minutes to an hour after waking up and continue to fuel my metabolism throughout the day by eating snacks every 2-3 hours. I keep these snacks in the 200-calorie range, but this is the only time I count calories. Some of my favorite snacks include Lara Bars, apples and peanut butter, carrots and hummus, almonds and other nuts, turkey, and fresh fruits. I don’t count calories for my meals either, just simply balance my plate and eat until I am full, not stuffed, but full.
This certainly hasn’t been an easy process. The first few day were almost unbearable. One week in, it got easier and has continued to get easier since. A journey that began as a young college girl simply yearning to buy cute clothes has evolved into a beautiful lifestyle of healthy living and feeling great, not just on the outside, but on the inside too.
I still have people that say “Are you always going to be on a diet?” They see me eating healthy meals and prepping my food and say “You’re already skinny. Eat a cheeseburger.” Comments like this are difficult to swallow sometimes, but I realize most people mean no harm. It’s hard to explain to some people that I’m not eating this way to look a certain way or just lose weight like before. I’m eating this way because I love my body and I’m fueling it properly, now and forever.
Now going into my fourth year in maintenance and 80 pounds less, I would have never imagined the goals I have accomplished when I set out on this journey, such as running my first marathon and attending CrossFit classes.
The way I feel, the energy I have, and how it’s affected other aspects of my life are what motivates me to keep going. My professional career has grown far beyond what I would have ever expected too. I can set goals and know I’ll accomplish them because I’ve finished them before, and I know hard work really does pay off.
I want to be an example of what it’s like to have struggled with weight problems and for everyone to know that it is possible to overcome them. That’s why I practice what I preach. You can’t out train a bad diet.
I was very fortunate to have that friend, but if you don’t have a support group, start with doing the research yourself. You’ll learn so much! There are a TON of healthy tips on social media and blogs that have truly helped me. Join a new gym and learn from the friends you make there. Support groups can be found everywhere!
My wish is to help others who, like me, think it’s impossible to change their lifestyle for the better. It will be hard, but it IS possible. I did it and you can too!
Fitting in fitness can be easier than you think!Read more
by Megan Lynch
Pregnancy and childbirth can be harrowing experiences, leaving many women and men in our culture feeling marooned and bewildered. Well-meaning friends can unknowingly make things worse by encouraging these feelings. Women who have just accomplished the herculean task of labor and birth (with men by their sides) are often told to just do what they can to keep their heads above water, and hope for the best.
Nothing makes a new parent feel like a functioning human being again like radical self-care however. Far from just “making it work,” parents who get back into their fitness game can feel like their old self again and develop the patience and endurance needed to care for their little bundles of joy. But self-care after a baby can be tricky, and if you’re not careful, candy bars for dinner and hours on the couch can seem like reasonable choices.
Although some women go through special circumstances that make it even trickier – bedrest, for instance – the vast majority of us can become better parents and happier people by making sure to keep their own wellness a priority. Here are a few tips.
If you or your partner are still pregnant, that is. Even if you’ve spent the entire first (or second) trimester trying not to lose your lunch and didn’t make it to the gym once, it’s not too late to develop good habits. Exercising now will make it easier to go after the baby arrives.
If you need support, Blooma Nashville and Hot Yoga of East Nashville offer some fabulous prenatal yoga classes.
BREASTFEED, OR HELP HER BREASTFEED
Breast milk is essentially liquefied body fat, and although moms shouldn’t count on breastfeeding alone to zap away the evidence of their pregnancy cravings, it does help most women lose one or two pounds per month. Besides, the benefits of breast milk are out of control for both the baby and mother: it’s customized nutrition and medicine for the baby and cuts down on your own risk of developing breast cancer, to start.
Guys, you’re not off the hook here. Help create the ideal situation for your lady and newborn. Make it your mission to make sure she always has a glass of water, get a pillow to support the baby or her lower back, or just stick around and converse. Feeding the baby can be a lonely experience without you.
At our hospital-hosted prenatal class, my husband and I were encouraged to order take-out after the baby arrived as a way to save time on cooking. The few times we did only made things worse. Who wants a stomachache and an energy crash when they’re already sleep-deprived? Not me.
Get a calendar, assign which one of you will cook, and plan your meals. It’ll give you more energy, save money, and give your life much-needed organization. Especially when the baby decides they’re going to be creating their very own new schedule.
SUPPORT EACH OTHER
The most important thing you can do as a new parent is respect your partner. Give them the time they need to workout. If they seem reluctant to leave the house, say the magic words: “I want to spend time with the baby.” Repeat this phrase as many times as it takes for them to pick up their gym bag and leave. Encourage your partner, ask them about their workouts, and tell them how great they look when they’re sweaty.
Your newborn baby may have a lot of needs, but their most important one is a happy and loving parent. Do yourself, your partner, and your baby a favor by making wellness an important family value early on so they can follow in your footsteps themselves.Read more