So I told you a few weeks ago that I hired an online personal trainer. I was expecting some fitness routines, goals to work towards – the usual you’d expect from a trainer.
But what I got was something a lot more difficult.
My trainer, Nichole, is very much into the mental health aspect of losing weight. Her main focus with this group is to tear down the walls that prevent us from reaching those elusive goals that are forever out of reach – or so we think. And that’s what she wants to get rid of. All the negative self-talk that women can be *so* adept at. Nichole had a list of books and worksheets she wanted us to complete. Yes, she did have fitness routines for those that really wanted them, but mostly she was concerned about changing our way of thinking.
That’s exactly what I needed.
One of the books she wanted us to read is called “When You Eat at the Refrigerator, Pull Up a Chair” by Geneen Roth and Anne Lamott. This is a quick and easy read and more like a collection of tips the author has given out over the years at conferences. What I loved so much about this book was that it was all about getting over yourself – just learning to love yourself, no matter your size or what you just ate. Focus on being healthy and adopting good habits, not some temporary diet plan. (You can read my full review here) This put me into a reading frenzy devouring the Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan and Eat To Live by Joel Fuhrman in one week.
Reading those books, combined with Nichole’s pep talks and mental health exercises, gave me the confidence to make one massive change for my health:
- I went vegan (no animal products, no meat, no cheese, no diary)
I lasted a week. Sort of.
The first two days of going vegan (mostly inspired by the Eat To Live book) were horrible. I was STARVING, cranky, obsessed with food. I was supposed to be eating 2lbs of vegetables a day – I HATE VEGETABLES! So I know you’re thinking, ‘then why did you do it?’ It’s simple really. I finally had the mental clarity (some may even say I grew up regarding my food choices) that this is something I need to do for my health, not the scale. I can get rid of the negative thoughts (hating veggies) and be more open-minded about trying new foods. In fact, during a day out with my family, I tried some chickpea salad – it was pretty bland. But I was so happy and proud of myself for at least trying it.
I finally caved and had some chicken while eating out with some friends. And then I went back to my fruits/vegs/grains. What I realized after eating that chicken was that I really didn’t miss the meat. I enjoyed it, but didn’t crave it. I can’t really call myself a vegetarian if I eat meat once or twice a week, but I really don’t feel like a meat eater anymore.
Dropping the dairy from my diet is one that that has pretty much stuck. I’ve never been a big cheese fan, but I do like milk and of course, ice cream. But giving up the dairy really wasn’t that hard. I use almond milk now on my cereal (it’s not great, but I’m used to it now). I have had a Dairy Queen chocolate shake and some cheese pizza in the past 4 weeks, but eating those items has not triggered a relapse. I made a comment to Nichole that after a weekend of not eating well, I was actually looking forward to having fruit for breakfast and salad for lunch. I wanted that instead of the junk.
And that’s how you know you’ve made a change that will last.