A few years ago, I hit the gym hard. So hard, I lost more than 30-pounds and completely changed my body. For awhile I was happy. But I had created a lifestyle of restriction.
I cut out most gluten-rich foods, including breads, which I love. I eliminated all sugars, dressings, cheeses, dairy products, booze, wine, snacks and sweets. I was working out everyday for at least an hour before going in to my full-time job. I was also going to school full-time. I got by on protein-rich foods like eggs, salmon and chicken. Every morning I would start my day with a spinach and pineapple smoothie–everyday, now I hate that smoothie combo.
Despite all this restriction, I wasn’t happy with the way I looked or with the way I felt about my body. I’ve never really had a positive relationship with my body, and it’s still something I’m working on. Looking back now, it seems like I must have been crazy. I was thin, but at the time I wouldn’t consider myself thin. Not at all.
What’s strange is that now, three years later I’m stronger, and I can lift more, I’m faster and I can run longer distances than I could at my “fittest.” What I’m learning now is, that balance is OK. Going to the bar on the weekend is OK. Having brushetta and a glass of wine is OK. Having a cheat meal is OK. Having dressing on a salad is OK. And cheese? It’s OK, even though I’m almost entirely dairy free, I cannot resist artisan cheese. Who can?
My life now is filled with balance. Something I was not in the least bit open to when I was restricting my diet and working out like a crazy woman. What’s shocking is that no matter how hard I trained or how few calories I ate, I still hated the way my body looked and I was always pushing for more progress. That’s not saying progress it good, but what I was doing was unhealthy.
Like I said. Today I’m stronger and I’m faster. And I’m even more comfortable in my body. And, I’m not in the gym everyday. Am I as “thin” as I was three years ago? No. Do I want to be? Yes, but with balance in mind. That’s the type of progress that’s good. For me balance is better. And I get that it’s not for everyone. But, it works for me.
Photo: Kevin Dinkell/Flickr