There’s no denying it. I’ve come back up to my body’s normal 150 lb habitat. I have no problem telling people my weight. I also have no problem telling people that although I have been thinner and weighed less- were talking around 135 lbs is my most recent low my junior-beginning of senior year college- I am actually more comfortable now.
(My first Delta Zeta Bid Day Chicago September 2012- I was heavier than I am now- thats around 155-158 lbs but I wanted to give you this for reference)
Looking back, when I was thinner I had less fun. I wasn’t really open to the idea of trying new food or when I was out I would mimic the food I ate at home. I wish I could pinpoint the turning point to how I view food now but I don’t think there was just one day where I was like wtf connie. I think it was more of the “crap- its senior year in Chicago and I haven’t even eaten half my way through the city yet!” type of deal. There were so many things I wanted to try but I always put school/workouts before fun and then I put relaxation second because after 10 hours in a library nothing sounds better than my bed and a shower. College really took a toll on my body and my stress caused me to eat what was easiest- I cooked plant based because it was fast, cheap, and yummy! I also worked as a fitness instructor for 3 years teaching Zumba, HIIT and Abs classes- I was always moving!
(My mini teeny thighs that no longer exist- photo taken September 2016 Senior year Bid Day for Delta Zeta- I was looking like this for the full year prior during my most stressful of times- I had just finished therapy for grieving the loss of my Grandfather, I was in Organic Chemistry, I was a TA, a fitness instructor, Trying to get my grades perfect for grad school apps, and teaching a lot)
I mean my hard work paid off. I graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelors of Science and it was not easy. But I only started really enjoying everything in the last 7 months of Chicago and I sort of regret that.
Ever since I started to just adventure more, my body weight has slowly crept up to where it is now but I can tell you my stress levels have gone from a constant 7-9 out of 10 to a constant I would say 2-5 with ups when I have an exam. Its amazing.
I look at food as an opportunity to engage in conversation with friends, exercise as a way to breathe fresh air and smile, and I have let my body guide me versus my mind.
So if I’m happy and my body is at a size 28 instead of a 26-27 then I’m so game. My sleep has improved exponentially. It took me about an hour to fall asleep in undergrad. I was sitting up just running through life in my head finally falling asleep to 6 hours of sleep and more stress in the morning. Now, I lay my head down, say my prayers, and boom 5 minutes and I’m out like a light.
I think my weight gain has been one of the best things to happen to me honestly.
This summer in Spain- I ate. When I say I ate I mean I went for it. Full fat-full sugar ice cream, tapas on tapas on tapas, and lots of sangria. I appreciated each area of Spain’s slightly different take on the classic Spanish style of cooking. When I think back to my trip to France amidst the beginning of my eating disorder in 8th grade all I remember is wanting to eat another buttery croissant and restricting myself. If I were me now- I would have eaten that second croissant because you know what? They don’t make them that well here in the US! When I go back there I am going to do it so differently.
Seafood Paella in Madrid- we shared it as a family. DANG GOOD.
Tapas Toasts also in Madrid
Chocolate on Chocolate on Chocolate in Sevilla, Spain
Food brings experiences and I freaking love that.
When eating out, choose dishes you wouldn’t make yourself. Engage in meaningful conversation. Travel somewhere new to eat! Ask friends for recommendations. Get that cool cocktail the restaurant is known for. Don’t think twice.
So for all of you who have gained some healthy weight and are struggling whether to accept it. I ask you- are you happier? Is your mind less pre occupied? Do you remember the food and conversation at a meal out? Are you genuinely enjoying your exercise?
(Falafel and hummus and BREAD with my grad school gals after finishing our first week of our new semester last week- laughs and food!)
If the answer to these questions is yes- then congrats. You are probably at the right weight for you. Who cares if there is less room between your thighs- you have more room in your heart and mind.
If the answer to these questions is no and you are actively trying to loose weight then I encourage you to eat foods that make you feel good- exercise hard but only because you want to- and the same food rules regarding experience and happiness apply. Moderation. I teach a weight management class at CSULA and I never know if my students read these things and get mixed information from me their teacher who speaks about portion sizing, macro and micro nutrients, and choosing healthy options. For all of you who hear me talk about those things I know for a fact that I have told you that listening to your body is far more important than correlating your plate to MyPlate standards. Yes choose the healthy stuff but also relaxxxxx. Life is too short to not live it to the fullest with foods and I know that from personal experience.
So eat your greens, your whole grains, and your fiber BUT eat your cake too. Move your body and experience life. If you are eating right your body will fall into your ideal weight range and it’s a great place to be.