I am going there today. I am going there about food AND fitness obsessions. I wanted to talk about this because I know many women have experienced this OR maybe going through it right now, OR you are thinking about if you may have a bit of an obsession with this. It’s ok though… It’s ok to acknowledge that you are in this season of obsession. It’s ok to acknowledge that you had one in the past. It’s ok to acknowledge that you have to make a change. We all have those periods of time when we fall into an obsession and it can happen to anyone.
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What do you do if you are in a season of obsession? I have asked a few of my friends to talk about what they have experienced with obsession and what they have done to create a turning point in their life, how they got out of this obsession. But first, before I fill you in on all the amazing information, they have given us, I want to tell you more about the obsessions that I had for years and had to overcome.
I know you have heard me speak a little on this, but I had my obsessions too. Food and working out were those for me. I had to weigh and measured everything I ate. I even went as far as when going to a restaurant, basically telling them how they should make my food. But fortunately, I had a good personality about it, but I have seen people lose their shit over things like this… I thought I was balanced, but now that I look on the other side of it, I see that I wasn’t.
I brought my own food to a lot of places, wherever I was able to bring it. I was so petrified that one false move and I would lose all of my gains.
I feel like I didn’t really come out of the other side of this until about 6 years ago. It broke for me when we went away for a month-long vacation and I realized that I didn’t want to worry about what I was going to eat everywhere; I didn’t want to worry about if I would be able to get a workout in. I didn’t know if I would be able to do any of those, so for me, I just didn’t want to worry about it.
What I did know was…
1. I knew I would get in my steps because we didn’t have a car and we had to walk everywhere.
2. I knew everywhere we went I could get at least a salad to eat with protein on it, so I knew I would have at least 1 really balanced meal per day.
3. I also knew that I would be able to sleep because jet lag kicks my ass. And I would have to sleep!
I decided for shits and giggles to document this experiment while we were away. So, I weighed myself when we left and when we got home. And with only working out maybe 3 times a week and everything else, I had only gained 2 pounds! ONLY 2 pounds WITHOUT freaking out about every single thing. After seeing this, it is when I created my non-negotiables, the minimum things I need to do because LIFE HAPPENS! And we have to learn to give a little!
The thing that I have definitely worked on overcoming was my food and workouts. What I have found is when I do less, my body responds much better! So instead of doing excessive cardio, I focus more on lifting and walking. And I’ve found by far, that this is so much more beneficial for my body and my mind. It reduces inflammation so I feel a million times better, I sleep better, and I don’t have as many cravings.
I know the jump feels scary, especially if you’ve been doing chronic cardio. But what I found is we often end up eating more the more cardio we do, versus if we’re doing weight training and some walks and maybe a HIIT here or there. By doing less, you’re much more likely to reduce your caloric intake, naturally, build more lean muscle and just overall feel better!
One thing I used to obsess about was how many carbs I ate. I went very low carb, and I went even keto for a while, and this all started in late 2017. I did not fully overcome obsession, until late last year and it got so bad. The low point was maybe early 2020, which at this point, it had gotten so bad that I was too scared to even eat berries.12 It was at that point when I knew that I needed to do something, or this was just going to get worse.
So, I stopped listening to what the experts were saying, and I decided to just really focus on how my body felt and what I was feeling in my body when I ate carbs. It had been so long since I ate carbs, that I wasn’t really sure how it was going to feel. I just started reintroducing them in small amounts. I started with berries and sweet potatoes. Those two foods not only felt really good when I ate them, I really enjoy those foods, but they were helping me in my workouts, and they were actually making my workouts better. I continued to eat more! I tried out different amounts, different types, and all with the general leading principle of how this is making me feel and like not really worrying about what people were saying about carbs, or what the keto people were saying, what the low carb people were saying, I was just going with my own intuitions.
This was around the spring or June of 2020, when I really started adding the carbs back into my diet. It took time and I would say I really didn’t overcome this completely until late 2020. At the beginning when I started doing this, I really thought I was going to go crazy that I was going to eat all the carbs. I thought that there was no way that I’m going to be able to control myself around these. But in the end, my body knew what to do it. It knows what it likes!!
Of course, I also eat cakes and cookies occasionally. The main thing is, is that I eat the carbs that I like AND I DON’T obsess about them anymore. I don’t count my macros. I don’t count my calories. I just eat what I like. I have been sticking to this for three or four months now and I am feeling really good about it. I feel like the obsession is still a little bit there, but it is slowly going away. I really feel strongly that continuing this intuitive process with the carbs is the way that I’m going to fully get over the no-carb obsession and that’s all okay!!!
One of the things that I used to obsess about, like OB-CESS about was intermittent fasting and cardio. Many years ago, I was asked to be in a fashion show and the fashion show had me wearing something like a bathing suit. But it definitely showed off my midriff and my legs, plus I had just had a baby. I had done some research about the fastest way to lose weight and I came across intermittent fasting.
In the beginning it worked well and then I just hit a plateau. So, I thought in order to up my game, I would just add in some cardio to that. And that was the recipe I needed for results. But it was also a recipe for disaster because I was so burnt out and tired of intermittent fasting and exercising by the time that that fashion show rolled around, I had hit a wall. And because of this, I didn’t know of another way to reach my goals unless it was that kind of extreme behavior.
So, after the fashion show, I just hit that wall and I knew I couldn’t go back to what I was doing. My body wasn’t responding anymore, I was tired all the time, I was hungry all the time and I was just really grumpy. When I hit rock bottom, my husband was the voice of reason. He said, “While I know what you are doing gave you the results, moving forward, do something that’s going to be healthier and going to give you more of vibrancy and longevity and help your build strength. Not just a scale weight kind of goal or what you see in the mirror kind of goal.”
When I finally wrapped my head around that and then started to get back into a training plan that made sense and was enjoying working out again, everything started to fall back into place. It took some time, and it didn’t happen overnight. But let me tell you, that intermittent fasting and doing a lot of cardio was a recipe for me to hit a wall.
Now I still intermittent fast these days, but I do it in a sane way. And I rarely do cardio like I used to. Instead, I focus on lifting heavy, I focus on getting my nutrition right, I focus on walking, I focus on mindset and I am in such a happier and better space. And I have found peace!!! I have found peace with my body, I have found peace with my mindset, I have found peace with food and just really am able to now enjoy activity again and not be so focused on vanity goals.
I hope your Magic Makers, find this helpful and I’m here if they have questions or need support!!
For me, I can’t actually say that I have stopped my obsession with working out and eating perfectly because I’m still pretty obsessive over these things. I’m actually in training currently for nationals, weightlifting and CrossFit open. So missing workouts is something that I have a very hard time wrapping my head around and it is something that I really tried not to do. BUT I had a local competition this past weekend and, on the Monday, after I showed up at the gym, and I just took it easy.
And part of me really didn’t want to take it easy, but I knew I had that rational thought of, “Okay, you need to take it easy, so you can recover and be good to go for the long haul.” And I think that that rationalization is huge. We have to have that constant self-talk with ourselves to let ourselves remember and feel okay when we know, things aren’t gonna go as we necessarily want them to or would like them to. And that same thing applies to food as well. And that is also one place I don’t obsessive over. For me, I definitely have the desire to eat clean and eat healthy, but if I’m not perfect about it, it’s not that big of a deal.
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