This is for all the women out there who feel victorious for being hungry all day. I get it. I was there too. Things have changed. And today, I’m sharing my story. Maybe you’ll recognize some similarities with your own. My hope is that it gets your wheels turning.
Let’s start with a comparison. BEFORE & NOW: My views on feeling hungry…
“I’m starving, but if I make it until 7pm I “win”. Gotta get this weight off. I’m in charge of this body, not the other way around. Don’t eat, don’t eat: as long as you’re under 1000 calories for the day, you’re cool. Have some more coffee. (reality: after 7pm, eat everything in sight and feel like an awful person)
“If you need me, I’ll be eating the food. I might be able to lose a few pounds, but it’s not a priority. Feeding the bod is. Feeling awesome, but excuse me…nom nom nom.”
It’s been YEARS since I was hungry on purpose, and the thought of spending the day feeling victorious for not eating seems foreign to me. I was an under-the-radar yo-yo dieter and my behaviors were linked entirely to my weight. Up, don’t eat. Down, eat everything. If I’d gained weight, the punishment was not eating or eating very little. The triumph was overcoming my body’s physiological needs and ‘winning’ at not eating for a day. It was pretty addictive.
AND… I didn’t know it was messed up. Really, no idea. Every woman I met was on some kind of diet, saying very similar things and feeling very hungry too. Seemed normal. It had no basis in health: I hadn’t learned that veggies were awesome, to eat to fuel my body or to reduce my sugar. I was drinking 3-5 diet cokes a day and thought they were bad ass because they were zero calories. The perfect “victory” food.
Thank fuck that’s over, lol. High five lady. I love the food.
We’re all different, and you gotta do YOU.
YOU includes a history that you need to work with to make the best decisions for your body: the way you approach your diet and training needs to work for all of “you”.
Some people are totally amazing at moderation. They can have treats in the house, and eat them when desired, without finishing the whole box or bag. Others might struggle more with it, and having treats in the house is too much pressure for them. They might feel like willpower failures, but the truth is they aren’t. All it means is that in order to make the best decisions for themselves, they might need to be more diligent about controlling their environment. That’s empowerment, not weakness: a former alcoholic who refuses to keep booze in the house isn’t weak, but rather doing what they need to do. The same goes for people who might need to calorie count and those that don’t. Or those that need trainers/buddies to workout and those that don’t (sometimes you’re better off with friends and sometimes, it’s not the best for you). When you employ techniques, sometimes you need to base them on WHO YOU ARE. Not necessarily who you’d like to be. In short, it means keeping them realistic to your current situation.
If you can’t seem to commit to an hour a day, there’s nothing wrong with 20 minutes. If you can’t ever seem to make a morning workout, maybe a different time works best. If you have tried and absolutely HATE broccoli, there’s no need to eat it. There are far too many veggies in the world for broccoli to be the end all be all. Try something else.
I’d love to be the person who can keep treats in the house and never touch them. But I’m not that person. If I buy them, I’ll eat them. If I eat them, I often feel shitty on the inside and my workouts/life suffer for it. I’d also love to be the kind of person who loves going to the gym, but I’m not. At-home workouts are what works best for me, and I focused my energy on making them awesome with tools, research and by making my space conducive to home sweating. I used to feel guilty about this (as a trainer, I suppose it’s weird to hate gyms), but I realized there are loads of people like me who can benefit from at-home training experiences. I simply stick to what I do best and kick as much ass with it as I can.
In addition to your routines, your goals should also reflect your own self-awareness. My example would be the fact that I’m not pursuing goals related to incredible leanness, six packs or getting the lowest body fat percentage possible. For some (especially those competing), these are goals they attribute to success and they work really hard to get there. For me - due to my history- these are goals I attribute to disorder: it can be dangerous for me to focus too heavily on aesthetics or numbers. I don’t feel empowered when I micromanage my diet: I feel out of control. I don’t feel good about measuring my body fat percentage against other people: I feel obsessed. It would be very easy for me to pursue those goals, especially with the support I’d have from MANY awesome people. I even feel as though I “could” do it and keep my body in fairly good health too (or at least try). But because of my history - because of my self-awareness OF that history - I’d be poking a sleeping dragon. It wouldn’t be healthy for me to pursue those goals given my history with body image and food.
1. WICKED TUNES. Duh. Loud and proud, unless it’s too early. Eye of the Tiger works really well. 80’s anthems, hip hop, rock etc… A fun playlist keeps things moving and cuts your time down. Play them from your car or speakers, but try to avoid earphones if you’re shoveling in high traffic areas (too many accidents).
2. RACE A NEIGHBOUR. A LOT of fun AND gets the job done faster! If your neighbour’s snowed in, suggest a friendly wager. If you have kids/multiple helpers, make teams! Losers makes hot chocolate for the winning team. Bam.
Try this, avoid this, use a smaller plate, attach a vibrator to your fork, only eat _____ color foods, lock your fridge, spank yourself with rubber bands, count to ten while you chew, do lunges while vaccuming, put up pictures of larger women on your freezer, hop on one leg while having dinner, don’t eat after this time, only do cardio, don’t do cardio, “trick” your body into _______.
Everyone should feel safe heading out for a walk or run. EVERYONE.
But the truth is, many women don’t.
I do advise women to take precautions, but I hate having to do so. Victim blaming is very subtle at times, and when something awful h appens to you, the last thing you NEED or want is for someone to say “you should have known better”. Even when every precaution is taken, often media outlets still find someway to place a little blame on the victim.
No one has the right to hurt you. If they choose to do so, they should be held to the highest of legal AND MORAL accountability. To assume that men simply can’t control themselves, and that women are responsible for their own victimization is both insulting to decent men and brutal to women. By FAR the vast majority of men out there are decent, awesome human beings. To assume they are uncontrollable rapists is awful, misinformed and disgusting.
Anyone who asks “Well, shouldn’t she have known better?” or feels that it’s a woman’s responsibility to control the actions of the very FEW who would take advantage of her, needs a reality check.
It’s NOT your fault.
Support: After Silence