In some respects, it's cringe-worthy. Most of my 30's were a blur of Diet Cokes, Venti skinny lattes and Triscuits with several handfuls of candy to boot. I worked out like a fiend and paid little attention to what I ate. Low calorie, high quantity was my M.O.
It's even apparent in my face in this picture with my daughter. You can read how worried I was about the dress I was wearing instead of taking a moment to capture all the love I have for my very own Sweet Caroline.
The truth was that I wavered between feeling hopeless to feeling high on life. It depended on if I got my workout in, and whether I stepped on the scale. I could spend days on the should haves, could haves, would haves, but in retrospect, it's almost better knowing what I know now, and managing to rock my first year in the 40's category.
If I had to summarize my advice to Thirtysomething Me, it would go like this:
Stop eating out of boxes.
The food-like offerings in neat little packages I used to gorge myself on are so riddled with crap I would have been better off eating the box itself. Sure, as a busy mom of three wee girlies, it's a grab-what-you-can lifestyle, but so is my life now, growing a business with a hefty side of Mom and Wife responsibilities.
Not only would I show Old Me how easy it is to grab single-serve packs of raw almonds, a cheese stick, or handful of cucumbers, but I would also mention that I no longer require afternoon caffeination or survival via a long string of sugar highs. Eat real food.
Exercise isn't the (only) answer.
I went to the gym nearly every day. I always gave it 110% (I'm a bit high on the intensity scale when it comes to exercise) and put my time in, but I also decided I earned my disaster of a diet for it.
Feeling a little squishy in the thighs? Add an extra day of cardio.
Not happy with the scale? Take a spin class and add the core workout after.
Shockingly (or not), my body never changed. The scale didn't budge.
How I long to sit down with Old Me and share all I know about fitness - and more importantly food - and give her the opportunity to ease up (a lot) and see where her focus should have been to get the results she longed for.
First thing I tell clients who want to lose weight? Stop working out until you recognize the power of food. Fitness is incredibly important to a healthy lifestyle but the proper equation is a focus of 80% food and 20% fitness. I had it backwards and paid the price.
"Living life hungry has everything to do with what you are eating, not what you are doing."
Own it. Embrace it. Love it.
I pity you, Thirtysomething Me. You were obsessing about all the wrong things. Listening to the wrong advice. Worrying about the wrong body parts. In truth, you looked good, darn good some might say. And yet.
And yet you were caught up in the dimple on your left thigh. The frenemy with the killer arms. The anger you felt when you couldn't make it to the gym because your daughter was sick.
And yet all around you were little girls with tiaras and crooked pig tails and chocolate-smeared faces. Who begged for you to sit and color with them. A husband who had something beautiful to say every time you dressed up for date night. Your life was SO FULL.
And yet you were so stuck in your own head or running the eternal hamster wheel, you failed to appreciate all that surrounded you.
So dear, sweet, imperfect Old Me, I forgive you.
Most importantly, I appreciate the journey. Because somehow along the way, I learned a lot and managed to make a pivotal update.
My gift for focusing outside myself, on what's really, truly important, is a body I can be proud of, with less than half the effort. My life is centered around helping others find success in their quest for being healthy and fit and being completely ingrained in the family I am so lucky to have. It's not half as hard as I made it out to be. And lucky me for reaching the second half of my life knowing the truths to living a life well lived and having something to show for it.
Cheers to that!
If you need help getting your diet in check, BodyRock is here for you. Our guides are excellent resources for personal motivation, diet plans and healthy recipes.
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