July 14, 2013 by mybattlebuddyfitness
A wonderful blog post written by one of my closest friends and one of our own brave Battle Buddies. Thanks Tiffany for sharing your journey!
Written by Tiffany Zook
Lets just say that this isn’t my first rodeo in the world of weight loss and the struggle to be the healthiest version of myself. I have struggled with emotional and stress eating since I was in grade school and learned at an early age that food provided the comfort I needed to not have to feel the emotions that confronted me. I have tried most popular weight loss programs and many fad diets and come to love artificial sweeteners, diet soda, and processed food claiming to be healthy under the guise of being low-fat or sugar-free.
Now that I am in my thirties, married, raising two boys, working full-time, and as of last fall a full-time grad student, I am finally beginning to understand that its about so much more than a diet. Prior to being introduced to My Battle Buddy Fitness, I was being inundated with information about the quality of the food we eat – everything from gardening, raising chickens, knowing where my meat was coming from, and the overall impact of the food we eat. I had it coming at me from every direction. At the same time, I was looking at my life and absolutely stuck wondering how on earth I could do what it takes to make these kind of changes while pulling 18 hour days between work, family and studying. Convenience food and the chemically-laden alternatives were just a much easier prospect, despite the fact that I knew that a clean eating diet would be so much better for me.
Fortunately, I have a friend that chose to really put herself out there and make herself available to me to walk alongside me in starting the process of change. She introduced me to My Battle Buddy Fitness and to Elisabeth, and my new journey began. I have spent the past six months taking important steps towards better health and towards being purposeful about the food I choose to put in my mouth and valuing the importance of exercise. I have shed 17 pounds and feel crabby and sluggish if I don’t get my exercise in.
IT IS NOT EASY! I feel many days as if I take two steps forward and one step back. I have had to give myself the grace to keep moving forward even after I stumble, to have difficult days and to not always make the choices I know will be better for me. Even in the midst of my crazy life and schedule I have found ways to keep moving forward and to encourage my family to join me on the journey. Some of the practical things I have learned and that help me in the midst of my working mom/student life are:
Exercise in the morning – Even though the alarm clock always seems to sound too soon, once I am out of bed and moving, I never regret it and I get a strong start to my day. I have also found that this time is really sacred to me – It is some of the only time I get that I am not “needed” and that is purely for me. It also forces me to get to bed at a (somewhat) decent time.
Always have good snacks handy – Two of my biggest struggles have been the need to munch and the impulse to snack and grab what my mind thinks I am craving. Some of my go-to snacks have become fresh fruit, single serving packs of almonds, cut veggies and hummus (both of which you can get at the store ready to eat), and plain greek yogurt with berries. Even if I don’t have the rest of my lunch prepared to take with me, I make sure I have several snacks because snacking and cravings are what get me into the most trouble.
Keep the processed food out of the house – I have moments that I curse this new habit because I am wanting a quick sugar fix or a quick carb fix, but this habit has forced me to get creative and to step back and think a bit more about what I put in my mouth and reason I am wanting to munch. If its not available then its not an option. It is also forcing my kids to come alongside me and clean up their habits as well.
Make your kids your cheerleaders – I have one son who totally gets it and is willing to eat a variety and to eat well. My other son is affectionately referred to as “the carb king” in our house and would love to eat bread, cheese and beans every meal. While the one helps me pick out recipes and cooks because he already understands the value, I have talked with the other about “learning this with me” and “becoming athletes together.” It gets easier for them to change their habits once they feel like they have a stake and can play a part in being healthy.
Don’t turn one bad decision into overall failure – I mess up, I give in to temptation in the break room at work, I hit snooze and miss my window of time to work-out in the morning… We all struggle and I am no exception. That said, I am learning to “make a u-turn” and instead of deciding that I have failed or can’t do it, I take it for what it is, make note of what happened and move forward. There are still days that I get dizzy from number of u-turns I feel like I make, but in the grand scheme of things I have become stronger and know that I am building a much healthier body for myself.
Even in the craziness of life, it is possible to do this and to move towards health. Even as I sit here typing, I desperately want a Coke Zero because this is the first day I have gone all day without one. I planned to stop the diet soda on Monday and gave in during my very stressful Monday back at work after being off for ten days. Then on Tuesday I found myself at the movies with one in my hand before I ever realized I had ordered it, so today I found the strength to push through and have been successful.
If I can do this, so can you! For those of you learning how to balance these changes with the demands of family and work, what are your tips for success? How do you make it work?