Healthy Does NOT = Expensive

Many people argue that eating healthy is expensive. I STRONGLY disagree.

  • If you eat processed/fast-food because you think it’s cheap…what about the medical bills in the future? What about prescriptions in the future? Cholesterol medicine, blood pressure medicine, diabetes medicine/supplies, etc… it ain’t cheap. 
  • Let’s do some basic math:
    • My household= 2 people
      • Grocery shopping for the ENTIRE week (2-29 through 3-6), this includes breakfast for two, lunch for two, dinner for two and snacks. Total bill $80.00 with the help of coupons and Ibotta
        • Ibotta: This is one of my most favorite money savings apps (I’ve gotten over $100 back just from food/clothing shopping). I’ll give you the basic run down. Over 100 stores (grocery stores, clothing, electronic, etc) participate with this money back app. Each store/company posts rebates on specific items (you will not redeem money if it is not listed on the app), for example, I received 25cents back for buying an avocado. You scan your reciept and barcode(s) to the app, they verify the purchases and money is loaded to your account and you can transfer it to your Paypal account. The more people on your team, the more money you can get back. Please use my referral code so we can be on the same team: ciyalig. I believe the first rebate you redeem, you automatically get $10.00
        • Coupons. They work. If you download the ShopRite app, you can load virtual coupons to your phone. If you clip a coupon and ShopRite has a virtual coupon for that same item, ShopRite will DOUBLE that coupon! Example: You have a 25cent coupon for cheese, Shoprite has a 25cent coupon for that same brand. BAM! You just got a savings of 75cents. I walked out of ShopRite once with 3 Lara Bars, a box of pasta, marinara sauce and toothpaste all for FREE.
          • Total bill for the week is 80.00 thats $40.00 per person for 7 days. $40/7= $5.71 / 3 meals = $1.90 … Isn’t a meal from Wendy’s or McDonald’s like $5 + ? If you get fast food meals 3x a day that is $15+ dollars = approx $105.00 per week… this is for just one person and already costs more than my weekly shopping for 2 people. Someone explain to me how this is cheaper?
  • Purchasing tips:
    • Find store brand products that work for you. Name brand doesn’t necessarily mean tastier. Name brands usually cost more than store brand.
    • Buy in bulk. You can always freeze. We got a great deal on chicken thighs. We bought two packs and froze one for later use.
    • Don’t buy premade food. It’s so silly to me when I see people buy pre-made egg salad…It ends up costing more than a dozen eggs. Make it yourself!
    • Rain check please! If your store is having a major sale and the item is sold out, rain check it. You will get that item at the sale price when its back in store versus the regular price.
    • Look online at brand websites and Facebook for coupons. I’ve gotten some pretty awesome deals on Dannon Greek Yogurt before (6 for the price of 3). Oh, lookie here, a Dannon coupon, how convenient for you!
  • How is this healthier and cheaper?
    • 28oz bag of frozen chicken wings = $5.99
      • wings are the worst part to eat and the least filling. You would probably need to eat half the bag to feel slightly full.
    • 3lbs (48oz) pack of fresh boneless skinless chicken breasts = $5.97
      • Cheaper, more meat, better meat and its versatile in terms of cooking.
        • you can make a crock pot dish, you can stuff chicken with broccoli and cheese, you can fry it up, grill, bake, etc… SO MANY HEALTHY OPTIONS!
  • Stop buying bagged salad kits. This is so silly to me. I see people eat an entire Caesar salad kit mix bag and they cost roughly $3.00 per bag. Let’s say you buy one bag for each work day lunch… 3 x 5 = 15.00 . I bought a family size box of leafy green mix for $6.99 … leafy greens are way healthier than iceberg lettuce and I just bought way more for way less.
  • Stop buying canned soup. High in sodium and how can soup containing meat that lasts for 25 years be healthier than a fresh soup? One can feeds one person for one meal. Make a giant pot of soup and it can last several meals and for more than one person!

I can go on and on with examples. But this ties back to my post on meal prepping. Clip your coupons, find rebate apps like Ibotta (join my team!), have a list, don’t go in blindly, prepare a menu for the week, use the same foods for different meals. As you get into a routine, meal prepping will become easier, shopping will become easier, you will become healthier, and quality of life becomes better.

I truly believe you are doing a disservice to yourself and your family by buying/eating/feeding processed foods. You only live once *YOLO* , be kind to yourself and your loved ones. Take care of yourself. Be wise. Be healthy.

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Leap (year) into Whole Foods

Sandwich with avocado and poached egg

Leap years are weird. But not as weird as spending the precious days of your life torturing yourself on one insane diet or exercise regimen after another, never quite satisfied with the results.

This leap year, I challenge you to take the biggest leap ever:

Shorten the food chain.
Say NO to a diet consisting mostly of processed foods.

But we are all starting in different places. So try one of two challenges, depending on where you are now.

Option One: One Small Step

My whole life, I ate a standard western diet consisting of 100% processed foods.

I didn’t think this was particularly unhealthy. I ate things like Weight Watchers meals,  rice cakes, whole wheat bread with peanut butter and jelly.  I ate things that I made in the microwave.

I started slowly. I couldn’t stomach  REAL whole food. Even by my mid-twenties,  I had never tried a salad.

How did I start my health journey? By eating iceberg lettuce with popcorn chicken. I kid you not. It was a small step. I go into more detail in my post Help! I HATE Healthy Food.

If this is where you are, here is your leap day challenge:

  • eat a salad for lunch EVERY work day for the entire month of March

This isn’t a diet. This is eating salads for lunch. So the good news is that you can still get wasted beyond belief on St. Patricks day!

Option Two: A Giant Leap

If you feel up to it, go big!

Here is your challenge: 

  • eat ZERO processed foods for the month of March; OR;
  • eat ZERO processed foods during the work week; OR
  • severely limit your processed foods ONLY AS NEEDED for the month of March (ahem ahem, you too can eat and drink some crap on St. Patricks day).

I wish I could tell you how much whole foods changed my life. There are no cravings, there is no suffering.  I look forward to every delicious meal.

And when I want a processed item, I have it. I am no longer addicted.

If you’re still getting a large portion of your nutritional needs from processed foods, I sincerely hope you take this challenge with me!

Happy leaping 🙂

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Six Ways Herman Helps Me Stay Fit

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This is my puppy Herman Cainine.

Herman is a Shih Tzu mix, which means he’s kind of an asshole. He is the cutest and fuzziest dictator you ever will see. He also votes Republican as a rule.

Herman keeps me fit in countless ways: 

1.  He loves the park

Well actually he hates it. But he does enjoy walking there and then immediately  throwing a tantrum until we leave.

I don’t get it, but I don’t question his highness. Or the exercise it brings. 

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some days he prefers to drive

2.  He sleeps on my laptop bag

Want to spend some time on the computer?

No such luck. Herman is sleeping on it. If you approach him, he will unleash all of his puppy anger. I suppose I’ll just lift some weights while I wait… 

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tiny but lethal

3. He eats all of my food, but never shares his. 

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Even my veggies 😦
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more coffee please!

4.  He only weighs 12 pounds.

Although I understand that target weights vary by species, I am inspired by Herman’s weight of only 12 pounds. #fitspo

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As a baby he weighed even less! Go Herman Go!

5. He Urinates. 

Herman is fully housebroken. But if he feels I’m taking too long to put on my coat or fumble for my keys, he will look me dead in the eye as he pees all over the kitchen floor.

Rushing to get Herman out the door, while stressing about the possibility of urine gets my heart rate up. And once urine happens, cleaning it also burns calories. Cardio, my friends.

6. He loves to play.

Once he’s done eating all of my food and peeing on my floor, Herman barks at me until I chase him around the apartment in circles. I am confident that my downstairs neighbors enjoy this just as much as I do.

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It’s 3 AM. Why aren’t we playing yet?

Incidentally, Herman is betting on Trump as our future president, but really he would have preferred Rand Paul. Herman recently devoured the “Art of the Deal,” but found it a bit difficult to digest.

Even though he spat most of it out, he continues to knock my books off the shelf, and chew on them until we play chase.  The exercise won’t end, even if I want it to. 

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Bad boy Herman! That book is for Democrats.

Even though he’s a Trump supporter, I love my Herman.

Luckily, I still have a bit more time to see if I can influence his vote. Lest ye forget Herman, who controls the treats in this home..

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Open Borders Herman! Open Borders!

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Finding Your Happy Chemicals

 

Was this song written about carbohydrates?
Or maybe it’s about that moment when you finally exit the gym.

God knows! I’ve got to make it on my own!

Yesterday I wrote a post about called There is No Such Thing as Emotional Eating.

Today, I want to backtrack just a little bit. Because one of the comments on my post got me thinking (yes it was yours The Farmer’s Diet!)

Eating as an Emotional Crutch

So the premise of yesterday’s post was this: when you think you are eating emotionally, you’re not. You are actually eating habitually. 

This is important because:

  • many disordered eaters believe they must address their underlying emotional issues in order to fix their disordered eating
  • I believe the opposite is true! you need to address your disordered eating first, and then your emotional issues will begin to fall away

The Emotional Crutch

I think it’s helpful to forget about emotional eating, and instead focus on habitual eating.

Even so, there are still three major ways emotions come into play:

  1. Emotions are intertwined with habits. When you do things in a highly emotional state, the behaviors you do are more likely to stick.
  2. Emotions can prevent you from ever starting! Food feels good, and it’s a wonderful crutch
  3. Once you begin to lose weight, you lose a lot of your happy chemicals. You have to learn to make them a different way.

When it comes to emotions, I don’t know how much I can help.

As far as #1, read a book about habit formation. I love “The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg. It might change the way you look at the world

As far as #2, you just have to be strong. That’s all I can say. Make one small step.

Where Did All the Happy Chemicals Go?

As far as #3, dear god I still struggle with this. I can’t personally deprive myself of food constantly and live a happy life.

I also don’t enjoy doing extreme exercise. I lose my weight in “spurts” and maintain for long periods in between. I find that if I lose weight relatively quickly over relatively short periods of time, it’s less taxing on my emotions.

But in general, I don’t think losing weight is “fun” for your body or mind. By definition, if you want to lose weight, you need to eat LESS than your body needs to survive. I don’t care how quickly or slowly you do that – losing fat is taxing on your body. It’s a stressor.

So your emotions might run haywire, and mine often do. It’s better not to become overweight in the first place. Because maintaining your weight can be very easy if you just eat whole foods.

I exercise by walking outdoors and hiking. These things make me feel happy and free. I don’t do exercises that make me miserable, because losing weight makes me miserable enough.

Go easy on willpower. Your willpower is limited. When you use it up, you’re more likely to slip up. And when you slip up, you’re more likely to go hard on yourself. Don’t be hard on yourself for being a freaking human being!!

We all have limited willpower. Fit people don’t keep crappy food in the house. That means they exercise their willpower less. You might even want to plan meals ahead of time. I don’t do this, but it works great for some people. Take away as many bad choices as you can. Making choices drains your willpower, and makes you unhappy.

You have to make sure you’re sleeping enough, and I think having good relationships is important also. I’m very fortunate to have two of my closest friends, Rachel and Val along with me on this journey.

Oh the loneliness! I’m self-employed, which makes things lonely. And I’m single, which makes things lonely. Carbs make lovely friends. So you have to fill up the loneliness.  I do it by getting absorbed in books, and lately by writing.

Your happy chemicals are also another reason to set tiny goals. Reaching goals boosts happiness.  Once you get a little momentum going, it get’s much easier.  Small goals changed everything for me. That’s why I wrote this post: To Lose 30 Pounds, Aim for Eight.

Set BEHAVIORAL rather then PROGRESS goals. You can’t completely control your progress, but you CAN completely control your behavior. And since your progress is a direct result of your behavior, behavioral goals are not only just as valid – they actually WORK BETTER.  They give you something to be proud of no matter what.

  • “Progress Goals” = I want to lose 2 pounds per week
  • “Behavioral Goals” = I will eat a salad every weekday for lunch

When you generally feel good about yourself, happy chemicals are easier to come by. But I won’t pretend it’s easy in the beginning.  You have to slog through it, knowing better days are coming.

In Sum

  • Don’t set insurmountable goals & take it one day at a time.
  • Eat whole foods from God’s good earth, so your body is more satisfied and less panicky.
  • Stay away from carbs or foods that addict you.
  • A small amount of carbs IS good for mental health, eat them together with fat and protein at the same meal.

And if you have any suggestions for how you deal with your emotions during weight loss, please share.

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There is No Such Thing as Emotional Eating

movie night

Hear ye! Hear ye!

I come bearing wonderful news.

What we call “emotional eating” – it doesn’t exist.  You actually just have terrible habits.

Who are YOU really?

A lump of clay? An eternal soul?
A child of God?
A descendant of Ancient Aliens????

I say you are a BRAIN. And maybe an alien also. I guess in some sense you’re a lump of clay too.

Whatever. But what you perceive, what you think, what you do – they are the all the same. They all originate in your brain, and they also shape your brain.

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Your neuroses, your hangups. And yes – your eating disorder. These all happen to your brain. The people you love & hate. All of it, all of them – they only APPEAR to live in houses and apartments. Really, they live in neurons that fired together.

As Woody Allen once said, “the brain is my second favorite organ.” If I had a penis, I might agree. But since I have lesser genitals, my brain comes first.

Some small portion of my brain is conscious. That tiny portion wants to be dictator, and I don’t even know why.

But even though my conscious brain wants to be dictator, it can never be. It’s too small, and too powerless. The rest of my brain is less conscious, but quicker. It knows it can do better than “I” can do. It’s been around millions of years longer, long before I was a reptile-fish.

These “reptile-fish” parts, they are my instincts. On top of that, I have a bunch of “mammal parts” – my habits. They are stronger than my human parts. And the only way to control them is to help shape them. 

The Power of Habit

What is your brain?

Is our “life” the current? Or the synapse? Or the things on both sides of the synapse?

I don’t know. It seems though, that whatever it is – it learns.  In the evolutionary past,  we couldn’t survive if we didn’t create shortcuts. We had to learn by making conscious associations, and then, by repetition, our brain made those associations unconscious.

Thus, we became habit machines!
We became so good at it, that we lived to tell the tale.

One of my favorite books is called “The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg. You should give it a read. If you’re not familiar with this area, empower yourself.

Whatever you are –  you are a bundle of habits. Your brain only leaves precious few things to its limited conscious control.

So when you are eating emotionally, are you really eating emotionally? Or are you eating out of habit? I say, the latter. And I’ll tell you why it matters.

..Why it Matters

Many emotional eaters feel they need to address their emotional issues in order to stop their emotional eating.  But you’ll never address your emotional issues. You’ll always be fucked up. You have less than zero hope.

Does this sound cynical? Because it’s not. Be empowered. To me, this sounds like freedom.

I promise you this. You don’t need to address any issues in order to stop overeating. You need to address your habits.

You can be fucked up beyond belief, and still be a size 6. Or 8. Or 10. Here are just a few examples of people who are fucked up beyond belief:

  • every single size 6 on earth
  • every single size 8 on earth
  • every single size 22 on earth
  • every single nudist, nun, attorney and/or doctor on earth
  • me
  • you

If you’re fucked up, that only means you experience emotions. We all do that.

Of course there are extreme outliers. But 1/3 of the population having depression?? Give me a break.

Is a basic condition of being human really something you want to “fix”? 

Maybe you do. But in any event, you don’t NEED to fix your emotional issues to fix your over-eating.  Believe it or not, skinny people have emotions too.

Do Emotions Have Anything to Do With Your Eating?

Yes! They have everything to do with it.

Emotions trigger your habits, they help form your habits. The emotions you feel while doing an activity make certain habits “stickier” than others.

But you don’t eat because you’re emotional. You eat because of habit. 

Habits are all about triggers. And even if you *THINK* an emotion is the culprit, usually that emotion is brought on by some kind of environmental trigger.

Mindfulness versus Fixing Everything

Maybe you should try to deal with your issues. I don’t know.

I tend to think that things sort themselves out when you focus on them less, not more. The less neurons fire, the more their connections atrophy and die off. That’s just my approach. So go ahead: ignore your problems. Repression is kind of a  bullshit sham anyway.

Instead, be MINDFUL of your issues. Don’t try to fix them, just know what they are, know what your triggers are, and focus on a new behavior you can use to replace an old behavior:

Example:
Issue: I am fat and no one loves me because they are afraid I’ll eat them. When I sit on the couch and watch TV, I am reminded of my overwhelming size and sweatiness, and so I just eat more to cover my sad emotions.

  • Classic solution that is pointless: I’m going to talk to a therapist about how fat and sad I am. She will probably refer me to a psychiatrist who will diagnose me with depression. Instead of recommending exercise or more time outside, they’ll recommend a drug. The drug might work, or on the other hand, it might make me suicidal. I’ll probably end up even fatter.
  • Mindful Solution: I know that I FEEL fat and sad and that no one loves me. But I also know that plenty of fat people are loved, and that losing weight is possible, even if I haven’t done it yet. I know there is nothing INHERENTLY FAT about me. It’s only temporary. Every time I start to feel sad, I’ll go for a 20 minute walk, and see if I feel better. Even if I really really really don’t feel like walking.

What Happens When you Try The Mindful Solution?

You stop trying to fix things, which only reinforces their very existence.

Remember, the things you want to fix live in your brain! A brain that wires itself based solely on past experiences.

Instead, you focus on a concrete behavior that not only begins to REPLACE the prior bad habit,  but is also a small step towards your goal. This kills two fatty birds with one habit-stone.

Because of the power of habit, if you repeat a behavior enough times, you’ll begin to WANT to do the new behavior.

Your new behavior won’t ever completely replace your bad habits. They’re already wired, and may always lie dormant.

But your new behavior will make it MUCH easier. And it will change your brain for the better.

..all it takes is a little bit of repetition.

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On Cheryl Tiegs, Sports Illustrated & Fat Acceptance

You might have read my post a while back on Dillard’s, Spanx, and the Fat Acceptance Movement.

If you did, you know that even as a former fatty (and arguably as a current slight fatty), I take a harsh approach to the Fat Acceptance Movement.

Which isn’t to say that Fat people aren’t beautiful. Every creature on this earth is beautiful. Every single human being is a precious snowflake. Yes, even the fat ones!

And I like the idea of body acceptance! But I don’t love the idea of Fat Acceptance. Especially when the movement attacks doctors for insisting overweight people lose weight.

Today The Controversy Continues.

Again, the media is abuzz.

First, Sports Illustrated features a plus-size model Ashley Graham on the cover. At 5’9” she’s a size 16, 170 pounds, which puts her just over a 25 BMI (basically the cut-off between average and overweight). She used to be a size 18, but has lost weight through diet and exercise.  In any event, I’m not a huge fan of BMI. Just trying to offer some perspective.

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I happen to think she’s gorgeous. And I also think she’d look better if she lost a few pounds, but hey – I’m not God. I’m also not the editor of Sports Illustrated, and most importantly – I’m not Ashley Graham. In all honesty, I feel a little gross even sitting here discussing her measurements as if those things define her. Her looks and health are her prerogative, and the decision to put her on the cover of Sports Illustrated is theirs.

Along comes former top model model Cheryl Tiegs. She doesn’t specifically call out Graham, but she is quite obviously referencing the SI cover. Here is what she says to E!:

“I don’t like that we’re talking about full-figured women, because it’s glamorizing them, because your waist should be smaller than 35 (inches),”

Regarding Graham specifically, Tiegs says:

“No, I don’t think it’s healthy. Her face is beautiful. Beautiful. But I don’t think it’s healthy in the long run.”

So basically – Tiegs is doing what Fat Acceptance Advocates HATE the most – invoking “health” as a way to put someone of larger proportions down.

I guess I should note here that Tiegs once modeled for cigarettes.  (Virginia Slims, appropriately enough). And let’s not forget her 1968 ad for tanning oil:

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In all fairness, I suppose that cigarettes and skin cancer are, in fact, pretty cool…

Plus Size Models and The Average Woman

Some people say that plus size models represent the average woman. But should they? And what the hell does it mean to be the average woman anyway?

Sure, the average woman is not rail thin. But she also doesn’t need to be a size 16.

People come in different shapes and sizes. And at 5’9”, a size 16 isn’t unreasonable, especially for someone with wide set hips. I have a very wide bone structure myself, so I could see how on a  rare occasion, someone might even be that size without having excess body fat.

But Graham does look a bit on the chubby side to me. And that’s OK – as long as she’s happy.  It seems that Graham is active and happy, and so I am not one to judge. And she’s still stunningly beautiful. So why NOT put her on a magazine cover?

On the other hand, Graham does NOT represent the average woman. I HATE this talk. The average woman is not a size 16, nor should she be. For the average woman, a size 16 is NOT curvy. It’s fat. Let’s not get it mixed up.

Which isn’t to say that MANY women aren’t a size 16. Of course many are. And for most of them, it’s not the healthiest place to be. Which is why, to some extent, I understand what Tiegs is getting at.  I still think she’s kind of a bitch.

Since When Do Models Represent HEALTH or Averages?

But here is what I’d like to know from Tiegs. Since when are models a picture of health? They’re not. They are very often exaggeration of an “ideal” body type. And they are very often pre-pubescent.

My point here is that NO, plus size models don’t (and shouldn’t) represent the average woman any more than regular models do. But so what?

Do ANY models represent the average woman?

And to Tiegs point – is it really any healthier to eat cotton balls and be rail thin? Is it particularly healthy for a 13 year old size 4 girl to be told she’ll be fired unless she loses weight?

…Watch the movie “Child Model” and tell me that models are a healthy bunch.

So, sure by medical standards, Graham is probably slightly overweight. Big deal. By society’s standards, Tiegs is probably a slight bitch. Luckily, there’s enough room on magazine covers for both of them

It’s Not Enough to Be Beautiful

The real problem is this.  It’s not enough to be beautiful or accomplished to end up on a magazine cover in the US. You must also be “perfect” with regards to your demographic.  And lord knows what “perfect” means.

Why is it that models are either insanely tall and microscopic or insanely tall and plus size?

Why is it that celebrities, who are insanely beautiful to begin with must be airbrushed thinner? Not only is it stupid, it’s also insane.

Where the hell are all the real human beings?  You know – the one’s who popped out of a vagina, and who might be perhaps – a size 8 or a size 10 or a size 12? The ones who occasionally eat pizza?

Why was a beautiful 13 year old girl (a size 4) told to either LOSE weight, or to gain weight to be plus size. She was scouted at her natural size 4. Why is she now modeling as a plus size?

Working in NYC, I am always amazed how many beautiful girls I see just walking the streets. Beauty really does come in all shapes and sizes. And in all races and at all ages.

People here are fashionable, they’re gorgeous, and they have character. Not everyone needs to be a stick. And not everyone is trying to be a size zero. Not everyone is flawless. But they are all worth celebrating. They all look great.

The Truth is This

It would be great if magazines celebrated the bodies of all kinds of women.

But Fat Acceptance isn’t that. Fat Acceptance is cool. It’s controversial. It’s good PR.

Sports Illustrated isn’t particularly brave or praiseworthy. And neither is Graham. They are just taking advantage of the zeitgeist. It would be stupid for any publication or model not to.

What would be praiseworthy in my mind?

To take a girl who is a size 4, or a size 8, or a size 10 – and feature her as she is. Without telling her to lose weight or to gain weight so that she could fit into a category. Without calling the bigger girl “plus size.”

And on the other hand – to stop using euphemisms like “full figured” and “curvy” to describe people who, in reality, are overweight. To stop pandering to people who would probably be better off if they loved their bodies enough to take care of them.

There are plenty of people who are “full figured” and “curvy” who are NOT overweight. There IS a difference.

The Pandering

If you love yourself and you’re overweight, that’s great. Everyone should love themselves.

But if you think any part of this whole “body acceptance” thing is about ACTUAL acceptance, then just know that you ARE being pandered to.

If this weren’t the case:

  •  a size 8, 10, or 12 would be just as acceptable to Sports Illustrated as a size 16. And yet it isn’t; AND
  • a size 6 would be just as acceptable on the runway as a size zero. And yet it isn’t.

What do you think?

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You Don’t Need a Clean Slate

“Ok, I’m excited to do this.”

“I’m finally going to take the plunge!”

“Awesome, cool. Let’s start Monday.”

The Fresh Start Hypothesis

How many times have you made a decision NOW, but only to start Monday? How many times have you vowed to take up a skill, or to make a big change beginning on New Years Day?

These are both features of what social scientists call the “Fresh Start Hypothesis.” This hypothesis states that we have a general tendency to correlate changes in behavior with temporal triggers or changes in environment.

The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly

If you understand more about human nature, you understand more about yourself. And if you understand more about yourself, you have greater control of your outcomes.

We can recognize the “Fresh Start Hypothesis” for what it is, and consider how we can exploit this natural tendency to our benefit. On the other hand, we can also think about how such tendencies might create psychological barriers to success.

In other words, the desire for a “clean slate” can be helpful. But it can also block you. And there is nothing more tragic than someone standing in the way of their own success.

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Know Yourself. 

There is no right or wrong answer here. Everyone is different. We all have different motivations at different times in our lives.

A “fresh start” may be just what you need!   On the other hand, if you find yourself making a “fresh start” every Monday – it might be time to recognize that this approach isn’t working for you.  You have too much emotional baggage, and it’s associated with the Fresh Start.

“But it will be different this time!” Maybe it will. Who am I to say? But maybe you are simply sabotaging yourself.

  • Example 1:  It’s December 27th and it’s a Friday. You are miserable. Kids throw jelly donuts at you, and at 5’1 you weigh 220 pounds. You have never attempted to lose weight before, and in fact your weight hasn’t really bothered you until recently. You have zero healthy habits, and you barely know where to begin.
    • Solution: If you’re going to do a major life overhaul, you can start on January 1st. But until then, see if you can substitute one meal a day with a salad.
  • Example 2: At 5’2′ you weigh 160 pounds. You aren’t happy with your weight, but you’re always dieting. Almost every Monday you find yourself vowing that this week will be different. By Thursday or Friday, you’ve usually fallen off the wagon. You feel guilty and you binge all weekend. Next Monday you know you’ll get it right!
    • Solution: Stop starting Monday. Start right now. For you, the BREAK from starting on Mondays is the REAL fresh start. Don’t be hard on yourself, either. Just make one change for the better.
    • Alternative solution: start Monday, but also start implementing one specific change right now.

The Power of Now

If you need to make a change, it’s best to start RIGHT NOW. But maybe don’t start all the way just yet..

You DON’T need:

  • a funeral procession for your last meal
  • ritual binge before your “purge.”

The more you see fitness as a “project” the more likely you are to see it as deprivation or hard labor.  It doesn’t have to be this way. It could just be simple – eat less shit.

On the other hand, the more you see your fitness journey as a “project” the more likely you are to take it seriously.

So what can we do about this contradiction?

Make a Fresh Start WITHOUT a Fresh Start

  1. Understand that most people have a tendency to correlate behavioral changes with temporal markers.
  2. Understand that our habits do not exist in isolation. They are intertwined with the concepts of time, and also with our physical environments. This will make it easier for you to change them.
  3. Understand also that an absolute NEED for a “clean slate” can be detrimental. And it’s also an illusion. You never need it, you only think you do.
  4. Use this knowledge for good! And Not for evil.

“Starting” can mean taking one small concrete action beginning right now. It could be as simple as replacing one part of dinner with veggies.

Do this PRIOR to taking a big plunge. You can still take the big plunge when you’re ready.

More Ways to Use the Fresh Start for Good

Start NOW!

But use temporal triggers and environmental changes to enhance your efforts.

Examples:

  • I’m beginning to replace one meal with a salad each day TODAY.
    • But beginning on Monday, I’ll start tracking my weight once weekly
  • I’m going to begin cut down on processed foods TODAY.
    • But once the semester starts, I will go to the gym on Mondays and Wednesdays.
  • I’m going to add more veggies in my diet beginning TODAY.
    • But starting on January 1, I’m going to begin my meal plan.
  • I’m going to try to make as many healthy choices as I can TODAY
    • But starting Monday, I’m going to do a 30 day weight loss challenge

The Struggle

I write this post because I struggled with this for a long time. I was always making a fresh start, and I was always failing.

My TRUE fresh start was when I recognized that my need for a clean slate was holding me back. It was crazy and delusional. I would NEVER have a clean slate. And I would never stick perfectly to a diet plan.

And even so, it was difficult to break the pattern. It took time. My brain kept going back to it. I had to break the pattern by reminding myself over and over again that my mind was playing tricks on me.

Remember this: the universe doesn’t have major plans for you. It’s apathetic. It doesn’t care about your clean slate. Only you do. And that’s because it’s a part of your human nature. Forgive yourself. Your slate is as clean RIGHT NOW as it will ever be.

You can use your need for a “fresh start” for good, or you can use it as an excuse to self-sabotage.

I say, if you’re not happy – then start this minute. In whatever small way you can.

Have you struggled with this?

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