It is no secret that I have struggled with my health and my weight for most of my life. I've talked about it often and have made great strides since I began, in earnest, a transformation back in January of 2014. But, truth be told, I have fallen off the wagon a few times, gaining back weight and languishing in bad choices. This has been the case again for me for a while now.
In April of 2018, I stepped on the scale and noticed how far I had fallen off the wagon yet again, gaining back some weight, being lazy, and eating like crap/overeating. I got motivated to take charge and started walking 100 miles a month. Over the next few months, I went back to eating better and introducing intermittent fasting. This all resulted in me losing the weight I had regained plus more, putting me at a total of 125 lbs lost. I was excited and thrilled and in the best shape of my life.
But, all wasn't well. Something was bugging me in 2018, and it hit me like a ton of bricks around the same time that I started walking again. A dark cloud hung over me and I couldn't figure out what was going on. By the time 2019 loomed, I was in the throes of a months-long, dark and deep depression...but I didn't know it. I started self-medicating and hiding from the world.
This led to me craving animal products and eating those for a while. It wasn't long before I noticed I was eating the same way I had before I started my initial journey in 2014. If that wasn't bad enough, my self-medicating meant drinking a lot and often, exacerbating my eating issues. I thought, "Well, I'll do keto." That was a failure. I went back to eating plant-based because I genuinely missed it but I was depressed so I overate constantly as a way to pacify myself. Somewhere in the Spring of 2019, I finally figured out that I was, indeed, in the midst of horrible depression and was able to come out of that as the months wore on, but I was already enmeshed in bad habits.
Fast forward to February of this year when I once again faced the scale, knowing how my eating and lifestyle habits were becoming an issue. I was sad to see that I had gained back a good 15 lbs. On top of this, I had quit walking during my lunch break altogether. After looking at my weight, I told myself that that was it - I needed to make a lifestyle change for the better and stick with it.
I thought back to when I first saw the documentary, "Forks over Knives", and how informative it was. I had purchased the companion cookbook after I watched it, so I decided it was high time that I dust it off and start using it in earnest. On February 18th, I made it my goal to spend the next 30 days doing four things:
1. Eat mainly a whole-food, plant-based (WFPB) diet.
2. Practice intermittent fasting (IF).
3. Walk my 100 miles a month, no exceptions.
4. Give up drinking altogether.
I was determined to give myself 30 days to prove to myself that it would be enough time - as long as I was disciplined - to make a significant change in my health. Those 30 days were up on the 18th...so how did I do? Well, I'm happy to report that I did great! Here's how it breaks down:
1. I did well for the most part on the WFPB diet. I, unfortunately, had a very long period so I craved a bunch of carbs. I still managed to keep it roughly 80% WFPB, so that makes me happy.
2. I did so well on IF this time around. There were only a couple of days that I didn't stay within my 8-hour feeding window. I use an app called Zero to help me stay on track with IF and I love it. There are a couple of other apps for IF that I'm aware of but the one I use is great.
3. I not only got my 100 miles in for February, and am well on the way for March, but I also started stair-training. Instead of walking on my lunch break, I opted to start climbing stairs. It's more of a workout, great for mountain hiking practice, and takes up less time.
4. I drank socially about three times, but other than that I stayed sober. This was as helpful as I had hoped it would be. It kept me on track with IF and with WFPB eating. I'm also much more productive and feel so much better.
5. Last, but not least, I lost 10 lbs of the 15 lbs I had gained back! This means I'm only five pounds over from my smallest on my healthy life journey.
Overall, not only was I successful, but I think I'm well on the way to finally making those permanent health changes that will ensure success and wellness for many decades. This was always my end goal as, while I would like to be a healthy weight, my overall health is my biggest concern. I'd like to be able to be well and active until the day I die and I think having healthy habits will ensure this for me more than anything else.
Is it a rocky road to get there? Absolutely, but as long as I don't give up or let some backsliding moments completely derail me, I'll get where I need to be.