The Quintanas, Week 24: I Used to Wear That?
Filed under: Healthy Families Challenge
I've always loved clothes, but after I hit my early 20s -- and a certain size -- I wore only baggy blue jeans and t-shirts. Typically oversized t-shirts.
I shared previously that I'd lost weight over the years. But I'm not sure I actually mentioned how big I once was. There was a time in my life when I was 20 pounds shy of 200. Yes, about 180 pounds. For me, and my height of 5'2", that is considered obese.
You may know this: When you are that much overweight, you feel self-conscious. You do not see dressing as a way to express your personality, but rather as a way to hide your physicality.
Since beginning the Healthy Families Challenge, I've started to enjoy searching for that perfect outfit once again. Not necessarily because I have lost a ton of weight, but because I feel better about myself.
Even with the weight loss I managed on my own, which totaled about 60 pounds over the two years before I joined the HFC, I didn't have a particularly healthy body image. The problem was, I was never really in control. I always let my weight slowly creep back up.
These days, I have a pretty good grip. I have, since October and the project's start, lost all of the weight from my "chubby" days and, although I am at the moment stuck on a plateau, I'm holding steady and not gaining. The main thing the HFC has taught me is that it does not matter how I look on the outside, as long as I feel good on the inside.
The thing I have appreciated the most that we've gotten from our nutritionist, Su-Nui Escobar, was her suggestion to stop watching our waistlines and start watching what went into our bodies. She explained that, as we concentrated on what was good for us, we'd start to develop a healthier body image -- not because we would be getting skinnier, necessarily, but just because we would be taking better care of ourselves.
I still thought she was just talking about what size pants we wore. I was wrong. Before the HFC, there were times when, after I'd started to lose the weight on my own, I would actually feel guilty about eating anything that even remotely resembled "non-diet" food. Now, due to the education on nutrition and body image that I have received, I have a positive relationship with food. I know that if I do it the right way, I can eat whatever I want.
There is a certain level of emotion that builds up when you eat incorrectly. I think it has to do with that voice deep down inside, telling you, "You know better." It isn't a positive feeling.
But there is power in knowledge!
I am now aware that I can eat most anything I have a craving for, as long as I control my portions and understand that those foods are not helping my body to function. I've learned that keeping myself from the things I obsess about just causes sensations of desperation, mixed with feelings of anxiety and guilt when I do finally succumb to the craving. Indulging in a cookie or a few chips, in a controlled way, lets me enjoy them, but still rule.
Here, a few more tips I've learned from our nutritionist:
• Don't deny yourself things you love. I'm not talking about a bag of Munchos. I mean your favorite dish that your mother makes. Have some.
• Instead of a large, order a small. You take care of the craving, but you don't go overboard.
• Eat slowly. Give your body time to receive the food -- and listen when it lets you know it's satisfied.
• Focus on what you should eat instead of forcing yourself away from the things you shouldn't. If you fill up on things that your body needs, you'll have less room for the junk, anyway.
• Educate yourself on what nutrients your body needs most, and what foods contain them. Try to get as much nutrition as you can through foods, rather than supplements.
I came to the HFC excited about how I would soon look. Now I'm happy about what I can share. I figure, if I feel as good as I do, I have to let everyone know how I got here.
I feel great in my skin. And oh, yes, in my clothes too.
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How is the Quintana family doing? Check in on their progress!
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