Four years ago, in the Spring of 2011, I released 30 pounds by using the simple methodology of The Healthy Edge. Until November of 2014 I managed to stay within the same weight range, keep up a healthy exercise routine, and eat healthier. In November 2014, when I turned 40, things started changing.
The week before my 40th birthday I remember coming back from a 3 day Healthy Edge retreat in Tacoma, Washington, all pumped and feeling awesome! I had just met a great number of remarkable women, ate so unbelievably healthy the entire trip, and exercised every morning. When I got back home, to the cold dark winter of Quebec, Canada, my body started preparing for hibernation like a bear.
First of all, my analogy of hibernation is not that far off. Our bodies were originally designed to work like this. Our ancestors used to live off the land, eat when there was food and sometimes starve because there may not have been enough. However, unlike 100+ years ago, in our first world country today, there is always plenty no matter what - it does not stop our bodies from playing mind games. It can still make us think we need to pig out whenever there is a ton of food in front of us because it is winter and we need to store up for the long haul.
When I arrived back home, I swear, even though my body was well cleansed, and prepped for goodness, all of a sudden it craved the “comfort foods” and long naps (dun dun dunnnnnn). I know you are all nodding your heads because at some point or another you have been there. I wish I could tell you that I ignored all those cravings. I wish I could tell you that my family only wanted kale and salmon. (LOL, Remember, I live with 3 growing boys and my loving husband).
What I can tell you is that I was much more aware of what I put into my mouth and did not indulge “as much” as I used to. Thank goodness for that too, because all I had to do was look at potatoes and cookies and I felt like I gained 5 pounds. Although I had experienced this hibernating feeling before, it never affected me quite like last winter. I feel like turning 40 put an automatic 10 pounds on me within a blink of an eye. And even though my food intake was better it was still more than I care to repeat this winter, or ever.
Take note, this was all around the holidays. Actually, it was around the same time as right now, October through December. A time known to bring so much joy and more deliciously sinful FOOD than any other time of the year! There are all the great celebrations; Canadian Thanksgiving, Halloween, American Thanksgiving, Christmas (and all the parties in between).
How many of you are having a panic attack right about now? Guess what, it makes me a little anxious too. Even though I have worked harder at changing my mindset around food, especially over the past few months, I know that I can easily dive into the sweets if I allow myself. It is my weakness, my comfort, my voice of love from the past, and I deserve to let the plate of brownies pass by me without taking one. Yes, even those delicious black bean brownies that Coach Kimberly DeMile makes! I am worth it and I am loved no matter what. Food does not get to dictate who I am or how I choose to feel.
I am not saying I am a Saint, I am saying I get to choose what goes in my mouth. If I choose to have ONE brownie it will be savored and enjoyed thoroughly. And I will only have one, once in a while, not everyday or several times a day. This is living by the 80/20 rule. And by putting myself in front of you, being vulnerable, it also gives me accountability.
You see, even as a health coach, I am not perfect. I know you are shocked. Take a moment and compose yourselves - Coaches are human too. We struggle with a variety of life’s issues. What makes me a better coach is, I am constantly taking the time to dig deeper and understand my weaknesses AND strengths and use what I have already within me to shift into a positive forward moving direction. I wouldn’t ask my clients to do something that I am not willing to do myself.
There is hope for this hibernation syndrome. Please hear me out, I am not concerned about my weight so that I can win some beauty contest or bare my belly on the beach with confidence. My weight has landed primarily around my midsection which can be a dangerous place when it gets too thick. There are a multitude of reasons for the “muffin top”; insulin resistance, lack of exercise, too much food, not enough food, lack of sleep, stress, tight hip flexors, and so on. Knowing how it came to be is half the battle. Reversing the damage is the fun part!
I watched my Grandmother abuse her body with food. She died at the age of 65 from Heart disease and Type II Diabetes, among other health complications. In June, my waistline measured 34”. I was considered borderline obese for my age, height and weight. My 6 year old has a belly that is 29”, just 2 inches smaller than mine right now. I was 6 years old when I gained 10 pounds from being let loose in my grandmother’s convenience store for an entire summer. It scares me to know what he must be thinking. He has already said the words, “I am fat”. It breaks my heart. I know I am doing my best to protect him, and affirm him as much as I can, and maybe I have been blind as to how to approach this. In any case I am taking a new stand and being a better example for myself and my family. We can shift together.
What has your journey been like?
Blessings, Coach Lee-Anne
Lee-Anne is a Healthy Edge Team Member. Click here to read about her weight-loss journey.