I hope all of you are doing splendid this evening. I myself am doing magnificent thank you! Todays post is a little different than usual.... and by a little different I mean it's completely different lol. I have a catalog of topics floating around in my brain that I've been meaning to discuss/vent/get out in the open/make note of on CCH but (for various reason) I haven't quite gotten to them yet. Today I'm going to bring one of these floating topics to light. Better late than never I suppose! I suggest you kick back and relax because this might take a while. (I apologize ahead of time for lack of pictures).....
I'm going to try and be very particular as to how I'm going to word what I'm about to say....
because it is a sensitive topic for a lot of people (and I’m sure you have your own opinions on the matter that differ from my own due to your own life experience).
I’m very choosy when it comes to what parts of myself I want to reveal via CCH. You only really see snippets of my life and fractions of my days. And I do my best to keep everything as lighthearted and upbeat as I possibly can. That being said – this is out of character for me to be revealing such candid information about previous health issues. It is not a conversation that has been provoked out of me in any way shape or form due to outside influence I can assure you. All is well. It’s a topic I’d like to discuss because I’d simply like to help people via story telling.
I’ll preface this all by saying: I currently have what I believe to be a very healthy outlook on health and body image. But this wasn’t always the case..
First and foremost let me just say…
When it comes to food and drinks I am very knowledgeable and educated (i.e. college degree in culinary arts) of the positive and negative effects certain items will have on my body. I'm not naive in the least. I’ve taken numerous nutrition classes and have done extensive research on health and body outside of schooling for my own personal knowledge. With that being said - no I am no a nutritionist and I am not certifiable when it comes to giving serious advice about how to specifically cater to your body and health (because everyone is made up a little different and exposed to different elements in life). So this is all coming from a Jenna standpoint. If you want to further your knowledge on things ask your doctor or a nutritionist.
If my drinking beer and eating amazing food (healthy or not) makes me gain weight……
then so be it. I exercise daily to maintain my body weight/size, and I'm sure if I gain more than I'd like that I am more than capable of losing it in no time. This isn't something to lose sleep at night over, or hate myself because of. I'll give up having rock hard abs for good food and drink memories with friends every now and again. Lol. I'm in the business of food, it is my passion, I make it for a living, I blog about it in my free time, and eating at amazing restaurants/trying out delightful creations is one of my passions. I'm not giving that up for anything anymore.
This is a new, and what I believe to be healthy, mindset when it comes to food and body image. Which is a HUGE victory for me……..
I used to be obsessive about my weight to pretty much an eating disorder state. I'd go as far to say that I actually had some sort of eating disorder that was mental more than anything. At the time I thought I had an awesome mindset, that I cared about my body as much as anyone should, and that I needed to push myself harder because I wasn’t quite fit enough. I obsessively counted calories and exercised to a point where it was literally all I thought about.
No one should be in the middle of a conversation with another person during dinner, but not paying attention due to the time spent mindlessly counting calories over and over again in their mind. Instead of putting my full attention on people around me I was too busy in my head counting calories and realizing that I forgot to include the bread I ate with my eggs earlier in the day, then recounting and subtracting the calories that the machine at the gym said I lost yesterday, etc. until the point where I was just a drone to my mind. That’s where I was in life. It gave me something to do and it gave me something to control. I did this daily for about a year and a half to two years. Non stop. Filling voids all about with what I believed to be a “healthy obsession” with food.
For example: I could recite the fat, calories, sugar, sodium, and carbs in absolutely everything I ate (I can still recall the entire nutritional panel in my favorite peanut butter, cereal, oatmeal, veggie patties, honey, black beans, etc. from this particular period in my life.) Unfortunately - I was like this for the entirety of culinary school. Do you realize how hard that was for me? I honestly don't know how I made it through schooling with my sanity in tack. (I’d be lying if I said I didn’t lose it every now and again). I mean can you even begin to imagine how much food I was being exposed to? If I could go back with a fresh new look I’m sure the experience would be exponentially greater than it was.
Why exactly did I think I was healthy in doing and thinking all of this?
Despite my goofy nature I am a very smart girl with remarkable intuition at times. So how did I allow this to happen? Two reasons: One - I was having control issues in other places in my life so controlling my diet was easiest. Two – the proof was in the pudding numbers wise. On paper I was healthy. I’m 5’4 and I weighed about 120 pounds at the time - that put me at a body mass index of 20.6, which is the normal weight range for someone my size. My daily exercises consisted of things such as: lifting weights, step classes, Tae bo, riding my bike, etc. I was eating regularly- being sure to include a variety of each major food group every single day so I’d get an adequate amount of vitamins and minerals. On paper I was in pretty good shape, but mentally I was obsessed in the unhealthiest way imaginable.
Looking back - I was a little too thin for my current taste. Somewhere along the line I lost my va va voom features that I love so much. Being a shapely chesty girl suits me much more than being a scrawny one. The most tragic part of all of this is that I distinctively remember taking these photographs below and actually thinking that I looked pudgy. What??? Now I'm looking at them thinking I should've put on a few pounds lol. I was bat shit crazy....
Being in shape doesn't mean I have to lose my shape in the process. It's taken me a few years to figure that one out.
Listening to people complain about what they've eaten…….
drives me insane. I shouldn’t allow it to – but it does. Which sounds totally ridiculous coming from me because I was the epitome of that person a couple of years ago. But I suppose that’s why I’m so vocal/angry towards other people about it – because it’s somewhat aimed towards my past self. "I shouldnt've eaten that pizza. Oh god I had at least 10 doritos earlier, do you know how many calories is in that? I've been bad today. I feel so fat. I'm soooo full. Look at my food baby. My arms are so flabby. Ugh I’m sooo full."
Shut up. Please just shut up. I know that sounds harsh, but I am so sick and beyond tired of listening to people complain about their bodies for numerous reasons. For starters - it brings up my past obsession with food/fitness and makes me get all paranoid in the process. I am on the verge of cutting people out of my life that practice this self loathing and food complaining after every single thing they eat - type of life style. I can't deal with it. If you really don’t like the way you’re conducting your health then do something about it. But please for the love of god stop hating your body and talking about it all of the time. If you need to take action and you know it – then do something. Trust me - your friends don’t want to hear you talking down to yourself. It's ridiculous, and it took me years to figure this out. I'm over it.
You look great. I'm sure of it.
All of that being said……
The occasional/rare self conscious 21 year old girl inside me - that knows she gained weight due to alcohol consumption these past 9 months (not some crazy amount, but enough to gain the freshman 15 that I never had in college lol) - does feel better about weight gain due to the fact that I was a bit on the malnourished/underweight side when I moved back from Florida last summer (my obsession got the best of me). I've more than made up for it by now haha.
Like I said before- absolutely no worries on my end. I'm back on my ol' health regimen game (which is something i'll get into in detail another day) and really happy where I am. Sure my arms could use toning, and I could do a few more ab exercises here and there, but it’s nothing to lose sleep over. If my health ever gets to an out of control point (whether that be due to obsessing over my health again, or just not caring enough) then I’ll handle it accordingly.
When being a specific kind of beautiful is shoved in your face right and left it’s hard not to get a little bit self-conscious – I get that. It’s a day-to-day battle. You just have to drown out all of the noise – yourself included. No one should lose sleep at night because what they ate or drank previously is running through their mind constantly. It’s a waste of your life.
I am a healthy girl. I exercise and I have healthy eating habits, but I also eat whatever else I want in moderation. Take it from me: life is WAY too short to be worrying obsessively about your weight or what you're consuming. Please do have a healthy amount of concern when it comes to the way you’re handling your health, but not to an obsessive point where it’s running your life.
Don’t get me wrong - I am not downplaying a healthy diet and exercise at all whatsoever…….
I’m not putting down people that take care of their body nor am I judging people that are trying hard to lose a substantial amount of weight and need to seriously focus on what they’re doing health wise. Everyone’s situation is different and circumstantial to their own lives. I truly respect those of you who are serious about your health and your body - especially those of you who are doing it in a healthy manner with an awesome mindset .
What I'm trying to get at is - let's not lose sight of the fact that health doesn't only have to do with eating right, exercising, and the way your body looks on the outside. It also has everything to do with your mental state. That means being happy, surrounding yourself with positive people that have positive energy, making time for yourself, relaxing, doing what you love, making time for yourself etc. It's not enough just to have a great body, and it’s not even enough to just eat right and exercise. You have to be in a great mindset as well. Mental instability is just as unhealthy as lack of exercise and lack of proper nutrients your body needs to function – in my opinion that is.
So once again - take care of your bodies and your minds. Life is too short to take yourself seriously, and too short to treat your body with disrespect. Whether that be overly obsessing about health, or not caring enough.
But then again.... it's your life and you can do whatever you'd like. I'm just here to add my two cents and hopefully help all of you who care to listen along the way!
xoxoxo - Jenna