Bad diet deja vu: New year, same goal
Two years ago today, I made the same resolution as millions of others do every year: I was going to eat better, exercise more, and lose weight. This is not a unique story, but I have been asked by many friends and acquaintances how I began my healthy lifestyle, and how I’m managing to stay in it, so this is my attempt to explain how this two-year journey has gone, and how it has changed me.
I’ll be honest, as a second semester college junior, I didn’t really know how I could begin to be healthier and make the 36 pounds I had packed onto my body in two-and-a-half years disappear – all the while still getting through the stress that got me to that point in the first place. Long story short, I took action: I downloaded an app.
It really is not an exaggeration to say that the Calorie Count app changed everything for me. Some dieters will tell you that calorie counting doesn’t work, but the very first thing I learned about dieting is that you have to find something that works for you. I tried it, and, it worked for me, because, as a visual learner from way back, it was essential to see exactly what I was eating. I signed up with my height, weight, age, and weight goal, and was given a daily calorie limit (to lose 40 pounds in 9 months, I got 1640 a day). After I started logging what I ate, I was horrified with not only the amount of calories, but just the amount of food I was consuming everyday. College eating is terrible for you – and I was living, heavily-breathing proof that it can take over faster than your 18-to-20-year-old self can realize.
People always ask me what my secret is, and it truly is as simple as the advice that experts have been giving out since the beginning of the healthy movement: diet & exercise.
People also always ask me how I have made it last, and I would like to tell you that this method is foolproof, and that the rest is history, but of course that’s not the way the world works.
From January 1, 2013 until May 1,2014, I was solid in a healthy lifestyle. Sure, I had some slip-ups here and there, some times that I just wanted to stay in and eat cookies, watch TLC, and not go to the gym, but for the most part, I was always on the wagon. Everything started to get better, things that I didn’t even know were not great: I was less stressed, I (a forever insomniac) was sleeping better, was feeling happier, and was all around much more energetic than I had been in a long time. Then, life changes began.
Being so close to graduation, I “temporarily” threw my diet out the window to go out to eat with my friends, drink bad-for-me beverages, and be lazy. Then I moved home, and the now pattern of non-dieting continued, with a “Dude, I just graduated from college, I deserve to eat whatever I want,” attitude. Then, the post grad stress of unemployment set in QUICK, which was conveniently accompanied by living at home, a place with endless amounts of great (bad for me) food, and no real reason to get up and hit the elliptical instead of going to Starbucks. I didn’t think too much about these seemingly minor slip-ups because I felt that they wouldn’t affect me. This all lead to a routine, one unaccompanied by going back to the gym.
An adverse effect to being on a consistently healthy diet this long had lead me to believe that I had become invincible when it came to controlling my food intake. This was a tough time, one that is just now really coming to a close, as I have spent the last three months getting in the groove of my new job, exercising schedule, and healthy eating.
And once again, just as I did two years ago, the full realization of the post-grad weight gain culminated in the doctor’s office. Though my doctor did not say anything about it since it’s not as if I returned fully to my old state or even close to it, it was enough for me to see that scale and say, once again, that enough is enough.
So here I am, having put on almost half of the weight I originally lost, starting over.
You may now think that all of my hard work didn’t pay off, and that the way I chose to diet did not work. But I don’t see it that way, because I have, unfortunately, been here before, and I know I can get past it again.
To all of you resolving to live a healthier life: as I said in my Calorie Count testimony last year, know that you can do it. For me, half the battle was telling myself that I was stronger than the urge to overeat and the want to stay in bed instead of going to the gym. Having a happy and healthy attitude is such a significant part of getting physically healthy. It really was an uphill battle, and now is again, but if I can do it once, I can do it again. And you can, too.
Let’s start off 2015 together great.
Need help getting started?
– Not that I am an expert, but I have shared my grocery list with friends and am always up to do so!
– One of my favorite apps (linked above), Happier, is a great place for positive mental health
– Here are some of my favorite social media sites to follow for health (and my handles, of course):
Instagram (@jlbungert): healthyisthenewskinny
Twitter (@jlbungert): @HealthJoinIn, @MindBodyNBelly, @aboutcomhealth @happier & @loseit
Facebook: Calorie Count & about.health