4 Year “Cheat Day”

Life, Love, and the Pursuit of… a Healthier Me!

Five years ago, my husband told me he thought we were getting fat and getting a little too “fluffy”. I was completely insulted, as most people would be! How dare him, how could he say such a rude and hurtful thing to me! I was in complete denial and he was completely right!

I was about 40 pounds over weight and hated the way I looked and felt. Every time someone would take a picture of me I knew I was going to hate it! Yet some days, I would look in the mirror and think, I look pretty good for eating as bad as I do and never working out. A few weeks after he had told me this, I realized he was right! I was totally unhappy with how I looked and felt and had no idea what to do.

We were 23 years old and would eat out almost everyday, seriously, not literally. We had a ton of junk food at home and every meal was full of fatty foods, carbs and we ate very few fruits or vegetables. We were not active at all and never worked out. I knew I wanted to make a change but how, I didn’t even know how to read a nutrition label! There are so many contradicting health diets, tips, tricks and research out there. This huge part of being a healthy adult was like a big mystery to me, I had no idea where to even start!

Luckily, the place where I worked at the time was within walking distance to a gym. A few of my co-workers already went to the gym on their lunch breaks so I realized that it was the perfect time for me to go. I started going to the gym by myself (I prefer to workout alone) on my lunch breaks. I would change in the bathroom at work, drive to the gym, in the Winter, and I would workout for about 40 minutes. I would run on the treadmill, lift weights, workout my abs and headed back to work. Sometimes I would go to one of the fitness classes they had at the gym. In the spring, I would do my cardio outside and then run to the gym to finish up my workout with weights, I loved it!

My husband also decided he wanted to start working out too. Fortunately, his cousin is a personal trainer so he started working out with him and they would share tips and routines with me. His cousin introduced me to the low-carb diet and that was exactly what I needed. I finally learned how to properly read a nutrition label, started a strict low-card diet and worked out 3-5 days a week. To stay sane, I would have a “cheat day” where I could eat whatever I wanted just making sure to not over do it.

I really started to enjoy it and it became part of my day. I felt naked if I left the house without my gym bag. If there was a day I did not feel like going, I went anyway. Most days I would not even think about it, I would just go. I am one of those people that, when I set my mind to something I go full force, I became obsessed! At the beginning of that year, I had a goal to reach 125 pounds by my 5 year high school class reunion in August. I am proud to say I lost 36 pounds and felt great!

So then what? For the first 2 years I maintained my weight pretty well. I worked out about 2-3 days a week and would still eat pretty healthy but I no longer followed a low-carb diet. As I slowly stopped following the diet, my workouts became fewer as well. The problem is, I have always had this twisted concept that if I didn’t workout that day, there wasn’t a point in eating healthy. I know, I know, like I said, it’s twisted!

You see, the whole big mystery that I was trying to figure out, it’s really not a mystery at all! Calorie intake vs. calories burned. That’s it, that was the unsolved mystery. It’s really not a mystery at all. The reason why there are so many contradicting diets, tips and tricks is because not all bodies are the same. Knowing what will work for your body is the hard part, and really the answer is just trial and error through various workouts while eating healthy/clean. I was lucky enough to have found a diet and fitness path that worked for me. At least, I thought I had.

Slowly, my 2-3 days turned into once or twice a month, then once a month sometimes turned into not going at all. My lack of visiting the gym combined with my decrease in healthy eating brings me to where I am today, 4 years later. Unfortunately, I have gained 20 pounds back.

So what happened? Well… life, laziness and excuses. So what can you take from this? Diets don’t work, really they don’t. You have probably heard this a million times but it’s the truth. The reason diets don’t work is because they train your mind to think of food as an enemy! Food is not the enemy, it’s the fuel for your body. I’m sure you have heard the expression “you are what you eat” well, literally… you are! Food is not the enemy, how you think of food is!!

Even though my low-carb diet helped me to lose 36 pounds, it truly never worked in the first place because it made me view my “cheat day” as a prize for all of the hard-work I had done for that week. Even without the “cheat day” it never truly would have worked because diets usually always have an endpoint. When you treat food like a prize, it is like putting a spotlight on a cheeseburger at the end of a dark tunnel. I was depriving and restricting myself so much that when I found that cheeseburger, I ate it and all of its friends! When you think of food as a prize it’s a very slipper slop! I restricted myself so much that my “cheat day” turned into a 4 year “cheat day”!

Do I regret it, absolutely not! I’m not starting back at square one. I still have more muscle today than I did before I began my fitness journey and I learned a ton about fitness, food, health and myself! Now I know, to be truly successful on a fitness journey, you have to change your mindset and your eating, they are a package deal.

So this time, I’m changing both! No more chicken and broccoli everyday for me, because this time is going to be different. I’m no longer going to make restrictions for myself, because restrictions are the key to failure! It’s all about balance. Eating healthy and working out while still enjoying life! Focusing on how I feel, and not beating myself up for indulging in unhealthy foods every so often or missing a workout. It’s about loving yourself and your body, because you only get one!

If you are looking for a change and are not sure where to start, join me! If you’re in the same place and want to make a change to your life by living a healthier life, start here! I will share some of the tips, workouts and healthy (and unhealthy) foods that I will be eating, because life is too short for restriction!

To keep up with my latest blog posts click subscribe at the bottom of this page to receive an email each time I share a new post. And don’t forget to follow me via social media for all of my latest posts, tips, and favorites!

Do you have any fitness goals? How about health tips and tricks or a favorite healthy recipe? I would love for you to share them!

xoxo – Katie


(Left photo Aug 2013, Right photo Aug 2010)

“Failure is the opportunity to begin again, only more intelligently.” – Henry Ford

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