Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Dirty Girl Has Left The Building

Oh Kanye, you sneaky little devil you! Sometimes when I least expect it, a song pops into my head. Yesterday, and again today, I woke up with the following lyrics playing in my mind:

Work it harder, make it better,
do it faster, makes us stronger,
more than ever, never over,
Our work is never over.

N-n-now that, that don't kill me
Can only make me stronger.

Honestly, I don't know exactly what Kanye meant with those lyrics. I'm pretty sure I don't even want to know. I like to find my own meaning in songs. And for now, those words are playing in my mind, on repeat. A personal anthem of sorts. If I'm not dead because of it, it must be making me stronger.

A few months ago I registered for my first 6 week session of Bethany's Bikini Boot Camp. That decision has proven to be one of the best, most empowering decisions I've made in years. Currently, I'm in my fourth session. This past Saturday, I began another new adventure. Bethany's Biggest Loser competition. I'm easily the least competitive person I know. I couldn't care less about "winning" a contest. I find that, without fail, my biggest obstacle and competitor is myself. I entered this because I need to change my eating habits and how I look at food. I also need to be held accountable. And so it began. 
I walked into a room filled with 25 ladies, and saw only one familiar face. I'm a creature of habit. I like familiar faces, so immediately I felt myself wanting to run away. I didn't. 

All of us were weighed, measured, and photographed. Then, Bethany began talking with us about what to expect on our journey from dirty, "anti-foods" to clean eating. This is no fad diet. No food groups are excluded. There are no pills, gimmicks, or shortcuts. This is a lifestyle transformation. We have signed a contract with her committing to logging every food and beverage choice we make, logging our exercise, and attending weekly meetings.

After listening to Bethany talk, I was truly inspired. She is realistic---giving me the okay to wean off of my beloved Skippy peanut butter by mixing it (for the first few days) with all natural peanut butter. Simply because she gave me the green light on that, I found myself not wanting/needing to wean. I quit the Skippy cold turkey. Tell me this isn't partly a mind game...yeah, right.

She is passionate about healthy lifestyle habits---more than once Bethany spoke of our children and how our choices influence them. She made me want to be better. She made me want to stretch myself and step outside of my comfort zone. I walked into that room on Saturday feeling terrified. No joke. I had butterflies in my stomach, thought I might vomit, and felt certain I would feel completely overwhelmed. I was consumed with self-defeating thoughts. But I walked out of that room ready to rock my own world. 

Monday came and kicked my butt in a big way. I had no energy and felt like I was walking through dense fog all day. It was ugly. I wanted to jump off the wagon and never look back. I didn't. Tuesday was much better, but I cried around 8 p.m. when the thought of not having ice cream hit me with the force of a massive garbage truck. Don't laugh, try giving up one of your favorite "drugs". And for those of you believing you don't have a drug of choice, just cold turkey quit something you love (that isn't 100% clean) and then we'll chat. So I've made it to Wednesday. I feel better than I have thus far. In fact, I'll even say I feel great! But who knows what the afternoon might bring? Having never been through any sort of rehab, I was unaware of exactly what it means to detox. I currently have a crystal clear understanding of just how poorly I've been treating my body. I'm shocked by how dependent upon legal drugs I've become over the years. You might think it's a stretch to call sugar, additives, preservatives, and artificial sweeteners "legal drugs". But as I've been ridding my body of them, there is no denying this is detox. No denying that in the past, when I thought I was making decent food choices, I really wasn't. I'm learning to walk away from anything that has more than 5 ingredients. If something has even ONE word I can't pronounce or that I might need a chemist to explain, I'm walking away. My sugar is coming strictly from sources like fruit and almond milk. A huge adjustment for this Crunch Berries brain of mine. 

I've decided to journal this adventure. If you've read my blog before, you know I'm pretty much an open book; therefore, I won't be sugar coating anything (literally or figuratively speaking). I'm going to be honest and share my triumphs as well as my struggles. I know there are critics and naysayers. To those people I say, you do YOU and I'll do ME. That probably sounds rude, and I don't mean to be. But, I have a wonderful mentor. I want my advice, critiques, and suggestions to come from her. She is the one I'm accountable to, she's the one monitoring my food choices, reading my health history, and focusing on what will work for me as an individual. I know myself. I'll become overwhelmed and anxious if I have more than one coach. Now, that said, I'm all for cheerleaders! I love to have them, and I especially love being one for others. I sincerely appreciate the support I've already received from so many of you. It's keeping me on track. Thanks so much!! 

No one knows how I came to this moment, except for me. So please don't tell me all the ways I could've taken this journey without joining a group, having a mentor, or all the ways you would do it differently. Again, you do you. I'll do me. I can promise you this: Every penny I spend, every moment I give in this effort is worth it. I've realized those two facts very quickly.

In short, dirty girl is slowly transforming herself into a super fresh, super clean, and much stronger individual. How do I know for sure? Because I'm not dead.


it's just lisa said...

I totally get the crying about the ice cream. I really look forward to reading your posts! Best of luck! It's worth it!

karen said...

I'm anxious to learn and improve my diet so I'll be ready to hear the things you're learning from this. Good for you, Natalie! It's not for the fainthearted, that's for sure - but once you starting kicking a few things, it's also surprising how much better you feel. Good luck and share your input!

Dixie Mom said...

I'm so proud of you! I've been wanting to do this but lack the help! I need a committee!
I KNOW everything I put in my mouth matters. I feel such horrible guilt every time I drink or eat something that isn't real food. I'm beginning to almost have a 'moral' complex about it.
I just need help.
I hope you feel strength come from this decision soon! Good luck!

Sue said...

I'm excited about your journey and will be following along closely, learning whatever I can from your experience.


Jill said...

I looked it up and you have Trader Joe in Atlanta. When I went sugar free for Lent--that was my go to place. They have these popsicles that are the best and all natural- Rasberry/lemon/strawberry. Also--anything Trader Joes brand is non GMO (don't know if you are going that far with eating well) And they have greek yogurt flavored with fruit juice.

Good luck with all of that! I have been slowly going to natural eating and it becomes normal after a while.

Jessica said...

Good for you! I will be excited to watch you on your journey. I have thought about doing something similar but haven't had the guts. Thanks for inviting us to watch as you do.

Em said...

i'm back to swimming tonight after having chase. while i love my panel pants {have mercy, greatest invention EVER created}, i really want to get back into my comfortable jeans that button sometime in the next year or so:) good luck!