By Jackie Masciana
As a 12-year-old girl, I was perfectly happy with who I was until one day, while I sat in the cafeteria at school eating the Friday special: pizza. A boy in my grade came up to me and told me that I was fat because I ate the school pizza. Now at the time, my body was changing as all middle school kids’ bodies do, but his comment made me look at things differently. I no longer liked what I saw in the mirror because all I could see was the baby fat in my cheeks and so I drowned my disappointment in food.
As I got older, it got worse. I had put on weight due to my depression eating, and tried starvation as a solution. I wouldn’t eat all day and would barely eat my dinner. This did so much damage to my body that anytime I tried to eat, even when it was healthier foods, my body would go into survival mode and store everything I was putting into my body in case I decided to starve it again.
This went on back and forth throughout most of my High School years. I tried every diet my mom and I could get our hands on (Weight Watchers, Atkins, Low Calorie, etc.), paired with different activities (swimming, tennis, jogging, Zumba, etc.), and nothing stuck. We would try them for a few months, and eventually fall off the wagon due to laziness, business, or just truly not liking the food or workouts.
A few years ago I had gotten to a point where my weight had leveled out at 280 pounds, and my weight became a maintaining thing; as long as I wasn’t gaining weight, I dealt with being overweight. I had settled for not being one of those people on the “my 500+ pound life” and really just gave up. Getting healthy had always been at the back of my mind, but I had never been strong enough to do it by myself.
Then, a year and a half ago, I met a guy who saw past every physical part of me I was ashamed of. After about 9 months of dating, I decided it was time to start working towards getting healthy again, and he willingly offered to be my support system. We made dinner together and worked out together combining cardio and yoga.
While it was nice having someone who was committed to eating healthy and working out with me, we were barely eating food that had flavor, and the workouts were hard and began to get discouraging. Then, one of his friends introduced us to a Beachbody nutrition and workout plan. We did a trial run of it while visiting them for a weekend and found that the food that was “on plan” was delicious and filling and the workouts all had modifications built in so I could work my way up to them. It seemed too good to be true.
In researching the program and the company, I came across another one of their products- a dance class. Dance is something I had done when I was younger, and I loved it. After talking about it, we decided to order both the nutrition program and the exercise program and to create a hybrid workout to go with the nutrition plan.
The nutrition program comes with different color and size containers that represent a serving amount for that type of food. For example, there is a protein container with a certain allowance within a day; you can fill it up with yogurt for your first serving with breakfast, and then for lunch and dinner fill the container up with the meat you are eating. As long as you can close the container, you can eat what’s in it. The same thing goes with every other container, and it’s a great way to make sure you’re eating balanced all day.
When the containers first arrived I nearly had a panic attack and broke down crying. The containers look so small and I thought for sure I was going to end up in the starvation mode and would end up quitting this program like I had every other one. My boyfriend convinced me to try to make one of our normal dinners and fill the containers. Let me tell you right now- though the containers are deceptively small looking, they actually fit so much more than you may think.
After shoving lettuce into the vegetable container and then dumping it into our normal salad bowl, it made a larger salad than we normally made. I started to feel a little bit better about the containers, so I decided to try some more. We had made steak that night so I cut up the steak I had and was about to fill about 1-1/2 protein containers with it. Over the next week, I measured out my lunches, yogurts, and every other food I could get my hands on.
I was also inspired to look up more recipes on Pinterest. There are a TON of recipes all over the internet related to the program, and most of them will give you the container count and serving size at the end of the recipe. I hardly ever use the containers anymore because I’ve gotten so used to using these premade recipes and more so because after 4 rounds of the program, I can visualize the portions now. I do still use them on occasion when I’m making a new dish, but for the most part, the program has trained me to know how much each container holds.
The best part for me is that I have a sweet tooth, and one of the things you can eat is dark chocolate as a teaspoon measurement. So we buy dark chocolate chips and anytime I get a sweet craving, I mix peanut butter and dark chocolate chips (which both count as teaspoon servings) and it helps me avoid bingeing on snacks. There are also a bunch of recipes for healthy desserts that you can have simply by replacing one container’s worth of carbohydrates.
The whole nutrition program is so easy to follow, and with all of the different recipes out there for it with included container counts, you can always find something new to make. One of our favorite finds was a recipe for cheeseburger quesadillas. We found the recipe when we started the program, and we eat it just about every week.
The workouts can be difficult, but between the modifications and pairing them with the dance routines, they are definitely doable! Working out every day was something that I had to get used to, but it ended up becoming habit, just like the nutrition.
We followed the program very strictly the first 2 rounds and have slowly incorporated the ideas into our lives. I have taken into account that eating will change during holidays and when I go back to visit New York (I just have to eat pizza in NY right?). I find myself making better choices in the food I eat, and I find that I am happier and have more energy since we started as well. Should I ever want a slice of pizza while visiting my family, a piece of birthday cake at a friends’ party, or if I find that I am feeling too sick to work out one day, I don’t feel guilty about it anymore.
The program is strict but it’s easy to incorporate into your life. The experience has jumpstarted me on my journey to becoming a healthier, more fit me who has now lost about 15 inches and 25 pounds. I now find that I am no longer tormented by the memory of the little boy who told me I was “fat” for eating pizza, but instead, I am living a healthier lifestyle. I can almost guarantee you that if you decide to try this, it will take a little bit of getting used to using the containers, but in my experience, it is worth it. It’s all about changing the way you look at food and working out so that you can continue to be healthy for the rest of your life.
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© Whatismyhealth, January 22nd, 2017