Ignorance Will Steal Your Bliss

Happy St. Paddy’s Day one and all! I hope you’re all celebrating responsibly and feeling the luck o’ the Irish. If you are one of the many today over indulging, more power to you! Just remember the calories do count, and tomorrow will come, so make smart decisions.

On to today’s topic: Ignorance. Growing up, we were utterly and completely and blissfully unaware of the importance of food. We knew we had to finish what was on our plates because there were (and are) starving children in Africa. But that was about the start and finish of what we knew about food.

Unfortunately for some of us, our nutritional education ended there. I didn’t know eating bread would make me fat. I had no idea there were certain foods you should eat at certain times of the day. I certainly didn’t know eating an entire plate of mashed potatoes was considered unhealthy. I was completely clueless! I lived in a world of blissful ignorance… Until I hit my 20s. Then chaos ensued.

These count as a vegetable right?

These count as a vegetable right?

Today’s Uncomfortable Truth:

Ignorance Will Steal Your Bliss

Food only meant pleasure to me growing up. I like Coke. I want Coke. I drink Coke now. Little did I know it was rotting my teeth (which I wouldn’t discover until I went to the dentist at 26 after not going for 5 years and discovered I had my first SEVEN cavities) and it was changing my body in ways I would inevitably grow to regret. We always had sweets in our house. Cookies, cake, pop, crackers, chips, you name it we had it. We never thought anything of it. It was just food! We had no idea that eventually we would grow up, stop running around like maniacs, our metabolism would slow down, and we would get fat. It was an unavoidable truth of which we were blissfully ignorant.

Today: A ridiculously hard workout we would dread. Then: The bestest day ever!

Today: A ridiculously hard workout we would dread. Then: The bestest day ever!

My weight roller-coastered like crazy when my metabolism started slowing down. Honestly it started when I was still a kid, around grade 5 or 6 I started to pudge out. We moved into a new house with satellite TV and I would sit there for hours devouring all these cartoons I had never seen before. Then around the end of Jr. High I started walking more and I slimmed back down again. By the end of High School however my fate was sealed. I had developed the mother of all sweet tooths, and nothing could have stopped that train wreck. Except maybe some information, a glimpse into my future… But even then I doubt it. It’s like I said in a previous blog: Weight gain was some abstract notion of something that might happen in the future. But that pizza was sitting in front of me at that moment looking and smelling irresistible.

After that it was a gong show. I ballooned up to 170 pounds before I even knew what hit me. That’s when I started fighting back. I didn’t have the tools, but I had motivation. I started walking more, I attempted to watch what I was eating. I was broke, living with some friends in the city, so not having money for groceries most weeks really helped me drop some pounds. Plus walking everywhere since I couldn’t really afford transportation was a major bonus.

Sweet one more block and I'll have worked off that Cheeto I had for brunch.

Sweet one more block and I’ll have worked off that Cheeto I had for brunch.

It all turned around when I met the man I’m still with today. I was in good shape, thanks to the broke girl diet, and we would spend all of our time outside. Hiking, exploring, it was amazing! Before I knew it I was in great shape. Then I went on unemployment and basically became a bump on a log for a few months. The pounds started slowly stacking up more and more… Luckily, he wasn’t like everyone else I knew up until that point. He didn’t pat me on the head and hand me a brownie to make me feel better about gaining weight. He helped me. He started researching healthy eating and gently pointed me in the right direction. He would come over and take me out for walks, show me exercises I could do, basically he snapped me out of it. He showed me that I was the one in control. Weight gain wasn’t “just happening” to me, I was making it happen to me.

Our first summer together! We would run all over Peggy's Cove. I believe at this point in time I was trying to jump to that next rock and not feeling too confident... Hence the face.

Our first summer together! We would run all over Peggy’s Cove. I believe at this point in time I was trying to jump to that next rock and not feeling too confident… Hence the face.

And I was the only one who could turn it around.

So I started going to the gym, tracking my weight, really watching my diet. It was fantastic! For the first time in my life I felt like a winner. Then a year later I got pregnant and all hell broke loose again.

Boom! And this was before I thought I put on "too much" weight. Eep!

Boom! And this was before I thought I put on “too much” weight. Eep!

Gah! Life. It always manages to get in the way. At that point in the story, most women would give up. Hell, a lot of them have. It’s one thing to gain the “Freshman 15” and bounce back. It’s quite another to gain the “Pregnant Lady 70” and have your skin lose its ability to “bounce back.” But I have fought tooth and nail to get here. I wanted to quit. More times than I can count. But I knew I didn’t want to live the rest of my life like that. I didn’t want to die a little every time I looked in the mirror. I didn’t want to think my partner was lying to me every time he told me I was beautiful. I wanted to earn it. I wanted to be a MILF. Yep, I said it. Vanity is a funny thing. It can be the death of us, or it can be the perfect motivating factor to kick it into high gear.

Yep, that's the baby in my arms... So why do I look even bigger than in that last picture? I'll give you a hint... I wasn't just "swollen" from being pregnant. I didn't know how to eat properly. Hard lesson to learn.

Yep, that’s the baby in my arms… So why do I look even bigger than in that last picture? I’ll give you a hint… I wasn’t just “swollen” from being pregnant. I didn’t know how to eat properly. Hard lesson to learn.

So yes, ignorance has stolen my bliss time and time again. I’m sure many of you have very similar stories. It’s not fun to put it all on front street. To completely own up to our failures. But when you do, you take your power back.

I am the one who got me fat. It wasn’t the Oreo commercials. It wasn’t the inventors of the Caramilk bar (bastards.) And it certainly wasn’t Ben or Jerry. It was me. I alone put on all that weight.

And I alone took it off again.

Back in my pre-baby clothes!!! Best. Feeling. Ever.

Back in my pre-baby clothes!!! Best. Feeling. Ever.

I can now state with overwhelming pride that I weigh less than I did when I got pregnant. We started the Slow Carb Diet one year ago. I weighed in at a whopping 186 pounds. I am now down to 135. It is the most amazing feeling I have ever experienced. Second only to having a baby, obviously.

I know you can do it too! It’s never too late. It’s never impossible. The only thing standing in your way is YOU. Stop letting ignorance steal your bliss. Do some research, keep reading my blog, follow me on Pinterest at www.pinterest.com/last20pounds and Facebook at www.facebook.com/lasttwentypounds for tons of amazing recipes and motivation. You don’t have to do this alone. I’ve already made the path, you just need to follow it.

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A Moment On The Lips, Much Later On The Hips

Happy Monday! I’m here to help take away a little bit of the mystery this week. There’s one really unfortunate little mind game we don’t mean to play on ourselves that will forever keep us in our fat pants. Luckily I’ve been to the other side and back again (a couple times now) so I am speaking from experience and can help you to not make the same mistakes!

This week’s Uncomfortable Truth:

A Moment On The Lips, Much Later On The Hips

If only this happened as soon as we ate the chocolate...

If only this happened as soon as we ate the chocolate…

Saying no to delicious food is hard. I know, I’ve been there. I didn’t gain 70 pounds while I was pregnant because of some junk food gnome who force fed me cake while I was sleeping. I gained 70 pounds while pregnant because saying no to the Caramilk bar that second was so much more painful than the inevitable weight gain.

No, wait, that’s not even a little bit true.

All that weight gain hurt oh so much more.

But at the moment the Caramilk bar was in front of me? Saying no hurt more.

Why?

Because as soon as I put that sweet, delicious (and EVIL!!!) Caramilk bar to my lips I didn’t instantly gain 5 pounds. But I did have chocolate. The weight gain was some abstract notion of something that might happen in the future. But that chocolate? That was happening that second.

My nemesis.

My nemesis.

Studies have actually been done on this. It’s instant gratification versus future reward. Some people are better than others at weighing the pros and cons. But most of us, especially when it comes to food, will take delicious food this second over an athletic body in the future. It’s instant gratification. Here’s a link to an article in The New Yorker on The Marshmallow Experiment:

http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2009/05/18/090518fa_fact_lehrer?currentPage=all

I will sum it up here for you: Children were brought into a room one at a time. There was a plate of marshmallows in front of them. They were told that they could have one marshmallow now. Or! If they waited a couple minutes while the man left the room, when he returned they could have two marshmallows. As with most social experiments, some subjects were able to sit patiently and wait (delayed gratification) others needed their marshmallow right away (instant gratification) and others after a few minutes realized they were alone with candy and started stuffing their face with all of it (evil master minded geniuses of the future)

Ah yes, I know that feeling all too well.

Ah yes, I know that feeling all too well.

Delayed gratification is what we really have a problem with. We aren’t oracles, we can’t see into the future, we can’t say for certain whether or not saying no to this delicious treat in front of us now will result in a beach-ready body by summer, so we opt for instant gratification.

And that is where we fail.

Willpower has received a bad rep as of late. We’re told we’re denying ourselves, we’re making ourselves miserable, we’re torturing ourselves, yadda yadda yadda. But do you know who’s saying that? Other fat people trying to make themselves feel better for also caving in to instant gratification.

Oh yeah, she looks really deprived... Deprived of a miserable life maybe.

Oh yeah, she looks really deprived… Deprived of a miserable life maybe.

Delayed gratification is the best feeling you will ever have. Even on junk food days I still put this into effect. Yeah sure I could devour that cookie before I’m even out of the Tim’s drive through. Or, I can take my time. Enjoy having it in my presence. Enjoy knowing that I could eat that cookie at any second, but I am choosing not to. I’m not letting the cookie dictate my actions. I am the one in control.

Control is good. Control is the difference between gaining 5 pounds or losing 30 by the end of the year. It’s easy to practice small bursts of self control, but it’s constant vigilance that will make you come out on top.

Stop thinking of it as depriving yourself. That’s letting the cookie rule you. You rule the cookie. You tell that cookie when and where you’ll eat it, not the other way around. I don’t know about you, but as a child I always had boxes of Oreos and Fudgee-os and bags upon bags of chips in the cupboards. But I wouldn’t sit around all day thinking “Don’t eat the cookies. Don’t eat the cookies. Don’t eat the cookies.” Somewhere along the line, the control went from me to the food. In the last few years, if I knew there were cookies in the house, I was eating them until they were gone. No questions asked.

My other nemesis.

My other nemesis.

I still have trouble with it. That’s why I need to keep that food out of the house. I’m not depriving myself. I’m taking my power back. And you can too. Just remember:

 You rule the cookie. The cookie does not rule you.

Your turn! What are some ways you’re taking your power back and enjoying that sense of delayed gratification? Sound off below!

You can find me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/lasttwetypounds and on Pinterest at www.pinterest.com/last20pounds and on Twitter as @Last20Pounds. See you next week!