// on my kitchen wall
About 3 months ago, I blogged about a bunch of clothes I have that no longer fit me. Fast forward to now, and they still don’t fit. In fact, they’ve been sitting in a box since that day, and that box has been transported from Texas to Louisiana. I briefly thought about throwing it away and forgetting those clothes ever existed, but I have several problems with that, and they all boil down to this: If I give up now, I will always give up.
Left: 2008; Right: Current
To the left, you see Fit Lauren. I was running 3-4 times per week, about 2-3 miles per run. Going to yoga maybe 2-3 times per week. Nothing excessive. If I felt like eating a piece of cake or having a non-light beer, I did. Now, I do realize I had time on my side. I was four years younger, after all. But to the right you see someone who is not exercising regularly and not eating well. I’ve gained about 20 pounds between these two photos.
Wait, 20 pounds?! How is that possible?! Well, I’m tall (5’10″) and I carry my weight in my midsection, which means I can hide it with blousy tops and the right camera angles. I realize that where I am right now, weight-wise, is nowhere near fat. I know that a lot of people’s “goal” is my “current.” I’m not trying to make anyone feel bad about themselves. I’m talking about what I know about my body. And I know that I simply can’t gain FIVE POUNDS per year from this point on. I can’t keep buying bigger pants. I can’t keep justifying poor lifestyle decisions.
I don’t have an excuse for this weight. I haven’t had kids or an illness that prevents me from losing weight. I could blame it on a million things. I’m getting older. I’ve moved six times in 4 years. I’m constantly stressed. My schedule doesn’t allow for exercise (except now it does). But the truth of the matter is that I’ve been lazy. And I don’t care if you’re a size 2, lazy is bad. I don’t want to be a lazy mom. I don’t want to be okay with gaining 5 pounds every year. I need to be healthy. I need to be active. I need to not eat fast food on a weekly basis. I want my kids to know that fruits and vegetables are delicious, and that pizza and ice cream are treats, not something we eat 4 times a week. I want them to see Family Time as going for a walk or playing a game in the backyard, not always vegging in front of the TV.
If I live a healthy lifestyle and, after a certain time, these clothes still don’t fit, fine. I’ll accept that as my body changing and getting older. I’ll buy new clothes and move on. But that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be healthy, and adapt healthy habits into my lifestyle. If I’m going to live another 70 years (give or take), I want them to be full of life, not constantly struggling with weight, health, and general sluggishness.
Most of us have a cardboard box. Whether it’s your wedding dress, your favorite pair of jeans, or, in my case, half your wardrobe, we all have something we wish we could squeeze into again. I’m not advocating trying to get into your high school cheerleader outfit (although I’m sure your husband would love that), but I am saying that if you have an attainable goal, why not use it as inspiration for a healthier lifestyle?
- I will not eat anything that tastes like cardboard. This diet is about healthier choices, portion control, and splurging on occasion. If I want to have a cupcake with a friend, I need to be able to do that. I also need to be able to have pizza for dinner sometimes. But the healthy meals/choices need to far outweigh (no pun intended) the “bad” ones. I also want to teach myself new ways to prepare food, and that a meal doesn’t have to be covered in cheese and gravy to be delicious.
- I will not set unattainable goals for myself. I will not force myself back down to my lowest weight. I will develop a healthy lifestyle, eat right and exercise, and let my body do the rest.
- I am doing this to be healthy, not to be skinny. Even though the skinny photo and the box of clothes is my inspiration, I’m doing this to FEEL good, not just to look good. I want to work out with my husband. I want to one day be able to chase my kids around the yard. I want to have more energy. If I don’t develop these habits now, that won’t happen, and I’ll keep gaining, slowly but surely.
- I will avoid anything on Pinterest labeled “Thinspiration” or involving a photo of Miley Cyrus’ recent weight loss. Guys. She’s 19 and a celebrity. She’s supposed to look like that. We’re real women; we’re not. Again, it goes back to unrealistic expectations of yourself. Don’t beat yourself up if you can’t count your ribs. Cherish a healthy body, one that enables you to do so many things, rather than a perfect body.
- Weigh-in: This can be your actual weight, or how many pounds up or down you are. I will not be posting my actual weight — for now, anyway — because I think people get too caught up into numbers and saying “You don’t need to lose weight! You’re only XXX pounds!” Every body is different. I know I’m carrying extra weight right now, regardless of what the charts say. So share whatever you’re comfortable with posting.
- Exercise completed: This is a place to journal all the exercise you completed this week. I know that, personally, if I have to log something, I’m more likely to do it. Hopefully the thought of having to type “completed NO EXERCISE THIS WEEK” will be a swift kick in the butt to go for a run or to the gym.
- Splurge/Guilty Pleasure: Let’s face it. We’re going to screw up. Let’s get it off our chests, shall we? Plus, the Cardboard Box Diet is all about the occasional treat. Just don’t wind up in your closet, licking the bottom of a half-gallon of Rocky Road, mmkay? Not that that’s ever happened to me. Ahem.
- Success story: Did you lose a pound? Fit into a dress? Chose a big yummy salad instead of the greasy cheeseburger that was calling your name? Hooray!
- Recipe(s): What were some of your favorite meals/recipes this week? Share with us so we can make/eat them too!
- Photo: This can be a photo of anything. Something inspirational, a self-portrait, a meal. I will probably be doing lots of instagram photos. You’ve been warned.
I’m not trying to make a big deal out of this, but if there are like, five of us who can bond together and keep each other on track, how awesome would that be? More people would be awesome too. I want us to have fun and use this as an opportunity to encourage each other! We’ve built these great communities online, why not put them to use for becoming healthier versions of ourselves?
The apps I’ll be using to track my calories and exercise are MyFitnessPal and MapMyRUN. My MFP profile is here, and you can read my food diary here. I won’t be using MapMyRUN for the social networking aspect, because I log all my fitness in MFP and honestly, sharing maps my routes kind of freaks me out. Sorry, crazy stalker people. You’re going to have to work a little harder to find me. Here are links to my Instagram and Twitter, where I’ll post daily updates. If someone wants to come up with a hashtag so we can all stick together, that would be awesome! #cardboardboxdiet seems too long (maybe)…any ideas?
I’ll also be utilizing a linking tool (I think Mr. Linky, but suggestions are welcome!) and a button so anyone who wants to can link up. If you don’t have a blog, leave your answers in the comments!
Let’s do this. Cardboard box, I’m coming for you.