I’m going to take a short break from blogging about my life in Japan and write about something that is important to me.
For those who don`t know, I lost around 50 pounds in 2014. I did it through running, cooking healthy meals for myself at home, and opting for lean fish instead of most meats. I wrote a blog about my transformation last year if you want to read it.
Since I technically skipped New Years this year because I flew through time and space from Boston to Tokyo and landed at 10:30 pm on January 1st, I wasn’t going to write anything about my ongoing lifestyle change.
But I woke up at 4 am in my hotel bed on January 2nd, wide awake from my jet lag. Around 6, I had enough energy to find my way to the hotel gym and run a quick 5k on the treadmill.
This was my first time running on a treadmill in over a year. (Running outdoors is all I do now.) Even though I don`t like treadmills anymore, it was a little nostalgic for me to be running along that black belt again, staring at my reflection in the gym mirror because there is no where else to look.
I kept increasing my pace, and by the end of my 5k, I had more than doubled the pace I used to consider fast for me on a treadmill. I used to push myself to run at 6 mph, and I finished this 5k at 12.2 mph. I couldn’t believe it! 6 mph is a walking pace for me now.
Sometimes I get discouraged when my runs don’t go well, but hopping on that treadmill helped me realize just how far I’ve come since I first started running in the beginning of 2014. Exercise has played a huge role in my slimming down from a size 14 to a size 2, but the other big factor has been changing my eating habits.
Two years ago I battled with body image and yo-yo dieting. I was addicted to overeating food that was terrible for my health. I don`t know what it`s like to suffer from an addiction to hard drugs or alcohol, but I can say that it is entirely possible to be addicted to overeating on junk food and fast food. It can be hard to get overeating problems under control, because we all need food to survive. It`s a toxic catch 22 to be addicted to something you physically cannot live without. There are triggers everywhere. In the grocery store, at work, school, home, on billboards, and so many other places.
But I overcame it. I struggled with yo-yo dieting for a decade before I gained control. Two years is the longest I’ve ever been able to keep weight off. I used to be proud of myself if I could keep good habits for a month.
I used to live in extremes. That is why I could never get my yo-yo dieting under control. I always wanted fast results with my weight loss, so I would relapse every time because I would deprive myself of the foods I liked in extreme ways.
And for those who may not know–yo-yo dieting can be defined as the repeated loss and gain of weight over a long period of time. The amount of weight lost and gained varies from person to person. (In my early twenties I fluctuated 20-30 pounds every couple of years.)
When I wasn’t on a binge (a period of overeating), I strived to be my thinnest. But over the past year or so I’ve finally learned that being skinny cannot be my end goal. It’s not about being the thinnest, or the fastest runner, or the best at anything…it’s about being healthy. I may never run a full marathon, but I registered for my first half marathon on Amami next month and we’ll how that goes. My stomach may never be as flat as a board because I still enjoy ice cream and pastries every now and then, but at least I’ve learned the value of eating in moderation and I don’t binge eat anymore. (Unless I’m at the german bakery in Kagoshima City…treat yo’self to Japanese baked goods whenever possible I say!)
Two years ago, I began my lifestyle change on December 31st because I wanted to make this change for myself and not because I was trying to fulfill a New Years resolution. It is so easy to not follow through with those. And I refused to call it a diet because diets end.
Today, I make sure to surround myself only with positive relationships in my life. So much of my success comes from the support and positivity I receive from my amazing family, supportive boyfriend, and incredible friends. And I’m really lucky that I am surrounded by friends in Japan who will hike, bike, and run with me every weekend.
But the most positive and influential relationship I have today is the one with myself. I really do love me.
I’ve only scratched the surface admitting to my struggles with food. Maybe in 2017 I’ll be ready to disclose more details. But I am not afraid of going back to my old ways anymore. This is who I am now.
April, 2013– 178 pounds
August, 2015– 125 pounds