…That turned into “I can have some Irish soda bread and a few beers for ALL of March!” (Because there is seriously a St. Patty’s Day celebration every weekend on Long Island!)
They say that fitness is a journey, not a destination. And while I 100% agree with that statement, it doesn’t always feel that way. For nearly 20 years of my life, I was a pretty hardcore yo-yo dieter. My clothes would start to get tight, so I would start some ridiculous fad diet to try and lose a few pounds. It almost always involved starving myself and doing way too much cardio. Then once I lost some of the weight, I would fall right back into old habits. That does not seem like a journey. Not eating is obviously not a sustainable lifestyle. I think I just eventually became content with being overweight. On Valentine’s Day 2017, I was getting dressed for an art opening. I wasn’t happy in anything that I tried on. My wardrobe had become a closet full of leggings, tunics, and baggy sweaters. My contentment with being overweight brought me to nearly 250 pounds and a size 20. My heart sank. I called and rejoined Fitness Incentive the very next day after a five-year hiatus.
This time I was not going to starve myself. I was going to lose weight the right way. I wanted to be lean and strong, not “skinny” which had always been my focus in the past. I started mixing up my workouts with a rotation of cycling, strength training (strength challenge and pushing plates are favorites of mine), and yoga, which is a bit out of my comfort zone (that Shavasana though!) Most importantly I changed the way that I ate. For the first few months, the change was extreme. I had been eating so terribly, that just making smart choices made the weight melt off. They were little changes like putting almond milk in my coffee instead of sugary creamers, eating bagel slims or using veggies or lettuce wraps in place of bread. Breakfast became steel cut oats with fruit or eggs instead of pancakes or a muffin.
Before I knew it, I had lost nearly 70 pounds and was down to a size 12! While I hadn’t necessarily set a goal this time around, I had achieved a noticeable accomplishment in under a year. I now had a closet full of new, smaller clothes and actually enjoyed getting dressed. People were complimenting me on my new look. It felt nice. Too nice.
I got comfortable quickly. I refer to this time of comfort and contentment as “the honeymoon period.” We all know it. We get to a point after being fairly disciplined with ourselves where we start to think, “I’ve worked so hard, I deserve to eat that.” It started for me around Valentine’s Day 2018, the one year mark. I had some Valentine’s chocolates. Surely I earned that. Well, that turned into “I can have some Irish soda bread and a few beers for ALL of March!” (Because there is seriously a St. Patty’s Day celebration every weekend on Long Island!) Then that sneaky little bunny came around pushing his jelly beans and Cadbury cream eggs on me. Before I knew it, my pants were fitting a little differently again.
But this time, I knew better. Over the past 15 months, I’ve learned a lot about how to treat my body so that it works better for me. Each day is an opportunity to become better, faster, and stronger. As a young, naive yo-yo dieter, three months of holiday indulgences may have completely derailed my fitness journey. This time around though, they were just a wake-up call to continue on and keep moving forward.
About the Author
Theresa Christensen is a spin instructor at Fitness Incentive. She is also the owner of Christina Christensen Art. She was voted Best Artist on Long Island 2015 and 2017 by The Long Island Press. www.theresachristensenart.com
@tchristensenart on Instagram