The saying goes a picture is worth a thousand words… This one was worth a thousand tears. I had been raised on home cooked meals with fresh veggies, often freshly caught fish and meat, limited desserts and rarely eating out. When I moved away and went to college it was the first time I’d really had the choice of what to eat. What I chose often required little more than popping into a microwave.
It is true I had a busy schedule of school and work. Even after I moved to Portland, ironically a bustling, beautiful, health conscious city where farmers markets were enormous, I still chose to eat what I liked and not worry about much else. That is, until my eyes met a picture that would change my life.
The day the picture was taken I can only recall a few details. It was a hot summer day. We’d spent the day looking in shops, walking around downtown and we might have even dipped our toes in the fountains near where the picture was taken.
It was before I had a digital camera and I loved dropping my film off to be developed and that anticipation that went with opening the envelope with all my pictures. I don’t remember where I was but what I do remember was one solid and defining thought. I will not live my 20’s obese.
I will not live my 20’s obese.
I was 21 with well over 185 lbs. on my 5’6 frame and merging towards size 18. As I stared at the picture I got angry and I shed many tears. Questions flooded in. How did I let myself get this way? How had I not noticed? What do I do? I couldn’t tear the picture up so I stuck it away as a way to remind myself. I moved between angry, scared, self-loathing, motivated and all around again because the image I saw was not in alignment of what I thought I looked like. Yet there was the evidence right in front of me.
The changes were small to start. I began researching just what was a calorie, how many was I eating and how many did I need? I was easily eating 3,000 calories a day. Even with all the walking I did in Portland it was much more, about double, what I’d needed.
Some tools I’ve found along the way that I still check in with even today.
- Calorie calculator I’ve used to identify how many roughly how many calories I need to maintain or lose weight http://nutrition.about.com/library/bl_nutrition_guide.htm
- BMI calculator http://www.nhlbisupport.com/bmi/
- Calorie Counter http://www.sparkpeople.com
This picture was my first step to healthy living.
What was your first step?