Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you what you are.
- Bowl of cereal w/banana and strawberries 8:00am
- Sushi rolls, 1 banana, 1 grapefruit 2:00pm – 4:00pm
- Miso soup, sushi 5:30 pm
- Grapes, 1 oatmeal cookie, 1 pastry, more grapes, 1 small bran muffin 11:00pm – 12:30am
- Raisin bran and OJ
- 1 yogurt
- cereal w/banana and jelly beans
- carrot sticks
- 1 bran muffin and grapes
- dry cereal and 1 orange
- 2 pieces of peanut brittle
*Not a very satisfying or healthy day. I was very tired, thus…..
- Cereal w/banana 7:30 am
- Rice/salad/tuna 2:30 pm
- 1 small blueberry square 4:30 pm
- 1 banana 7:00 pm
- Rice/veggies 8:00 pm
- 1 peanut butter cookie 9:30 pm
A few weeks ago, I was thumbing through an old journal that I had kept during my two years living in New York City. I am not a very good journal keeper but I tried to keep some sort of record of my time in NYC. I had moved to NY after graduating from college. I got an internship at Juilliard in Production Administration. I really loved NY and loved working at Juilliard, so I decided to stay in a second year to work as the Wardrobe Supervisor for all of the dance, opera and theatre performances. It was an amazing two years. And one of the very first things I did, actually the second day I was living in NY, was join a gym. I had to have a gym to go to. I also loved the fact that I would have to walk everywhere or take the subway. That meant a lot of exercise. And walk I did. Every day, I walked from 28th Street and 7th Avenue all the way to 65th Street, right near Central Park. I walked around the city on the weekends, exploring uptown and downtown and everywhere in between. I walked everywhere. And I went to the gym everyday. I also started running a lot with a friend of mine and I ran in a couple 5K’s and one 10K.
As I turned the pages of my journal, reading my scribbles about about men and life and work, I shook my head at such entries like “I do want children…but I have to find a husband first. Yes, I think that would help,” to “I would like a better butt, smaller hips. I see women with great butts-at least I think they’re great. But I want it for me. I want to have a butt like that.” I also discovered a few food entries, the ones I just listed above. After re-reading my well-intentioned food decisions to create the body and butt I wanted - you know, by eating only cereal and bran muffins and grapes – I realized why I never had the body I wanted at age 23. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to point out the obvious: my diet sucked. I was eating all wrong. More importantly, I was NOT eating very much at all, eating too little protein (if any), spacing my “meals” (if you can call a blueberry square a meal) too far apart, not eating enough fruits or vegetables, basically NOT eating like an adult. And of course, when I thought about it more, my exercise routines consisted of me talking about all the exercise I was going to do, focusing way too much on cardio (running, aerobics classes). And while I remember using a few of the machines at the gym – leg extension, hamstring curls, chest press - there was absolutely no talk of weight training at all in my journal. The focus was strictly on cardio. Here’s one entry:
“I’ve dropped a lot of weight the past few months. I want to keep dropping weight. But I can’t seem to lose those few extra pounds. I’d like to weight 130. That means losing about 8 more pounds. How?? Up my exercise? 7 days a week – ballet once a week-No cardio that day (except if I start running on Tuesdays and Fridays – weather depending). If I keep running, Daddy said, I’ll keep losing weight. And I’d like to keep losing weight. Secretly. I just want to look the way I want to look. I don’t know what that look is, but when I see it I’ll know. ”
Wow. This was a serious entry. And what is even worse is that I really meant what I wrote. Well, here is what I looked during my time living in NYC. This was taken my first year living in NY. I am 22 years old. Running. Walking. Taking my aerobics classes like a good woman should.
This picture was taken a year later in the summer of 1998. I am 23 years old. I probably weigh around 140 pounds. Kind of soft with no real muscle to speak of. Look at the way I am sitting too. And I am not the best dresser either. (Side note: We are tailgating at a Phish concert in New York. Nuf said about the attire.)
This picture was taken in October of 1998 when I returned to Baltimore. That’s me on the right. I was working at Centerstage as the new Wardrobe Supervisor and had plenty of time to go to the gym, take my daily aerobics classes and run. I also worked part-time at the gym so I was there as much as I was at the theatre.
And honestly, I did not change much when I turned 25, 26, 27. In fact, because of a stressful year in graduate school coupled with a terrible relationship, I continued to gain weight and lose sight of who I was. Half frozen burritos for lunch, sugary yogurt for breakfast (if you can call that breakfast). Very little fruit. Very little vegetables. How did I let myself forget how to eat??
Now, 15 years later, at age 37, I can honestly say I feel better, look better and even dress better than I did when I was 23. I train better than I did at 23. More importantly, I EAT better than I did at 23.
Here is a sample of a Tuesday food entry from 2012:
- Salad w/spinach, carrots, red cabbage, peppers, avocado
- Egg white omelet w/mushrooms, olives and avocado
- 1/2 an orange
- Earl Grey tea.
- Handful of almonds or mixed nuts
- Green tea
- Turkey burger w/ grilled brussels sprouts and broccoli
- A side salad (same ingredients from my breakfast salad)
- Iced tea (Black or Green.)
- Protein shake (Typically if I train in the afternoon after lunch)
Dinner: 9:00pm (When I get home from the gym after my classes)
- Grilled chicken sausages from Whole Foods (made fresh in the store!)
- Steamed veggies: broccoli, carrots, cauliflower
- Iced tea.
Snack: If still hungry, I will eat an apple w/almond butter or make this awesome protein chocolate pudding.
The point is that now, I am eating like an ADULT which means I am eating more lean protein, more vegetables and more importantly, MORE WHOLE FOOD.
And as a result, my body now reflects what I feed it and how I train.
I can now say that I have the butt I wanted all those years ago. But, ” having a nice butt” aside, I really like feeling better about myself. I like myself so much more than when I was 23. I like that I am now making better choices when it comes to eating and training. It may have taken me 15 years to figure it out, but that’s okay. Now I am ready for the next 15 years. Bring it on!