Like most people, my journey of weightloss and fitness guilt and
shame started as a child. I was never aware of “body image” as a child. I
never remember having positive or negative feelings about how I looked...
Until THAT day. The 4th grade playground. The girls playing tetherball
were talking about how much they weighed, and asking other girls what
they weighed. (Isn’t that what all 4th grade girls do?) I remember not
wanting to say my number because they were making fun of the girls with
my same number. I remember thinking, “why do they care what everyone
weighs? I mean seriously, isn’t that the least interesting thing about
them?” I think we can fast forward. I was walking from the 7th grade
lunchroom minding my own business when a boy starts yelling under his
breath “Mandie’s fat”. I was shocked! I was embarrassed! I wanted to run
and hide under a rock! I kept running it through my head thinking, “why is
he saying this? I’m not fat.” Fast forward a few more years, 10th grade, I
remember stopping by a fast food place with some friends to grab some
dinner when someone I didn’t even know walked up to me and said, “I’ve
noticed you’re putting on some weight in your stomach. You should
probably not order.” There I stood again shocked, embarrassed, degraded,
and I was thinking “why did he say this to me, I’m not fat” But, you know
what happened that day? I didn’t order.
What I learned through other people informing me of my body is if
you’re going to be a “good girl” in this society you need to allow your body
to be critiqued and judged by others. Then you should walk around hating
your body and living in guilt and shame over food.
I married at the ripe old age of 18 and started having kids. I
remember between pregnancy 2 and 3 that I wanted to get healthy. My big
question was “what does. that mean?” So, I bought all the vitmans I
could, and good ole Slim Fast. I drank 2 shakes a day with my mild
sensible dinner. 20 lbs. lost and then 20 lbs. gained back. I decided to try
Weight Watchers between baby #3 and #4. Over a few years time, I had
lost 70lbs. There I was, I had achieved all my heart’s desire… a size 6. Oh,
the bliss I felt. Well, I would have felt bliss if I wasn’t busy being tired,
cranky and trying not to pass out. I was eating around 1,000 calories per
day. I still hated myself. I still felt fat. I still wanted to lose more! Over
the course of the next few years I would slowly diet my way back up to
those 70 lbs. I had lost. Sigh.
I decided to embrace being tired, overweight, and out of shape. I felt I
was old and I had properly taken my seat at the table of stereotypes.
There I was age 32, mother of 5, and I had completely given up. I just
stayed in that place of defeat and hate for a few years. After all, arent we
as women suppose to hate ourselves? I felt it was normal. I just assumed
all women were exhausted. I assumed all women didn’t have any libido. I
assumed all women had mood swings. I assumed all 32 year old women
couldn’t hike a trail. I assumed all women struggled with blood pressure. I
assumed all women pulled up a chair of defeat to the table of guilt and
ate their salad like a good girl. Thankfully, my story didn’t end there. Like
any good fairy tale ending, I had a prince(ss) charming. I never knew that
scrolling facebook would change my life. I ran across a facebook page “Go
Kaleo”. She was talking all this “crazy” talk...Eat The Food.. Move Your
Body...Take Up Space…Love Yourself...Forget the Scale. I was sure she
was crazy, but my interest was peaked. I become a student of this ETF
philosophy. If I were to fall into a coma the medical professionals would
have to keep me alive and healthy through a certain number of calories.
They would determine the amount of calories using a formula. They would
feed me 1675 calories through a tube to keep my organs functioning
properly, my body systems running, and my blood pumping. What if
they fed me less? I would be alive, but not fully functioning and
healthy. There would be “something” inside me not functioning to its
fullest ability. However, I would be alive. SO…since I’m not in a
coma, doesn’t it make sense that I will need more calories than that
to function properly?
Our bodies will lose weight with any deficit. The goal of weight loss is
to lose weight AND keep all our systems functioning properly. So
many of us women have no idea how our systems have suffered.
Hormone imbalance, weight plateau (or gain), no energy, depression,
hair loss, feeling cold all the time, and the list goes on. If a person
eats 2000 calories per day, works out for 1 hour per day and has a
total calorie burn of 2500 calories per day...that person is in a 500
calorie deficit. This is the perfect storm for FAT loss.
The other perfect storm is eating 2500 calories per day while burning
2500 calories a day AND working out every day. You will not lose
weight, but you will lose fat. Your body will go through recomposition.
You will gain muscle but lose fat causing a lot of wonderful benefits to
your body. The more fat you lose, the more muscle you gain, the
HIGHER your metabolic function causing your calorie burn to go up
without any extra effort from you. This is what I have spent the last
Over the last year I have only lost 5 lbs.; however, I have reshaped
my body. I have lost fat, and gained muscle. Physically, I am a
completely different person. My hair is growing like crazy. I have real
nails for the first time in years! I’m off hormone cream. I have energy.
I am sleeping through the night. I have NO mood swings. My libido is
off the charts. Why wouldn’t you want this? Health is not a number on
a scale. SO many women walk around with the proper number, but
their hormones are crazy, their moods are wacky, physically they are
When I decided to live for health, not numbers, my whole life changed.
I am in love with movement. I love weight training, cardio kick boxing,
cycling, walking, etc. I never thought I would ever say that. When I love
and care for my body… it simply responds back with good health.