Tipping the Scale

Our grinder takes a look at how he’s been doing with his eating habits and the results haven’t been great … until now.
By Jamie Toland, CF-L1 ,

I feel like I have to hit rock bottom before I get serious about changing the way that I eat and my overall views toward the nutrition side of my fitness. This week, I hit 210 pounds on the scale, and that was the final straw. For a frame of reference, at one point, when I was locked in on my eating and training, I weighed between 175 and 180 pounds. I also realize that I am significantly stronger now than I was at that time, but let’s face it, it is NOT all muscle weight.

When I started training six years ago, I was probably in the 215- to 220-pound range. That, along with a host of other reasons, drove me to CrossFit. I have chronicled the reasons that I got to this point before I began training, and I realize that it’s all on me to make a change. Again. Usually, along the way, I’ve been able to correct the course that my fitness is taking and fix it before it gets to this point. But for whatever reason, I haven’t been able to really dig in and get my nutrition turned around this past year.

Tell me if these sound familiar: “Well, it’s the weekend and I’ll start eating better on Monday.” “We have so much going on that I don’t have time to fix healthy stuff.” “It’s so much easier to grab something on the way home.” “Ugh, it’s been such a long day, I’ll just eat ___________.” “Well, we’re on vacation.”

In addition to struggling with clothes not fitting as well as they used to, my feet and back have started to hurt. I don’t like how I look or how I feel, and although it’s taken all these things, I have luckily reached my tipping point.

See AlsoTo Eat or Not To Eat

This past week (see: the 210-pound weigh-in), I began to seriously take steps toward eating better. My main focus is drastically cutting back on sugars, especially anything that has processed sugars in it, and trying to eliminate breads and processed carbs.

What I’ve learned is that eating better is about two things: being honest and fighting social pressures. What that ultimately means is you have to really be truthful and accountable about what you truly are eating all the time. I wrote about how I put out an image of myself as a healthy eater by premaking my lunches that I eat at work. While that is an accurate portrayal of how I believe I should eat and also helps me limit the bad things I take in during the workday, if I’m just dumping crap into myself after work and all weekend, then I’m working uphill the whole time, nutritionally speaking.

The other issue that people struggle with is the social context that when you go out to eat, people are going to look at you strangely or you’ll have to explain why you’re eating a burger with no bun or salads all the time. This has a couple of levels, too. First, they might not understand why you would eat like that, especially if it is a “special occasion,” like a night out, a family gathering or a holiday. Those times, according to most people, include eating anything and everything as a part of the celebration for the event. Second, I think there is a level of “shaming” that goes along with it. I feel like other people might not feel great about themselves and what they are eating, therefore they have a tendency to criticize you for what you are choosing to consume.

I’m not a psychiatrist, but these are just some examples of areas that I have struggled with and also seen carried out toward others in these types of situations. It’s sad that we have to reach this level of disgust with ourselves and our habits before we finally say “enough is enough” and make the change. Some people never do. I think about that all the time. I think, I do CrossFit three to four days a week, what would happen to me if I didn’t? What would I look like? How much would I weigh? Those are some scary thoughts, but they are often coupled with the realization of the type of body and health I could achieve if I can just put the effort into the kitchen that I put in at the box.

Sometimes I’m great at it, and sometimes I put on a show like I’m great at it, but I’m really sneaking food out of the pantry when no one’s looking.

Finally, I know that there are so many of you who have been struggling with these kinds of issues. Please share your stories with us in the comments. I think you’ll find that the community is very supportive and accepting.

Stay on the grind.

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