Hiya pumpkin, Dana here. I have a bit of a personal story to share with you today. (If you’re one of our approximately six male readers, you might want to skip this one.)
So friend, you know we’re working on a weight loss course, right?
Well to be honest, we were originally a bit conflicted about this, even though it’s what most of our readers tell us they want. You see, when Bridget and I see weight loss courses out there on the internet we see a lot people saying a lot of stuff like this:
Lose 20 pounds in 30 days!
Burn fat faster than ever!
Shrink inches off of your trouble spots!
And we get it, it’s marketing. And on top of that, all of those things are kinda nice to imagine, right? In this twisted, fat-shaming culture, where cellulite is considered a curse and we’re lead to believe we should all look like Kendall Jenner, burning fat off of your ass and losing a bunch of weight in 30 days sounds kind of awesome.
(Or who knows? Maybe like us, you’re really sick of seeing this shit everywhere. If that’s the case, then please keep reading.)
We were hesitant to jump in and offer up our solution to the world. It’s tough to effectively market a weight loss course without feeling like you’re part of the problem.
But then we realized that all of the crap out there is exactly why we need to offer our solution.
It’s why we need to share our experience and knowledge and passion for this with you, because it’s so desperately lacking in the industry. This industry full of secrets from Dr. Axe and Acai berries and shake weights.
But ultimately, this is important to us because….
Feeling fat holds too many of us back from living the life we really want to live.
And I know this firsthand, because it used to be me.
And that’s why I wanted to share a bit more of my personal story with you today than I have before. I’ve actually never talked about this on the blog and to be honest, I’m a little nervous. But here goes…
So for years, I lived with women who had eating disorders.
I didn’t know it at the time, because I just didn’t know enough. And though I never developed an eating disorder myself, the proximity to this disordered eating deeply affect my body image and my relationship with food. And it took me a long time, to reclaim my confidence and my health.
First, it was a college roommate. And then, two real-life roommates (yes roommates, plural).
Don’t get me wrong. I want to make it very clear that I’m not blaming them, in any way shape or form, for my own battle. I’m just laying out an important part of my own story so that you can understand where I’m coming from.
Bridget and I want you to understand why we’re doing this.
Living with these women helped to reinforced the idea that control, restriction and deprivation were the only way to be thin and therefore feel beautiful and confident. That berating ourselves is the best form of motivation. And that exercise is meant to be used as punishment for eating too much.
Normal household activities included weighing themselves multiple times per day, counting every single calorie, pointing out fat that needed to be removed from their bodies, and my favorite, posting pictures of models in bikinis on the fridge to try to stop themselves from opening it. It was as if whoever ate less that day, was the winner.
This is what I lived with for years.
The media is constantly telling us we’re fat to begin with, and I am certainly not immune that messaging. But living with women who were so entrenched in this unhealthy mindset, sharing a kitchen with them, getting ready to go out with them, eating with them, going to the gym with them, it all affected me on a deep level.
I wound up thinking it was normal.
When I finally came to, and realized something was very wrong, I was no longer living with them. But all of that dieting and deprivation, along with my disintegrated body image and confidence, had lead me to actually gain 20 pounds instead. And I was miserable.
That’s the real bitch of it. I’d been dieting and restricting myself and counting calories. I’d been punishing myself with exercise for years. And I’d gained 20 pounds. Like, what the…..?
So I knew It was time for change. I simply couldn’t stand it for one more day. But if dieting wasn’t the answer, then what the hell was, you know?
I was so down and out, crying to my brother about it on the phone one night, and he suggested that I go see a nutritionist for a fresh start. What I’d been doing obviously wasn’t working, nor was it going to. Not to mention, I had insomnia, bloating, fatigue and brain fog. Basically, I felt like shit all around.
In my Googling around to find a nutritionist, I stumbled on something even better. And thank the Universe that I did.
I found a Holistic Health Coach, something I’d never heard of before.
And though I was hesitant to pay her what seemed like a million dollars to help me lose weight, I was also desperate. Looking back now though, I’m so glad I made that I investment in myself. Because after just a few sessions with her, everything shifted.
I felt so much better. And I was finally making progress. Not only in losing weight (that became secondary really), I was making progress in healing my relationship with body.
I wound up enrolling in the same training program that she’d taken because I wanted to dive in head first myself.
I was so relieved by the progress I’d made in such a short amount of time that I wanted to learn everything she knew, so I could share it with others too.
It was like a light switch went off and I knew exactly what I wanted to do with my life. Which was great, because I hated my job at the time. I knew I wanted to help other women make this transition too. It felt too good not to share it. Plus, every woman I knew was struggling with this in one way or another.
So here’s what I learned:
- Being nice to yourself is more motivation than being a bitch to yourself will ever be
- Calories have very little to do with it, so counting them is a waste of time
- Exercise is supposed to make you feel good, not be a punishment for eating
- Connection and purpose are more powerful happiness indicators than your weight
- You can feel beautiful and confident now, before you even lose a pound
- And real weight loss can and should feel good, and will happen naturally as your body heals
- I lost 20 pounds and have kept it off, give or take a pound, without dieting or counting any calories
- I’ve completely shifted my relationship with my body and with food
- I started dating and I met my husband before I’d even lost all of the weight, something I couldn’t have imagined doing before
- I no longer have uncontrollable cravings for shitty foods
- I can eat pizza and ice cream and chocolate if I want to though, and not gain weight
- And I feel so grateful and relieved every single day for having put this struggle behind me
I’m telling you this because if you’re struggling with losing weight, I want you to know that regardless of what you’ve been through, you can put this struggle behind you too.
Bridget and I are so sick of seeing women count points and calories and grams of protein and force themselves to go to spin class when they actually hate it.
None of that crap works.
And we’re sick of all the shitty information out there that tells you to eat less and move more to lose weight – as if that thought had never occurred to you before.
This is why we became health coaches. This is why we started Crop Tops + Kale. And this is why we’ve been working so hard on our upcoming course for you.
We want to help you break away from dieting and reclaim your confidence, like we did. And we want to help you lose the weight that’s driving you nuts, like we did. In fact, nothing would make us happier.
We firmly believe there is a much better way to do this that doesn’t include deprivation and punishing exercise. And we can’t wait to share it with you.
If any of this resonates, stay tuned. Next week we’re going to dive a bit deeper into how we actually did all of this.
And in the meantime, we’d love to hear from you. How have the other women in your life affected your relationship with food? Your body image? Leave a comment below and let us know.
[Feature Image: Blair Badenhop]
And finally, if you’d like to learn more about our course when it’s ready, make sure to pop your email in below.
Also published on Medium.