MizFit: How to Build Muscle and Lose Weight Without Losing Your Mind

MizFit: How to Build Muscle and Lose Weight Without Losing Your Mind




Family & Health

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My story about weight loss and finding my healthy living path is an uncomplicated one. I shed 35 pounds nineteen years ago and never looked back. Never regained. Never got off track. Maintained even when Master's degree, marriage, and motherhood conspired to derail me. The more challenging piece to explain (and the question I'm most frequently asked) is how I've stayed on track and maintained my weight loss for so long. I know the statistic is hotly debated, but somewhere around 90% of all weight loss is regained within five years. The answer I give for the reason I've stayed in the tiny ten percent? I realized it was what's on the inside that mattered. I gained the majority of my weight in college. I drank lots of soda (and various other things), ate many late-night junk food meals with friends, and basically enjoyed my college experience. If by "enjoyed" you mean I packed on pounds quickfastandinahurry—which I do. Unlike many of my peers I was pretty okay with my weight gain. The morning I discovered my pants no longer buttoned, did I commence dieting and self-flagellation? Nope. I bloused a sweatshirt over the top of my jeans and proceeded along my soda-drinking way. That said, when graduation loomed, and the time came to don interview suits, I was faced with the reality that none of them zipped. Not only could I not employ my fluffing-the-sweatshirt trick with a skirt-suit, but I'd grown while my bank account had not. Lacking the funds for new clothes, I commenced an exercise and revised eating routine, which after many months resulted in a fitter me. I discovered weight training. I rediscovered my old eating habits. I paid close attention to what I put inside my body. I thought I had it all figured out. I did not. I consumed lots of processed white flour (hello, bagels!), ate virtually no fat (fare thee well beloved salmon!), and was a lean, mean, and exhausted shell of my former self. When I finally grew tired of being tired I stepped back and recorded precisely how I felt after eating various foods. Breads and pastas? I was still famished, usually swollen, and broken out in a rash. In addition I was definitely, clearly lethargic. Fruits, vegetables, complex carbs, and lean proteins? I was a force to be reckoned with. I possessed boundless energy, my swelling/rashes disappeared, and after eating I was satiated. While all of this reads as a no-brainer, it transpired long before others were eating gluten-free and far before I realized when I feel healthier on the inside, everything else (including my outsides) follows suit. Weight-loss maintaining isn't even a concept I consider these days. My focus, and the one that has facilitated my maintenance for close to two decades, is on fueling my insides and exercising in a way that allows me to live my life as energetically and healthfully (and rash-free) as possible. I approach healthy living as I do all areas of my life. I read. I research. I experience. I seek gurus. I talk to my peers. Yet I remember, at the end of it all, I am the expert of my own body. We may all have the same healthy living goal (longer, healthier lives), but it's ok for each of us to construct our own path to get there. Are you ready? It's time to start creating yours. -Carla Birnberg