Eating Carbs, It’s Okay

“Hey it’s a unicorn,” my friend Tyler yelled.

I walked up the steps in my mix-matched gym outfit with my hair in a high pony. 

I laughed. “You’re sooo funny Tyler.”

I rolled my eyes, and then surveyed each machine and walked around carefully.

I decided on the Pre-core machine. 

After about 20 minutes, I’d hop off the machine and drink some water from the water fountain.

I’d stumble down the stairs and then push as hard as I could to leave the gym. The door was huge and heavy.

Grabbing my jacket, I’d huddle in warmth to get up the stairs to my freshmen dorm.

Today, I went for a run and did an hour-long glutes and hamstrings class. I’m working on my glutes because my health goal is to have a strong body for my own body shape. Skinny is a plus, but feeling healthy and confident in your whole body is what you should aim for.

When I was at Marist College, as a freshman, I made choices that I thought were healthy, but really weren’t. 

I’d order a bacon, egg, and cheese on a big bagel. But I’d feel guilty. So, sometimes I ordered the bacon, egg, and cheese, hold the cheese. Other times, I’d forego the bacon.

Healthy, right?

I chugged beer, but light beer. I ordered vodka cranberries. But cranberry juice is healthier than soda and vodka is low-carb, right?

Then my friends and I ate chicken, bacon, and ranch pizza late at night when I returned home from the bar. 

The smell of that pizza lingers in a room for hours. It masked the sour feeling in your stomach.

I didn’t realize that every choice I made still didn’t involve the amount of carbs, proteins, and fats that I needed in a day.

When I arrived at LMU, I continued to try to eat “healthy.” I snacked on jicama and guacamole and ate burgers from Iggy’s, but hold the bread. I’ll stick with lettuce.

I ate salads from Trader Joes, then drank a fifth of vodka, then chowed down pizza at 4:00 AM. 

It’s called balance right?

I found that my health was at a deficit of carbs and the only carbs were empty carbs, my alcohol. 

My friends and I thought our lifestyles were so much fun and just downright hysterical! 

I laughed on the outside and on the inside I yearned to be skinnier and started to wondering why this healthy diet wasn’t helping.

When I graduated college, I began to graduate my bad habits. I stopped drinking, which made it a million times easier to lose weight.

Resisting the Sprinkles cupcakes in the fridge at my parent’s house, I finally stopped eating late at night. 

When I started my first job, I used a meal plan system where they sent me frozen diet meals. After stuffing my freezer with stuffed salmon, I discovered the discipline to help me make good choices.

I started working with a trainer, and I learned these choices, from a professional. 

I calculated how many carbs, fats, and proteins I needed to eat in a day, put them on the app MyFitnessPal, and found a plan that suited my needs.

We all go through shades of feelings of self-loathing to self-worth in our 20’s. 

We post photos on Instagram and obsess about what our arms look like or if our stomach looks fat. We obsess over how the boys we date view us. 

It’s unhealthy behavior that stems from insecurity, that stems from not taking care of ourselves. 

I found that the more I took care of myself and followed my instincts, the pounds were down. I began to feel more confident than ever.

Tyler called me a unicorn because he’d see me at the gym in college maybe once or twice a month. I spent more time looking at the machines than actually using them.

I went on the pre-core machine and looked over at the tiny girl next to me who ran 8 miles. I tried to compete with her, matching her tempo, and tired myself out 20 minutes later.

Puzzled, I asked my friend who took me to the gym. “Should I do ab exercises?”

She told me, “You have to be skinny first.”

But I tried some abs exercises anyway: let’s start with some crunches. 10 crunches, okay let’s go home.

Being skinny started with my stomach.

But to that girl who’s voice ruminated in my head for years after: that is entirely not my body type.

Being healthy is finding workouts that sculpt your own body type and accepting that everyone has their own body.

I could and should do ab exercises, in rotation with a variety of others.

People love to “train” you.

I also found out that when losing weight I CAN EAT. Mostly, I CAN EAT (HEALTHY) CARBS. Having healthy carbs in at least 3 meals a day helps me and has helped me lose 20 pounds in a year. 

Feeling great externally, yes that is great, but the best feeling is feeling even better internally.

Do you have any tips to leading a healthy life? Do you need someone to talk to? Feel free to comment or message me.

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