Once upon a time there was a girl, rather a young woman. After graduating college and entering the working world, this young woman realized that she no longer had to live on a diet of Top Ramen and Hamburger Helper, canned green beans and Carls Jr. So she set out on a journey to obtain a seemingly elusive “healthy lifestyle.” Influenced by a number of people along the way, she realized that it was possible to reach this goal of healthy living.
But where to start? Well, she decided that her first step was to start cooking more, but not all the pre-package meals to which she had grown accustomed, with their unpronounceable ingredient lists and far-reaching expiration dates. She also decided that she needed to cut back on the amount of sugary and sodium-filled foods, which had desensitized her taste buds to the natural taste of sweetness and saltiness and put her at an increased risk for diabetes and high blood pressure. She longed for real food, food that nourished, food from the earth, food that actually goes bad, like real food should.
Her next step? She knew she had to incorporate more physical activity in her life. Once a dancer and gymnast, she was no stranger to the sweat and tears of an exhilarating workout, but the humdrum-ity of the working life caused her to forget how good she used to feel after a couple hours of practice. So she hit the gym and, thanks to her best friend, started running. She even ran a couple of 5ks and loved it.
She also joined a website called Calorie Count that taught her that it takes 3500 food calories to burn a pound of fat and encouraged her to start tracking how many calories she ate in a day (cause boy, does she like to eat). She was able to get support from the online community Calorie Count provided and learned from the wisdom of others who were on the same journey of wellness.
But the big kicker for her came after reading a book titled Eat To Live. With all the information she gleaned from its 224 pages, she made a life changing decision, the decision to give up meat. Not that the book promoted complete vegetarianism, but after reading what a number of studies had to say about the effect that all the meat consumed in the American diet has on our bodies, she decided she could do without.
Armed with her food scale, her Wii Fit Plus and a bright-eyed optimism, she continued confidently on her journey. A few months later, she was 20 lbs lighter, several inches smaller and could run miles longer than she ever could. She felt great!
But then life hit. And it hit hard. She was down for the count. By the time she got back up, she had regained half of the weight she lost and could barely run a couple miles. She had all but lost her bright-eyed optimism. Yet, she kept pushing on and eventually reached a place where she felt she was ready to move onward again.
She quickly realized, however, that she no longer operated with the same determination she once had. She no longer found the same enjoyment in preparing healthy meals for herself daily, opting instead to just eat a bowl of cereal if she got hungry. She no longer tracked her caloric intake with the same fervency, finding instead that knowing how many calories she was (or wasn’t) eating only stressed her out. She no longer looked forward to her time working out, preferring instead to lay curled up on the couch watching tv.
That villainous character, Complacency, had her trapped in his lures. Was it her emotional vulnerability that made her susceptible? Maybe. Was it the stress of her job? Possibly. Was it the voice in the back of her head that convinced her nothing was working? Eh, could be. Whatever it was, she was caught, wanting to be freed, yet completely ignorant of how to free herself.
So what did this young woman do? Sadly, I don’t know. The rest of her story has yet to be unraveled. I can only hope that something will convince her to continue forward with the same passion and dedication she once had. Till then…. well, who knows…… *sigh*