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Do you know what it’s like to think that you feel good, but you don’t even have a clue what “feeling good” actually means? I do! Let me tell you a lil’ story. Sit back, relax, get the blanket, and read on…

“You’re not fat…you’re fluffy…” –Actual quote from my mom (back in the day) eye roll
When I was younger, I was a tad bit thicker than I would’ve like to be (to say the least). I’m 5’3 and weighed 165 lbs! That kind/type of weight, on my frame, was not healthy! Looking back at these pictures, I can’t help but wonder what I felt like. Not in terms of my self-esteem (which was garbage, I know that for a fact) but in terms of my overall bodily functions (mobility, digestion, heart health, joint health, etc.). Since I don’t recall any outstanding ailments, illnesses or common physical complaints (besides being fat), I can’t help but assume that I felt “just fine”.

She Gon!
After losing 40 lbs through eating healthy and regular exercise (which I did all on my own…just sayin’), I felt AMAZING! I was more flexible, had more energy, had better bowel movements (sorry #NotSorry, but real talk here. People don’t talk about poop nearly enough and it’s a huge indicator of overall health…we’ll save that topic for a different day though…), I felt stronger mentally, physically, and emotionally, I was happier, more social, had better self esteem and so much more! I felt like a million bucks in every facet of my being. One day, I thought to myself…”THIS is what it’s like to ACTUALLY feel good.” Since that day, I became addicted to that feeling, what my body was capable of physically, and the belief that my internal organs were now functioning at their most optimal levels. These thoughts were (and still are) absolutely thrilling to me. Because of this, I’m constantly looking for ways to improve myself, and feel EVEN BETTER, whether it be through trying new and different ways of eating, annual full body cleanses, taking holistic health supplements, vitamins, etc. I don’t do these things because I’m unhappy with myself, the way I look, or even how I feel. I try new foods, ways of eating, supplements, and exercise regimens (marathons, accessory work, GoRucks, CrossFit *always and obviously* etc.) because I’m in love with feeling fit and healthy. I very much enjoy challenging myself mentally, physically and emotionally in ways that I never have before. It’s personal growth. It’s my life passion.

Now, I’m not going to ignore the thought that’s been screaming in your head the entire time you were reading this …”Lauren…don’t pretend you don’t care about how you look!” Oh, I do care. I care A LOT! I never want to look or feel like that lil’ butterball in those pictures ever again! Yes, looking fit and healthy is a great side effect to the health and wellness adventures I go on, but I assure you, “looks” are NOT the main motivation behind the madness. When I’m out with friends and family, I’m constantly hearing things like “Why aren’t you having any dessert? Why aren’t you eating bread? Why aren’t you drinking? You’re the last person that needs to be ‘dieting’!” I absolutely despise when people attribute what I’m doing to dieting. To me dieting is a heavily restricted, unrealistic and short-term process that people attempt when they’re desperately trying to lose weight. The results, if any, are often short lived because they never truly learned how to live a healthy lifestyle, and rarely are they ever even exercising. I don’t relate my lifestyle choices or what I eat to “dieting”, I relate them to how I feel when I eat them. When I eat bread, I feel like shit. When I eat junk food, I friggin’ love it all…but end up feeling like shit. I feel like shit mentally and physically, and then emotionally as a result of feeling like shit mentally and physically! Ahah It’s truly a vicious cycle. My body and mind don’t fare well with certain foods. So please don’t assume I’m dieting, when in fact I’m taking care of my body in the best way that I know how (and can) so I can feel my best and thrive each day instead of just scraping by feeling like a crap every second of every day. Work, relationships, and just life in general is hard enough and unpredictable. One variable in my life that I do have control over is how I feel on the daily by controlling what I put in my body to yield desirable mental, physical, and even emotional outcomes.

Just as you don’t openly tell people that they need to lose weight and get in shape, you shouldn’t tell people who are in shape that they don’t need to be watching what they eat because you personally don’t think they don’t need to. Just as you don’t know what the overweight individual may be suffering from (hypothyroidism, food addiction, etc.) you don’t know what the current “fit” individual may have gone through to get where they are today and why they’re so hell bent on not having that piece of cake (sometimes you can’t just stop at one piece!). Telling people that they don’t need to watch what they eat, or constantly questioning them about it, or making them feel uncomfortable and different from everyone else isn’t right, supportive, or fair. Look at my old pictures, and try telling me that I don’t need to watch what I eat. What you see will be the direct result of me not taking care of myself, eating well, and sabotaging all the hard work and endless hours that I’ve put in the gym, making homemade meals, weighing and measuring my food, my education, etc. I do also understand that some people use the line “You don’t need to watch what you eat/diet” as a compliment. Whether you’re this person or not, you must now dedicate at least half hour of your time to listening to the “dieters” life story and why they’re choosing to eat what they do (because they now feel as though they need to defend their choices/actions that you so openly called them out on)…and that’s just boring AF! Hahah

I always want to say this to people on the spot when they ask me why I’m doing what I do, but they never want to listen! So—here it is! Laid out nice and neat, with pics and all ☺
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