Why on earth are we talking about food and fitness in tandem with emotional growth? I promise, I have no shakes or wraps or pills to peddle*. I promise to love you and encourage you, no matter where you are on your “fitness journey,” or if you never start a fitness journey at all. (Do we have to call it that? I really hate calling it that.) I wholeheartedly believe in body positivity and the potential for health and happiness at any size.
Here’s the thing, though: I (me, Laura) am not healthy and happy at “any” size. I have been 120 pounds, and I have been over 200 pounds, and I have experienced joy and sadness at both those sizes because…that’s life. But when I’m bigger, I have a whole new laundry list of struggles. I struggle to move my body in ways that bring me the endorphins I so desperately need. I struggle with confidence. I have pitifully low energy, aches and pains, poor sleeping, labored breathing, breakouts, rashes, and a thousand other annoyances that gnaw away at my overall quality of life.
Sure, I teach cardio dance classes nowadays. I get to be the peppy instructor who knows all the moves and makes it look easy.
Okay, but I also started emotional eating when I was about six years old (a response to the heady combination of boredom and repressed trauma). Fat kid jokes? LET ME TELL YOU ALL OF THEM, because there’s not a one I didn’t hear. From strangers, friends, my own family–I’ve heard it all and, not to brag or anything, but I internalized them really well. Thanks to a potent cocktail of obsessive exercise, laxatives, and about 1000 calories a day, I got myself thin and “healthy” just before my senior year of high school. Then I rode the hot mess express straight to college, and upped the ante by going into full-blown anorexia/bulimia. Ohhh, unresolved trauma, you sure do know how to keep a gal trim.
I finally found some balance as a young adult–although I stayed appropriately unsatisfied with my body like society told me a young lady should–and then I got pregnant for the first time. Huzzah!
I ate them ALL. For the first time in ten years, I felt like I had permission–nay encouragement–to eat. And eat. And eat some more. I think I ate every calorie I missed between ages 16 to 25 in the span of those 9 months. Well, you can guess how that worked out for me. Something to the tune of 70-ish pounds overweight, post-delivery. And you know what I did after I had my baby? I got pregnant AGAIN. Lost the weight, that time. Then I got pregnant again. Lost most of the weight, but I developed a thyroid issue (which I suspect may have had something to do with many years of diet pills, starvation, and my body doing its damndest to make sure I didn’t kill my babies with pregorexia), so it was twice as hard.
Then, plot twist: I started gaining weight, even though I wasn’t pregnant. Like, a lot of weight. The year was 2016. The circumstances included a lot of stress and watching my body quickly and mysteriously deteriorate into a sentient jello mold filled with an assortment of festive autoimmune disease symptoms:
More on all this on upcoming posts, but the Cliffs Notes is, after a straight year of misery, a battle with secondary infertility, and some brutal miscarriages, I decided I needed to try something different and drastic. Enter the ketogenic diet. I know, I know, another obnoxious keto person–listen, I didn’t set out to tell ANYONE about this. I was actually quite shy about it because of the stigma. But y’all, it changed EVERYTHING:
Oh yeah, I got a Really Cute baby out of it, too.
Now I have this huge mental catalog of recipes that need to be shared, and a fire in my considerably smaller belly. I am positive that it’s not for everyone, but I am also positive that it IS for me. It is apparently also for Husbandman, who has also lost about 50 pounds of fat and got super-sexy-swole and is going into his 40th year in the absolute best shape of his life. So if that’s something you’re interested in, either as a lifestyle or a sideshow to hate-watch, pull up a chair. Oh, and we’re all gluten-free, because literally nothing can be simple.
There’s a whole fun backstory about how I started teaching dance fitness, but I’ll save that for another post. The point is, I feel better than I ever have in my entire life. I am stronger, faster, and more vibrant. I *feel* healthy. I want to mount a pegasus and fly over the city, trailing an ad banner that tells everyone about it. Since apparently this is “scientifically impossible,” I will settle for blogging about it. For now.
*If you are in the Phoenix metro, I can’t tell you how excited I would be to see you at a dance fitness class and give you the stinkiest hug of your life! Follow me on Instagram and Facebook to get my current class schedule.