How Diet and Exercise Changed My Life (Without Losing A Single Pound)

I was one of the millions of people who made a New Year’s Resolution to work out more and eat better this past January. Like many of those millions of people, this wasn’t the first year I told myself I would do those things, but it was the first year I stuck with it. What changed? My motivation. In all of the years before my goal was to “lose weight” (whether I needed to or not) or get in shape to better fit into the ideal carved out for women by society; this year my goal was to simply take care of myself.

I printed out some simple exercises I could do in my room, tossed out my junk food, and updated my grocery list to consist of “fresh” instead of quick. Within two days of switching out Tumblr binges for planks and Starbucks breakfast sandwiches for avocado toast, I already had so much more energy than I could ever remember having. I was more focused, performing better in work and my classes, and able to get through the day without even wanting a nap.

Within a week I was able to skip anti-breakout products in my morning and nighttime routines because my skin was glowing to the point where I wasn’t even bothering with foundation. The biggest and most important change I noticed after a month though was my mental and emotional health. As someone who experiences severe Seasonal Affective Disorder Winter usually means turning to anti-depressants, sleeping throughout the majority of my spare time, and just having an overall bad and dismissive attitude. I can honestly say now that after a month of taking care of myself and getting proper vitamins and nutrients, I feel no need to take my anti-depressants.

Realizing that such small changes could have such a huge impact on my life was so freeing to me. I’ve never felt so in control of my health or body, and it’s really the most important thing to come to realize at a young age. My confidence level has been through the roof and I’m excited to get up every day, not to mention excited to get to my workout every night. As for what I’m eating, I haven’t felt deprived at all. As someone who used to religiously count calories and buy into fads, even I can be thrown off by the word “diet,” but in this case it’s just meant less packages and GrubHub and more color and time behind the stove. I still make exceptions for cheeseburgers and fries, like any sane person would,  because– come on. I’m just much more conscious of what I’m putting into my body.

Throughout all of this over the past month, my weight has stayed the same.  But more importantly, I’m okay with that. I’ve felt myself become stronger and healthier both physically and emotionally, which is so gratifying.

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