Awakening

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On 21 March 2011, I woke up, and not just in the literal sense. There was a different strength in me that I have never known, and whose origins I still ponder. After weeks of struggling to name this change, I finally stumbled onto a definition. Transformation.

I have struggled with food and my weight for as long as I can remember. ‘Struggled’ probably isn’t the right word, though, because I had totally given in to both. I hated vegetables, loved junk food, and didn’t think it was possible to fight either. This caused me no end of mental anguish, not to mention physical, but the more I thought about it, the more convinced I became that I did not have the strength to live what others would term ‘a healthy life.’ I knew I could not give up chocolate or bread or cheese or fast food, knew I could not stop snacking, knew I could not commit to a workout regime, knew I could not live the rest of my days continually sacrificing, sacrificing, sacrificing.

And then, March 21st happened. I woke up craving vegetables. But it was more than that, too. I somehow had this sense that this day was the first day of the new me. I had conviction that I not only wanted to change my eating habits for the better, but that I could do it. For the first time in my life, I knew (I know!) that I have the power to change my own life.

I immediately went to my parents’ house to use their medical grade scale. Okay, scary, but I had my starting point. Then I went grocery shopping, and instead of buying candy, I bought vegetables and frozen fruit. Instead of pizza pops and burritos, I bought vegan burgers and flavoured tuna. Instead of chips, I bought rye crisps and brown rice crackers.

I went cold turkey off all the crap I had been consuming, and it felt great. I lost 8 lbs in the first week. My family and friends couldn’t believe the drastic change in my eating habits. A couple of days after I started, I was telling my mom about this great snack I had eaten of a dill pickle and 1/4 cup of dry cottage cheese topped with fresh cracked pepper, and she started laughing at me! I asked her why she was laughing, and she told me that she just couldn’t believe that this was the same Cara.

I myself have really been amazed at this change, and how my thought process has simultaneously changed. I think about what a privilege it is to have the opportunity to mold myself into who I want myself to be, instead of being demoralized by the amount of work I have to do to get there. I rejoice in the ability and desire to choose nutritious food, instead of worrying about how I can possibly sustain the effort to keep making good choices. While I used to wish for a magic genie to wave all this extra weight away, it is now a source of joy and pride that I get to fight for the health and physique I have denied myself for so long.  The most unbelievable thing to me is that I do not feel like I am sacrificing. I don’ t feel like I am missing out on tasty food- for the first time ever I feel like I am enjoying what good food really tastes like. And saying ‘yes’ to more vegetables, whole grains, soy and water, and ‘no’ to more sugars, fats, and simple carbs makes me feel stronger physically, mentally, and emotionally. I recognize that I am powerful enough to say no, and that gives me more strength to keep saying no.

It’s been just over a month since the first day of my transformation. The last time I weighed myself (April 20), I had lost 21 lbs. I have so much energy from all this great food, I had to join a gym so I have someplace productive to get rid of it. The gym, that I’m not loving so much (more on that later), but I am determined to keep going as part of this new life.

This blog is also part of the new life. I want to chronicle my successes so that if/when I get discouraged, I have somewhere to come to remind myself what it feels like to be strong and motivated. I also want to invite certain supportive people to be part of this journey with me, because I know they will encourage and spur me on, and more importantly, celebrate the positive steps along the way. I also desire to inspire others to the realization that you don’t have to be a victim to your body. I lived there for a long time, and I hope that refusing to stay there any longer will  urge others to do the same. Finally, I look forward to contributing and receiving helpful tips, recipes, and exercises, and hearing about other peoples’ stories of transformation as we travel together.

Thanks for joining me as I explore this world of what it means to be healthy and sharing the experiences of my quest!

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About Cara

My life's work is to search out truth and to discover beauty. I am guided by music, literature, film, friends, nature, travel, and texture. I like to paint, I love to read, I live to write, I need to question and learn, and my pets make me feel glad to be alive. I believe that our time on this spinning sphere is about celebrating everything that occupies the minutes that we wish we could stretch on and on.

22 responses »

  1. Thanks for sharing cara. a couple years ago i got off my ass and started a regime to. then i came winter time and i gained it all back. i have scitzophrenia and the voices in my head keep calling me “fat ass” im sick of it. i wish i had the motivation you have. maybe ill keep reading your blog and do something about my weight too. thanks again 🙂 keep up the good work.

    • we all have voices in our heads- the trick is to just listen to the good ones. 😉 thanks for stopping by here, hope to see you around again. and keep me posted on your own health journey. i’d love to see a movement get started!

  2. cara, i love this! and i am so happy for you! and i am excited that i now get to also see you at the gym! (i know i’ve already said that before but it’s true!)
    love you! 🙂

    • well, you are definitely a contributing factor to this. i don’t think i’ve ever had a friend in my day-to-day life before who lives fitness as a lifestyle like you do. you’ve given me a lot to think about, and i’m really grateful. (look out for some props in an upcoming blog called “where credit is due.”) love you too, sista!

  3. Keep up the hard work! It’s nice to see someone having success in this area. I recently rejoined the gym after Erin gave me the what for!

    • thanks, col! erin’s one of the people who helped get me inspired too. imagine how much better our quality of life will be for doing this? that in itself is a blessing, but also to have a friend who’s willing to give that kiss in the arse? priceless!

      are you going to echo fitness too? you, erin and i should all have a gym date!

  4. Hey! I love the idea of you writing this blog! So happy for you. Very proud of you! I know you’ll achieve whatever goal you’ve set for yourself!!! I’ve also started to add healthy food choices to my regular workout routine. The goal is to look dead sexy to those Europeans as well as not having to deprive myself of any delicious food moments in July. If we’re good now, we can be naughty later!!! Baguette, Pasta, and vino, vino, vino!!!

    • i don’t think i’ll make dead sexy for this july. hopefully next one though. and yes, i do plan to allow myself to be naughty on the trip. cacio e pepe in roma? come on. that is HAPPENING. (and si, si, si to the vino!)

  5. And the rest of the Journey begins. This is exactly you, right now, just as you were born to be in this moment. Heartfull, beautiful, alive … Alive! 🙂 Viva my beautiful sista-friend. (Or in short, Hells YEAH!) 😉 xoxo I’ll be right here too (but you already know that). Namaste my luv.

  6. Welcome to the club, Cara! I’m so proud of you and the commitment that you’ve made…it’s a difficult one but you’ve got such a great grasp on it and I’m inspired by your positive attitude! I look forward to reading more of your blogs but also seeing your transformation in person. 🙂 Oh, and we’ll have to swap recipes!

    • wow, thanks june. that means a lot. i am happy- i honestly feel better emotionally and physically than i have in a long, long, long time. and i miss you too!

  7. Cara, I enjoyed reading your blog. Not only did I love the content and reading about your inspiring journey, I love your writing style as well. I think you are very articulate. I haven’t known you for long, but I thought you were beautiful, with a great sense of style from the day I met you. This journey will just add to the beauty you already have! I also liked your comment that you “don’t have to be a victim to your body”. It really hit home for me, as I have recently made a conscious decision to not be a victim in any aspect of my life. It has brought me a much deeper sense of happiness and contentment than I have known for a long time.

    I am looking forward to reading more of your blog as time goes. I have decided to live a healthier lifestyle also. My first step so far is becoming more conscious of what I’m actually putting in to my body (or what I’m not putting in to my body) and the reasons why I am doing this. Thanks for the inspiration to forge ahead on this journey.

    • Thank YOU, Aleasha, for taking the time to read and comment. I am glad to know you, and glad we can travel together down this road. I look forward to hearing more about your journey as well. How great is it that we get to inspire each other as we choose to live life deliberately?! 🙂

  8. I love you sooo much!! I read this and it is awe inspiring. You, Cara, are so incredibly powerful!!!! Hunger and desire for a new life and way of being are alive inside of you. This change is a total paradigm shift in your way of thinking. The concessions you make now towards eating healthy and working out are a privilege to your body, mind and soul. The decisions to give up and let go are of a past life, like autumn leaves left to turn in the breeze and never be seen again. This journey is lifelong, and I feel honoured to be a part of this life changing experience. Thank you for being so raw and honest, and sharing with me!!!! I LOVE YOU!!!!!!

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