We truly can’t believe we’re already writing this blog post (which we’ve divided into three parts to make it easier to digest… no pun intended). All we can say is, what a freakin’ amazing year it has been! We launched this platform on March 10, 2018, with the intention of it being a fun passion project, but it’s become so much more than that. We didn’t start this platform with any specific goals for growth, and we certainly didn’t expect to see such personal growth along the way.
But here we are, 10 months later, with so much to reflect on. We’ve learned a lot about ourselves, and our views on food, fitness, and wellness have evolved as a result. It makes sense, since our passion for these three things is ultimately what inspired us to start this platform in the first place. We don’t get personal on here very often, but since that’s a goal of ours for 2019, we thought we’d start early by sharing our personal reflections—where we’ve been, where we are now, and where we’re going. Definitely one of our more lengthy posts, but we hope everyone can take something positive away from it (and get to know us a little better)!
“Thinking of food + me in 2018 really leads me down two main avenues: creativity in the kitchen and attitude towards food.
Let’s start with the more fun and less deep stuff first! For Christmas last year, I was blessed with an air fryer and an instant pot. I swear by these gadgets and still can’t pick a favorite. They’re both worth the ridiculous amount of space they take up in your kitchen. Anyways, because of these appliances, food in 2018, from a quite literal standpoint, got more interesting, experimental, and fun! The potential for delicious successes with these gadgets is unlimited, and I know I’ve just scratched the surface. Some of my favorite recipes of ours using the air fryer and instant pot are our Instant Pot Chicken Meatball Taco Soup, Sampan Copycat: Air Fried Brussels Sprouts, Air Fryer Chicken and Waffles, and Air Fryer Coconut Shrimp.
Now, let’s get deep. 2018 was my first full year of leaving behind the “YOLO” mindset when it comes to food. Of course, there’s a time and a place for a treat, but no longer was I justifying every single occasion. And even better, eating healthy is no longer mindful, hard work—it comes naturally. I now crave healthy foods to fuel my body. And with that, a lot of unnecessary guilty feelings have been left behind, which feels quite freeing!
One thing that I really just touched on in 2018 that I want to be more committed to in 2019 is body recomposition, which I’ll get into more in Part Two of this blog series. I worked with a badass coach for two months (and more to come)—shoutout to Maria from @musclebymaria—who gave me specific macros to hit and workouts to perform. So for the first time in 2018, I really started to see foods just as carbs, protein, and fat. I was eating more than I ever had been, yet seeing the results I wanted. And again, not feeling restricted, all while taking [the best] care of myself.
Through my work with Maria, I was able to really start breaking down my mindset that everything has to be perfect, or that my hard work was for nothing if I messed up one day. When I signed up for two months with Maria, I wanted to report that every day went exactly as prescribed. And in the beginning, it did. But as fall progressed and the calendar got busy, “life” things popped up (dinner out for an anniversary, best friend from California visiting, etc.), I’d find myself upset if my macro sheet wasn’t perfect when I went to check in with my coach. But at the same time, I’d be beating myself up for even thinking that way, because I knew that I wouldn’t be happy if I was completely prohibiting myself from ever having things like dinners out or drinks with friends.
Maria also really helped me adopt the mindset of just moving on after days that may be more indulgent. Celebrate that life event with a yummy dinner out, but before you do, get in lots of protein, and the next day, don’t restrict because of it—just get back on track and move on with it.
Here’s to moving on with it in 2019!”
“2018 started with me completing Whole30. And sure enough, I’m gearing up for my second Whole30 starting January 2, 2019. I talk about my experience with Whole30 in detail here, but basically, Whole30 taught me about intuitive eating, food freedom, and why it’s important to care about the ingredients in the foods I’m putting in my body. Looking back, that pretty much sums up my entire relationship/journey with food in 2018.
For me, Whole30 was a lesson in whole foods. I finally became conscious of what was actually in my meals and how each of those ingredients would affect me, both physically and mentally. I learned that food can still taste delicious without cheese and/or sugar (a pretty life-changing discovery for me), and that what might be ‘healthy’ by definition might not be healthy for my body. Sure, I still eat dairy and sugar, but I’ve become much more aware of their sources (e.g. natural sugar vs. refined sugar), and now I always stop to ask myself if eating a certain food is truly going to make me feel my best—something I never really cared about before. I’m also much more aware of my hunger cues, meaning I’ve stopped eating just for the sake of eating—something, as an avid food lover, I’ve been guilty of my entire life.
I had never counted calories or tracked macros, and I only weigh myself a few times a year. It’s just not something I ‘believe in’, for lack of a better explanation. I don’t ever want to feel defined by a number on a scale, and I think the best judge of my weight is how I feel in my skinny jeans or how confident I feel when I see myself naked (TMI?). Plenty of people love tracking and swear by it, but I’ve just always known it’s not for me.
However, around September of this year, I started feeling like I was gaining weight, even though my diet was healthier than ever. Inspired by the success Hope has had with tracking calories and macros, I decided I would track what I was eating for a short period of time, to get a general idea of how many calories I was consuming a day—because maybe even though I was eating healthy, I was in a calorie surplus (versus calorie deficit). I figured that if I was going to track calories, I might as well give tracking macros a shot while I was at it. I used the macros calculator on IIMYM.com to get a rough idea of what my macro goals might look like (note: not the same as working 1-on-1 with a professional).
I tracked everything I ate and attempted to hit my macro goals for about two months. Much like Whole30, this experience was incredibly eye-opening. I stopped looking at foods as ‘healthy’, ‘not healthy’, ‘good’, or ‘bad’. Foods simply became fat, carbs and protein. But I learned that if I wanted to hit my goals and feel full/satisfied throughout an entire day, my choices were incredibly important. Also, one thing became abundantly clear: I was not getting enough protein for my fitness goals (covered in Part Two of this series).
It was important to me that tracking my food was only a temporary experiment. I stopped tracking and have been eating intuitively for the last month or so, with all of my findings in the back of my mind, helping me make smarter decisions around food. These lessons have been especially helpful when dining out, which is where I often had a “treat yourself” mindset, rather than choosing what my body really craved or what would make me feel my best overall. And while the holidays were definitely a little more indulgent than my norm, I went into this holiday season with an entirely new view on food, and I came out of it still feeling pretty fantastic. I’m going into the new year not feeling like crap after the holidays (for once), more aware of my personal dietary needs and preferences than ever, and excited to slay my second Whole30.
One small but significant food goal I’m looking forward to in 2019 is taking a food sensitivity test from EverlyWell to continue to understand which foods serve my body best!”
What did 2018 and food have in store for you? We’d love to hear your yearly reflections too! Check back tomorrow to read about our 2018 fitness reflections. Happy New Year!