When I started Cowgirls With Curves earlier this year, I wasn’t exactly sure what direction it would take. All I knew was that I was passionate about sharing horses and encouraging others to pursue their dreams. Little did I know what kind of impact that it would have, and that it would be just as much of a journey for me as it has been for those that keep up with the blog.
The journey has led me to make quite a few changes and quite frankly they seem to be working.
I’ve stopped obsessing over weight and size.
Quite frankly, this is new territory for me because I don’t think there’s ever been a time in which I’ve either been on some kind of diet, or I’ve been feeling guilty because I’m not on one and I’ve gained weight.
Instead, I’ve been focusing on how I feel, whether or not I have energy, and if my mental status is in a good place.
I’ve stopped obsessing over what I eat and listening to what my body says.
I’ve learned that I don’t feel well at all when I eat grains, soy (in certain quantities) dairy (with the exception of butter), sodas, and sweets. Instead of focusing on not having those things, I focus on real natural foods that I love that I can have that don’t have a detrimental effect on how I feel, and getting enough protein and fat in during the day.
I’ve started focusing more on real food.
Instead of getting caught up in “calories in -vs- calories out”, and tracking every ounce of food I put in my mouth, I’ve been focusing on just eating real food that makes me feel good. I haven’t been listening to what all the doctors and fitness experts say, instead I’ve been listening to what my body says.
I’m eating a lot more protein.
I’ve learned that the typical meals of an egg for breakfast, and a lean protein at lunch and supper is not enough protein for me. I don’t have enough energy and my cravings are still there. However, if I have at least one serving of protein powder with 20g of protein, It’s a whole different story. My energy levels are much higher, and my cravings are minimal.
I’m eating more real fats like butter and olive oil.
Fats stabilize your blood sugar and they make you feel full and satisfied. When you’re full land satisfied with real food you don’t have any desire for junk!
I’m not limiting myself.
I may have a steak and baked potato with plenty of butter and salt. I don’t worry about the portion or limiting the butter or anything else – I just eat until I have my fill. I don’t want to end my meal still wanting anything because that’s when I wind up eating the things I shouldn’t eat.
I’m not beating myself up.
Weekends usually wind up being “cheat” time when I just have to have some cheese dip or pizza. If eat something that I shouldn’t, I don’t beat myself up about it – my body already does that for me if I eat enough of it.
The last meal is 4 hours before bedtime.
I’ve learned that if I eat a full meal in the evenings, I don’t sleep as well. I also have a tendency to get heartburn if I eat late. I try to eat a hearty lunch and then eat another snack with plenty of protein a couple of hours later. If I just absolutely have to have something, I’ll have a smaller serving of protein shake with almond milk.
I’m taking a probiotic.
With all the new research on probiotics and how it effects your mental health, and weight I decided to start taking a probiotic that has a prebiotic as well. While probiotics add good bacteria to your digestive tract, prebiotics feeds the beneficial bacteria you already have so you can digest your food more efficiently.
For years, even though I got plenty of sunshine and drank a lot of dairy I have been deficient in vitamin D and calcium. Even though I’ve always eaten plenty of spinach and red meat which I cooked in an iron skillet, I’ve always been border line anemic even with taking an iron supplement.
Obviously I’m not absorbing my food, which would explain why I need more protein than the usual recommended amounts. Think about it – if you’re not absorbing your food there’s no way to tell how much you’re not absorbing, so the recommended daily amount really can’t apply!
I make sure I get at least 7 hours of sleep – no exceptions!
Sleep is another thing that has a huge impact on how you feel and perform, how you deal with stress, and how well you eat. I recently read a study that said lack of sleep can be as detrimental as smoking! Since I’ve been focusing on things that make me feel better, I’ve made it a priority to get at least 7 hours of sleep a night. Those 7 hours are sacred and non-negotiable!
Progesterone cream is awesome!
On a side note, suspecting some hormonal issues I started using a progesterone cream that does not contain estrogen-like herbs. It definitely helps in the sleep department, not to mention it helps with my mental status!
I don’t work out – for now.
Short of stretching, pun intended, instead of focusing on getting the regular set of exercises in every day, I’ve been focusing more on just riding. I have five horses that really need to be ridden through the course of the week (after stalls are done), and I’ve taken on a client horse to bring along as a back up barrel prospect. If you think about it, with that many horses I have a gym sitting in my pasture – all I have to do is ride! Once winter comes, and the horses get a break, I’ll go back to getting in some short sessions of kettlebells but for now I’m using my horses as my gym equipment.
So where have all these changes gotten me?
For one, I’m happier and less stressed.
I’m not obsessing over what I can and can’t have, and because I don’t feel guilty about not meeting some standard that I think I’m supposed to meet.
I have more time – which also helps with stress!
Because I’m not having to get in a workout every morning I have more time to prep meals and write.
I feel better!
Although still not optimal, my energy levels are getting better, and I’m not struggling with depression as often. I’m starting to pay closer attention to how food impacts both of those things and that helps keep me motivated more than anything.
I’ve lost close to 20 pounds since the first of the year.
Since the first of the year, I’ve lost close to 20 pounds. To some, that might not be quick enough but it’s not the time or even the weight that matters. What matters is what I’m gaining through it all – a sense of self-control and happiness, and feeling better.
I have more self-control.
For the first time in my entire life I’m starting to have self-control when it comes to food. Even when I do eat junk, I’m not going overboard, and I’m able to say “No” to food that I normally would have to have.
I don’t necessarily think it’s one thing that’s making the difference. For instance, I don’t think I can just eat more protein and lose the weight. I think it’s a combination of the mindset and the other changes together that’s making a difference.
Have you made changes that are working? What improvements have you seen?