A year of small changes.

Written by Project Healthy Leili

Leili June 2017
Leili, June 2017

I am a goal-oriented person but it is funny because when I think about goal setting – I used think “yeah I got this” because I have accomplished many of my goals. But when I started to really think about goals, I realized that all of the goals were professional or academic. In college, I decided I wanted Phi Beta Kappa which meant I had to take calculus….I was political science/philosophy double major so math was not on the agenda, but I set my mind to getting this honor and you know what, I took calculus and passed. I got Phi Beta Kappa. I wanted to work in the Senate in DC – I applied and worked at the Senate. So outwardly I was kicking ass, checking those life goal boxes all the while I was fat and getting fatter. I would pretend that it didn’t matter because I was smart. I would act like being fat was the consequence of being a go-getter. I would tell myself “You can’t have it all.”  I realized I was creating this fictitious reality where I could not be healthy and successful. I also realized that I was making excuses for how I was choosing to live my life.

Before Project Healthy Body I had never thought about “health goals” and I had certainly never thought about “taking care of myself”. So the first time Jennifer asked me to set goals I picked ridiculous things like “Do 50 push ups everyday”, “Drink a gallon of water”, “Run 5 miles” – none of those were going to happen. I have maybe done 50 pushups in my life…water – yeah, I was surviving on a glass a day, run 5 miles I could barely walk a mile. So of course I failed and that just confirmed the script in my head. “You aren’t meant to do this”. I hate failing. Fast forward to now and goal setting – I finally get it.

Jennifer, thru Project Healthy Body, teaches us how to make slow and small changes over time. Anyone can make giant declarations about what they are going to do, but that is hard to sustain if you don’t change the small stuff. I feel like I am in this process where I keep making tiny course corrections to go in a better direction. They are small so they don’t feel overwhelming. Get 10k steps, get a water bottle keep it filled and with me, find exercises that I like. Those are all doable. I am seeing and more importantly feeling the results of my work. This has been a slow process, but in perspective it took me a long time to get fat and create bad habits so to think that in less than a year I have done major work to undue all of that is pretty amazing, empowering really!

Leili May 2018
Leili, May 2018

My motivation now is me. I want to be healthy. I certainly want my girls to have a good relationship with food and their bodies. But I can finally say that I am enough and worth the effort! Yes, this way of eating takes more time because it involves thoughtfulness, but that is what we are learning, to be mindful of our choices. Don’t get me wrong, there have been days where an Rx bar and apple have to work, but I have enjoyed trying new recipes and exploring new foods.

So here I am a year later. I am 41 pounds and 37 inches healthier. My BMI has gone from a 35.5 to a 28, a drop I know has prolonged my life. I also still love setting goals, and meeting them! The difference is I now know I need to keep my goals small, and stay engaged in the work. My updated goals: increase my step goal from 10k per day to 12k, and get to a healthy BMI, which means weighing in about 60 pounds less than where I began my Project Healthy Body journey. I am excited and know I can do this, after all…WHO QUITS HEALTHY? Not me!

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