*(I was 12 weeks pregnant when the comparison picture of 2017 was taken)
I knew one day I will be ready for this. And today is the day. Being more than 20 weeks pregnant now and feeling so good in my own skin, I felt this is about the time. I want to talk and maybe help you, who are struggling with your weight or simply hating your body. There is an answer, you just need to stop for now and start listening to your own inner voice, to your intuition. I don’t want this blog post to be a slimmer body appreciative, but this is my story and this is how I felt, when I was overweight. I will be brutally honest with you. It was a hell for me. I felt horrible and I am not sure how I would have felt later in my journey, if I hadn’t done certain steps and started a transformation for a healthier, happier me. It took me 2 years to gain my maximum weight and 3 years to fully lose it. So here it is! Take a glass of water, a cup of tea or coffee, whatever you prefer. Let’s start!
First of all, I would like to say that I was never slim or skinny. Remembering the days at school, I was a normal sized girl with a little fat here and there. Considering my eating habits and how little I knew about healthy lifestyle and simply eating well and nutritious, I think I was alright. But I never felt good in my body. I always had a little tummy and my upper body would feel quite big and uncomfortable. However, I always liked my legs, so whenever I had a chance I would showcase them, because that was the part I would feel the most comfortable with.
I hit my biggest weight gain, when I was about 2 years in my photography business. But how did it happen? A lot of people talk these days, how it is important to work hard and hustle every day. I am mad at this, because I had this idea, that I can never relax. I must give 1000% to my job. My perfectionism was out of hand. For me to grow in business was #1 priority and I would spend days and nights literally sitting by my computer editing pictures, or going out for photo-shoots and then back home to my “lovely” chair and doing the whole thing again. I had no routine whatsoever. My body didn’t know when it was going to sleep, because it was never regular. No regime, no times for food, just when Aidas would cook something, I would eat. For instance, If I am working till 5 in the morning, I would take a snack during the night. That was horrible!
Suddenly, I felt like the circle was going on and on. My relationship with Aidas (my boyfriend at the time, now he is my husband) kind of suffered a lot. He is the nicest human being on earth with lots of patience, but at one point he was like enough is enough. I felt my body growing and expanding, I felt I had no mood. I closed myself in our tiny apartment and I never wanted to leave. Going out was a struggle, all clothes started feeling too tight, I felt my face was getting round and I was losing not even my appearance, but also my personality and the most important – my happiness and joy of LIFE.
I remember celebrating my birthday and then deleting half of the pictures I saw myself in. My favorite color to wear was black, as it would cover all the imperfections and my growing unhappiness. On the other hand, my photography business was going so well at that time, but I felt so bad inside. All the daily stress and constant hustle started growing on me, the balance was completely lost.
I should probably start doing something at this point, right? I am not happy, but I am crazy busy to start doing something (how silly?). I remember there were seconds counted till my deadlines, there were so much stuff I had on my plate, that myself, my personal life was at the end of the list. But… I waited for so long that my body started screaming itself. Drinking coffee on daily basis, strong one, like 4 cups a day. I felt like a machine. Word ME didn’t exist, there was everything done for somebody else: for people, for my clients. Whom at that time, were my everything!
When one day, during christening (and working till 3 am last night), I was photographing and almost passed out. I was like OUCH, this is so unlike me. Something is happening! I started feeling a little dizzy on daily basis. And then some additional episodes started attacking me. I would wake up in the middle of the night, covered in cold sweat, shivering and not understanding what’s wrong. I would feel a severe heart beat, as if it would stop any minute. Emergency calls were made so many times, doctors would come and check me and simply give me calming medicine. At that point, I was so afraid my heart is failing, that I immediately stopped messing up with coffee. It was the first step I did for a healthier, happier me. But this is just the beginning.
I would experience some kind of heart failure every day. It was irregular beats, fast beats or extremely slow ones. Just one big mess! And I would start growing a feeling of fear and anxiety of the whole situation. I totally messed up with my body. I had no relationship with it. Sad and abandoned it was SCREAMING: give me some time, give me some rest, give me some love, PLEASE. But all I could think of, I probably have a disease. But as time unfolded and I visited so many doctors. I started realizing that my body needs me. Not medicine, but me, my time, my dedication to it. I accumulated so much stress, that one day it simply exploded.
I started doing not so well at work, because I would have to go through daily struggle, experiencing pains in my body and feeling horrible in my own skin. I was not able to sleep, can you imagine? My body was exhausted! Feeling anxious all day long, questioning why this is happening for me. I simply lost it. That was the point, when I felt, I have to do something. Nobody will help me, but ME. It took me 3 months, to at least, get my sleep back and my soul back. That was one hell of a struggle and it required so much effort. Meditation before bed saved me!
As a result, I started reading and watching videos about healthy living, slow living. Somewhere deep inside, I knew it was the answer for me. Being on a rush and always stressed is not my cup of tea. For some people it may give an extra drive, for me it was the opposite.
I reached my biggest weight gain when I was 75 kg (I am 170 cm tall). That doesn’t sound like a lot, but I felt so not myself. I knew, if I don’t do something now, I will end up in such a bad place, there might be no way back. I still saw the way back and I started. It all went slowly, but surely. First, I knew I needed to apply i healthy weekly work timetable, where I have 5 working days and 2 days off (that was crazy hard, after hustling for 2 full years). I would have a new rule, to work till 7 pm each working day. We also applied walking in the evenings after dinner on regular basis. This was a life changer! I connected with nature, with the weather around me, with Aidas and I started feeling more like myself again. But my weight would just be there. Maybe I was down like 2 kilograms or so.
I still wasn’t pleased. I started watching lots of YouTube and somehow I found Freelee The Banana girl. Her videos were so non professional, but her message was amazing. She is vegan and she promotes a lifestyle where you simply can eat AS MUCH AS YOU WANT, but just good foods (no, I didn’t become vegan, I don’t like labels, I just took as much as I can from it). She shows herself eating crazy big plates of food, but just healthy stuff. Lots of fruits and vegetables. Being so inspired, that I don’t need a DIET, simply eating as much as I want sounded great.
I started making first steps and listened to my body, where I felt that red meat would make me feel crazy uncomfortable and full, I simply cut it out. I messed around only with chicken. It lasted for less than 1 year, when I said to myself, actually, I don’t want chicken any more. Or my body simply started refusing it. I was happy about that, as there is so much negative opinions about the meat we buy in supermarkets (unless you grow chickens yourself). I am not trying to say you need to cut out meat products to lose weight or feel good. This is just my journey and it felt crazy good for me.
You know what? My eyes started opening after I completely cut off meat. I still ate fish, sea products, but most of my eating consisted of rise, pasta, potatoes (love potatoes!), veggies and fruits. I started discovering beans, corn, broccoli, cauliflower and so many more amazing foods. I was crazy happy to experiment in the kitchen and I ate as much as I wanted. I knew this was good and nutritious for my body. I would simply bake potatoes in the pan and have lots of veggies by the side. It felt so perfect for my body, I couldn’t believe. My weight didn’t come off quickly. I knew, if I wanted consistent results, it will be slow. I was completely changing my lifestyle, which was huge (after 27 years of eating meat). I would have never thought, that I could live without meat. We were raised up this way and our minds find it hard to shift and look at things differently. There is a world full of amazing foods, which I am happy to discover.
The way it made me feel, that I have no restrictions is crazy. It is an absolute FREEDOM!
I could still eat “cepelinai”, but with curd. I could still take “kebab”, but without meat. This new life feels so ME and I couldn’t be happier. I feel lighter, happier, more beautiful and confident in my own skin. I still have fat here and there, but this is the way I was born, but the way I FEEL makes a difference.
Listen to your body, never ignore it, give it some rest, give it some time. And don’t forget to MOVE, sitting by computer will not give you any good (believe me). At least have a daily walk of 30 min, that is HUGE. Whatever you do daily, becomes your habit and rewards you in long term. Be happy, be you, listen to you and prioritize you. You are #1 and the rest will follow. Love you!
It is the journey, not a destination.