When I think back to the days that I started this blog, I realize that I am now a very different version of my self. Despite the fact that I felt very adult at 24, I look back to those first few posts and see a young, young girl.
That me was a newlywed, childless, working full time, living in a different city in a different house with different friends, a different budget and an unknown future. I was an assistant account executive at a public relations firm and taking my first nutrition course on Thursday nights. I had just finished losing 30 pounds and was still counting calories and paying close attention to my diet as I learned what maintenance was all about.
Since then I have morphed into a totally different person. Obviously you know the big changes: moving to Charlottesville, opening Great Harvest, having Mazen. But the smaller changes to my life, including how I view myself and my lifestyle, have evolved. My goal in this post is to analyze the basics of health and wellness then and now and show how life has changed with age and experience.
Then: I was recording calories at Calorie King and had been for a long time. I was ready to move on but was a little hesitant to let go of the control. This method worked really well for me to lose weight and I don’t regret all the counting I did during my weight loss and shortly after, including when I started the blog.
Now: I don’t count anything. I try to eat real food, balanced meals and pay attention to how much I’m eating. If I want to lose weight I try to pay attention to my meal choices and size and cut back on alcohol and sweets. It works great for maintenance and general weight loss, but I’m not convinced I can lose these last vanity pounds without some kind of external accountability.
26th Birthday v. 31th Birthday
Then: I packed my lunch everyday and rotated between a sandwich, tuna/salmon salad or leftovers. I often had apples, pretzels or Greek yogurt on the side.
Now: I eat lunch at home most days and rely on big salads or leftovers. I would say my lunches are healthier now because they include more vegetables.
Then: Our dinners were more simple – a protein and some vegetables. We didn’t include a starch as much because grains take a while to cook and bread wasn’t as delicious back then. [This was probably good for my waistline.] I often had a small dessert – dark chocolate, yogurt or cereal – after dinner which I think made up for the lack of bread with dinner.
Now: Our dinners now are more complete and filling – and also a little bigger. I don’t snack in the evenings very much (because my dinners are more satisfying!)
Then: I ate Ezekiel bread and bought whole wheat pitas and wraps. I ate Kashi crackers with soup and salmon/tuna salad all the time.
Now: Owning a bakery, I do eat a lot of bread. Probably more than the average person and definitely too much when my favorite breads are in season (Irish Soda Bread I’m looking at you!). but I rarely buy chips or crackers these days. Aside from the fact that bread is hard on portion control, I consider it a healthy food and a big improvement from crackers and the grocery store bread I used to buy.
Then: We went out to dinner maybe once a week or every 10 days and it was often to more casual restaurants (like Brixx Pizza!)
Now: We live in a foodie town with fabulous local restaurants. Sometimes we go out twice a week, and eating out is a bigger part of our lives than it used to be. I think it’s because we are within walking distance to great restaurants – casual and formal – and Charlottesville has such a nice atmosphere for dining. The shift in going out more came when we moved here.
Then: Although I ate very well most days, I still let loose at parties and weddings. Since events came up less often, I partied harder and ate with more gusto than I do now.
Now: I feel like my life is one big party these days thanks to a huge group of friends and more opportunities for fun! Because of this I have learned how to indulge moderately and don’t find myself eating as much all at once than I used to.
Then: Matt and I would open a bottle of wine on the weekends or occasionally have a beer mid week, but in general we drank less than we do now. Bottom line = no kegs in the house.
Now: Alcohol is more a part of our lifestyle now than it used to be. I chalk that up to more parties but also just a feeling of adulthood and the fact that it’s more accessible now than ever. And although I get up with my Little every morning, I don’t go to a workplace, so I have a touch of that “every day feels like Saturday” feeling that I think leads me to drink more often. And having a homebrewer for a husband certainly makes things even more exciting.
Then: I regularly exercised at 5:30am and had a pretty set routine: spin class 2x a week, athletic conditioning or running outside 2x a week, elliptical or stairmill 2x a week, 15 minutes of weights here or there. I was religious about my workouts and rarely skipped one to sleep in. I regularly ran 6ish miles on the weekends. Matt and I often went walking after dinner in the warmer months because we didn’t really have much else to do in those days! We had great talks during our walks.
Now: I still regularly exercise and generally go at 9am 6 days a week. I have a varied routine that I really enjoy: athletic conditioning 2-3x a week, elliptical or stairmaster 2x a week, weight lifting 2x a week, soccer game 1x a week. I run 3-4 miles at a time but run a lot less than I used to. 6 miles would feel like a half marathon! Walking in the evening sounds draining and lovely at the same time. I wish we had time for it, but we can’t leave our house with a sleeping baby! I’m just as happy to relax on the couch.
Then: Meals were a production and an event I looked forward to all day at work. I watched The Food Network all the time and the recipes were my favorite part of magazines. I subscribed to all the major women’s health magazines, including Cooking Light. I was a very “live to eat” kind of girl who wanted to know everything about nutrition and cooking.
Now: Food is less of a part of my life now, partly because I’m just on to other interests and partly because my toddler won’t let me enjoy it as much. There aren’t opportunities to make elaborate meals to savor. And while I could find the time to explore food more, it’s just not a priority of mine like it used to be. Instead of The Food Network, I am obsessed with HGTV and subscribe to all of the major home magazines (and have let my cooking ones go). I’m more of an “eat to live” type these days (although I still love to eat!)
Then: I was thinner then than I am now yet not as muscular. I felt great in my clothes and had worked hard to get there.
Now: I’m curvier but I think I wear it well as a mom now that I’m in my 30s. Would a cave man think I was hot? Heck yeah! I’m still working to get a little bit firmer all over and feel a little more confident in my clothes, but that might always be a work in progress. We’re not ready for another baby yet, but we do want another and I’m sure the second I get to a body shape I’m really happy with it will be time to gain it all back again : )
Then: I was happy, but I carried a lot of uncertainty that came along with being young and unestablished. We had less money and in some ways I was more self absorbed. While we had fun friends in Charlotte, we didn’t see them as often as I see my friends now. In many ways, life was a lot more simple.
Now: I’m super happy with where things have gone, although I never could have predicted the path we took. Life feels complicated but fulfilling, and I feel lucky to have found a good balance between businesses that challenge me and a family life well loved.