Part V(b): My Road To Health

by Angela (Oh She Glows) on December 15, 2008

Continued from…Part V (a): My Road to Health

Part V(b): My Road to Health

So where was I?

Oh yes.

Be Realistic.

I asked you to do some homework. Did you make your list? I read some fabulous lists in last night’s comments.

Some snippets from the comments that made me smile:

From ‘s’: “It is possible that the number I arbitrarily picked for my goal weight may be too low”

From ‘Jenngirl‘: “I have to realize that my mind does and WILL play tricks on me. I usually can’t and shouldn’t trust what I see in the mirror, and I should NEVER base my mood for the day on that image.”

From ‘Denise‘: “Bottom line, I need to accept myself and be happy with how strong and healthy I am…even if that means I’m not a size 0 or the weight I decided would make me happy.”

Awesomeness. All of it. Each and every one of your comments were uplifting and entirely true. Haven’t made your list? Leave a comment!


So, let’s recap:

1. When I became realistic about the expectations I had for myself and my body, the picture became much clearer. I no (I just wrote ‘know’….lack of sleep, anyone? lol) longer had a dark, storm cloud hovering over me, telling me that I had to transform myself into a superhuman weight-loss machine.

2. Because I didn’t have this immense, unrealistic pressure hovering over me, I did not feel the urge to ‘buy into’ weight loss gimmicks that promised me that I could fit into a size -3 by Friday. Sure, it would be nice to get back into your old clothes sooner rather than later, but when you take away these expectations, the urgency and desperation isn’t there. You can breathe. You can relax and know that you are taking steps in the right direction and doing your best at that given moment.

On the other hand, when the pressure is on and you are at your limit- those gimmicky fad-diets seem rather appealing, don’t they. The industry knows how the human mind works, unfortunately, and they are damn good at it.


Ok, can we breathe a little bit better now?

1) We’ve successfully addressed and hopefully eliminated unrealistic expectations for our health, body, weight-loss, fitness, etc.

2) We no longer are tempted by fad-diets

What happened next in my Road to Health?

Well, once I did those things mentioned above, I started to see my health in a new light. I acknowledged that I may never be the perfect image that I strived for for years because- and this is the the light bulb moment here- that image doesn’t exist. Nope. Nadda. Just a dream.

A dream, that unfortunately made me very unhappy and frustrated for a long time.

Don’t get me wrong, it is scary to admit to yourself that the things you have told yourself would make you happy aren’t happening. Short of walking stilts, I will never be runway-model tall. And that is ok.

Once I focused on my strengths and made realistic goals, my road to health was no longer…. ‘how-to-get-from-point-A-to-point-B-the-fastest’….but it was a daily step in the right direction toward a better life. And a better future. Some days that step is small, and yes, some days it is a backward step if I am having a bad day, but the point is that it is a gradual movement in a positive direction.


Overtime, habits build, and our road to health feels more like a stroll on the beach rather than a rushed, frantic, run through a sea of angry faces.


 Here is how my revised, realistic expectations looked like:

  • Move everyday. Make exercise fun and enjoyable. If it’s horrible, you haven’t found it yet.
  • My body is strong and capable of many things. Many people would kill to be in good health. Appreciate my muscles. They will run my marathon for me in May and help me give birth to a child down the road.
  • Forget about the number on the scale. Period.
  • I like goals and I like challenges. A positive challenge in my life was setting my half-marathon goal this May 2009.
  • Stop fighting alone. Find like-minded individuals to share your positive steps toward health with (this blog and the many fabulous blogs I read!)
  • I do not come with a pre-specified calorie limit. Do I tell myself how many breaths I can take in a day? No, that’s ridiculous. How would I ever know how many I would need each day. It varies of course! How silly. Well, I found that putting a calorie limit on myself was a bit silly too. Some days I am hungrier than others, and so I eat.

Now, I am leaving you with homework #2. (All those days ‘playing school’ with my stuffed animals has really paid off, right mom?? :D

Your homework is to write your revised, realistic expectations for yourself. It can be anything.

Anything at all.

I’d be happy to read about them in the comment section. :)


If a man should happen to reach perfection in this world, he would have to die immediately to enjoy himself.

~Josh Billings

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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

sweetandnatural December 15, 2008 at 4:32 pm

You seem to have reached a wonderful perspective on not only health and body image, but life in general! I like your quote. Perfection isn’t something that’s attainable, but if it was, you’d likely lose it in a second. Life’s not meant to be perfect – even if part of me still tries to make it that way. :-P


Jenny December 15, 2008 at 4:44 pm

Thanks for the recognition :)

My revised and realistic expectations?
(1) Everyone has good and bad days when it comes to exercise, eating, and feeling good about themselves in general, and I am NOT a freak if I have a bad day. I AM a freak if I let it consume me.

(2)My body does wonderful things for me, so I should do wonderful things for it. The moment something I’m doing doesn’t feel 100% healthy (whether it’s physical or mental) I’m going to stop doing it.

Hope you’re having a great Monday, loving these posts!


Kristie December 15, 2008 at 5:14 pm

Love this installment. I’ve just recently more or less reached this stage of acceptance of myself. It is HARD to come to these proper realizations but you’ve spelled it out perfectly. I think all of the struggles are worth it in the end to finally be able to reach the point of having a healthy and realistic relationship with yourself. Of course there are always some days when you feel better about yourself than others but to have an overall comfort with yourself and healthy connection with your body is one of the greatest feelings out there.


VeggieGirl December 15, 2008 at 5:31 pm

GREAT realistic expectations!!


Sara B. December 15, 2008 at 6:52 pm

random question:
Do you count calories or have some idea of how many you are eating? Or do you just eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full?


Jill December 15, 2008 at 7:49 pm

Hi! I just found your blog and read through all of the parts on your road to health series. AMAZING! These are all fabulous realistic expectations that I am totally working on right now in my life.

For me the idea of a long term health goal is the most important. I can’t focus on short term, instant gratification diets/fads. I want to lead an overall healthier life!!


Bridget December 15, 2008 at 8:02 pm

I’ve loved reading this post…it’s all SO true. I first started loosing weight when I wasn’t even trying, but it was in college and I had access to a gym and lots of dining options. I guess I just started working out and eating better…crazy huh? haha. Then it all just started to make sense. Now my goals are more fitness related…I just started running so I’m hoping to run a 5k in the Spring :)


Elizabeth December 15, 2008 at 8:03 pm

Thanks, Angela.

This has been my favorite of your “road to health” posts. I daily read blogs such as yours, katheats, and carrotsncake for inspiration. One thing I’ve noticed is that no matter how inspiring these blogs are, you ultimately have to come up with your *own* way, what works for your *own* body, and expectations that work for you and only you. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love the blogs (hence the daily visits!) and they’re fantastic, well put together and great for inspiration, but what might be the right amount of food or the right menu choice for one person is not a one-size-fits-all proposition.

What also struck me after reading your post is the fact that I am 29, and have a sedentary job– I always think of my goal as being how I was when I was 20 and ran three days a week and lifted weights 3 days a week– while I can be that fit again, I will likely not be that small. I need to remember that that’s OK, and to work with the body i have now. Hopefully, this will help keep me away from the all-or-nothing weight loss proposition I always seem to have lately.

Thanks so much! I really enjoy your blog and have read from the beginning– I continue to get great ideas and inspiration daily from your site!


Colleen December 15, 2008 at 8:05 pm

Realistic expectation hmmmm…? Since I’m pretty happy with my body (except one part), I’m going to make peace with my booty and realistically expect it to always be a bit jiggly. :) You are awesome girl! Keep up the positivity!


ttfn300 December 16, 2008 at 9:07 am

Love these posts! they are making me think, which i love, and helping me get back on track (i had an off year). such great perspective on life!!


Mimi February 15, 2009 at 12:57 am

Wow, you’ve had me enthralled!

I was heavy all my life, but when I graduated high school, I realized stuff had to change. I’m in my second semester of college and have lost 40 pounds. I’m working hard on building muscle and burning fat.

And no doubt in part because of all the lovely blogs I found, I’ve realized the value of everything you’ve said–of health over the magical 25 calorie cookie.

My tastes have changed so much since I was a tubby little 16-year old. I’m far from perfect–some days I feel paranoid about gaining the weight back, others I think “ugh…REALLY don’t want to go to the gym.” But the trick is persevering and pushing through.

I agree with every word you said.


Z January 7, 2010 at 2:05 pm

YOU ARE SO AWESOME, ANGELA! I just discovered your blog a few days ago, and you are inspiring and make a lot of sense.


Cassie January 11, 2010 at 8:59 pm

I just discovered your blog a few days ago and would like to express a great big THANK YOU.
I’m 17 and unfortunately last summer I got into the calorie limiting/food fearing mindset. Thinking about the way I reacted to foods then makes me angry at myself now. I still find myself adding up calories, but I LOVE FOOD, and always will. I’m trying to break free from the “always thinking about weight/food/calories” mindset and your articles are helping greatly. :)


Darryn (brio.gusto) February 19, 2010 at 2:52 pm

I really like your analogy of a “stroll on the beach” rather than a “rushed, frantic run”. Very well put.


Nicole June 18, 2010 at 1:51 pm

Me again :)

Just found your blog, and I decided to run through these first. I found this one and the one previous to be absolutely amazing. The point about making exercise enjoyable is so important! I’ve always wanted to be a runner- not because I like running, but because I think runners always look the skinniest, and seem the fittest. But I absolutely hate running. It hurts me, it is no fun, and I’m also pretty terrible at it. I’m not doing it for me- I’md doing it to try to fit into my unrealistic expectations. I shouldn’t feel guilty about not being a runner- I should feel proud (or excited, or something) about doing all the other things I do.



Shelley July 15, 2010 at 11:26 pm

I just found your blog and have read all your road to health posts and just wanted to say thank you for sharing your journey!

I am still stuck in this trap of trying to lose weight, and I keep getting put off with how daunting calorie counting seems and what you have said makes a lot of sense to me, so I’m hoping I will have a new outlook on it now by thinking back and remembering your posts, and be able to actually achieve those goals I want to achieve!


Mistene October 22, 2010 at 8:20 pm

My realistic expectations….

Get doing something for at least 30 minutes a day. Love my body because it produced a beautiful little girl – which was how I felt before such a wonderful experience and during that experience. If it wasnt for my health that couldnt have happened in the first place.


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