Hello Carrots ‘N’ Cake readers! My name is Avery, and I’m a teen blogger at Southern Belle Living Well. While Tina and Mal are away this week, Tina gave me the chance to chat with you all about my experiences with reading healthy living blogs at a younger age. I’m a fairly new blogger, so when I emailed Tina to discuss guest posting for CNC, I didn’t expect much more than a “Thanks, but no thanks”. I was (very) pleasantly surprised when she warmly replied back to me, being incredibly open to allowing me the opportunity. Thanks so much, Tina!
Growing up, I had the exact same childhood as every other happy, little girl. I had friends, I did well in school, was involved in extracurriculars, etc.
I was quite the dancer, no?
The only problem I had growing up was that while every other little girl started losing her extra “baby weight” and naturally slimmed down, I continued to gain weight because of my eating habits.
Yup, that was me and my tummy in Cancun. Like the braids?
Right around the 6th grade, I was watching The Biggest Loser (Love you, Bob!) with my mom, when my curiosity got the best of me, and I decided to go step on my parents’ scale to see how much I weighed. Needless to say, I was not pleased with what the scale read. I ran back into the living room and cried to my mom, “Mom, I weigh so much!” Though she never said one unkind word to me, and was always full of support, she told me two sentences that have stuck with me since. “It doesn’t have to be that way. You can change it.” So change it I did.
It took me a few years of up ‘n down weight to finally settle into a routine to lose and keep the weight off. A few months I would make my way down 25 pounds, only to gain ten of those pounds back, and start over again. I did a lot of article reading from websites such as Prevention, and even joined Sparkteens for a couple years. The only problem that I had was that I was constantly reading articles and slideshows that had ideas for weight loss, but never really read much about the process from people who understood the struggles and milestones involved.
Obviously, I’m not a naturally slender, tiny girl. It’s just not the way I’m made. However, I’ve learned to work with my body to make good choices for it, and feel the best I’ve ever felt about myself.
Remember how earlier I mentioned only reading articles and slideshows? Well, this is where y’all come in. I owe a HUGE amount of my success to all you wonderful bloggers out there. Seriously, without reading about your victories, struggles, and tips, I would probably still be the girl I was in 2009-2011.
Around early 2012, I stumbled across CNC while searching the ‘net. After reading Tina’s most recent post, I was hooked. I read whatever healthy-living blogs I could get my hands on. I started with Carrots ‘N’ Cake, then found Peanut Butter Fingers, Sweet Tooth, Sweet Life, etc. I continued reading avidly for about a year before recently starting Southern Belle Living Well in December. I was a bit timid of the idea of beginning my own blog, but I felt I was ready because of what I’ve learned from reading others.
What Blog Reading Taught Me
1. You Don’t Have to Be Perfect
I am a perfectionist. There, I admitted it. Truthfully, I’ve always been that way. I was the girl whose snowman drawing included eyelashes, whose homework was always done by 6pm every evening, and who would cry out of shame if she had to sit out for 5 minutes at recess for something she did. After beginning to read blogs in 2012; however, I realized that being perfect isn’t important. Heck, people don’t even expect you to be perfect, because they themselves aren’t perfect either! Something that I know makes me imperfect? I fully admit that I have a big mouth occasionally, and have really gotten myself in a pickle from it. But that’s simply an issue to work on, not to constantly fret over.
2. Treats Are Always the Right Choice
When I began trying to lose weight, I’d make it a week being super healthy and losing weight, only to gain it all back the next week. Why? Because my diet consisted completely of carrots, chicken, apples, fat-free milk, etc. Now while all these foods are great, and should definitely be staples in a healthy diet, it’s important to also allow yourself a little wiggle room. I hadn’t realized just how important it is to enjoy the occasional treat. When you restrict yourself from ANY “unhealthy” food, you’re automatically setting yourself up to fail. I’m now a firm believer in the 80/20 rule. (80% of the time eat healthy, 20% of the time, enjoy your favorites!) My treat of choice? Sugary desserts!
3. Accept it, Then Move On
We’ve all been there. The moment otherwise known as “I just ate a boatload of food, and feel like junk. Time to go sit in a corner and throw a pity party”. I hate that feeling. Don’t we all? I’ve learned though, that the best way to combat this feeling is to not give in. Don’t feel sorry for yourself. So what, you made a mistake. Maybe you ordered a slice of Oreo cheesecake at the Cheesecake Factory, and were “going to” take home half to share with your spouse, or perhaps you got a bit too friendly with the refreshments table at a recent get together. So what? Who cares? Its okay to get carried away every once in a while; you’re only human. These sorts of things happen. In fact, if I were you, I’d be worried if I didn’t have occasional slipups. The important thing to remember; though, is that not all the time is indulgence time. If you’ve enjoyed one too many cookies, go for a jog. If you decided that that ice cream in the freezer needed to be finished right then, plan a healthy breakfast out for the next day. The key to success? Moderation.
4. It’s Okay to Make Fun of Yourself
I’m in high school right now, otherwise known as the world of girl drama. Everyone gossips about everyone else. How you look, who you’re dating, what designer brand you have, etc. I used to be an EXTREMELY self-conscious person, and was always worrisome about how I was perceived. I kept reading posts with embarrassing pictures that would make me DIE if I was included. Later on though, I starting finding old pictures of myself that truly made me giggle. They were funny! So you know what, world? Here you go! I think this is hilarious now, and if you don’t, then oh well!
A few years ago, I had decided to be a can of Campbell’s Soup for Halloween, and WAS NOT pleased to have my mother take my picture at school. I was mortified by this picture back then. Now? I think it’s hilarious! I embrace my awkward.
5. Don’t be Afraid of a Little Hard Work
This one hits close to home with me for sure. Y’all, losing weight is WORK. I figure most of you already are very familiar with this concept, but for those of y’all who aren’t, trust me, it isn’t easy. Trying to lose weight at a young age, with all your friends around you eating whatever they want? It’s difficult stuff! Reading from a few of my favorite blogs, I’ve come to see what brilliance can be achieved by dedicating a little time and effort towards something you feel strongly about. Do you want to lose 20 pounds? Do it! You can! Are you considering running a half-marathon? Put in the effort, and it’s completely possible! Most of the time, the reason why we don’t chose to follow through with what we start is because we have a fear of failing. Well, if you don’t try, then you’ve already failed. Put in some elbow grease, and it’s amazing what can happen.
6. It’s Always Coffee Time!
I think it is safe to say that I am a full blown coffee lover. As in, I have thoughts of ordering a t-shirt just to state my love of the drink. Every morning, I wake up between 6:00AM and 7:00AM just to enjoy morning mocha. I’m very specific about my coffee, and have a process that is followed precisely. What can I say? Coffee is serious biz! I can officially say that every blog I read has influenced my coffee love because of their adoration of the drink as well. Ya’ll understand me!
7. Cherish Those Around You
Cherish those around you. Think about that. This point right here, was probably the most important idea that I’ve taken away from blog reading. Every day, when I open my Google Reader and click on my morning reads, I always see at least one post discussing family, love, or friendship. It is so incredibly important to be with the people you love. I know this first hand; someone you care about could easily be gone in an instant. Let them know you love them every day.
My sister, Alyson and I. (I’m on the right) I love her dearly, and wouldn’t know what I’d do without my nugget!
Why I Chose to Start Blogging
I’ve learned so much from reading other blogs, and continue to learn more and more every day. I decided to start my own blog, because I know how much motivation I received from reading blogs, and wanted to make sure that motivation would still be available for others in the future. If I can just touch one heart, help one person, motivate one mind, then I’ve achieved what I’ve set out to do.