Isolation gave me the opportunity to start living a healthier lifestyle

The Channels Opinion Pages | STAFF COLUMN

Cassandra Wilkins, Staff Writer

I binge-watched every TV show I could while eating anything and everything I wanted during my first week back home when quarantine started.

It was then that I realized I needed to make a change. I didn’t like how I was feeling about myself on the inside or the outside.

I took the time to work on myself physically, mentally, and emotionally and the pandemic became a time for growth for me.

Quarantine was the perfect time for me to make a change because I had no excuse for why I couldn’t do it, other than my own will.

Going through a lifestyle change is a different experience for everyone and you shouldn’t compare yourself to anyone else. It is important to do it for yourself and nobody else.

It wasn’t about the weight for me. I wanted to feel stronger and happier with myself without reassurance from anyone. It wasn’t until I got my mindset right that I saw changes on the outside.

One of the first changes I made was with my diet.

I am a huge sweets and desserts person and restricting my cravings has never worked. 

Restricting myself in the past led to buying a dozen cupcakes to eat all by myself in a single day, which led to feeling guilty for the rest of the week, and repeating.

My new approach is to listen to my body and think about how that food made me feel after I ate it. Ive started incorporating smaller treats everyday. This has been working really well for me because I feel satisfied instead of guilty.

I’m not saying that I stick to this perfectly. I do  still have those days where all I want is “unhealthy” foods. I’ve learned to accept that it is okay for me in moderation.

Staying home gave me the time to learn how to make my favorite foods. I could throw my own spin on it to make it healthier and to my liking.

Another change I’ve made is incorporating exercise into my daily routine.

I found a routine that works for me. It’s the biggest emotional change I’ve ever made.

Prior to the pandemic, I made lots of excuses for why I couldn’t exercise. It took lots of effort to prioritize my personal wellbeing.

It’s become a habit and part of my daily routine. I now look forward to going to the gym every day.

When gyms were closed I still tried to find a way to incorporate exercise while adhering to social distancing.

I was able to make a mental and physical shift once I changed my personal views on health and fitness.

But doing this during the pandemic has been an emotional rollercoaster.

I used to feel so guilty about myself when I “messed up” my diet or didn’t exercise for a day. 

But I’ve stopped beating myself up over the days where I just want to stay in bed and eat whatever I want, as long as I don’t do that every day.

I learned that it is okay to slip up every now and again. It is not realistic to have a perfect clean diet all the time.

So don’t beat yourself up about being perfect and have a treat here and there. It is OK to not be perfect.