I Stopped Chasing Skinny

I stopped chasing skinny.

The way we grew up, constantly being bombarded with thin is best, low-fat packaged foods commercials, unhealthy fad diets and supplements — and always being surrounded by marketing images, TV shows, and movies that portrayed a beauty ideal that what you weigh determines your worth — makes a major impact on your body image as an adolescent and young woman.

I spent the better part of my life chasing skinny in an unhealthy way. My weight always fluctuated, and every time it went down, I would get tons of compliments. Wait. Was I that bad before? That’s what it felt like.

Since consistently going to TitanUp Fitness for just over five years, it’s helped me break that cycle. It’s a hard mindset to break when it’s been a part of your life for so long. It didn’t happen right away, but when I started concentrating on the way I felt — getting stronger and focusing on my long-term health vs. the short-term quick fix — it really clicked. This is what I started to focus on:

Eating more and not restricting! You have to actually fuel your body. To sustain that muscle and have energy, you have to feed it. I try to focus on getting enough protein at every meal more than anything else. Any time in my life when I restricted a food group, I set myself up for failure. YES, I EAT CARBS!

READ: Finding Balance Between Food and Fitness

Focusing more on sleep. This has been a battle throughout my entire life. I’ve never been a great sleeper. But sleep is so important, and I’ve started to actually prioritize it and try to get at least seven hours each night.

Getting 10K steps a day. If you sit at a desk or laptop, this can be a tough one. But small 10–15 minute walks throughout the day can make a big difference. I recently saw a mom park all the way in the far back of Target the other day, and I said, “Getting your steps in?” And she gave me a thumbs up and said, “Gotta get em in where I can!”

Not comparing. You know that saying, comparison is the thief of joy? Be happy for other people’s progress, but don’t compare yourself. (Easier said than done, I know.) It doesn’t matter how fast anyone else is progressing in their journey. This is your story. Shift your focus to being better than you were the day before — small, incremental changes make a big difference over time. You don’t have to go to extremes, you just need to be consistent.

Setting a good example for my kids. I’ve seen loved ones struggle with yo-yo dieting (everything from Weight Watchers to quick-fix cleanses), and it affected the way I viewed diet and nutrition for years. I have become more aware of unintentional ways parents can cause disordered eating, and I’ve become more mindful about the way I speak about myself and food. I want my children to see me putting strength and overall health above fitting into a certain size.

Putting my mental health first. One of the biggest benefits for me has been the positive impact on my mental health. I just feel better when I move my body and challenge myself. I look forward to going to the gym every day because it’s the one hour I fully give to myself. It’s my time. I see my friends, I socialize and talk through things, I challenge myself… and then it’s back to the grind. And scientifically speaking, strength training has been shown to improve your mood, reduce stress and anxiety, and boost your brain health!

READ: Guide to Fitness and Health in Jacksonville

In all my years at TUF, my number on the scale has not changed that much. If I had solely concentrated on that or tried to weigh some unattainable number from my youth, I probably would have quit by now. What has changed is how I look at myself and feel in my clothes, my body composition, and the fact that I really don’t care about the number on the scale anymore. I’m done chasing skinny. I’m just going to be strong now.

Megan Kilis
Born in Jacksonville and raised in New Orleans and Houston, Megan attended college in Knoxville, then worked in Nashville. From her nomadic lifestyle grew a love for the beach, as well as a fondness for Cajun food and jazz, Texas BBQ, Tennessee football, and everything Music City. She is a work-from-home mompreneur with a passion for business, fashion, fitness, community, and all things mom. Having fallen in love with her parents’ hot plumber Mike in 2007, she married him two years later in her parents’ backyard. After their spunky curly-haired charmer Kingsley was born in February 2010, Megan decided not to return to her job. While spending time as a stay-at-home mom, however, she realized that Jacksonville was lacking some important resources for moms–so in August 2012, she asked her friend Vicky to join her in starting Jacksonville Moms Blog, now Jacksonville Mom. Megan loves learning more about her city; connecting with other moms, as well as connecting moms with one another; and discovering new local businesses. As the blog has grown, so has her family: in May 2014, she and Mike welcomed a spirited baby boy named Britton. When she’s not working on Jacksonville Mom, you can find Megan sweating it out with other moms, shooting skeet with Mike, or running around on the beach with her energetic duo!


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