Food for thought

Food is definitely the love of my life. Hm, let me try to rephrase that… food and I have had a strong love/hate relationship for many years now. Ok no, how about…food has always been a major focus in my life and just recently, I learned that if used properly, nourishment can be a wonderful part of your life rather than a burden that brings guilt.

Like everything I will discuss in this blog, balance is the underlying theme. I have gone through many different “phases” when it comes to food and none of them were healthy until now.

  • Early high school– I could eat anything and everything and stay the same weight. It was glorious. I was living off cheeseburgers, fries dipped in gravy, I’m pretty sure my blood was 75% Pepsi, and none of it seemed to cause any negative effects outwardly. Looking back, I was constantly tired and had no energy to do anything but talk on the phone and watch TV (this could have been from my diet oooor the fact that I was a young teen…I’m going to go with a mix of the two)
  • Mid-high school- Attention from boys brought on new insecurities about my body. I have always had body image issues and having others notice my body (even in a positive light) caused me to focus on my looks way more than necessary. I was suddenly aware that I couldn’t continue eating the way that I was and remain a twig. Instead of taking the healthy route and changing my diet, I decided that diet pills would be the answer. How wrong I was! Not only did I remain lethargic and tired, I was now jittery and permanently cranky thanks to the addition of these pills. Cut to senior year of high school where I decided to ditch the pills and up my intake of calories and fat. Why? Who knows. I think the phrase, “youth is wasted on the young” should have been in a permanent bubble over my head with an arrow pointing down.
  • College- These years were probably the worst for me concerning food. It became such an important factor in my life: it was my entertainment, my focus, my comfort. I enjoyed eating thoroughly and especially in times of stress or sorrow. I had no concept of calories/fat/nutritional value at this point, I only knew taste/volume/full factor. I was on an unhealthy track to weight gain and a mental struggle with food guilt.
  • Nursing School– I moved from Georgia to New Jersey in 2008 to live with my family and start nursing school. I made new friends, got a new job babysitting, and started to actually feel more comfortable in my skin here. I was having the time of my life and couldn’t be happier. With the new addition of my very fun group of friends came partying, drinking, and a lot of late night eating. I was having fun though, so it didn’t matter. It didn’t matter until…nursing school started. During school I started struggling more with my eating habits and thoughts of food. Stress for me=food. Nursing school=stress. See where I am going with this? haha. I started to compulsively eat when it was time to study and would immediately feel regret and guilt after. You see, being a nursing student means you are suddenly made aware of the nutritional aspect of food, importance of vitamins and minerals, and of course the many problems that food can cause. It was a vicious cycle and I couldn’t break free! Learn about healthy food and habits, crave bad food and give in to destructive habits, feel guilty. I started to become very aware of what I was putting into my body and also the extra jiggle I started to accumulate. Cut to my last year of nursing school.
  • Last year of nursing school– this title might as well be renamed “one hot mess”. My eating habits were now out of control. I was limiting my caloric intake to 1300 calories or less a day and aiming for an hour workout 4-5 times a week. I was tired, cranky, and most of the time hungry. This worked for a while but obviously, your body knows whats best and when you are hungry it tells you to eat. By depriving myself of food all day, I ended up bingeing at night. It was a sight to see, that’s for sure. Ice cream, cookies, cake, chip sandwiches (two chips stuffed with chocolate), pretty much anything I could get my hands on. I justified my behavior by saying “just one bite” and was quickly named “the Forker” by my family. They made jokes but didn’t really have a clue what I was dealing with at the time. I went from 148 lbs in the fall of 2009 to 134 lbs in May 2010. Keep in mind that I am 5ft8in. I was pleased with the way my body looked but deep down I knew what I was doing was wrong.
  • Post graduation-this title could have also been called “enlightenment”. I let out a big sigh of relief when I think about this new part of my life. Thanks to self-realization as well as stumbling upon numerous food/fitness blogs I forced myself to really focus on what I was doing to my body. It wasn’t healthy and I needed to change. I started by incorporating more vegetables and fruits. Next I started to add more whole grains and fiber. Last, and the most difficult step for me, was the addition of healthy fats. It took a lot of convincing myself, but I am finally ok with the idea that adding fat to your diet (as long as it is healthy) is actually a good thing for you. These few steps were the beginning of my journey to a balanced lifestyle.
  • Currently-Ahhh, I love this part. Currently, I am not struggling at all with what I eat. Balance is key. Everything in moderation. Do not deprive yourself of the things you love. Food should be a source of energy, nourishment, and yes, it can still be fun! I have recently started to really enjoy healthy eating. I frequent Whole Foods, Fairway, and Earth Fare whenever possible and really enjoy trying new healthy recipes. I am not focusing as much on calories, but more on nutritional value. I am also letting myself enjoy the foods that I was scared of for the last year (chips, cheese, my grandmother’s cooking) in MODERATION. I keep track of what I eat on myfitnesspal.com mostly just to avoid absent-minded snacking but also to keep track of my weekly fitness. I really enjoy creating balanced combinations for my meals and feel so satisfied knowing that the food I am giving myself is actually good for me. This new part of my life is so exciting and I can’t want to continue it. This blog will act as a way for me to track my progress as well as share my story with others. I hope you enjoy it!
  • The new “Currently”: My life has COMPLETELY changed in the last two years. As far as food goes, I don’t really give it much thought. I went from being pregnant with twins, to breastfeeding, to being a stay at home mom….all of which require extra calories haha. Now that the twins are 7 months old, I am just starting to get the itch to eat healthier again. My husband feels the same way, so we are working at it together…very slowly. My focus right now is just on being happy, so I will blog about what I eat only because food makes me extremely happy, not too inspire anyone….for now haha.
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