Growing up, I ate whatever I felt like, whether it be junk food, fast food, or food that my mom cooked. As a kid, it didn’t cross my mind that I should be more mindful of what I ate. I thought I was invincible. But of course the older I got, the more I noticed what I ate had an affect on my body. I remember in high school, my mom and I tried a no carb diet for two weeks to lose some weight. It was brutal. I craved bread and rice ALL THE TIME and I didn’t feel satiated no matter how much meat and vegetables I ate. Let me just put it out there that I LOVE bread, like Oprah. After those two weeks, both of us were like NAH never again. We can’t live without bread.
Then off to college, I still wasn’t the most knowledgeable in food. Freshman year I ate lots of junk food and dining hall food which wasn’t the best either. It wasn’t until I moved into my own apartment that I began experimenting with food. It isn’t until you have to think of what to eat on your own that you are forced to learn to cook and look up recipes. It was nice to have roommates because we could share with each other our knowledge and cook food together. I already had some basic knowledge because my mom is a great cook and I’d watch her cook sometimes. Over the years living on my own, I became better and better at cooking. For the most part, I ate pretty healthy but I was still at the point where I was eating a lot more calories than I was expending.
Senior year of college was when I became more health conscious once I started going to the gym. At this point, I wasn’t really counting calories or really knew much about macronutrients. I ate the typical chicken, broccoli, and rice combo and occasionally swapped out chicken with salmon because I knew for a fact that these foods were the “safe” healthy foods I could eat. I didn’t mind eating the same things over and over again because they tasted delicious. Then I started seeing the changes in my body and noticing how much better I felt. Although I was eating healthy and feeling great, I was pretty hard on myself if I “cheated” and ate junk food – even though I knew what I ate wouldn’t affect me physically in the long-term.
I used to be envious of the people who had really high metabolisms. They could eat whatever they wanted and wouldn’t gain any weight. Luckily now that I am more aware of healthy eating and what it actually does for your body, I don’t feel the same way about those people.
I’ve been through stages in my life where I would try to eat as little as possible in hopes of losing weight to being very strict and counting calories to eating whatever I wanted regardless of the consequences. All these stages has taught me a lot about my own body and has led me to where I am now. For me, it’s about finding that balance and being in a good mental space where I’m okay with eating “less healthy” foods without feeling guilty, as long as it’s in moderation. The short period of time that I was counting calories really helped me understand portion sizes of various foods because in the past, what I thought was a small portion ended up being bigger in reality. I still have days where I beat myself up for eating too much junk food, but I am usually good about forgiving myself and telling myself to just get back into it again the next day. This is a lifestyle, not a diet and to me, even if I fail today, tomorrow’s always a new day to try again.
What’s your food story? I’d love to hear!