It’s Food Friday, and instead of showcasing a specific food, I wanted to focus on the importance of eating healthy foods. As I’ve talked about before, I didn’t grow up eating healthy foods. This made it especially hard for me as an adult to figure out how to feed myself. As a college student, I was forever astounded by the seeming plethora of beautiful, fit people around me. How did they eat? What did they do? Why couldn’t I look like that?
Because I didn’t know how to fuel my body, then, and even later, my primary method of weight loss was the deprivation method. I just wouldn’t eat. I was either too tired, too busy, too whatever. And guess what, even though I lost weight, I eventually would gain it back when I would go back to eating regular meals. On top of everything, my weight loss would always stall out around 15 lbs. EVERY TIME! Gah! Then, of course, I would eventually go back to eating regular meals, and I would gain that weight back.
This cycle, perpetuated by my own ignorance, meant I would never reach that nebulous goal of single-digit sizes. After all that, I’ve finally learned that the body does not like to be hungry. Contrary to what I thought, I actually needed to eat to lose weight. Who knew? All I was doing was losing muscle, not fat. It also explains the lethargy and the occasional unplanned food binges. I know so much more about fitness and nutrition than I did then, and it shows. My focus now is putting the right food, in the right amounts on the table.
For the most part, I actually enjoy eating healthy meals, and fueling my body with the nutrients it needs to build muscle and burn fat. I’m a total foodie, so in the beginning, I felt I was struggling against my foodie nature. But then I realized that enjoying food doesn’t mean eating three and four servings to prove how delicious it is. Sounds like a no-brainer, but things like this aren’t always clear when you are trying to figure out why you can’t lose weight. It’s easy to see overeating or not sticking to a diet as being weakminded, or even lazy and uncommitted. But it’s so much more than that.
The takeaway from this is: the battle of the bulge is not happening only when you exercise. The true battle for fitness is not in the gym, it starts in the kitchen, with the food you choose to fuel your body with, and the reasons you make those choices. Since I’ve started making wiser eating choices, I feel like a new person. I’m more alert, I have more energy during the day. My skin is clearer, even though I sweat like crazy during my workouts. I can attribute these things to cleaning up my diet and eating mostly unprocessed foods.
Eating healthy gives you more energy because your giving your body the nutritients it needs. These nutrients help maintain your immune system, maintain or build muscle, and reduces the risks for diseases like anemia and rickets. Eating more fruits, veggies, fish, whole grains, and nuts do a better job at filling you up, so you aren’t going to be as prone to overindulging in less-nutrient dense foods. Most importantly, eating healthy is one of the best ways to control your weight.
When we used to eat fast food 2-3 times a week, I look back and think how I seemed to be struck with some kind of malaise. I didn’t have the energy to do much but sit around and watch TV. I couldn’t make a commitment to myself then. But since then, I feel like I have done a 180 regarding my relationship with food. I like how I’m eating now, and I’m glad I didn’t wait any longer to change my life.
Have a good weekend, stay active, eat right.