My Journey with Healthy Eating
Quote of the day: “ Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” ~Albert Einstein
This is one of my favorite quotes ever. It’s not just for healthy eating, or how you style yourself. It’s about everything in life. Granted habits are not necessarily bad. But if you are wanting a change, (and I believe every part of us should evolve over time) then you must do things differently.
While I’m not a registered dietitian or medical doctor. I am a retired dentist who treated bodies not just teeth. That along with the fact that I LOVE to learn about how the body works give me some knowledge about healthy eating.
My Early History
Maybe it would help to give you some of my history about food and my weight.
This is where I am going to embarrass my mother. Not on purpose, but it’s an important part of my history. I grew up with what I’d consider a normal mother of the times. You know, the kind that wore a girdle in the 1970’s, who weighed herself every day, and called herself fat. (At least that’s how I remember it).
So it would be impossible for me to not grow up the same way, right?
Therefore, in college I became bulimic. Not for super long. Deep down I knew it was wrong. And gross. And terrible for my body. But it was the thing to do. Of course, part of this was because I gained 20 pounds in college. Who doesn’t?
Fast forward to adulthood. Now I am armed with a ton of medical knowledge from dental school, but it was the “no pain, no gain” push that was marketed. So I obsessed over working out and getting fit.
Needless to say I have somewhat of an obsessive personality. Just ask my mom when she taught me to use scissors when I was 5 years old. I practiced with them SO much that day that I got blisters on my hands.
Or ask my husband when I learned to play Candy Crush. I’d be on that game every chance I could get. Heck, just take a look in my closet, and see how I spend my money.
So it shouldn’t surprise you to know that I’ve obsessed about my weight, food and work outs almost my entire life. Of course everyone’s definition of obsessive is different. I think I hid it pretty well, and it’s not like I’d go on a “diet” all the time. It’s just something that was always a lingering thought in my head. EVERY DAY.
In fact, I remember when my best friend was fighting cancer, and she asked me what I was doing that evening after we went shopping. And of course, I said we were going to work out. She asked if working out was more important than spending time with friends. And I didn’t know how to respond.
Now? I would definitely choose spending time with friends. But that was a different time.
The other way I learned about food and healthy eating was our personal trainer we had for 10 years. His name was TJ Pierce. This is not a sponsored post in any way, shape or form. But he’s an educated personal trainer with a ton of common sense.
Healthy Eating with Diet
Common Sense. Gosh, that seems like the thing that gets forgotten when everyone talks about diet. It just kills me when you read an article about new diet practices. First you give up eggs. Then eggs are okay. Now you give up carbs. Then carbs are fine.
I feel like it’s not rocket science. Just eat real food. Not processed food. Not chemicals. Just real food. Sure, it sounds easy when I put it this way, but we are busy, and it’s hard to change our habits.
Have you ever seen a photo of my husband when I first met him? He was 30 pounds heavier. Granted it’s not all my doing that he’s much healthier now. But changing his diet was huge.
And since some people write an entire book on this subject, I’m just going to give you 3 tips.
1-Read the ingredients on EVERYTHING.
Sounds like a lot of work, right? It is. At first. But pretty soon, you know what to look for, and you know which brands/products are good to eat. If this is too daunting at first, start small.
What are you looking for? First, try to get rid of those extra sugars and chemicals. Do you recognize the words? If not, your body probably won’t be able to recognize and use it either.
Take for example snack bars like Vegan Liftz reviews. There are only a few that we buy. Lara brands is my favorite because most of them only have like 5 ingredients.
And bread. Dang, they put a lot of crap in some of the breads and bread products. Salad dressings? It’s better to use oil and vinegar.
Don’t be fooled by anything. One time we found that the “natural” version of something had sugar in it whereas the “regular” version didn’t.
Now this doesn’t mean we NEVER eat sugar. But when we do, we eat the real and good quality stuff. Make sure it’s not a byproduct like one of those “ose” ingredients.
2-Be Reasonable—Give yourself Grace
As our personal trainer used to say, go by the 80/20 rule. Meaning, work hard on eating “real” food 80% of the time. But give yourself grace.
Or as one of my patients used to say, “Everything in moderation, including moderation.”
If you are celebrating or going over to friends, that is not the time to obsess over every little piece of food. Have a piece of cake. Enjoy life. Sure, you can still focus on mostly healthy eating, but be realistic.
And we all overindulge at times. That does not mean you have failed!! No one is perfect. It’s like when I buy a the wrong size clothing because it was the best deal ever. That doesn’t mean I don’t know what I’m doing. I just got caught up in the moment. And I try to learn from it and move on.
3-Portion Size & Meal Planning
Obviously, how much we eat makes a huge difference too. And this could be the hardest part for many of us. I know with Rob, he used to get upset when I’d suggest sharing a meal at a restaurant. If he’s worried that we won’t have enough now (which never is the case), we always say we can order more.
I’m sure you’ve all heard that most restaurant servings are 6X the size of what we should eat. Even when we take home half of our meal, it’s still probably more than our usual.
For us, the meal planning is key. We are busy, so if the veggies aren’t already cleaned and cut so we can just grab them, then we probably won’t eat them.
Since this post is more about healthy eating, I won’t go into exercise too much. Suffice it to say I do think the Einstein quote is valid for working out too.
Our personal trainer used to ALWAYS reiterate how we should change up our work outs because it’s better for your body. If you do the same thing over and over, you are also more apt for damage due to redundant movement.
As for my obsessive personality, I’ve finally learned to have grace with this part of my life too. I embrace kinder and gentler exercises now. And that’s a good thing.
It’s one of the reasons, I’ve enjoyed the online yoga I talked about earlier this year. I can choose all different kinds classes that work on different body parts. Personally I think most of us underestimate stretching, and how important that can be to our overall health.
1-Food is thy Medicine
To me it’s just plain silly if don’t realize that what we put in our bodies is going to affect us some way, some how. Again, not to obsess over it, but just to have that thought in the back of your head.
Funny story: I remember talking with a patient one day. She was commenting how she NEVER eats anything green. I was shocked. Never? She said, she just didn’t like green things yet she was absolutely convinced that it did not affect her health. Now I didn’t counteract her statement. It wasn’t my place. But this patient? She had MS.
So while we do eat out at restaurants weekly, I think you can still concentrate on healthy eating. Most of the places we enjoy use fresh ingredients and real food. Which is quite different than many fast food places.
Like I talked about in my Perfectly Imperfect post, we will be much happier if we embrace our bodies. Trying to be perfect with our diet seems as impossible as being perfect with our bodies.
Therefore, we shouldn’t be so judgmental towards others OR ourselves. For example, I have been shamed for my weight back when I was heavier and even now for being “skinny.” Most people don’t realize that I went through a period of losing weight not by choice. In fact, we were very scared that I might have cancer. Luckily, things have stabilized for me, but you never know what people are going through.
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