It is hard to imagine I was a lot heavier than I am now. I struggled with many eating disorders throughout my teenage years and early adulthood, so no wonder why it was easy for me to gain over 60 lbs in an abusive relationship that I just could not let go. That being said, I know now that I was not only physically unhealthy, but emotionally unhealthy as well.
Like many, I developed emotional eating to cope with the stress I was put under in that abusive relationship. Food was a nasty drug for me, forbidden when I was young and impressionable, and then a true godsend for me during those dark, lonely nights I had to spend alone. The problem with food, however, was I found myself often indulging in pints of icecream, followed by entire boxes of cookies. On movie nights, I loved to eat pizza, and would often shovel slice after slice into my mouth mindlessly watching the 2-hour flick. I did not enjoy the food, nor do I think I even tasted anything as I ate. It wasn't until my abusive boyfriend left with another woman, leaving me a single mother of a young child in an empty house and nothing in the bank when I realized i had to change. I picked myself up, as hard as it was, and I started over. I had to, not only for son, but myself as well. I finally got my priorities straight.
Looking back, I was a completely different person than I am now. I know now that my addiction to food stemmed from years of eating disorders from prior years. About three years of research into nutrition and health sent me into a world of self discovery and exploration. This is what I learned:
1. Listen to your body-it tells you what you need.
Much like a car, your body has warning signals to notify you when you are low on fluids, need an oil change, have an engine problem. Instead of lights, however, your body signals you in a different way. I will list those ways later in the blog. Learning how to read these signals will add years to your life and improve your health tramendously.
2. Eat from natural sources as much as possible.
Grabbing the heavily processed food is easy. A bag here, a drive-through window there and a vending machine across the hall....whatever happened to cooking it yourself? Ok, there is no time. Being a single mom who works two jobs and goes to school herself should know that, yet I have managed to start eating raw and natural more often than I did when I was in that horrible relationship. Like money, budgeting time is an important way to keep priorities aligned and to create a healthy balance with food.
3. Eat what you want, when you want to.
This may sound off the wall, especially if you read number 2. But it is true. Deprivation creates cravings. If you deprive yourself of fudge at a party one night, then you will eventually cave and have a huge block of fudge soon after. Same with anything else, deprive yourself of something and be doomed to crave it until you cave into it. It is best to always have what you want, when you want it. But with this rule comes another....
4. Add a lot of natural foods into your diet.
It is the new you, so now new foods too. Research grains, fruits, vegetables, and new cheeses. If it has more than 4 ingredients in it, try to avoid it. Cook simple omlets in the morning, grab an apple to eat for snack, have soup or a salad for lunch. It is okay to splurge on candy and snacks, remeber that no food is forbidden. But increase your number of food choices, and keep your options open. A variety of foods in your diet will decrease food cravings substantially.
5. Move it!
Just little movements add up quick. Parking farther away from the store, climbing stairs, and standing longer will all help. Another great way to shed pounds is to pick up the pace when you do move. Simple little things can quickly add up to improve your health and maximize weightloss.