Monday, November 2, 2015

NaBloPoMo Day 2: Dieting/healthy eating

Today is the 2nd day of NaBloPoMo and today I'm talking about dieting and healthy eating. Specifically, my journey with it.

Like a lot of people, eating healthily is not something that necessarily comes naturally to me. I was a picky eater growing up. We ate a limited range of food in our house which contributed to the problem. For example, I never had mayo until I was in high school. I don't think I ever ate a salad until I was older (12? 13? 14?). We tended to eat the same things all the time, and a large portion of what we ate was breaded and/or frozen. We also always, always had junk food and pop. It was always a regular part of my diet.

Me and the KFC Double Down: a match made in heart attack heaven

I stayed more or less thin through high school but when I moved out on my own at 19, I quickly gained about 10lbs. From there my weight rose each year. I didn't cook much in my younger days, I preferred the same stuff I ate growing up: frozen dinners, chicken nuggets, and fast food. I always thought eating healthy was for losers. I figured I was going to die anyway, might as well enjoy myself while I can. For awhile, I even sneered at runners outside, although I think part of that was I was jealous I couldn't run, too.

Fortunately I have a decent metabolism and never got too overweight, although I do think slow weight gain made it harder to care about my weight slowly increasing.

I'm not sure what made me come to my senses in 2009. That summer is when I started working out consistently. I think when I saw myself start to lose weight, I wanted to help it along by eating better as well. By that time, I knew several people who lived healthy lifestyles and I had come around and realized they weren't losers, they enjoyed being healthy and they were all the happier because of it.

In 2010 when I moved home to Ontario, I was down about 20lbs from the year before, but I gained it all back and then some because I had access to fast food. Not to mention, Anthony and I would go out to eat all the time.

In 2013, we were both hating how we looked felt and looked in photos and started eating low carb. We both saw success with it, and I even had to go out and buy all new clothes.

Happy ending though, right? Not really so. I've been finding that the effort to eat well makes it hard to think about anything else. I end up becoming obsessed with food and feeling like I'm in a constant state of deprivation. I feel consumed by food (instead of the other way around). I would have several days in a row of eating perfectly, but then I would end up binging on food all day long and feeling intensely guilty the next day. I'm smart enough to know that all of that is very mentally unhealthy. I also realize that most of my motivation to eat well is for my physical appearance, but that shouldn't be the main reason I eat well.

I'm not really sure why I struggle so much, but I've found it difficult to balance between eating in a way that doesn't cause me to gain weight and eating so well that I'm a mental wreck. I try to tell myself that instead of hard restrictions like, "20g of carbs or less per day," my goal should be things like, "When given options, make the healthier choice."

I don't think I'm there yet, but I'm working on it. I definitely can't and don't want to eat the way I used to. Crappy food makes me feel sick and I love the way I feel when I'm eating well, but I still have a mega sweet tooth. I do think part of my problem is that I have a mental image in my head of how my body should look, even though it would likely be difficult to achieve and maintain. I don't think I've come to fully accept the fact that the compromise of looking "ideal" isn't worth all the pain and suffering. I think I need to find a place of "good enough." Maybe that's a pathetic, defeatist way of handling my problem, if it even is a problem. Maybe society created this problem for me. I don't know, and that's really the best I can say before I drone on too long and miss NaBloPoMo Day 3.

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