Personal Health Journey

My personal health journey was definitely that, a journey. It didn't start off with salads and green juices. In fact, did green juices exist in the early 2000’s? My interest in health started more from a desire to lose weight. From a pre-teen age, I vividly remember being unhappy with my body shape, I wasn't a beanpole like the rest of the girls my age. Looking back at pictures now I wouldn't say I was overweight. I participated in team sports because I enjoyed the social aspect but also resisted school organized running and fitness events. I didn't enjoy being out of breath or pushing myself.

In high school, I got my hands on what information I could from magazines and I decided to eat less. The conventional wisdom at the time was if you were heavy it was because you were eating more than others. I envied my thin friends who were eating chips and cookies at school with no second thoughts. I was by no means as strict as I wanted to be, cookies, coca cola, chips, pizza definitely made appearances in my diet.

As I started my professional life I graduated to more mature tastes. Having access to the internet I devoured weight loss information masquerading as health and wellness. Articles like how to cut that extra 200 calories from your day, swap butter for applesauce in baking, cook with water instead of oil. I learned about calories in food, how to eat a high volume but low-calorie diet. Sometimes limiting myself to a cup of peas for breakfast, eaten slowly, almost pea by pea to make it last but always binging on the weekend by consuming family size bags of peanuts, jars of peanut butter and whole boxes of dry cereal.

On a positive note, I learned the importance of cooking from scratch, experimented with recipes. I also trained for and ran marathons in the years that followed. In my mid-twenties, I happened upon the book Nourishing Traditions that reset my focus from weight to health. It showed me the importance of eating real food in its natural state, limiting added sugar, not overdoing grains, nuts, legumes. I experimented with making fermented drinks and vegetables, soaking grains and nuts, making broth. I learned about quality pasture raised meats and more about organic vegetables. I started limiting processed products with additives and preservatives. I tested tolerance to dairy and gluten and found neither seemed to drastically affect me.

Now years later I am still on my health journey but with a different slant. I still focus on high-quality whole foods but allow myself more grace. I know that I prefer natural foods and happily choose them over junk but when I choose to eat something that doesn't fit the definition of perfect I allow myself eat and move on. I focus on eliminating the all or nothing mentality, not letting in those urges to binge on one thing until my stomach hurts. I try to listen to my body, letting hunger cues and cravings tell me what I need. After years of hating my body, comparing myself to others I choose to show it love instead, be grateful for everything it has done for me and where it has gotten me today.