Tuesday, August 25, 2009

My Rollercoaster Ride with Being Healthy

There was once a time in my life where I could honestly say that I had not eaten fast food of any kind for about 3 years.  No chicken nuggets, no french fries, no cheeseburgers that came from a restaurant with a drive-thru.

I was a serious "health nut" as they say.
Organic - check.
No processed foods - check.
Triple Osmosis filtered water - check.
I even had a filter in my shower to remove whatever yuckiness could go into my body through the city water.   I used the stone crystal for deodorant, herbal wrap detoxes, all natural colon cleanses, I was completely dairy free for awhile, I can skim the labels of food to find yucky additives in seconds flat - the list goes on, y'all.   

I hadn't tasted a Big hamburger, that begins with an M and ends with a C, in about 5 years.  Maybe more.

Then I got pregnant with my first child.

The cravings I had were unbelievable.  I used it as a license to eat whatever I wanted. 

Here I was in a 12 week natural childbirth class with a nutrition plan that was perfectly laid out to feed me and my baby into optimal health.   Yes, I had my first child without one single drug - I told you, I was a nut.   Anyway, I was not only eating everything on that plan which was A LOT of good whole foods, but I was suddenly eating every piece of junk food I could get my hands on.   

Hubby loves to tell the story of when I was about 7 months pregnant and  he walked into the office where we worked together -  the office where we distribute a line of products designed to help people eat healthier - to find me eating a Big hamburger, that begins with an M and ends with a C, large fry and large coke.

He asked me,"Is that what I think it is?" 
"Yes, it is." 
"Can I have a bite?" 
"Don't even think about it."
And so began a new love affair with fast food.   I feel it only fair to tell you that I gained...get ready for it...80 pounds during my first pregnancy.  80. Pounds.  It took me over a year to lose that weight.

Losing it, of course, included not eating any more fast food.   I also ended up with Ulcerative Colitis.  I don't know what to attribute this to other than my eating habits taking a nose dive during the pregnancy. 

Now fast forward to having two kids and being a busy mom.    Let's face it, getting fast food is often just easier.  The kids are hungry and time is short.   Over the last few years, I have fed myself and my kids fast food more than I would like to think.

So here I am the last couple years, cooking pretty healthy at home but often running through a drive-thru with my kids. I even allowed some processed foods to come into my home because they BEG me at the store.  I feel like I've been sending them a mixed message. 

So, the time has come for a change...again.   For one, it's really not within my new budget to spend money on food that is anything but nutritionally sound.   Secondly, my health and my family's health is just that important.

Am I completely finished feeding my kids fast food?  Well, no.  I'd like to be but they still ask for it and sometimes it just is the easier option.  I would say that rarely is more like it.   And we try to make better choices about what kind of fast food we eat.   It is not all created equal. 

What I learned from this is that eating healthy is a habit.  It starts with one good choice and leads to another good choice.  And another and so on until eating healthy is just part of who you are.

The same goes for eating unhealthy.  It starts with one bad choice (I was pregnant for crying out loud - who can blame a pregnant woman?!?) and leads to another bad choice.  And another and so on until eating unhealthy is just part of who you are.

The crazy thing is that eating unhealthy is a lot easier of a habit to get into than eating healthy.  The sugar in processed foods is like a drug to our body.  I once had a holistic nutritionist tell me that she felt sugar was a worse addiction than heroin.   Since I have never been a heroin user, I just can't fairly say.    But if she is right then it would go to prove why it is so hard to get off of processed and fast foods.  We become addicted to them.   And like any addiction, it damages our body.  Luckily, we have amazing cells that can rebuild themselves quickly just by eating healthy again.  Whew!

So, yeah - I'm on the wagon again.  Going back to some of my better habits and trying to eat healthier.  Picking up some tips from websites and bloggers and reading up on some current health issues.  Back to the basics, ya know?  Since I've been down this road before, I really feel like I can recognize a fad or a trend in health.  And letmetellyou - there are many. 

I have one final word of advice about nutrition that I've gathered in my rollercoaster ride of healthy/not so healthy eating.  Moderation is absolutely the key.   Changing your eating habits overnight will most likely set you up for failure.  But eventually, what you think you could never live without will not even taste good to you anymore.  So, take it slowly and savor the new choices you are making.

Okay, that is all.  Now where is that chocolate...dark in it's purest form, of course.  ;)

*I must put this disclaimer on here that I am not a doctor or a nutritionist and you should always follow your own doctor's orders or make educated decisions about your own health.  Anything stated here are simply my own experiences and opinions.
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Tracey said...

I am with you on this! I recently did a series on my blog about small steps I'm taking to help myself and my family eat healthier. As you say, it's all about choices and I'm hoping to teach my kids to make the healthiest choice.

The Mommy said...

This is such a great post! I'm trying to eat healthier and do a few lifestyle changes right now.

melaniet42 said...

Fantastic post! I eat fast food for lunch way too often. I only take my toddler to ChickFilA once a week. Thank heavens she doesn't realize what a hypocrite I am yet! Little by little I am trying to head the "healthy" way too. Starting with dinner foods, then breakfast. Lunch will probably be the last to become healthy for us, because I've never been good at lunch....

jen@odbt said...

Great post. I think we eat healthy for the most part but my challenge will come when school and soccer and all the other after school activities start. How to provide a good meal without hitting the fast food places.

Sarah said...

I to am adopting a healthier eating plan. I know full well that I will fall off the wagon. However I will not stay down in the dust and dirt. I will rise and climb back on.

Kristin said...

I have a really had time with lunches - especially the stuff I pack for the kids. Would you share what types of things you pack for your kids to take to school?

girlymama said...

good for you!
i'm embarrassed that my son's favorite meats are either in 'nugget' or 'dog' form. need to work on this.

Jaye @ canadian-mom.ca said...

Great job losing the 80 lbs - I gained 60 myself and am still trying to lose it (I gave birth 9 months ago). I try to eat healthy also, it's pretty easy once you detox yourself of all the crap first.

Hillary @ The Other Mama said...

You have succinctly laid out the story of my life. I feel like I have KNOWN how to eat healthily for about 4-5 years, but have slowly gotten back into the HABIT of eating unhealthy or EASY foods. Thanks for the reminder and encouraging words!

JanMary said...

Hope your healthy eating goes well - I am sure you will all benefit.

Janel@Dandelion Dayz said...

I also gained 70 in my second pregnancy and I ate a whole lot healthier because I did not want to have to lose it all again. I think some women are just prone to gaining more weight during pregnancy.

Taking small steps is key for sure. I find that when I try to overhaul my family's diet in a hurry they resist me a lot more.

My favorite fast food is ChickFilA - I feel like they try to do most things right as far as their industry goes.

Jen, I find activities very difficult, too. I think most parents do. Inevitably, we end up eating out some of these days.
hmm... good idea for a future post.

Musings of a Housewife said...

"Luckily, we have amazing cells that can rebuild themselves quickly just by eating healthy again." -- That is the really amazing part. What a wonderful Creator we have!

The Fritz Facts said...

There have been so many times that I have tried to clean up our eating habits and failed for that same reason, to much at once. It takes time, and that is what we are doing now.

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