My first guest post is from Phoebe B., of Sycamore CrossFit. I find her story is encouraging and inspiring and it has been so much fun to watch her go through this journey.
Nutrition is a vital part of health. It effects how we feel both physically and mentally. We can be aware of how important healthy eating is and still have a difficult time changing our life and our habits, but our excuses will never outweigh the benefits healthy eating can provide us. I had an incredible struggle making a change in my nutrition.
It took a long time for me to decide I needed to change my eating habits. When I was in college, I didn’t notice the effects junk food and fast food were having on me. I wasn’t really gaining weight. I was accumulating fat, but not a lot. I just assumed that if I wasn’t gaining weight then what I was doing couldn’t be bad for me. Boy was I wrong! I was drinking 3-4 cans of coke a day and going out to eat very often. I didn’t feel good. I had all sorts of stomach issues, and instead of looking at what I was eating as the culprit I just assumed I was “sick” or had some sort of health issue. I did, but it was because I was filling my body with junk!
I eventually realized I had to change my eating habits. The first big difficulty I had with this was that food had become very social for me. When I wanted to hang out with a friend, we would go out to eat. It became an expensive habit, but it was a way to connect with friends. I just couldn’t find the will power to say no. I eventually had to realize that there are other ways to spend time with friends. I have often offered to cook healthy food for friends at my home and it is usually greatly appreciated.
A second major struggle for me was figuring out what to eat. I was under the impression that as long as I made my own food at home it must be good for me. I would eat a giant plate of pasta with garlic bread and a little sauce and think I was doing great. I didn’t think about making sure I was eating protein and getting carbohydrates through vegetables that are filled with vitamins and minerals. It took me a long time to realize I needed to eat real food that lived and breathed or grew out of the earth.
Food had become a drug for me. The thing that really made a difference for me was having a support group. My husband is the owner of Sycamore CrossFit and the big change occurred for me when we did a healthy eating challenge. The competition aspect made a big difference for me as well as having the support of all my fellow members. I needed the accountability! I began to realize that food had become just like a drug addiction for me. I would eat something I knew was bad for my body and health. Afterward I would feel terrible both physically and emotionally. But the next time I had to make a choice I thought about how amazing it would taste. It really is an addition.
Finally changing my eating habits has made an amazing impact on my life. I feel better! My stomach issues have all but disappeared. The only time they really show up is when I indulge myself in a cheat meal. I have also noticed physical changes. What you eat is your fuel. My dad always says, “Eat to live; don’t live to eat.” I have seen amazing changes in the tasks I can accomplish physically and how I perform at the gym from changes in my eating. I still encounter a lot of difficulties. I still have friends that want to get together by going out to eat. I have learned to make the best choices I can and I always feel better afterward.
I am lucky that I have never struggled with an eating disorder, but I have definitely struggled with food addiction. I recently celebrated my first anniversary of quitting coke completely. No, not the drug, but I consider soda just as much of a drug. It’s no wonder we struggle with food addiction when the things they put in their products as well as their advertisements are designed to keep us coming back for more. I do not judge anyone for unhealthy eating. It is a very difficult choice and an uphill battle to eat healthier and change your life, but I promise you will never regret the times you ate something healthy.
Nutrition is a journey. There will be forks in the road, a LOT of forks in the road. When we reach that fork, we need to think about the consequences. Food is a drug. Food is an addiction. The unhealthy food might taste good right away, but when it wears off it was almost never worth it. When we reach the fork in the road, we must remind ourselves of the benefits of making the right decision.
“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”