Healthy eating equals healthy weight loss
by Jennifer Akes
(Chapmansboro, TN USA)
Me with my darling Karma
My story has a rather sad beginning. I lost my dad to a fairly rare form of cancer. He didn't fit the criteria for a "cancer" candidate according to his doctors and was only tested for that as a last resort when nothing else answered the question of why he was ill. He was diagnosed on a Friday and died the following Monday. Since it was a last effort to correctly diagnose him I was filled with questions. How can a healthy man with no previous medical issues die within a couple of weeks of getting sick. The answer was the food he ate. My dad was raised on a dairy farm but with a busy lifestyle he choose fast foods over traditional foods. He lived his life on the run in and the end paid with his life for those food choices.
When pressed for why he died his doctor told us it was his food choices. Burgers here and pizza there, and junk food everywhere. A snack of a candy bar or a coke instead of a piece of fruit or bottle of water. He practically lived on take out. I was determined I was not going to live out his legacy so I made an conscious decision to change my life and my eating style.
I began with a rule, if it don't grow that way I don't eat it. That means that the entire center isles of the grocery store became the off limit zone for my buying habits. I now buy fruits and veggies fresh and when they are in season. I buy locally and organic whenever possible and began raising my own food in containers and raised beds in my yard. I began taking stock of what I put in my body and very soon discovered I had more energy, healthier skin as well as I began to drop weight.
I have lost around 60 lbs so far from simply making a conscious effort to eat healthier. I am not starving myself or doing without. I am not exercising like a crazy person or only eating foods that end in Y on odd days. I am not limiting myself to only the foods I have grown up with. I have changed my diet and my life. I have even managed to quit smoking which is something I have struggled with for about 3 decades, and not gained weight in the process. And food taste far better now so I don't want to pollute that with the taste of tobacco in my mouth.
If I had one piece of advice to give it would be this. Eat what you want as long as you can identify it. Have you ever read the back of a boxed meal. If you need to, google the ingredients to learn what is in it, chances are that it isn't good for you.
I think many of us have lost touch with real food. We can join Jenny Craig and lose weight but if we stop eating that food we often gain it back. Losing weight and keeping it off is a change in how
you see yourself. It isn't just counting calories and making sure to get you basic food groups. It is about eating what we like and discovering foods we never knew existed. It is an adventure that can take us to places we have never been before.
It means having fun with food and starting a relationship with it and our bodies and knowing that we are doing something for ourselves. We are taking the bull by the horns and saying no more. I love myself enough to make this investment in being healthy and being active.
Being overweight often cost us more than we realize. It can cost us our health, our mental well being, and our self respect. Love the body you are in and stop looking at the scales. They are not an accurate representation of where you are in the scheme of things. Your weight and your age are only numbers. I am a grandmother of 6 and a full time student as well as work a full time job. But I make the time to eat what is right for me because it gives me the energy and mental clarity I need in my crazy busy life.
It is the decision to eat a salad topped with olive oil and fresh herbs instead of a big mac and large fries. It is the decision to drink a tall glass of chilled herbal tea over a soda. It is a decision I make every time I decide to feed my face, instead I feed my body and my soul. It is a life choice. I choose a life in which I want to be as healthy as I can in order to stick around for as long as possible for those I love.
But that is just my own personal story. Am sure there are lots out there, this is what worked for me.
That's simply amazing Jennifer! Eating lots of the good stuff and a bit of the bad stuff occasionally should be everyone's mantra.
I've never been overweight for this very reason.
Throughout my son's life, he's had real anger issues. The doctors wanted to put him on medications but I said NO. There was one doctor who told me I could control his anger with diet. She reminded me that the more fresh foods I gave him, the less likely he would be to have anger problems.
So I learned to give him more of the good stuff and less of the bad stuff no matter what. Through time and experimentation with different foods, I learned which foods triggered his temper and which foods made him more aggressive. That meant saying NO to McDonald's more often, no matter how much he cried or begged me.
Fast forward: My son at 22 years old, LOVES veggies and fruits of all kinds and isn't a junk food junkie. He prefers my home cooked meals and that's a REAL testament to the power of healthy foods!
Thanks for the story. It is fantastic what you have learned. You took proactive steps to get back your health and longevity! Kudo's a thousand times over!