I’ve been around the block a time or two. Okay really? Not like that.
In regards to my eating habits. Remember the 90’s? The days of “as long as it’s fat free” you should be golden? Not so I found out. Eating loads of carbs that are “fat free” yet loaded with sugar is definitely not the way to go. I couldn’t figure out why the heck I couldn’t loose any weight? I was eating all fat free? I remember I would grab a low-fat bagel and a fat free yogurt everyday from the ala cart line at school. That was it. Oh man…
My dad would always harp on us about eating healthy. He’d come home from work to find us snacking on a box of twinkies and ho-ho’s. He would pick up the box and read to us all of the ingredients. “You see this? Partially hydrogenated oil? That’s one of the worst things for you.” He would get so bugged. All we would hear is blah blah blah. How could it be bad for us when it tasted so good? They had added 6 essential vitamins and minerals! It said so on the box!
It finally hit me in my first nutrition class in college. I remember thinking this is what healthy eating is! I realized my Dad was right. Twinkies and ho-ho’s will kill you off if you eat them everyday. Why didn’t I see this before?
I’ll tell you why. Largely because of what all of us are fed by the media. As kids, we watch commercials that tell us that “Trix are for kids!”. Then as teens all of our friend’s think Wendy’s is the place to be. Once we’re adults we’re fed the message of “You don’t have time to eat! Grab an energy shake and you’ll get all the vitamins and minerals you need for the day!” It can be very confusing.
After my realization of what “true healthiness” was I went a little crazy. I spent a whole year buying only very expensive organic food, eating strictly vegetarian and dumping flax seed into everything. I got burned out, it was too extreme for me.
As I said I’ve been around the block. I went from carb-crazy in high school to strictly vegetarian then my third year in college, I felt like I had found my balance. I found what worked for me and I was proud of my eating habits. I bought a few organic things here and there but my diet consisted mainly of fruits and vegetables. I was proud of my knowledge and felt good about treating my body so well. I identified myself as a “healthy person” and loved the fact that that was a large part of who I was.
Fast forward. When anxiety and depression came into the picture a couple years ago I lost my appetite completely. I had buying healthy food down to a science. I knew what power foods were, I knew a bunch of healthy recipes and my fridge was always full of fruits and vegetables. I know healthy I thought. The only problem is that I didn’t much if any of it. I would nibble here and there on a carrot or an apple, but it was so hard to do. Slowly I lost my balance and didn’t even realize it.
You see, not only have I been around the block with my eating habits, but with treating my depression as well. I’ve tried just therapy, no medication. I’ve tried just medication. I tried just eating healthy and exercising, no therapy and no medication and it worked… for a while. I felt like I had conquered it, I felt like that was the answer. I could control it.
Then I had a baby. I got so tied up in taking care of a screaming baby that I fell into thinking “I just don’t have time to eat, I just don’t have time”. It wasn’t a priority for me anymore. However when my therapist asked me about my eating habits. I was confident in telling her that I was doing great! I didn’t drink soda, I drank lots of water and I told her about my weekly shopping list. She was impressed. I’ve got that part under control I thought. But truth was I didn’t.
Here I am now and I’m happy to say that I’m getting on track. I owe a lot to my aunt. We went and stayed with her last month. She knows healthy and being around her made me realize that I didn’t anymore. How long had it been that I had a healthy breakfast? How long had it been since I’d even eaten breakfast? She makes eating a priority. After eating breakfast, lunch and dinner with her for a couple days I realized that I had lost that part of me and I wanted it back.
In dealing with post-partum I know that the best option for me at this point is to use therapy and medication. Do I want to rely on that forever? If I can help it, no. Taking medication is actually one of the hardest things for me to swallow. I still struggle on a daily basis to come to terms with it. For now, it’s working and it’s improved the quality of my life significantly. I’m grateful for it. Do I wish that eating healthy and exercising was a cure-all for me like it is for some people? Yes! I’ve tried it and it didn’t work for me. I had to humbly accept that maybe I needed to be open to other things. That maybe I needed more help, that maybe I couldn’t manage it on my own.
But I also believe that eating healthy is something you should always make a priority. ESPECIALLY if you’re dealing with any sort of illness! Like I said, I’m not saying it’s a cure all. I don’t believe that. However I also know that completely relying on medication and doctors isn’t the best way to treat depression either. Coupling them together with exercise has made a HUGE difference for me. Am I turning into a fin-attic again? Have I gone completely organic? No. But slowly but surely I am making small improvements that are making a huge difference in the way I feel.
I usually start my day out with what I call a “goolosh smoothie”. Prepare yourself this is going to sound a little weird but trust me, it’s good. My aunt showed me this. First put a half cup or so of milk in a blender. Next shred up some kale, chard or spinach, or all three if you’re up to it. Next put in a handful of frozen blueberries, strawberries or raspberries. Throw half a banana and some yogurt and turn er on! You can also add a bit of honey if you’d like. I LOVE THIS! Why? Because you get five fruits and veggies at once! Bam! Two minutes (I timed it this morning) and you’ve started your day off right. It’s my new favorite thing. I promise, you can’t hardly taste any of the veggies. Don’t get me wrong I love veggies but chard and kale are not something I particularly enjoy by themselves.
I’m still working on being more healthy throughout the day. Slowly but surely right?
It feels so good to say that being healthy is something that is becoming part of who I am again.