Saturday, January 12, 2013

Journey to Health

If you know me well at all, you know that I am not a vegetable eater. Honestly, I am not a "anything good for me" eater.

I have spent the better part of a year not really paying attention to what I put into my mouth. I've tried a number of times to eat better and lose this excess weight and I always seem to fail. I'd have spurts of absolute willpower that would eventually wain and I'd fall off the health wagon. Instead of running after it and hopping back on, I'd sit in the road and watch it pull farther away while I wallowed in self pity eating my emotions.

First - I am a coffee drinker. Since I've been married, I've pretty much had a cup of coffee every morning (except during my pregnancy). Coffee in and of itself is not so bad, but pair it with flavored creamer and added sweetener (i.e. the only way I even like it) and its probably not the best option.

Second - I like soda...a lot. Since school started, if I had $.75 to spare, I would get a coke from the vending machine. I am well aware of these empty calories but always told myself I "needed" one to get me through the rest of the day.

Third - I love bacon, eggs, pork chops, mac-n-cheese, etc. Once in a while these things may not be too bad, but too much....not good. And I ate TOO much.

Before the new year, I really had resolved that I wasn't making any "health" goals this year. I wasn't going to be cliche. That was until I watched "Vegucated," another food documentary about the conditions that these animals live in (seriously, Netflixers, watch will open your eyes). At that time, on an almost daily basis, hubby would make delicious egg, bacon, and cheese breakfast burritos in the mornings. Delicious. But soooo not good for you. He'd fry up the bacon, cook the eggs in the bacon grease, slap it on a flour tortilla with some cheddar cheese and viola! We couldn't bear the thought of eating bacon after that documentary.

Since the new year, I am proud to announce that I have not consumed one ounce of soda and this week, I cut out coffee. I actually cut out coffee over the summer for a bit and I have found that juicing fresh oranges in the morning while going off coffee helps to cut down on my caffeine withdrawals tremendously. We have slowly been eating up the food we have in the house, including meat, because we do not want to waste it, but I am in the process of creating a month's worth of meal ideas that are more vegetarian. I wanted to go strictly vegan and tried that once before only to fail miserably. But I think I bit off more than I could chew. This time, I'm taking it slow, cutting out things here and there. But, my new mantra has been to get veggies in anywhere I can. I am on the hunt for decent "vegan" recipes so that if I find a vegan dish I like, I know that I can do this thing. Ultimately, I'd like to try and cut out as much meat and dairy from my diet as possible but if I do have to splurge on a dish with meat, I want to KNOW that it is truly organic (I simply don't trust store labels anymore). I have cut out my turkey and swiss sandwiches for lunch and have opted instead for peanut butter (natural kind) and jelly paired with carrots or an apple, etc.

My biggest victory moments so far have been: turning down Dunkin Donuts treats, leaving the red velvet cupcakes sitting on the table, not getting a soda when I had money for one in my pocket and really wanted one, going this entire week drinking a smoothie for breakfast (strawberries, banana, spinach, flaxseed, and almond milk) and my favorite: ordering a mediterranean veggie sandwich from Panera that was topped with tomatos, onions, peppers, cucumbers, feta cheese, and hummus...a combo I would have NEVER dared try. But I ordered it, tried it, and actually LIKED it! I really believe that God has done a transformation of my taste buds. I look at some of my favorite foods now and the thought of putting it into my mouth churns my stomach. So I'd say I'm closer than I think.

What's helping me most is not being consumed with the number on the scale. It's just a number and it does not define who I am. I am more concerned with how I feel on a whole. I think I can honestly say I'm enjoying actually eating healthy and I am not seeing it as a burden or inconvenience anymore. A heart attack or diabetes would be inconvenient...but eating healthy is just something I need to do. It needs to be life change.

So I guess I didn't make a goal for 2013. I made a goal for my life. I want to look, feel, and BE healthy. Even after I get to my goal, whenever that may be, I want to continue on this health journey. Perhaps it will enable me to help others and encourage others. That's what it's about anyway right? Paying it forward?

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