Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Health or an addiction with food?

I always considered myself a healthy person. Of course, I grew up in the South and I know there is an unhealthy stigma attached to that. Growing up, I did eat my share of fried catfish and cornbread as well as sweet tea which was a staple in my home. But, my mom did cook- we didn't have the weekly run to McDonald. Going out to eat was a privilege. Eating what mom put on the table was a must. Sodas and snacks were also an extra treat.

When I was in high school (I think it was then), my dad had some test results come back that pointed to the fact that he needed to change his diet. I think this is when I really started thinking about health and wanting to be healthy for my own future. My mom began to grill and steam everything we ate. Yes, we still had sweet tea and we still ate things we shouldn't have, but we were on our way.

College began for me and I ate my share of pizza- the staple college food. But, I didn't gain the freshman 30 because I walked everywhere. Both of my majors - design and elementary ed- had the buildings located the farthest from my dorm. My dorm room was on the third floor- no elevator- and laundry was out back in another building. I also began to exercise and do aerobics with my room mate and another close friend who was in training for her career in criminal justice. She really pushed me sometimes, but it felt great to work out and exercise.

When Gary and I met and were married, I began another journey into fitness- martial arts. He had been in martial arts in college and I wanted to do it too. I felt empowered - the class I took Gary down was an event to remember. We did this for a while at our local YMCA. One summer (teacher's have time off, but husbands don't) I was bored. I decided to meet the goal at the Y of making it to a certain number of classes so I could win a T-Shirt. I did aerobics, Pilates, Yoga, etc. and I met my goal.

Moving to Georgia brought another form of fitness. I was amazed when we first moved here at how many people were outside exercising- cycling, tennis, swimming, etc. At first, I thought this area was just more healthy until I realized how much cooler it was outside than in Mississippi. In MS, exercising outside in the summer is asking for a heat stroke!!

I loved this new concept. I also enjoyed shopping for groceries. There were so many more healthy options in grocery stores and at restaurants. We didn't have to eat at McDonald's or fast food places if we wanted to eat out.

Gary and I both got into tennis and working out with a trainer. We both began to drop the pounds. That wasn't enough though considering I still was diagnosed with PCOS. This began another journey with my addiction with food. I went to a nutritionist and she gave me certain foods to eat. I shopped and filled my pantry. Eventually, I got to the point I was so bored with food and had no appetite. I began to analyze everything I put in my mouth to the extreme. I never really drank soda, but I loved my coffee. It drove Gary crazy- WHAT? WE CAN'T EAT WHITE RICE ANYMORE? ARE YOU CRAZY? We switched to brown rice, whole grain pasta, whole grain bread. Everything was whole grain and sugar free. I even went to the extreme of cutting out butter, salt, salad dressing, etc. Our meals were blah and boring and I began to lose any appetite I had left. Oh and to make matters worse - no caffeine during fertility procedures. What!! I get up at 5:30 and deal with children all day. How will I manage??? I began to obsess over my food intake. I was also very ANGRY. Why when I was "healthy" did I have insulin issues? I was doing everything I could. I made it a point to beat this and get off the meds permanently. I wasn't going to have a dependency on medication the rest of my life. What did my doctor know anyway - she was overweight too. Alas, I did get off of the meds. I was healthy once I began to eat again normally (still following the nutritionist's rules). After I detoxed my body of the sugar and bad stuff I was eating all my life, I actually began to feel better. Getting off of coffee was hard, but I did it and I am on decaf to this day.

I know this was a little wordy, but I want people to see that to be healthy should not be an obsession. Do your h/w. You can eat healthy and eat food that tastes great. I had to learn that a little ice cream here and there was okay. I didn't need to punish myself. I felt very angry throughout this time period. I felt I was being punished. After all, people who were very unhealthy were still getting pregnant weren't they???

But- lesson from all of this-- Eating healthy did not need to be something I was doing just to get pregnant. It wasn't a given anyway. I needed to get healthy for my future. No dieting - just a lifestyle change. I am still eating healthy and now I am trying to eat more organically and clean. We have a garden out back and we are making a lot of better choices as to what we allow in our bodies. It didn't help us get pregnant, but we are on our road to better health so we will possibly live longer and have the energy to get more out of life.

1 comment:

  1. Update on this part of my life: Come to find out, I really did have a health issues. I still wonder if it could've been brought on by the stress of the journey (marriage, moving away from family, etc.), but that doesn't matter. As of last year, all of my health issues made sense when I was diagnosed with Hashimoto's Thyroid Disease. I actually really do have to watch what I eat now. Because my immune system is so broken down, my body can no longer (and my nervous system/adrenals) digest and break down certain foods. I am now gluten free, dairy free for the most part, soy free and corn free. I am also not supposed to have coffee, but then again..... I also have had some health issues with my back due to a wreck Gary and I had when we were taking D to his first doctor's appointment when we were still in Chicago. A man ran a red light and hit us. I never had my back checked and 3 years of being a mom took its toll. I am still recovering from this, but I am on the road to healing. I feel better than I have in a really really long time. It feels great to have a diagnosis and treatment that works.