A healthy attempt: pt 2

A healthy attempt: pt 2
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In part one of this essay, I introduced what I like to refer to my meat, bread, and cheese lifestyle. As a kid my mom cooked an array of meals, but those were the main revolving ingredients. My enjoyment for them continued as I had the chance to move out of my house and live in Chicago for school. It was during this time that my repetitive tendencies were brought to my attention. This led me to realize that even my breakfast preferences fit the criteria, with the exception of cheese:

-Bagel thins

-Bacon and egg sandwiches on toast or bagel thins

-Organic blueberry waffles

-Special K with red berries

I have similar feelings regarding bread in meals as with meat, it’s not as complete without it. Garlic bread anyone? My only breakfast exception is my smoothies, which I still make and upgraded.

My breakfast smoothie:

-1 Carnation Breakfast Essential packet

-1 cup of milk

-1 full banana

-3 tablespoons of Greek yogurt

-2 tablespoons of flaxseed

-Handfuls of ice

-Handful of other frozen fruit (mixed red berries is my current choice, blueberries included)

I also recently bought chocolate almond milk, which I didn’t care for by itself, so I just pour some into my smoothie. This has become one of my favorite breakfast supplements because I either go to the gym in the morning and want something light or work early and need time to wake up before I can have something more substantial. A smoothie allows much room for experimenting and options, keeping things interesting, something I need when trying to eat healthy. A week of just eating salad will stay that, a week.

One thing I keep in mind when trying to make better decisions, is I am not forcing myself on a diet, but choosing to live a lifestyle. I don’t tell myself I can’t have certain things, but remind myself there are better options. I will admit I was that girl who used to stare at my stomach whenever I passed a mirror, whenever I sat I fixated on how my body mashed together, constantly comparing myself to my friends’ bodies. My habits became obsessive; my journals became filled with self-conscious, self-deprecating language. Really what caused me to snap was how sick of myself I became. No one was going to change things for me. Only working out for a week and then stopping wasn’t going to bring me any lasting results.

After graduating high school, it felt as if a leash had been cut from around my neck, and I could breathe in a whole new way. A friend got me a guest pass at a gym and from there the changes were easy.  In the beginning, I broke my “can’t” rule by making exceptions for fast food and pop. No longer would I allow myself to go to:

-Burger King

-Taco Bell

-McDonalds

-Wendy’s

-Or drink any type of carbonated beverage

Truthfully, this was the easiest thing to do in the beginning when I first joined the gym. My adrenaline from the excitement of having this new place of escape fed my motivation. After two weeks I already noticed a difference-in my mood, in the way I felt physically, and in my weight. Cutting those items out made those ten pounds the most effortless weight I ever lost.  The only places I refused to give up were Portillos (c’mon we are from Chicago) and Chipotle.

The longer I went without going to those places and drinking pop, the easier it became to not want them. I stayed solid for about a year and brought my body to the healthiest place it had been since I was nine. After a year or so went by, I began to allow myself those things again sporadically, but found my body reacting negatively to it. Real food shouldn’t be causing those types of reactions just because we haven’t had it for a while.  Attempting to drink a can of pop usually results in a stomachache, and the restaurants on my banned list that used to bring pleasure now bring unsatisfied guilt.

We all have our cravings, and it’s good to treat ourselves once in a while, but moderation and drive to be active makes all the difference.  Coming soon in part three, the last section of “A healthy attempt”, I delve into the biggest influence on me making these changes and how health became a truer reality for me. More healthy suggestions will also be included for substituting certain ingredients and trying new ones.

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