You probably had no clue that in college I was unhealthy AF. I drank White Zinfandel wine almost every night, I nibbled my way through 14-hour waitressing shifts, I popped adrenals so I could party for endless hours, I looked in the mirror daily and told myself some mean ass shit. I was still running often and hitting the gym to burn off the “calories.” I would try to eat the magic 1,200 calorie number, I dabbled into Weight Watchers, I tried South Beach, I saved calories for drinking and had no clue what self love was…..I was just partying, working, surviving, living it up in all the wrong ways.
When I think back to college the memories are annoying- I clearly wasn’t happy with myself and the old photos prove it. On a positive note, I still had great friends, a loving family, a passion for fitness, and the openness to strive for better. As I was gaining weight, I talked my roommate into eating better, switching to diet pop (so gross now- don’t drink pop!) and hitting the running trail. I remember she gave me credit for her weight loss but honestly, she did it all. I just encouraged her and gave her motivation- I wish I would have encouraged myself at that point.
I should have realized what I was doing then, but I was too unhappy and drunk to notice. I wasn’t always drunk because I worked a ton. Like I said, I literally ate my way through the weekend. Just “tiny” bites here and there, but nonstop for hours straight. My go-to was “monkey bowls of wild rice soup” and lots of Diet Coke. I figured I’d burn it off because I’d literally run around serving tables, getting in plenty of steps. Oh, the things we tell ourselves to make us feel better.
Now, when some people look at my photos, they’ll probably think “you weren’t even big” or “everyone gains weight in college.” But the point here isn’t weight. I was definitely a lot softer, wider, fuller, had lower energy and was less educated in nutrition. People would always tell me, “you look healthy” I hated hearing that. I was far from healthy. Every day I’d search for the magic pill, the quick fix and I’d tell myself if I lose weight I will be perfect, OMG- Can you relate?
When I looked in the mirror and put on clothes, I was so negative. The self-talk was draining and, looking back on the amount of life I lost trying to be healthy when I was just sabotaging myself, is sad. At the time, I just didn’t know better. I was lost, clueless and filled with so many false beliefs.
I’d like to tell you, that when college ended, like magic I got fit af. But to be honest, I can’t pinpoint the exact moment I made the switch. The journey was more like turtle pace. I remember just one day saying NO more fucking pop. That helped! Then I started to read some self-help books. I figured out what foods made me feel good by keeping food logs. I had great days and then I’d have a setback. I focused a lot on feelings and it seemed the better I ate, the better I felt. This became so important to me. If I want to feel good, I have to eat good. When I felt good, I was happier. And we all know that when we are happy, we are more confident and life flows better.
As the years continue, I keep focusing on the feelings I have around food and how it makes me feel. I’ve come to realize the happier I keep myself, the better I eat. Food isn’t that important to me, happiness is. Food doesn’t make anyone happy, we make ourselves happy. I do things daily to keep my energy up. I move my body, I practice selfcare and keep the fridge stocked with nutritious food. Of course, I still have wine, coffee, some sugar here and there but- for the most part, I eat clean, every day, almost always.
I don’t follow a specific diet: I just eat when I’m hungry and pick healthy things. If I want a piece of cheese, I pick a good cheese and enjoy it to the core. When I splurge or party too hard, I forgive myself, make a big green smoothie, drink some celery juice, hydrate, sweat it out & MOVE ON. I’ve made grocery shopping a hobby. I love researching food, reading labels, learning about what nutrients help what organs or help digestion. I’ve become obsessed with gut health. I hang out with like-minded people and really smart “nutrition friends.” I drill them with question and take their advice! Follow my IG story, where I’m always sharing new tips I learn. And here’s something different: I send love to my food. At each meal, I practice gratitude for the fuel the food is providing my body. It’s giving me energy to be a happy, loving human that’s Living It Up!
Here are some tips to improve your intuitive eating:
- Start by asking yourself basic questions, am I hungry or am I trying to feed another emotion?
- Journal- write down how you feel before you eat, after you eat, maybe even while your eating- and then pay attention!
- Food log- pay attention to nutrient. Are you eating a variety of vegetables, fruit, protein and healthy fats? Are the foods you’re eating making you feel good?
- Are you eating enough? There is no magic calorie number!
- Sugar sucks! Read labels and see how much sugar you are consuming. It’s a real bitch to cut it out, but once you do, you’ll see changes
- Moderation- I seriously can’t stress this enough. Don’t label foods as good or bad, this will fuck up your mind. If you really want ice cream, pick your favorite ice cream, enjoy the shit out of it and move on!
- Consistency- Who cares if it takes a year to develop a healthy lifestyle. There aren’t quick fixes, magic pills or one size fits all diets. Make small changes, add to those changes, educate yourself, keep doing better day after day and develop a lifestyle you can stick to.
- Support- If you are struggling with your relationship with food and it’s decreasing your happiness for life, seek out help. Food can cause a lot of emotional pain and there are people out there that can seriously help. Don’t be embarrassed, the struggle is real.