Most often when I write about my pursuit of better health, I stick to my running efforts. This is not because it is the only thing I do, or because it is even the most important thing I do for my health. It is simply because it is the most encouraging part of my health routine.
Let’s take a moment, and be honest. I am a 31 year old female raised in America. I have been told I was fat since I was in grade school. Now I am not complaining because I was in fact a tiny, waiflike creature, who was tormented into having a skewed belief of my looks. I was in fact chubby, and that chubbiness has increased with both time and circumstances. The part I complain about is the fact that I was treated as worthless by some simply because I was overweight. It was as though that was the worst sin I could possibly have committed in this world. My body, processing food differently from others, was a much worse flaw to have than cruelty to others, thievery, or even closed-minded ignorance. Obviously it would have been better if I had been drowning puppies or robbing banks; at least then I would have had something redeemable about me.
See? This is why I don’t talk about food much. It is too easy to be brought back to the anger and humiliation I experienced in the past.
Back to my point. Since I have been experiencing this lack of happiness within my body since childhood, I have been trying many different diets for almost twenty years. None of them have ever turned my into the six foot tall willowy supermodel others seemed to think I should be, and most of them involved eating a small variety of tasteless foods. It becomes a boring and depressing topic.
While I have learned many tricks for supposed healthy eating over the years, none have been particularly effective in weight loss. I’ll be honest, weight loss is not my main goal. I’ve been there, and it is not an encouraging place to live. I want to be healthy. I want to wake up and have the muscles and energy to go about my day, clean my house, run errands, play with my kids, go to school, and do my work without needing fifteen energy drinks to keep me moving. I don’t think it’s too much to ask.
Honestly, I know I can be healthy without being skinny. At the peak of my fitness, sadly almost two years ago, I ran a marathon. I was going to school full time, working full time, having my family, and running 30-40 miles a week. I felt amazing, but I was also about fifty pounds overweight. I know, some people might argue that I was probably not as healthy as I thought I was, but during that time I was given not only a clean bill of health, but managed to impress the cardiac specialist who ran me through a stress test. (It was a slightly weird thing involving severe chest pain caused by stress and a complicated family history with heart problems. Basically, my family and all of our doctors take any chest pain extremely seriously, and we get to do all the fun tests just to be sure.)
I was incredibly healthy, but I have one major health weakness, one that has contributed to my current health situation. I have a sweet tooth. It’s not even one particular food that I get a craving for; I love it all and am seldom satisfied by one piece. I don’t want one rice krispy treat, I want the whole pan. It is partly a question of will power (of which I don’t have much) and partly something that most likely goes back to those wonderful latent self worth issues from childhood. They really are the gift that just keeps giving, aren’t they?
So, with all of this in mind, my sweet tooth combined with my absolute love of having flavor in my food (it doesn’t matter too much what flavor, just something), I am making attempts to change how I view my food. I’m trying to view my food in it’s intended purpose, as fuel. Just as with a car, I run better on the quality fuel I was meant to have. Go ahead, try stuffing your gas tank with cookies and see if it runs. (Just kidding, please don’t actually do that. It is not a good idea.) The rule I’m trying to work on is simple; eat to live, don’t live to eat.
Of course, that doesn’t mean food has to be disgusting. It just means I am trying to keep it simple, and mostly things that are close to how they began in nature. For example, this morning I had a simple fruit and yogurt sundae bowl.
Okay, so it’s not very exciting. A sliced up banana, a few strawberries, and a container of Greek yogurt. I’m not a hundred percent sure what flavor the yogurt is. I’ve been buying it for a while, and it tastes fantastic.
The apricot was obvious, but I never quite got around to translating the other flavor. (Though, I just did for this post. Apparently it’s apricot-poppy. Very good.)
Anyway, that is my exciting healthy eating post this morning. I think it is now quite obvious why I don’t bother with that very often. Maybe I’ll do another one someday, with something more exciting than fruit and yogurt. Or maybe I’ll leave this topic to those with better recipes than I have in general.