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Confessions of a Former Junkfood Junkie

3 Jun

As a child, I was skinny as a beanpole and a very picky eater.  I didn’t fill out until after college, and I was still a pretty picky eater until high school.  I could eat whatever delicious disgusting “foods” I wanted and have no ill effects (besides my internal organs slowly becoming radioactive).  After college I got a desk job, and all that running to and from class calorie-burning was non-existent.  A few months ago I stepped on the scale and nearly passed out.  While I’m not overweight for my height, I am definitely out of shape and not at my healthiest.  I decided to go on a Personal Quest for Eating Right and Exercising.  (If I capitalize the letters, it makes it seem more important.

Now, I start a Personal Quest once or twice a year, and it often peters out when it becomes too a) expensive for me to justify or b) I break the routine and go back to my dark, delicious ways.  However, this time I have actually stuck with it for longer than I usually have, and I’m much more positive and motivated.  I’m about four months in, and it’s getting better each week.  Here are some things I did differently:

1)  I started slowly.  In the past, I tended to just jump in by going to the store and buy tons of fruits and veggies that I wind up eating half of and forgetting about the rest.  I bought a gym membership and went about four times and then kept coming up with excuses in my brain to not go, because I was embarrassed to go and be out of shape, not cute looking, and awkward on the machines.  I was also of the idea that all I needed really was to do cardio, weight-lifting is for the people that want to bulk up.  Instead, I incorporated buying a few more fruits and veggies and not quite as many junk food items.  Then, I can slowly incorporate healthy snacks instead of half a bag of Milanos.  When it comes to exercise, I work out at home with a few different DVDs that I like.  I work out in the morning, otherwise it won’t get done, and it is a combination of strength and cardio.  I’ve also tried being more active when I get home.  I know I want to just collapse on the sofa, but I will do some household chores that I usually leave for the weekend just to keep my body going.

2) I treat myself.  If you hate junk food, then you are amazing.  I am still working on it.  If I totally cut it out, I’ve found that I will just start slowly letting it back in because “I’ve been doing so great!  I deserve a reward!”  But instead of one or two small items it becomes a shopping trip filling with Pop-tarts and Pizza Pockets. (Wow, what’s with all my alliteration tonight?  Sorry guys!)  For treats and desserts, instead of the usual option I’ve tried finding healthier(ish) alternatives.  It’s a process.  Instead of a carton of ice cream, I’ve been buying Skinny Cow cones and bars.  Having  a bar or cone restricts the amount I can scoop into my bowl, I just take one instead of giving myself too much leeway.  Training myself feels totally silly but it’s working!

3) Cooking homemade meals.  Cooking homemade makes me know what I’m putting into my food, and the outcome is (usually) way better than frozen or packaged food!  Unless I screw up the recipe…then it’s gross.

I’ve basically had to go back to the basics, and treat myself as if I am a five year old that has no idea what is good or bad for themselves.  It’s gotten me to research organic foods, what foods claim to be healthy but might not be, and different alternatives to junk foods.  Maybe in a future post, I’ll share some of the products I love that taste great, in case anyone out there is trying so hard to eat better, but can’t quite come up with the right solution.

I haven’t lost much weight, but I have lost some inches.  I feel like I have more energy and I’ve found that I don’t like sitting for prolonged periods as much anymore.  I’m way more motivated, and I can feel the difference in my body.  Sometimes when I’m walking down the aisles I do miss chowing down a whole bag of Pirate’s Booty, but I’m so glad that I’ve started this!