What I want to talk about today is diet. It wasn’t until a year or two ago that I actually knew what I should and shouldn’t eat. I would look at all the fad diets, and be completely closed minded to anything that was even healthy. Growing up I never had a healthy diet either. My family would literally get take-out food every day for dinner just because it was easier than cooking and trying to force feed me vegetables. When I moved out of home, it didn’t change very much either. It wasn’t until I meet my partner that I even tried a piece a fruit that wasn’t an apple! I’m not even kidding. The only piece of fruit I have memory of eating is apples. That is pretty sad.
12 months ago I got a personal trainer who I saw once a week, and he taught me a lot about different exercises I could do to help burn fat and tone the body. We then got discussing on my diet, and he gave me a diet that I should try and eat. When I had begun it, it was so different to what I was used to eating that my body basically went into shock, and I felt incredibly sick. It was high protein and very low fat, low carbs. Nothing like what I used to eat. I was so frustrated with how I felt and having no idea on what I should eat that I seeked help from a dietitian. She gave me very good advice that I will always cherish and helped me gain a lot of confidence in my developing my new healthier eating habits.
What I used to eat.
- McDonalds, at least 5 times a week
- Soft drink every day
- Chinese food
- Handful of vegetables once in a blue moon
- Chocolate milk and Milo (an Australian milky drink)
- Alcohol at least 2-3 times a week
- Lots of bad snack foods
- Large amounts of pasta
- No breakfast
- Ice cream, chocolate
I can’t even finish this list because I could go on forever. To top it off though, I was barely exercising. After I stopped playing after school sports I was slowly becoming chubbier everyday. As you can imagine, it got to a point in my life that I realised I just had to stop eating like this because I was just ruining my body. What I was putting into my mouth made me feel good enough until my next meal, but that time frame between meals kept getting smaller and smaller, to the point where I was snacking regularly between large meals on things like soft drink, bad snack foods and lollies. I would look in the mirror and hated what I saw. I even begun to stop fitting into some of my clothes, and it wasn’t because I was getting smaller either.
One day I just had enough. The day I thought I needed to change my ways was when I bought a large KFC meal for lunch. I ate in all in 15 minutes. When I had realised how fast I inhaled my food, I cried. I felt so much anguish and hatred for my eating habits that I physically broke down and cried. I just had to change what I ate.
What I eat now.
- A variety of fruit
- Lots of vegetables
- Lean meats
- Small pieces of dark chocolate occasionally
- Sugary treats rarely
- Fast food on the rare occasion
As you can see I still eat some of same things before I changed my eating habits, but I don’t eat them as frequently. Fast food now isn’t places like McDonalds and KFC, but local pizza places and take-away restaurants Usually about once every couple of weeks I’ll have pizza or indian food. Occasionally I’ll have some bad snack foods like lollies and chocolate, but my chocolate will normally be dark chocolate and one or two pieces about as round as a coin, and I’ll normally eat a handful of lollies at the cinema or if my partner has bought a packet just as a treat.
I’ve switched from white bread to wholemeal bread, which did take a lot of getting used too. I grew up eating only white bread, so switching bread types was a huge step once I accomplished it. I can understand it can be very difficult. At first I would make sure toast was something I ate at breakfast, and the bread I used was wholemeal (I prefer Bürgen bread). When I had salad sandwiches for lunch, I begun having white bread, but made sure it was high in fibre. Eventually I switched that to wholemeal bread.
For breakfast I love having vegemite on toast (as most Australian’s do) and a bowl of warm oats or cereal with low fat milk. Sometimes I’d also have an apple. For lunch I would have a sandwich with either ham or chicken, lettuce, tomato and cheese, or a chicken salad, which would be made up of lettuce, tomato, a small amount of cheese, and carrot. For dinner it would be 150g of lean meat, half a plate of vegetables, which mainly consisted of green beans and brocolini (and if my partner wasn’t fussy on his greens, asparagus and snow peas), and a very small serving of potatoes. If I did have potatoes with dinner I prefer to have frozen or sweet potato chips, but would limit it to only eight chips. As you can tell with dinner I get very specific with my portion sizes, but this is only because in the past I used to have McDonalds instead for a meal, and to feel like I have more control over this meal, I measure my portions carefully.
Snack food will be either fruit, or a fruit smoothie, a small handful of nuts and sultanas, muesli bars, and a small piece of chocolate. I limit the chocolate to once a day, as it’s hard to give up. My fruit smoothies will be made out of lots of berries, a banana, bio-dynamic organic plain yoghurt, and a small amount of milk. When I make it, I try to make about 500mL. Any left overs I will give to my partner as he loves fruit smoothies.
As you can tell my diet has changed a lot from what it used to be, but it took a very long time to get this far. I can absolutely understand that changing old eating habits is very difficult, especially if your addicted to junk food like I was. My advice is when you decide to make the changes pick a meal to start with and stick with it. Even if it’s something like including breakfast in your day. Making that one small change will help create a domino effect for the rest, but you have to make sure that you continue to make those gradual changes, even if it takes you a couple of years like me.
One more important thing to remember is to exercise, sometimes when we eat it’s because we are either very emotional or bored. Emotional eating is like your bodies natural reflex to a stressful situation. Your stressed, you turn to food to comfort yourself from the stress. Eating because your bored, just means you have nothing else to do, so you decide to snack to occupy your time. To stop this from happening, exercise. You’re stressed out; save your emotional appetite for a long walk or run, or when you visit the gym. You’re bored; get up and get moving, find something to do. If it’s too late at night to work out, then read a book or study. Find something that does not involve food to occupy your time till you sleep.
I hope this helped! Good luck.