"The foods we choose make a difference."
Do you love food? Me too! I love to eat. Whether it's preparing a delicious meal at home or heading to my favorite restaurants, eating is one of my favorite forms of nourishment. Just like oxygen and water, we need food to survive. However, food has made a huge transformation over the last century by introducing additives, genetically modified organisms and countless ingredients in processed foods that are tough to pronounce and sometimes digest. I just counted about 40 ingredients in a Kellogg's Nutri-Grain Bar. This is considered a healthy option for breakfast, as the tagline on the box encourages us to "Rise and Thrive!"
Let me be the first to say I am not a health nut. As I already stated, I love food, so I indulge in pastries and fried foods to the delight of my tastebuds. However, I have been more conscious about how often I splurge on foods that carry little nutritional value but provide a party in my mouth. I noticed a few years ago that I had packed on too many pounds and became sluggish throughout my day. I admit that I was avoiding exercise, but I was also not monitoring what I put in my body. I simply gave up on taking care of myself physically. It did not help for my mental health either. I felt like crap physically and mentally.
My wake-up call was when my XL clothes stopped fitting me and I struggled getting out of my car. I would grunt while doing it! 😬 I made a commitment to start eating healthier and return to a regular exercise routine. I decided to limit my intake of sugar and meat, while replacing my breakfast bars with protein smoothies. I focused on eating more fruits and vegetables and less food that's packaged in boxes. My rule was, the less ingredients the better. It worked, as I was able to lose 50 pounds (22.7 kg) over the span of six months.
I vowed to not gain that weight back ever again and I'm proud to say that I have been able to maintain my healthier weight over the past few years. Even when I slack with my exercise, especially during the winter, my healthier diet helps me keep off the excess weight. I don't miss my pleasure foods since I still indulge, but I have grown to really enjoy fruits, vegetables and other food without all the ingredients. The best part is I feel better and it has become much easier to maintain a healthy weight. We don't have to become strict vegans to benefit from a healthy diet. Sometimes, it's simple modifications that can help us look and feel better.