My Quest to Eat Healthier

Let’s face it. A lot of us who make a living working in front of a computer screen all day don’t exactly have the best eating habits. For me, keeping a well-balance diet has been difficult (to say the least) for my busy lifestyle, but I realized my unhealthy habits are taking a toll on my health. I’ve been feeling a lot more tired, have constant headaches, and I know I know I could lose a few pounds so I’ve decided it’s time. Time to eat healthier, exercise, and break some bad habits.

My bad habits include stopping at fast food restaurants on my way home from work due to not having much time to eat at work and becoming too hungry. Also, heading out to them when I need a late-night snack. Sometimes I find myself stopping for a basket full of barbequed chicken with sides of mashed potatoes, buttermilk biscuits and a large Coke to down everything. I guess you can also say I’ve become an emotional eater, but now my eating and bad habits are taking over my life and my health.

A few days ago, I sat down with a friend of mine who’s a certified nutritionist to come up with a healthier eating plan. However, she also recommended I see a therapist for emotional support since my eating habits stem from my emotions. Well I didn’t see a shrink but we discussed healthier habits for replacing the bad ones I have developed over time.

One of the healthy habits I’ve started doing is writing down what exactly I’m doing/feeling when I’m craving some no-so-good food. It seems to be helping a lot to just get stuff down on paper. I also started doing exercise in place chowing down food when I have a craving, such as going for a swim, hiking, or taking my dog Charlie for a walk. I do find I spend less time “emotionally” eating by doing stuff like that. I used to play all sorts of sports back in high school so I soon realized exercise is actually something I really enjoyed. I shelled out some money for a pair of running shoes for my bad back and started walking daily. My goal is a to complete a 5k run next summer.

As far as my healthier eating plan my friend and I came up with, it’s going well. I stick to creating meals around whole foods such as dairy, fresh vegetables and fruits, lean proteins, seeds and nuts, and whole grains. When I feel the need to stop for fast food after work, I visit the grocery store instead and pick up a piece of fruit or some veggie sticks with a single serving of milk to drink. It’s been much healthier and has actually been helping me lose weight. However, I still have my days when I feel the need to stop for some fast food. On those days, it takes everything I got inside me just to stay away. I have slipped up a few times already, but I’m always able to get back on track fast.

Best of all, my back is feeling better and I’m no longer having to use my neck traction device which I’ve been using since a bad car accident over a decade ago. That was a huge bonus. My chiropractor told me because of my change in diet, it may have also reduced inflammation in my neck as it did for my back. It’s crazy to think just how much of an effect food has on our bodies.

I’ve also learned that staying away from the middle aisles in the grocery store is key to eating a healthier diet with foods that actually nourish my body. I’ve learned that junk food only makes everything worse and healthy foods will actually heal my body so I have less behavioral issues such as mood swings and depression. When you nourish the body you are actually nourishing the mind and you do become less emotional, which helps with staying on track. Well, at least that’s what my nutritionist fried told me. The best thing in all of this is that because I helped her move a couple months ago, she agreed to provide her services for free. That was awesome news once I learned how much they charge.

My best advice to give those struggling with a busy lifestyle and emotional eating is to get help from outside sources so you can get the support you need to get your life and health back on track. Whether you get professional help or just spend some time Googling, you’ll learn a lot about yourself.