Three of the things I’m most passionate about in life are my husband, my kids and our health. My whole life, I knew I wanted to be a wife and a mom and while those are the hardest things I’ve ever done, they’re definitely the best. I want my family to be healthy so they’re around for a long time; and I want to be healthy enough to enjoy the long journey with them.
I’ve been chubby since the day I hit puberty. I tried counting calories, eating low fat, eating low carb, and exercising like crazy. My weight never changed. I fit into the same pants at 30 that I did at 15. Then I had a fabulous friend point me in the right direction. Rather than focus on weight loss, I started focusing on health. I stopped counting calories, measuring portions and shopping for processed, low-fat food. Instead, I started eating real food and cutting out the things everyone agrees are bad like processed sugars, hydrogenated oils, white grains and artificial coloring and flavoring. The change in our entire family has been very positive. Not only have my husband and I lost weight, but our overall health is better. We rarely get sick, I stopped having the migraines that began when I was 11 years old, my son and I have seen huge improvements in our anxiety, and we all have more energy and drive to be active. Life is overall, just better.
Don’t get me wrong. Making the change from the food industry’s version of “healthy living” to eating whole, real food was not easy. It took time, planning and a lot of sacrifice. It meant saying “no,” to foods when I wanted to say, “yes.” I remember one bit of tough love a friend gave me that pointed me in the right direction. I asked her, “How can I do this when I love to bake so much?” She told me, “This is a change and whether or not to change is a decision you have to make.” She was the first person who made it clear that this was going to be hard work and involve sacrifice. Any diet or weight-loss group that tells you it will be easy and you can still eat the foods you love and be completely lethargic is either lying to you, or trying to sell you something that will not improve your overall health. Being healthy requires work and sacrifice…. and a lot of cutting boards, I’ve noticed. I still love to bake and have treats, but I’ve learned to do it in moderation.
The day my daughter was born, I vowed I’d never say the words, “I’m fat” around her. I didn’t want her to grow up thinking a woman’s value was measured by her waist line. Instead, I wanted to teach my kids how to be healthy. Along with my husband, we teach our kids the importance of exercise and good nutrition. We exercise together, cook together and talk about the positives and negatives of food choices. I was so proud when my son asked for an apple after a hike the other day, claiming he “had a headache and thought he should have whole food rather than processed, artificial flavoring.”
Now I can dedicate my time to making myself and my family the best we can be through health, prayer and spending time together doing positive, uplifting things.