You want to eat better. You do the research. You hear people saying “eat this don’t eat that” and try to figure out what exactly it means to eat healthy. You want to eat right because you care about your health…but how do you know if you’re eating right for your body?
When I was in college, I ate whatever I wanted. I loved sweets especially. As it tends to happen in college, I started to put on the freshman 15. Pinterest was still newer, and one of the first boards I created was for workouts. I didn’t actually have a desire to workout, but I knew I had to lose the weight I felt so uncomfortable about. I thought I was becoming unhealthy by gaining weight.
Exercise was the first step. The other thing to do was eat less. I thought food was calories, and I needed to stop eating too much to be healthier.
So I was in a cycle for a few years – I would put in effort to lose a few pounds, go back to my norm of no exercise and eating what I wanted, start to gain the weight back, and repeat.
Then nutrition hit me in the face. I started to look at food videos on social media and saw a video one day about aspartame. It’s an ingredient in diet products, like diet soda and flavored waters, that is associated with side effects, including increasing your risk of developing Alzheimer’s later in life. My grandpa passed away due to complications from Alzheimer’s, so this had my attention. I started to do more research, and it hit me that the food we eat is more than just calories.
So I decided to go all in on eating healthy to take better care of myself – it was a bumpy road to say the least. I wanted to eat all the right things. I made the choice to start with my sweet tooth. My sugar cravings were out of control and thought to regain that control, I just needed to cut out sweets, that sugar was bad for me.
When I say eating healthy, there’s probably particular foods that come to mind that you think you should eat. For me, it was the idea of superfoods. I started to eat all the green things like lots of broccoli, spinach, and kale. I’d have a smoothie for breakfast every day with something green, add fruit (because we always need more veggies and fruit), and more superfoods like flaxseeds and chia seeds.
I was proud of myself for taking charge and eating better! But I started to have stomach cramps, gas, and bloat. I Googled it (of course) and read that it was normal when you eat healthy to have those things happen.
I pushed on because it was good for me. I kept wanting to learn more about foods I should be eating. I was convinced for a period of time that carbs were bad so I started to eat so much cauliflower. We’d have cauliflower rice, cauliflower mashed potatoes, cauliflower tater tots, and I’d roast cauliflower. Again, I thought it was a superfood.
I become obsessed with learning how to eat healthy and wanting to do it the right way. I decided to go to nutrition school, where my mind was blown to learn what it means to actually eat healthy…
Eating healthy is so much more about how you feel than what you eat. I learned to listen to my body! The things I thought were normal like gas and bloat were actually my body telling me it didn’t like how I was eating.
When I started to eat for my body, everything changed. I was able to stop feeling uncomfortable about my weight. I realized I had more energy. But best of all, the sugar cravings I thought I would live with forever were a thing of the past. I used to think eating was just something we had to do – that eating healthy meant forcing yourself to eat certain foods that have been deemed better for you.
You get to eat better so that you can feel better! Every body is different, so there is no right or wrong way to eat – only what works for you.
Here’s 5 ways to know that you’re eating right for your body:
1) You wake up feeling hungry.
Not waiting until lunchtime to eat.
2) You have all day energy.
No afternoon crash.
3) You don’t crave sugar.
You enjoy sweets without feeling guilty.
4) Your mood is stable.
You don’t feel irritable while making dinner.
5) You’re full and satisfied after a meal.
You don’t binge eat and regret it after.
I used to think the right way to eat was just about the right food. It doesn’t matter what you eat if you don’t feel anything but your best. Really, all you have in this life is your health! You have the power to listen to your own body. That’s how you end the fear and guilt around food; that’s how you find confidence when you look in the mirror.
If you’re ready to deep dive into healthy eating and listening to your own body, get started with my free No-Nonsense Guide to Healthy Eating.