Guys, I’m going vegan.
Not really. Whilst I think it’s admirable and vegan food can taste amazing, I don’t have any plans to become a vegan or vegetarian (not just yet anyway). BUT, I do have my vegan friends to thank for re-igniting my love for healthy food (please see feature photo of this post for evidence).
As a former personal trainer and just a general health-nut, that’s a little weird to be saying.
Several years ago I was someone who weighed food, counted calories and watched everything that went onto my plate and in my mouth. I cycled through phases of different fads, diets and habits. I kept searching for what style of training suited me best at the time. I went from F45, to gym, and back again. I tried Pilates and yoga. I said no to refined sugar. I was obsessed.
But somewhere along the way I got absolutely jackshit of it.
I wasn’t sick of being healthy, but I was sick of the mental game food had on my mind. I tried to focus on my mental and emotional health instead, and for awhile, that worked for me. But eventually, I went way too far the other way, eating and drinking anything I wanted, shrugging off my old habits, saying yes one too many times to takeaway. Not training as often to not really training at all.
And then I got jackshit of that too.
I didn’t like feeling sluggish. I didn’t like the feeling of feeling uncomfortable in my own skin. I didn’t like when my clothes didn’t fit me anymore. And so, I tried to re-train myself. I tried to get back into good habits. And then COVID happened and everything just went ¯_(ツ)_/¯ … and honestly, I’ve just put everything on pause the past three months.
Then, a few weeks ago, we went up to Brisbane and stayed at a friend’s place. And not only are they lovely people (obvs, cos they’re our friends), but they reminded me of how creative you can get with food, whilst eating things that are innately GOOD for you. Speaking with them and ultimately grilling them about what they eat for every meal, I started to feel guilty (initially) and then inspired. It was like something clicked.
When I did our grocery shopping on the way back the next day, I went to town.
I loaded up our basket with loads of green vegetables, passionfruit and apples, coconut yogurt and turmeric tea, pine nuts, walnuts and hummus. I by-passed all my usual weaknesses without a second thought. There was no internal battle about umming and ahhing about a treat. I wasn’t even interested. And it was great. I haven’t felt that sense of determination and calm with supermarket shopping in a longggggg time.
It felt so nice to buy whole foods again. I got excited about filling my body with food that is GOOD for it. It felt so nice to remember how I used to treat my body, how it felt when I first learned everything I could about nutrition. I’ve been trying so many different ways to get back on track, and things started to tick again after hanging out with people who have such a positive relationship with healthy food.
It’s been several weeks since then, and I’d like to think I’ve tried to maintain a level of awareness about what I eat.
I’m re-reading That Sugar Book to remind myself of all the health reasons as to why consuming high amounts of refined sugar can completely fuck you over. Not only does it wreak havoc on your body physically, but it also puts you at risk of developing an array of diseases. It makes your skin look like shit and plays tricks on your brain. Sugar hits the same area of our brain that love does, that’s why when we try to cut sugar out, we feel so sad. Sugar is sneaky.
I’m reminding myself of why portion control is important. About why reading food labels is important (it’s something everyone should try and educate themselves on). I’m reminding myself to eat all of the greens and to stop with my carefree attitude of ‘oh one biscuit won’t hurt’ every bloody day whilst working from home.
The hardest part for me is letting go of the amount of beer I’ve been enjoying.
And the red wine (COVID did not help me develop good habits in that area). But I’m getting there. I’m going camping this weekend, so I know I’ll be consuming some. But as a starting point, I’ve cut down on the amount I’ve been having recently, reminding myself that I can’t keep blaming my poor choices on a pandemic.
I’m going to a sober lunch with my girlfriends in a couple of weeks (it’s a big deal for us) and now that my back is getting better (it decided to suddenly hurt like hell a couple of weeks ago), I went back to F45 today. I had to adapt a few things, but I did it. I’ve shared my thoughts and feelings about this with my partner so he understands what I’m trying to achieve. I’m reminding myself of how shit I feel when I have too much sugar.
I guess what I’m saying is, spending more time with people who have habits you wish to adopt and sharing what you want with those around you, can give you the boost you need to make changes.
Finding something that gives you a reminder or a new way of looking at things, can really help. Looking good in a bikini (whilst a nice sentiment) is not enough for me to make drastic changes anymore. Wanting to live a longer, healthier life for my family, free of illnesses and feeling like I need to nap after I eat a cupcake, are just some of the reasons for me.
Helpful tip for those playing at home: Don’t try and cut EVERYTHING out at once. Instead, maybe think about what you could do with MORE of (e.g. I need more green veggies, I need more protein) as opposed to, I need less/no sugar.
And maybe try coconut yoghurt (after you’ve checked the food label of course). I’ve been through two tubs of it because it’s DELIGHTFUL.