Healthy eating and living are crucial to wellness, both physical and mental. However, this
is easier said than done, especially to someone that has an unhealthy relationship with food. That was me just a little under a year ago. I was slightly overweight all my life and grew up in a household where McDonald’s, Coca Cola, and other fast food was the norm for at least 4 days a week.
After I graduated high school my weight gain was out of control and soon I was a
5foot2inch, smallframed girl who weighed 180 pounds. I tried fad diets and sporadically went to the gym in hopes for a miracle weight loss transformation, but eventually would get
discouraged after 2 or 3 weeks with no results and continue my unhealthy way of eating,
especially with so many fast food and taco places near my university.
Not only that, but emotionally it was hard seeing myself the way I was and I consistently wore exclusively hoodies and leggings, even in the summer. The anger and resentment I felt towards myself manifested into a bingeeating habit that made everything so much worse. Getting active was enough of a challenge, but the food was my weakness in getting the weight off.
Finally, something clicked. This past July, I had a family member in the Navy recommend
me to join after college to pay for medical school. I decided to go into the recruiting center to get my questions answered and to see where I stood physically, knowing full well that I was going to be too overweight to join. The recruiters were actually really supportive and encouraged me to lose 15 pounds through a special diet, and to come work out with them once a week.
For a little while, I did this but didn’t see much improvement. Finally, I went on my own diet after reading online about a ketogenic meal plan that essentially removed carbohydrates and sugar from my diet. It was brutal at first and I was tempted so many times to give up but pushed through it. I kept in contact with my recruiter as the weight slowly fell off, and before I knew it I lost the 15 pounds I needed.
However, this wasn’t enough. I knew that in high school I weighed under 120 pounds, plus I felt like a new person after improving my eating habits. I had so much energy for the day, I no longer craved candy and other sweet foods, and the thought of bread or pasta made me gag. I kept at it, without a single cheat day or meal, and finally reached 120 pounds in December.
Along the way, I got a ton of support from family and friends, and am currently helping a few others lose weight as well. This was definitely my proudest accomplishment in life, and I’m determined to keep the weight off by continuing a lowcarb (but not ketogenic) diet.
When people think of “diets” they usually picture juice cleanses, sad desk salads, and
other fad diets that feed you just enough not to starve. However, with proper attention to calories consumed vs calories burnt, dieting is not a miserable experience. In fact, it is the best decision I’ve ever made because of how it changed me not only physically, but mentally and emotionally.
How Healthy Eating Affected My Body
Luckily I enjoy all low carb meals that I make so this is something I can see myself following for a lifetime. Healthy living feels so much better than any food can taste, and the mental clarity and body confidence it’s given me has greatly improved my life more than the weight loss itself has. For this reason, I think it’s important for everyone to take an interest in physical fitness, not just those who are overweight. I can remember how sluggish and tired I felt all the time before I began, and thinking there was something wrong with me. Now I can attribute it to my binge eating habits and lack of exercise.
As for community education, I strongly believe that people respond best to personal stories. Everyone who asks me about my weight loss is always shocked to see my before pictures and then will ask me how I did it. I think if there was some sort of public speaking event it would get people’s attention, however, the hardest part would be motivating them to stay
committed. Of the friends of mine who quit, it was almost always because they were the only
one in the household and felt like it was pointless always having different meals than everyone else.
Although I’m the only one in my household who lost weight as well, I did find a ton of
support from online communities of people who had been doing keto for much longer than me, to people who were just starting that day. It felt good to be able to learn from others and then pass that information to newer people who needed the advice. Ketogenic diet or not, weight loss is an incredibly difficult journey but so full of rewards. Anyone who doesn’t mind a challenge should try to commit to a healthier lifestyle.