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POSITIVE STORIES

The stories below are meant to inspire and give hope to those in need of encouragement. If you have a story of your own that you would like to share, please click below.

An Unhealthy Cycle

by Cynthia

When I was younger, I had very good eating habits and maintained a healthy weight without much effort. I never worried about my weight, or my food. I ate a balanced diet, stopped eating when I was full, and got plenty of physical activity. Around .....read more...

When I was younger, I had very good eating habits and maintained a healthy weight without much effort. I never worried about my weight, or my food. I ate a balanced diet, stopped eating when I was full, and got plenty of physical activity. Around the time that I reached middle school, though, I began to lose confidence in my abilities, and eventually, in my appearance as well. My self-esteem really began to plummet when I contracted several illnesses, and began to miss lots of school. I felt that I was not a good enough student, daughter, or friend, and I wanted to improve myself somehow. I made the decision to try to lose weight, thinking that it would make me look better and feel more confident. I had no idea that something as simple as eating would soon become the main focus of my life!
I went on my first diet when I was in seventh grade, and this was the first time I ever paid close attention to my food and calorie intake. The diet was completely unsuccessful, and I felt even more ashamed of myself for not achieving what I thought was such a small goal. I fell into an unhealthy cycle of limiting my calories very low in an effort to lose weight, eating slightly over the limit, feeling upset for failing and breaking my own rule, and bingeing on food to try and ease my stress. Needless to say, doing this over and over again didn’t make me lose any weight at all. In fact, I actually gained about 15 pounds after just a few months of this eating pattern. This was mainly because I was growing taller, but regardless, it made me feel even worse. I was still in the healthy weight range, but my confidence was at an all time low. Several times, I felt so guilty about overeating that I tried to throw up my food, thinking that it would end my guilt! When I finally managed to do it, though, I realized how unhealthy and dangerous it was, and felt even more guilty than before. I promised to never put myself through it again, and I have kept that promise to this day.
A few months after that, I decided to just stop my attempts to lose weight, and instead focus on my schoolwork. I figured that once I finished eighth grade, I would have time to create a plan for losing weight that was healthy, and not so restrictive. Unfortunately, I soon realized that although I was no longer restricting myself at all, I still felt a constant need for food. I was eating a balanced diet with everything I needed to feel full and nourished, but food was becoming some kind of obsession. Luckily, it never got to an extreme point. I didn’t gain any weight during this time thanks to my fairly fast metabolism, and the fact that we keep mainly healthy, low-calorie foods around the house. The problem with this overeating habit was my relationship with food, and my methods for dealing with stress.
I knew that I could not keep living my life this way! If it continued, then not only will my mental health be harmed, but it will also eventually take a toll on my physical health as well. I decided to explain to my family what was going on, and we agreed that this problem needs to stop, before it gets any worse. I’ve started seeing a therapist, to help me sort out the root cause of my insecurity, and to build healthier habits while letting go of the harmful ones. I’m so thankful for all the support that I’m receiving from those that I have confided in about this, and I’m looking forward to having a healthier, happier and more balanced lifestyle. Don’t be afraid to get the help that you deserve, too, if you find yourself struggling with a similar problem!

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Fitter, Healthier, Happier.

by Mary G.

Highlighting my health journey and dietary adjustments. From Junk foods to organic eating.

Eating healthy wasn’t exactly what I wanted to do at the age of 7. I wanted to enjoy all of t .....read more...

Highlighting my health journey and dietary adjustments. From Junk foods to organic eating.

Eating healthy wasn’t exactly what I wanted to do at the age of 7. I wanted to enjoy all of the tasty, sweet, sugary fun foods as any child at that age would want to do without being told what I can and cannot eat. Unfortunately, that changed quickly when I got diagnosed with hyperlipidemia. Heart Disease runs in my family and I never thought I would be a part of that category and have to take preventative measures at such a young age . I wanted to eat the sugary, cheesy, processed foods and enjoy myself but after my diagnosis those foods had to take the back seat. Every 6 months there after, it was necessary for me to have my blood drawn to follow up with where my cholesterol levels were at. Obviously the way I was eating was catching up to me rapidly and my cholesterol spiked through the roof. Having two parents in the health profession made things a bit harder because they were very strict of my diet to the point where it was very difficult to sneak anything in my mouth. Although today I think it has helped me understand the damage that food can really do to your body and how sensitive our bodies really are. I am now a lot more conscious of the food choices that I make and it’s ultimately easier to talk my self into eating healthy.

Fast forward and today I am over 27 years old. Due to my hyperlipidemia throughout the years and not maintaining a strict diet, my health took a turn last year. I went in for my annual eye exam and could not understand why my vision started getting blurry out of no where. Long story short, I was diagnosed with Drusen (lipid deposits under the retina) which comes from having high cholesterol and can lead to macular degeneration if a proper diet isn’t maintained. Additionally I was diagnosed with having Gallstones and thought I needed my gallbladder removed around thanksgiving time. Luckily after appropriate testing they discovered there was no blockage and I did not need to have it removed. However, this was such a wake up call to my health and this is when I decided to take additional steps to ensure that I follow through with a strict diet to maintain my health. I started seeing a nutritionist and I now check in with my nutritionist approximately once a month to make sure that i am on top of my diet and reading labels appropriately when I am food shopping, following through with a low fat, high fiber diet and drinking plenty of water throughout the day to stay hydrated. After all that I had been through, it woke me up and now I want to help educate you and hopefully motivate you to take steps early in life to change your eating habits to prevent health problems from arising. I get it, you’re young and want to eat all of the tasteful, fatty foods that contain extra salt, cheese, sugar, but ultimately as kids you need to ask yourself what is more important? consuming good food or preventing health problems from arising when you become an adult and staying healthy to enjoy life and consume other foods. The key to a healthy lifestyle is all in what you consume. Your body is extremely sensitive and requires certain nutrients from food and it cannot get that nutrition that it needs when we are consuming fast food, greasy, salty, sugary, processed foods. We are destroying our bodies little by little.

Some of the ways that my diet has changed, is that I now consume foods such as Oatmeal, quinoa, and beans which I never had an eye for . But, it has surprised me over the years with how tasteful and filling it is and how well I feel after consuming it. There’s no bloated feeling like you get with other foods such as, pancakes, waffles, cheese-its, etc.. Additionally, I love eating any and all greens. I usually add some garlic, and pepper to my greens with Olive oil and its delicious to enjoy with beans, rice, or even a baked potato. I have discovered some recipes to help fill me up and give me that extra boost throughout the day as oppose to snacking 3-4 times a day. So it saves me the calories and it’s beneficial to my health. I’ve started to make bean burritos- with pinto beans and guacamole, adding turmeric as an anti inflammatory. I love garlic. Anything I make I try to add garlic to it for flavor along with pepper or turmeric. I make spinach with garlic and quinoa through out the week now. Other days I will make a stir fry with chicken, brown rice, and black or pinto beans with guacamole. No matter what I make i try to include some of my favorites which are: guacamole , garlic, beans, chicken, and sweet potatoes. Find what you enjoy and make more of it while always limiting the use of salt, cheeses, sugar, and other processed foods. Give it a try!!!
In contrast to my eating habits, my friends have asked me over the years how do i eat so healthy?, how do i maintain my weight, how do you stick to your diet? I get hungry looking at food and can’t stick to a healthy diet.. i don’t feel great when i eat healthy etc.. I have heard all of the questions and have heard all of the excuses. The answer is simple. If you train your brain and really talk yourself through changing your eating habits, you can do it. It is not impossible. You may not feel great at first as the weight comes off but in the end your body learns to adjust and accept the new foods your giving it and over time your body will become so used to it that you won’t crave the other unhealthy foods. A friend of mine recently came up to me and told me they are trying to loose weight but don’t feel good and they feel they need to eat every 3 hours. Going off of that, my response was, You do not need to eat every 3 hours that it how you programed your brain to react. I myself go some days with snacking on almonds and it helps keep my blood sugar levels steady for a few more hours at a time but i usually don’t require to snack because i have trained myself to go 5-6 hours at a time without food. It is all how you program your brain to react to situations. Stay busy and don’t think about food. For the people that tell themselves they have to eat every 3 hours, due to you programming your brain that way, it will start to react after the 3 hours have passed so now train yourself to go longer periods without consuming food. Once you are able to get a handle on this, you will be able to spread out your meals to include some time in between them, allowing for your body to break down the foods for energy and you will feel so much better.

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Extreme Mistakes

by Kent

Since I could remember, I’ve been chubby. My mom always made huge dinners. Usually healthy, sometimes less, but she always made time to cook for us. I grew up going back in for seconds and thirds on a dinner plate that was almost twice the s .....read more...

Since I could remember, I’ve been chubby. My mom always made huge dinners. Usually healthy, sometimes less, but she always made time to cook for us. I grew up going back in for seconds and thirds on a dinner plate that was almost twice the size of my head. Not to complain, though. That on its own might be fine if I had been active, which I had not been, but my biggest problem was my snacking. I could drink two liters of soda a day and no water in weeks by 10 or 11. I never felt like I had enough.
I remember the first time I cried about my weight, I was probably 12 or so. I was 5’2 and 135lbs. I had just gotten weighed at a normal checkup. It wasn’t so severe, looking back on it, but the doctor had warned me that I had to look after my weight. I had never thought that eating was something I would ever have to think about. I was used to just eating whenever I felt bored, or anything else. Crying in the car on the way home from the doctor that day didn’t deter me at all.
I was probably 14 or 15 when my mom wanted me to go on a walk with her and the dog down the street. Two blocks down, I broke down and walked home by myself because I didn’t want to walk anymore. I cried with frustration the whole way. I was tired. I just wanted to eat.
I went weeks without leaving the house. I topped the scales at 15 when I was 5’4 and 160lbs. Not obese, per se, but it was enough to begin hindering me medically. I could barely sleep, I couldn’t walk upstairs without getting winded, I didn’t go outside for weeks on end. I had already been depressed, but this made it much, much worse. I wasn’t medicated for that, either, so I self-medicated with food. It truly was a vicious cycle.
I tried my best to get healthy at this point. I didn’t know much about nutrition, as a lot of the stuff I learned in school was outdated. Fat is bad, carbs are good. That’s all I knew. I ate the same amount, but I ate salads drowned in dressing, I would count the calories in my big mac, I only drank diet soda. In my mind, that, coupled with walking to and from classes, was everything I could do. I started telling myself that I was exercise intolerant. I thought I just couldn’t lose weight. I started to want to accept myself in my lazy and miserable body. I was convinced I knew everything I could.
This part is very fuzzy in my mind. It feels like I woke up one day and decided to just stop cold turkey. I just stopped eating. It was a complete shock to my body, and my psyche. I was still self-harming but on the opposite side of the spectrum. I was done crying in the mirror all the time.
I’d go days eating nothing but an apple, and tons of green tea. I still can’t drink or smell green tea without feeling sick. It’s like my stomach remembers being empty and rebels against me for giving a sign that I might be starting up again.
I did this for a year. And I lost weight.
But I also lost that entire year. I don’t remember doing anything or caring about anything but weighing myself in the morning. I lost friends, I lost my energy, I lost passion. I lost valuable time with my family. I became irritable and bitter.
Ultimately, I gained most of the weight back. I was back to being lazy and miserable. Like a bouncing ball, I gained and lost the same 40 pounds for a long time.
For a while, I thought starving was the only way I could be skinny. Being outside and nearly passing out because you’re so starving is better than being inside and nearly passing out because you’re too full, I thought.
It makes me upset, how black and white my mind was. Black and white seemed so much easier, but it only caused me pain. I’m 17 now, and I’m still really struggling with my weight and nutrition. I don’t think that I, or any children, should have to learn about food the hard way. Food shouldn’t be scary or traumatizing for anyone.
It’s scary to think of the way I used to eat, the way I used to abuse my body every day. These days, I say, bless the feet that take you to and fro, bless the seeing eyes and listening ears, bless touch. Being alive is something people take for granted. Becoming healthier and putting my livelihood and happiness first was one of the most important steps I’ve ever taken. Why not get started right away?

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