It took me quite a while to acquire healthy eating habits. Growing up in a Hispanic household, I was served huge plates and not allowed to leave the table until I finished everything. I was often guilted into eating because “people are starving in Colombia” and “it is a sin to throw away food.” In Latin American households, food is not only a human necessity but it is used as a sign of affection. And I was LOVED.
I’ve tried to be very forthcoming about myself, including the fact that I was “once a fattie” as I like to say. Actually, the complete version of that phrase is “once a fattie, always a fattie.” By that I mean that once you’ve been overweight you still live with overweight tendencies. As many in the medical and psychology fields confirm, our relationship with food can become an addiction. As such, once you’re an addict you’re always an addict. You just learn to live with that addiction and learn to control it.
I wouldn’t say I was addicted to food but I definitely maintain some fattie tendencies. I LOVE FOOD. When planning vacations, searching for the best restaurants and must try foods are always a priority. I crave something sweet almost every day. And EVERYTHING can be made better with cheese!
I learned to eat healthy almost by force. I spent a summer in Spain and the family I was staying with were….well, Spanish aka European aka healthy eaters. The served salad and an appropriate serving size of the main course at every meal. Most shocking to me was that they served their meals with water. Water! That clear stuff that doesn’t taste like anything! I was used to drinking instant powdered ice tea with every meal (even at breakfast). It wasn’t until everyone was finished with their meal that they would serve a small glass of soda. But by the time I finished my delicious spanish dish, I was too full to drink soda.
Since Spain, I’ve cut out sugary drinks almost completely. I drink water with my meals and I do my best to eat until I’m full [not about to burst]. I’ve taught my family that it’s okay to have left-overs and children can step away from the dinner table when they’re sufficiently full.
My life [and body] has significantly changed since my trip to Spain. But I continue to fight unhealthy urges. I do my best to select healthy items from menus. I try eat just a small amount of the non-healthy foods I do enjoy. I’ve also incorporated a lot of juices and soups into my diet (I’ve always loved salads so that wasn’t a big change). I’m glad to say that my campaign to become healthier has become easier over time. Choosing the right meals and activities has become second nature. I don’t have to truly think about it very often. I’m loving my healthier life!
Have you struggled with your weight? What are some tips and tricks you use to stay healthy and maintain good eating habits?