One of the biggest driving forces behind my nutrition work is YOU! Life is too good to walk through it not feeling your best. I know this all too well. I have this burning passion in my heart to help people understand that their food choices can completely transform the way they feel! When we nourish our bodies the right way, the natural result is health. When we correct the imbalances, our bodies thrive.
I am not someone who has always had my health in check, so I have personal experience. I share this to give you hope, but also because I respect when people share their story. So I wanted to share mine with you.
I grew up eating processed foods and sugar. Lots of sugar. As in, I’d dip my Pop-Tarts in my Captain Crunch for breakfast, kind of sugar. As in, I’d scoop out spoons of brown sugar, kind of sugar. My sugar cravings were intense. As a teen and young adult I really started to become aware of my health issues. I had a tremendous amount of acne. It was cystic and rash like. It was so embarrassing. Really, truly humiliating. Plus, it hurt! I struggled with hormonal imbalances. My periods were very heavy and so painful. I can’t say for certain since I never got checked, but I am sure I had at least some PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) based on all of the symptoms I was experiencing. Nowadays, I often refer to PCOS as “diabetes of the ovaries.” I had constipation. I had boating. I had low energy. I had a very low zest for life! I remember a time period in my life where I was excited about nothing. Looking back I must have had some low-grade depression. To top it off, one of the most vivid memories I have were my cravings. OH, my cravings!!!! They consumed me and I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how I had such stinkin’ low willpower. Why couldn’t I just say NO to the cookies, crackers, cereal and bread? Why was I literally day-dreaming about granola bars?? For Pete’s sake! Did I need to eat the ENTIRE row (box) of girl scout cookies? These cravings really started to get noticeably worse once I became a vegetarian (almost vegan).
Now I know a very powerful truth: the way that I was eating was WHY I was craving sugar. The imbalances that I had created in my body from years of junk food eating were the reasons my health was unraveling quicker and quicker. It wasn’t a willpower problem. It wasn’t a personality problem. It was a junk food and sugar problem.
This is how my days would go, maybe you can relate.
I’d wake up in the morning feeling full and puffy because of all that I had eaten the night before. I’d think I shouldn’t eat a normal breakfast because of all the food I’d overeaten the night before. I’d be “good” today. So, I’d just grab a granola bar or some sort of low calorie breakfast bar. Or maybe just a small bowl of cereal, then I’d walk out the door to class.
Lunch would roll around and I would remember that I was trying to be “good” today with my eating, and then I’d remember how I ate all those cookies the night before…. So I’d grab a very small salad. I’d choose low-fat dressing and no meat, maybe some cheese, I’d probably also grab a piece of fruit.
Despite my best efforts and me reminding myself I was going to be “good”, 4 o’clock would hit, and I would feel completely ravenous. So hungry! Of course, when you get SO HUNGRY, you don’t want to sit and prepare yourself a balanced supper, you want to eat whatever you can and NOW. It was me against the cupboards. I was looking for anything that I could eat quickest, mostly in the form of crunchy and sugary carbohydrate foods. I remember most of the time I didn’t sit down to normal dinner, it was more of grazing from early evening until I went to bed. And guess what? This whole cycle would repeat itself the next day. This went on for years.
All of that evening eating, full of sugar and bad fats in the form of trans fats and refined oils was really starting to harm my health. And it was showing.
Does this sound like disordered eating? In retrospect, I guess it kind of was. But it was being driven by things I “thought” were healthy for me (i.e. low calorie eating, low fat eating, vegetarianism/veganism).
So why was I crashing off and feeling out of control with my eating late afternoon? My blood sugar was crashing. Not only that, I had years of high sugar eating under my belt so I was definitely developing insulin resistance. To top it off, all the junk food I was eating was creating inflammation in my body. This inflammation was brewing in my digestive system, my skin, and my brain. The lack of quality protein in my diet was reducing my good brain chemicals. Low brain chemistry makes us feel depressed, low energy and crave sugar.
I see these same patterns exist in my clients. Years of being driven by cravings and not eating enough of the right foods foods for their body. This whole scenario has slowly been harming their health.
The bright side of this whole story is I am a completely different person in regards to my health. I have great energy, no acne, no blood sugar crashes that lead me to eat all night. I don’t obsess about food. I don’t overeat and binge on food like I did. I don’t have bloating, constipation or sharp stomach pains like I once had. I have habits in place that set me up for success. I really truly feel great. Actually, I feel amazing. I love life and am excited for the day whenever my feet hit the floor. This isn’t me bragging, this is me sharing how changing my nutrition has changed my life. I include lots of healthy fats in my diet. I also make sure to include quality (organic, pastured, local farms as able) proteins, and of course veggies and a variety of other foods.
The biggest point of all of this is that if you start to change your nutrition, you can change your health, too! Imagine waking up in the morning without aches, with energy and excitement to tackle the day. Imagine having a calm digestive system and bright moods. If you feel amazing and full of health, your life lights up in a vibrant way.
If you want to see if “nutrition can help”, look into signing up for a nutrition consultation with me. Remember, through the month of March 2017, my services are discounted. I’d truly be honored to help you on your journey.
Nutrition Can Help,
Katie Vigesaa, RD