Real Food Testimonies: Heidi’s story
Today I am welcoming Heidi from The Blessed Nest as she shares her “Real Food Testimony”…
Growing up, I ate mostly down home good Midwestern foods. Meat and and potatoes, lasagnas, and casseroles, etc., but we always had a fruit or veggie with every meal. They were all cooked from scratch with love. We weren’t allowed too much sugar or pop and had more non-processed foods than not…so my eating habits were pretty good but not perfect.
When I got to college, I tried to apply what I thought were healthy eating choices when perusing the cafeteria. That ended up meaning lots of salads loaded with creamy dressings followed by frozen yogurt with multiple cereal toppings. (Who wouldn’t have frozen yogurt every night if you had a machine in your house?) Well, I gained more than the Freshman 15, but never worried about it.
The summers of my Freshman and Sophomore years of college, I worked at a camp where I continued to play hard outside but also load up on the dorm-like food, often including 2 or 3 pieces of fresh baked bread after each meal. My weight topped out at about 30 pounds higher than it is now.
My junior year of college, I started running serious distances and trained for a marathon. I lost some weight, but the hunger that running fuels, plus knowing I was burning so many calories, led me to keep eating more than I needed and whatever was convenient to eat quickly.
After college, I moved to Colorado (a state which boasts one of the leanest and healthiest populations in the country), and joined a gym. I started reading more about nutrition and added weights to my exercise routine. I cut down on the massive amounts of carbs I had been consuming and started to find more creative and healthy ways of eating. I had more energy than I had in a long time and eventually lost more weight, which brought me down to my set adult weight, a full 30 lbs less than the most I weighed in college.
I fell in love, got married and luckily my new husband had some better food habits than me. He incorporated a lot of lean meats, veggies (which I had mostly hated growing up) and less processed foods. Over time, we decided that low-fat wasn’t as important as eating real food, stopped buying anything with aspartame or food dyes and looked for products with less ingredients and ones we could read. We shopped more locally (at farmer’s markets) and started to incorporate the concept of viewing food as fuel for health instead of just as something to eat because we “like it” or not eating so “we don’t gain weight.”
We’re still on our journey, but I think we’ll always be fairly moderate when it comes to our choices. I’m not opposed to some processed foods here and there but I want to train my kids to see food as fuel as well as continue to change more and more over to that mindset for myself. Exercise continues to be very important to me, but I know that health is a combination of the food you eat and the work-outs you do, not just one or the other (let alone all the other factors like toxin exposure, stress reduction, etc).
I think it’s important to do an occasional detox/fast/whole foods cleanse when I’m seeing my eating patterns getting worse. I’m about to deliver our fourth baby, but a few weeks after delivery I’m planning a 3 week whole foods cleanse (similar to Whole30 but with a few more allowances).
Food is something that is tied to many important things in life and I always want to enjoy it, but do so responsibly, knowing my body will exhibit the choices I make. My son recently said, “I don’t think I’ll like heaven if there’s not food there.”
I feel you, buddy…but the good news is there probably is, and all our options will be good ones.