Thursday, June 2, 2011

Making Changes: Going From Habitual to Healthy

I have some awesome friends. You hear me rave about them all of the time. One of my best friends, Benita, has to be one of the sweetest most kind people you will ever meet.
She and I have been friends FOREVER. We met back in our dancing days, and we've been pretty inseparable since then. I have had many people ask me where to begin when you want to start making healthy changes, and I think one of the best ways to answer that question is to show them with a story of someone who has been through that process. Benita is a GREAT example of just that. She agreed to do a guest post for me and share her story of her transition to a healthy lifestyle. Take it away girl...
Megan asked me to write for her blog about how I have been able to change my eating habits.  To put it frankly, if food wasn’t frozen, packaged, or processed in some way, it would have never made it into my grocery card.  I grew up only with dad from a young age and I convinced him at 11 years old that I should be the one who did the grocery shopping for the family. I would walk to the store, take my dad’s card and he would pick me up about an hour and one cart full later. I got all my favorites, fruit snacks, mac and cheese, frozen pizzas, chips of all kinds, crackers, and bags of fun size candy of course. I would occasionally throw in some grapes which was the only produce that even got near me.  I couldn’t understand how anyone would like strawberries, bananas, oranges, mangos, but then again, I’d never tried any of them.  Most meals I would eat out and walking to Wendy’s or McDonald’s was a favorite. By the time I was 21 I still hadn’t tried beans of any kind, bananas, most fruit, this list could go on and on.
I have lived with Megs since I was 18. We have missed a semester or two, but for the most part we haven’t had more than a wall between us. As you all are aware, Megan is the healthiest person I know.  There aren’t many days that have gone by, where she didn’t get in her daily intake of veggies most of which I hadn’t even heard of, let alone have the first idea of how to prepare to eat and or cut. I would sit down with my microwavable easy mac. It’s amazing how much the person you live with, be it family, best friends, or spouse can and will make a huge impact on the way you eat. When you spend so much time with someone you pick up on each other’s habit's, although I’m pretty sure I’ve only picked up on Megan's, she didn’t really take all that well to mine…I wonder why?

The first move I made towards a healthier life style was eating breakfast. Not just any breakfast, but healthy cereal. I generally didn’t eat anything until 12 or 1 in the afternoon. I just didn’t have the time, or make it, I should say. I have been doing that for about the past 3-4 years which was pretty monumental for me. Baby steps right?

While in Arizona with Meg and her family, her mom prepared a fabulous Sunday meal as usual, and on the fruit plate were bananas. Once a few of her family members found out that I hadn’t tried one, I knew they wouldn’t stop giving me a hard time until I did. I know it sounds silly, but I mentally prepared for about the first 15 minutes of dinner and by the end I had finish probably a few slices of a banana, and what surprised me most was that I actually liked it. Who would have thought? Not this girl.
(Megan Interjection...My family was so astounded that she had never tried a banana we took a picture of it...so glad we captured that moment!)
Slowly I kept trying little things here and there, and to my surprise I was loving foods that previously gave me a gag reflex when I would see other people eating them, wondering how/why on earth someone could eat something like that. Tomatoes, cucumbers, blackberries, pears, squash, sweet potatoes, asparagus, avocados, guacamole, beans of all kinds (sometimes I still have issues with the garbanzos...little baby brains if you ask me) are just a few of the new foods that I can’t get enough of. I started drinking skim milk instead of my regular 2%, bought whole wheat bread instead of white, and more recently tried to stop chips and cookies. I’d say that the hardest thing for me about eating new fruits and vegetables is knowing how to prepare them. I’m learning slowly and Megs is good to me and patient and doesn’t laugh at me ALL the time.  I’m sure I’m more on the extreme end of the spectrum and you all are much better at getting in your daily fruits and veggies, but you‘ve got to start somewhere right?  I still have SO MUCH to learn. But then again they say that Rome wasn’t built in a day!
Thank you SO much for sharing Benits! (Isn't she BEAUTIFUL????) You are awesome, and I'm so proud of you for all of the great changes you have made. She really is the greatest friend ever. You should meet her :)

What are some changes you've made in your life that have improved your health? Have they become habits or are they still things that you have to consciously choose? I have definitely had to control my snacking habits, and that is something that I still work with! Do you have foods you were afraid to try, but once you did you LOVED them? This is definitely beets for me. I am obsessed with them now. It's weird.

11 comments:

Rachelle Wardle said...

Great post and I can totally relate to Benita. I grew up in a home filled with junk food to the brink. My mom would shove us out the door with a full sized candy bar in our hands. It took me awhile (and an eating disorder to boot) to figure out how to eat healthy. But now that I am more educated I absolutely love it.

I was always afraid to try spinach and now I love it!

Lindsay and James Cotter said...

what a beautiful friendship and even more beautifl story!

Rene said...

I made some of the same changes as Benita. I loved junk food (still do) but I never gained weight so I thought it was no big deal. I didn't understand that skinny people could be unhealthy.
Recent changes I've made are when I eat eggs I use one egg and two egg whites. We try and go whole grain as often as possible.
Now I'm working on eating more veggies.

Tri-Living...Together said...

I am def working on eating way more fruits and veggies and not eating bread and cheese all day long. I'm amazed at what my mother fed me! Yoohoo and ding dongs! UGH!!!!!

Erin Masi said...

Hey Megan! It was so fun meeting you last weekend at Duck! Isn't coming back from vacation the worst?!?

Loved Benita's story. I recently gave up all candy, treats, and sugary things in preparation for my first marathon. It's amazing how much of a difference it makes! I still haven't decided if I'll stick with it after the race, or let myself have a treat now and then....I might just decide to keep at it!

Karen R said...

Love this!

The Smith Clan said...

I remember that day Benita had her first bite of bananna! You've come a long way baby!

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