Growing up on a small farm in Pennsylvania, I ate plenty of different fruits and vegetables. I was thin and healthy. My mother baked pies, cakes and cookies but I preferred the berries, apples or peaches that I could pick and eat fresh. Later, when I moved away to the city as a college student, fast food places seemed to sit on practically every block calling out to me “eat here.” And I did eat. I was active too and jogged, played volley ball and tennis. I remember one friend that I went to college with liked to take me along when she was on a fast food binge. We ate at all of her favorite fast food joints one on top of the other, a hamburger and fries, cakes and coffee and then later a trip for ice cream. Of course, this was followed by a Friday night movie with buttered popcorn and sugary sodas.
After I was no longer in college, I jogged or played tennis and then treated myself with a stop at the nearest fast food place. Over hamburgers and fries, ice cream and coffee, I joked about running all this way to get my fast food fix. In reality, I was defeating my purpose. I exercised to stay fit and be healthy but I ate like I really didn’t care about how I looked or felt. Looking back it wasn’t intentional; it was what my friends and I had gotten used to. It had become a way of life. It was one poor choice after another without really sitting down and thinking about the consequences, which are poor health and weight gain.
To win the war of weight, I really began to think about food choices. Rather than eating a whole pizza with my friends, I would eat one piece and then order a salad with greens and lots of other kinds of vegetables. I choose fruit instead of cake or pie for desert. These wises choices helped me feel better and healthy.
Another strategy that works for me is to prepare healthy food choices over the weekend. That way after work, I know that there is food that is good for me in the refrigerator and I don’t stop for a quick candy bar to tide me over or get a burger and fries for dinner. The best way for me not to eat something that is a real temptation for me like chips or candy is not to have these items in the house. I keep fresh fruits and vegetables that I can grab and go that way I never have the excuse when I pass by a fast food place, I forgot to eat, I’m hungry. They can’t call to me “eat here,” if I have thought out a well-balanced meal ahead of time, keep active with exercise, and continue to enjoy a more healthy life style by choice.