My motivation for getting healthy is so that I can be there for others who are in need. I need to take care of myself because if I don’t, I will no longer be able to be there to listen, offer advice, or relate to others through my experience.
Whatever you may be struggling with, it does not define you. If you do something bad, you are not a bad person. Everyone on this planet has worth and purpose in life, and any obstacle a person may face is never too big to get in the way of living a meaningful life.
I have always been uber-active. I played organized sports year-round since I was seven and continue to find ways to keep moving now. I enjoy running, cycling, hiking, playing recreational sports with friends, and occasionally I will lift weights. Most of the activities I prefer can only be done in the summer, which makes winter more difficult for me to stay active. When my activity level decreases, there is a direct correlation with my mental health. That’s why it’s very important for me to find ways to stay active in the winter as well. I recently took up downhill skiing and snowshoeing!
During my childhood, our whole family would sit down together and eat a healthy meal together. As my brother and I got older, we became very active and sports, and carving out time in the evening for steak and potatoes was no longer an option. I began eating quick meals, or meals that I could grab on the run. As I progressed into high school, I began eating lots of fast-food and junk food because it was quick and convenient. I only ate two meals a day, which usually consisted of a granola bar and piece of fruit in the morning and a fast-food meal in the evening after practice. I was always a night owl, which meant lots of munching on snacks like potato chips and cookies. Recently, I have made a conscious effort to eat healthily and take the time to enjoy my meals. For breakfast, I typically eat eggs and toast with an orange juice. For lunch, I enjoy eating a sandwich with a fruit and vegetable, along with milk. For dinner, I eat a meal including a high-protein item (steak, chicken, pork), with grilled vegetables (asparagus, peas, peppers), a piece of bread, and milk. Since switching up my diet, my mood has improved dramatically for two reasons. First, the actual food I am consuming is healthier and provides my body with more energy, and second, I don’t experience the excessive guilt and shame associated with eating unhealthy. That guilt and shame quickly leads to depression for me, so being proactive about my diet helps combat those feelings. If I’m putting good stuff in my body I feel good about it, and the result is me feeling better overall!
As I mentioned earlier, I am working hard to eat healthy, but that doesn’t mean the food can’t taste good too! When possible, I grill my food to give it that added smoky flavor. My favorite meal to grill up is a whole chicken breast with a spicy dry rub and barbecue sauce, asparagus grilled in a tinfoil boat with butter and bacon (yes, bacon), and a glass or two of milk.