Welcome to the new year!! This is always an exciting time for me as I think about all of the opportunities that are awaiting me. It is also a great time to reflect on the previous year and see what worked well in my life, where improvements can be made, and how I can best spend my time to serve others and myself.
Last month in my newsletter I talked about fat. Fat can be a scary word to some people. We tend to relate eating fat with gaining weight and other health problems. That can definately happen, especially if we are eating the wrong kinds of fat and a lot of it. But, the main focus of the newsletter was to recognize the benefits with eating the good fats such as: avacados, olives,wild salmon, oranic eggs, nuts and seeds. Some of these benefits are: body insulation, vitamin and mineral absorption, protection of our organs, steady metabolism, keep hormone levels even, and nourishing our skin, hair and nails.
This month, I want to share a personal story with you all about fat. After I wrote my newsletter last month, my battle with my fear of fat from 22 years ago popped into my head. I feel it appropriate to share in hopes that it will be a benefit to someone.
During my last year of high school I was having some high school drama. You know how it is- Everything that happens is a big deal and your feelings about what is happening are over the top. That was me. Because I was so down about my life, I wasn't hungry. I would start eating breakfast and lose my appetite.
Since very young,I have been active. I loved gymnastics and played on the sports teams. I love to move, but at that time of my life, because my appetite was poor I started losing weight. I'll admit, having clothes feel looser than normal was kinda nice.
After a few of weeks, my life was back to semi-normal. The drama was not what it was, and my appetite had returned. The only problem with appetite returning was that I started gaining my weight back. If I had my adult head at the time, I would know that everything would be ok. I could have told myself that I was a nice healthy girl before I lost the weight and what was coming back was not such a big deal. Unfortunately, my brain wasn't that developed yet. I was still in my teenage thought processing and the weight coming back scared me a little.
One day, I found a little book at my house called the T-factor diet. Anyone else remember T-factor? Interested in what it was, I picked it up and and read all about fat grams, how cutting back on them is what to do etc. to be healthy. So, I started counting every fat gram I ate and tried not to go over 12. You read that right!! We all need little shoulder angels to knock us upside the head when we are teens!! I was miserable! I was hungry all the time. Because I was counting fat grams, my body was being filled up with mostly carbs. My lunches of peas, spaghetti noodles and Twizzlers were not satisfying. Twizzlers were really low in fat, so therefore they were healthy. See how my mind was working? I didn't realize what depriving your body of nutrients did. It wasn't until a good friend was talking to me after school and made a comment in passing that I didn't have as much muscle as I used to.
This comment caused me to think. I still didn't put two and two together, but did start to eat more of a "normal" teenage diet after that. Graduation came and went and I started college. Although I had come a long ways with my fear of fat, I would still pick the cheese off my pizza, avoid peanut butter and not eat after 7 pm. I also still relied a lot on carbs. I admit, I had a disorder. Not one of starving myself or purging, but it was still a disorder all the same. Worrying so much about what to eat and when to eat it was not a great way to live.
After my first year of college I moved to Connecticut to be a nanny. This is where the final realization occurred. I distinctly remember calling my dad one day telling him that I had put on x amount of pounds in the passed 6 months. (It was a very big deal in my head) I was very frustrated. I belonged to a gym, was eating what I thought to be pretty healthy (however, still a ton of carbs, very little amounts of fruits and veggies, and very little fat, meaning low protien as well). I was at a loss of what to do. Then one day, out of the blue, I decided I was going to eat peanut butter. It was heavenly!! And I was back!! As I introduced more fat into my diet and continued to exercise, my moods leveled out, I lost weight, and my muscle tone returned. I was amazed! Fat was not making me fat, it was helping me. It didn't happen over night, but it happened. I felt so happy and knew I was living a much more balanced life. Fat was no longer the enemy.
To this day, I steer clear of fad diets and work every day to get a better balance of the nutrients I need. It is not easy. We have so many choices to make each day. Do we plan accordingly to make sure our choices are ones that will benefit us? Our bodies are a gift! It's worth the effort to treat them with love. Enjoy your start to a new and exciting year.
Until next month remember....we need some fat in our lives to stay healthy and balanced. And as my son pointed out, from a scientific standpoint, if we didn't have fat, we would dissolve in water. Just a thought ;)
Wife, mom and Health Coach. Lover of life and learning. (and my dog Steve)