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Here we are, on my second day of blogging, and I am already going to tackle a very big topic in the health world: keeping a food diary. Experts and non-experts alike seem to rave on and on and on about how much a food diary has helped them become more aware of what they are eating and to lose weight. Well, let me tell you something, this was THE WORST possible strategy for becoming HEALTHY that I have ever tried. Before anyone attacks me, let me tell you why.

Many previously unhealthy people have said that once they began to write down every single thing they put in their mouth, they finally became aware of just how much they were really eating, and began to lower their food intake. While that is a great strategy for some people, for me, and probably many of you out there, I was already aware that I was eating unhealthy, I had already tried to stop doing so, therefore everything I wrote down only made me more aware of the fact that nothing was working! Trust me, when you are in high school and you weigh 40+ pounds more than your friends, you become VERY aware of what you eat, so a food diary was pointless for me.

That being said, I will now explain why the food diary actually made me worse off. Although not everyone mandates that one must also write the calories of their food in their diaries along with what the food is, that is the common strategy, and so that is what I began to do. After a week or so of counting every calorie and writing in that stupid, pink, leather-bound journal every hour, I finally realized how incredible unhappy I was. This is because I became overly obsessive. I am a naturally determined person anyway, so when I committ to something, I tend to go all out. When I was not even losing any weight writing tracking and writing my caloric intake, I finally realized that this habit made me very irritable. The worst part was it had a reverse effect for me; instead of becoming more aware and making healthier choices and moving on with my life, I was thinking about food ALL THE TIME, and I mean literally every second. There were several moments of inner turmoil while I would try to decide whether to lie to my journal and pretend I did not eat that extra brownie, and it is very unhealthy to lie to YOURSELF, so I just dropped the idea of writing my food in a journal altogether.

Counting calories aside, something that did really help me was writing in more of a “Food Feelings” diary every day when I woke up and before bed. In the morning, I would write my food/life goals for the day, and at night I would write whether or not I accomplished those goals, and how that made me feel. For example, if I knew I would be going to a party that day, in the morning I would tell myself to enjoy and savor the birthday cake, but stop eating it if it is not absolutely amazing. Then, when I got home, I would write that the cake WAS worth it, so I had 2 small pieces! :)

The most important thing to remember is that when you find yourself battling with your own conscience, it is time for a change. I am finally learning that there is no such thing as failing when you set long-term, milestone goals. Remember, life goes on after you overindulge!!

I am soooo excited that I finally have the time to start this long-time-coming blog now that I have graduated high school! I will advise you first to read the about me section, just so you can understand my perspective on things a little bit better. I do not consider myself an expert by any means, but trust me when I say I have LITERALLY been through it all as far as trying to live healthy goes. Ever since about 8th grade, I have always been heavier than all of my friends. At that time, I began to notice myself gaining weight while every other girl around me seemed to be eating way more, but losing weight! I have also played volleyball and been very active since I was a kid, and I played select volleyball for 7 years and competed at the Junior Olympics as well. With that being said, I was working out A LOT, and still gaining weight! Despite the fact that I stand towering at 5’11”, my friends/teammates ate the same junk as I did, and worked out just as much, but in my mind had perfect bodies. This is when I first learned of the dreaded word METABOLISM. “Don’t worry honey,” my mom would say,”those girls just have a higher metabolism than you do!” As if this was supposed to be comforting?! In fact, this was the worst possible news, because having a “slower metabolism” meant that there was nothing I could do about it! After that, my whole outlook began to change. I took more notice in the girls around me who were stick skinny, I saw how others ate so much more than me yet were still smaller, and all of this caused me to become somewhat depressed and eat even MORE. I hate to admit this, but there were days when I would eat fast food for every meal, and 10 cookies before I went to bed just because they made me feel better. I knew I was creating a vicious cycle, but I did not know how to stop it.

Let me stop for a moment and say that my behavior was in no way, shape, or form a result of my home life. I feel like I literally have the best, most supportive, loving, and coolest parents out there, and they truly are my best friends, and have vicariously felt my pain as I struggled with a very negative body image. My newfound confidence would not have been possible without them!

Now, back to my story. After I gained roughly 40 pounds, I knew I had to do something, but did not know what. I began researching everything from diet pills to sweat-inducing saunas, and immediately went about my journey on the wrong foot. I would tell myself that I was only going to eat 600 calories from now on, that would last for not even a day, and I would hate myself. I would tell myself that I was going to go running everyday for an hour, but then I realized that was impossible, and I would hate myself even more. Finally, after a brief but profound battle with disordered eating, everything changed. My goal went from being stick thin to being HEALTHY. That is the key word. HEALTHY cannot happen overnight. HEALTHY=happiness. This epiphany sparked an insatiable interest in how to maintain a healthy lifestyle, and I began to try doing things the healthy way, and also began to realize what does and does NOT work for me. Just because some strategy is followed by millions of people and works like a charm for them, does not at all mean it will work for you. Trust me. That is why becoming healthy takes time, and is a lifestyle change. I never want anyone to use the word diet again, because it is a terse and cruel word that never leads to long lasting results.

Now, at the beginning of Summer 2011, I am not yet as healthy as I would like, but I am definitely on my way, having lost 15 pounds so far in the last month and a half. A healthy, attainable weight loss is definitely more like 2 pounds a week, but when you work hard the weight come off faster at first, no matter what anybody says, just dont think the high loss will carry on forever. I hope this blog will help to inspire people to become healthier and happier, and I hope it will do the same for me!

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