Diary of a recovering diet-food junkie

I still remember the day I realised I could no longer eat what I liked and still remain slim. I was 18 years old and was slumped on the couch eating a custard scroll from the bakery I worked at. It was the day after a big night of partying and I could still feel the effects of the KFC and sugary mixers I had consumed with my go-to drink of the time: vodka. I felt rotten. And then I felt my tummy. To my horror, I realised it was no longer perfectly flat. My hands went to my hips, which were no longer completely devoid of fat. Now, to put this into perspective, I would have still been classified as under weight according to every methodology of determining a healthy weight there is but in my mind I was huge and I had no idea how to slow down what I was sure would be a slippery slope into obesity.

The answer, I decided, was to cut out fat. I hopped off the couch and walked to the fridge, stopping to throw out the rest of the custard scroll on my way. I opened the fridge and pulled out a can of Diet Coke. ‘This is actually going to be easy,’ I thought with smug relief as I pictured all of the food I could now eat without guilt. I honestly thought I simply had to swap out the full-fat option for the low-fat version of all my favourite foods and I’d be able to continue eating whatever I liked. How had no-one ever thought of this?!

Of course, I know now that that low-fat sugary yoghurt, biscuits, cakes and ice-cream, etc. are simply a chemical-laden highly processed products masquerading as food. They’re just as bad as the full-fat versions and they’re the poor, uneducated cousins of healthy real food. They simply can’t measure up from a taste perspective and don’t even get me started on the nutritional issues they present.

During my first year living away from my parents, I continued to eat a diet that consisted mainly of low-fat processed food, complemented with greasy fast-food binges after alcohol-soaked nights on the town. It was a recipe for weight gain and unhappiness. I moved to Melbourne when I was 19 and a year later entered into my first serious relationship. My then-boyfriend was a heavy drinker and didn’t have a great diet. I quickly picked up his bad habits and it wasn’t long until I had put on 7 kilos. I was losing confidence fast and hated what I saw in the mirror. My skin was terrible and I had could  barely find the energy to go to uni and work, let alone give any energy to my boyfriend. After a rocky few months of constant fighting, I called it quits on our relationship and decided I needed to make some changes to my diet. I gave alcohol a break for a while and started reading about food.

The first book I read was The China Study. I got about a third of the way through it before I became convinced that I needed to stop eating meat. By the time I had finished the book, I had switched to an almost completely vegan diet. I still didn’t fully understand what it meant to eat a healthy diet though and continued on my quest to find low-fat options of everything.

Over the years since I first picked up The China Study, I have continued to read about food and its effect on our body. What I eat now is worlds apart from what I used to eat, and the effect on my health has been dramatic. I expected that. What I didn’t expect is the effect it has had on my whole life.

I started this blog as a place to record everything I learn about food and, by extension, life.

I do hope you’ll join me on this journey!

Laura

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