My partner knows better than anyone that if you want to see my eyes light up with a look of longing and affection, all you have to say is those beautiful, magical words:
Stuffed. Crust. Pizza.
As much as I love some buffalo chicken or olive pizza from my local pizza shop, sometimes you just want to feel full of grease and cheese and curl up in a ball to wait for your life to end (Taco Bell and Quesaritos from Chipotle can also help with that if you’re in a Mexican-American mood).
So before I start drooling all over my keyboard…
Even with all of these strong feelings about pizza and cheese and wing sauce, believe it or not, I’ve actually been trying to eat healthier. Like many other people my age, I have an incredibly poor relationship with food and my body and am working on changing that through eating well. Some days are better than others. But before I get into it, I have a secret for all of you:
Fueling your body better actually makes you feel better.
Before I actually tried eating clean, I was dubious of other people telling me how much better it felt to eat well. I mean, if you’re not having chocolate cake at least once a week, can you really be enjoying your life that much? Kinda like Miguel in Coco, I was saying “I thought it was just a myth…like vitamins!”
PS: If you have yet to see Coco, go watch it on Netflix right now. I cried, I laughed, I sobbed, I dripped snot into my popcorn, it was amazing.
But come to find out, the healthy eaters were actually right? Weird. As it turns out, eating better actually improves your daily quality of life instead of having one fleeting moment of chocolatey joy. Go fig.
There are some things that I’m trying to remember as I try to fuel my body better, the first one being that:
If you’re hungry, you absolutely need to eat.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve made myself sick because I was stubbornly waiting for a healthy option to be available. If you’re out and can’t get to something healthy and you get hungry, you need to eat. Your body needs fuel, even if that has to come in forms that aren’t necessarily preferable at the time. Not only that, but:
Your body needs carbs (especially if you’re exercising regularly!).
Sure, some carbs are better for you than others, but if I sit here and limit myself to proteins, fruits, and veggies, I’m going to burn out FAST. Sometimes my brain gets in the way and tries to tell me not to eat any carbs, but I have to fight it and remember that a healthy diet is not a restrictive diet, but a balanced diet. Another thing I have to remind myself regularly is:
This is a lifelong process.
That’s right. Eating healthy is a lifestyle choice. It’s choosing to treat your body like you treat your best friend: with kindness, understanding, and sometimes alcohol. This boils down to a couple of things for me…
The first being that this change isn’t going to happen all at once. Not only is that okay, but at least for me, taking it slowly will mean that I’ll be more successful in keeping up with it in the long run. For instance, one of my goals is to stop eating so much sugar, especially in the morning. My current healthy breakfast treat is some coconut yogurt with almonds. Guess what it has in it…yup! Sugar! Not a lot, but some. But hey, it’s a step in the right direction and better than eating a donut or three full-sized coffee cakes.
And this leads into my last topic:
Today is one day. Tomorrow is another one day. The future is laid out in front of us as just a bunch of todays and tomorrows. If you’re going to make eating clean a life goal, one day is so incredibly insignificant. Just putting your mind in the right place and deciding that you want to feel better and give your body what it needs is a step in the right direction.
And guess what? Not every day is going to be a perfect, sugar-free day with three balanced meals. And that’s okay. It’s good to give yourself that stuffed-crust pizza every once in a while if it will make you feel good. My therapist gave me advice that always rings in my head when I’m having my Cold Stone chocolate cake batter ice cream. Nothing should be 100% off limits. When you restrict yourself rigidly and constantly, you’re more likely to get cravings and binge. Then, you feel bad both mentally and physically, and nobody wants that.
Whew, that was a lot of writing. Anybody want anything from Pizza Hut? I’m ordering!
Photography by my talented fiancé. You can find him on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/hope_grows_here/