At 14 years old I moved out of my dads house to go live with my mom. Eating consisted of cold cereal, chips, cookies, candy, and lots of eating out. No more vitamins, and whole wheat bread! I hardly remember ever eating a vegetable unless it was in a stir fry from panda express or some packaged frozen meal. Because I went from one extreme to another in eating habits, I had no balance and ended up just eating junk all the time. I was not active in any sport either. I should have been seriously overweight! I was just lucky to have some good genes I guess.
At 17 years old I got a gym membership and fell in love with exercising. This helped me to stay lean as well. However I was still eating terribly. I got married a few months before my 21st birthday and got pregnant with my first child just over a year later. Lets just say my craving for junk and sugar tripled! I could pound a bag of flaming hot Cheetos in two days. There were times that I would eat ice cream Sundays for breakfast (I know, awful right?!). Oh, and I could not exercise during most of my pregnancy. This is how I ended up gaining 60lbs!! I felt miserable carrying all that extra weight and would get depressed about the way I looked.
After I had the baby I could not wait to get back in shape. As soon as I recovered from my c-section I headed back to the gym and went on very low-calorie diet. It took me 5 1/2 months to get back to my original pre-baby weight. Unfortunately I never learned how to eat right or enough to maintain my weight. I again went back to eating all of my junk food (I had a serious "sugar tooth"). Sometimes I would skip meals often (not on purpose) but when I did eat I would binge. I would exercise doing my 25 min of cardio and weight training for a total of two hrs 5 days a week. I knew that I could eat whatever I wanted when I exercised and it would have no effect of me gaining any weight. I became consumed with getting leaner and thinking I was gaining lean muscle too. I ended up loosing more weight and weighing my lowest at 108-110lbs. This was when my first baby was a year old.
Everyone kept on telling me I looked too skinny and I would just get so irritated with them because I thought I looked great. However it started to have an impact on my health. I would get bladder infections all the time, I would catch colds, and other viruses very easily and I had no energy.
During this time I was also trying to get pregnant with my second child. Finally I went to the Dr and was told that I needed to gain 10 lbs. I thought I was gonna die! That was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do as I developed a fear of being fat. However I reluctantly did it slowed way down on my exercising at ate more nutritious food and took vitamins constantly again. As soon as I gained that 10 lbs I felt better and got pregnant. Never did I allow myself to get to that weight again and I have never had a bladder infection since!
Because of my love for fitness I decided to get certified as a personal trainer. I wanted the knowledge on how to really become fit and learn how to eat properly. This change my habits forever! When I got pregnant with my 3rd baby I ate so much healthier and was able to exercise and only gained 35lbs. Recovery was so much better and I was able to get back to my normal healthy weight 2 1/2 months later.
Now I have a love for eating healthy and my passion for fitness has grown. I have been able to, not only put back on the right amount of weight for me, but also add some muscle.This has taken time! Yea my pants and tops fit and little tighter and I have a little extra fat with the the amount of muscle I have put on, but that's ok! I actually like that I fill out my bras a little better and I have a butt! I finally feel comfortable in my own skin .
Not only have I learned healthy eating habits but have learned how to balance that diet with eating junk at times and learning to live life as it is meant to be lived: Enjoyed, and not dictated by food and a constant worry of gaining or loosing too much weight because of it.
The best advice I can give anyone is that if you are dieting to loose weight or even to gain weight, your diet should be no different than what you would do if you were to maintain your weight, other than you will either be eating less calories or more calories and adjusting your macro-nutrients (fat, carbs, and protein) according to your goals. The reason for this is if you do not learn how to eat a balanced nutritious diet while losing weight/gaining weight, you will not be able to successfully maintain your goals for good. That is why fad diets do not work! They do not teach you how to eat for the rest of your life! It is that simple! There are many, many diets out their that promote guaranteed quick weight loss, super low carb, low fats, gluten free, blah, blah, blah diets....(FYI some of those diets were designed for people who had special diet restrictions because of known allergies, or other health issues). If you have no health issues other than the need to loose weight there is no reason why you would need to go on any sort of "special diet" to do so! You need fat in your diet and you need carbs!!
Do I keep track of my calories? Yes! For me personally this works well because I want to make sure that I get enough of what I need. I tend to not eat enough if I don't. However , balance has taught me that if I don't some days not big deal. I can pretty much tell the amounts of food I need by now. Also for those of you who are looking for a great way to track you calories, the best free app I have found is "My fitness pal." It is super easy to use and pretty accurate on basic nutrient requirments.
Here is just a sample of some of the foods I eat on a regular basis:
1.oatmeal, 2 peanut butter chocolate protein shake, 3. Quinoa chicken salad, 4 candy, 5. 3 oz steak, broccoli, cauliflower and sweet potato, 6. almonds
I added the rice krispy treats in because I do sometimes bake and have no guilt doing so. I consider myself a clean eater but not overly obsessive. I eat 5-7 times a day with my diet consisting of a lot of veggies, fruits whole grains, and lean meat. However, because I generally eat so well and hit all of my macro nutrients and calories to maintain my fitness levels I do not think there is anything wrong or unhealthy about eating a little junk sometimes, even when you are trying to loose weight! It's amazing how if you feed your body the nutrients it requires you will not find the "need" for junk all the time and you will not have the desire to eat excessive amounts of it. I can have a candy jar in my house now and have no problem eating only 1 or 2 pieces. I believe you still gotta live life. What fun is vacation when you can not enjoy those foods you do not get to eat at any other time or going to a new restaurant with family or friends where you have heard amazing things about their food yet you feel you must order the healthiest thing on the menu. You do not eat like this everyday so its ok sometimes to enjoy some yummy, fattening food and not have the guilt!
I have found that balance is the key to success and happiness!