Monday, August 13, 2012

The Past, Present and Future of my Food: Advice from Someone Who Has Struggled With Diet and Image, and Found Balance.

For as long as I can remember I have always been fairly self conscious about the way I looked. growing up my dad was a health food nut. We ate oatmeal or cream of wheat for breakfast every morning. Never had white bread and the only meat we ever ate was ground turkey. We also had to eat these nasty chewable vitamins everyday. Not the gummys that our kids are lucky to have now! We rarely ate junk unless it was a party, special outings or holidays. When we did get treats and junk food I remember eating it until we were stuffed full and nearly sick because it was so rare. One time my Step mom made a cake that looked absolutely delicious. It was a chocolate cake, with divinity frosting. I told her that I was so hungry and it looked so good that I could eat the whole thing. She told me  that was impossible and I would be sick.  I persisted in telling her that  I really could eat that whole cake, until finally she dared me to do it. As a kid, having been restricted from sweets most of the time, getting to eat a whole cake by myself was a dream come true! I made it through half of the cake before I was forced to stop and run to the bathroom where I  literally laid on the bathroom floor, doubled over with a horrible stomach ache. It took me a long time before I would eat cake again!
   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.

                                                               Me at 20 years old -120lbs
    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.
                                                    About to deliver my 1st baby at 175 lbs

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.

                                                       A year after my first baby 108-110lbs         
    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.

                                                 Me now 5'5' tall and happily weighing 125 lbs

     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
7. Rotissorie chicken, veggie mix, brown rice, 8.  perfect zone protein bar, 9. spinach salad, 10. Chobani Greek yogurt. 11. Lean chili 12. Rice krispie treats

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!



  1. It's funny that your dad was the health food nut and your mother wasn't. usually it's the other way around. My lifes weight story is very similar to yours and I completely agree with your suggestions and points. You look great by the way!

  2. I think this is really interesting... I have struggled with my weight for a long, long time. I studied Exercise Science, as well as Holistic Nutrition Counseling, but even with that, I have struggled with finding what works best for my body. Up until a few months ago, I have had a very unrealistic image in my mind of what I am "supposed" to look like, and what I am "supposed" to weigh. I've slowly been working towards fostering a more healthy body image, and it has made all the difference!

  3. Awesome post! Ever since you mentioned it, I have been waiting for it. :) I love your thinking. You are so smart and I'm glad oyu shared your story. I LOVE that you had candy thrown in there too. I think we could all learn a thing or two from this. :) You look absolutely beautiful at where you are at now and you have some serious confidence to go with--a double whammy in my book. :) Thank you for such a good read on this dreary Monday! :)

  4. Great post. It is definitely most important to find balance in life and to gain that confidence of knowing what is best for you. That muscle looks good on you, it proves you're fighting for it but still living your life. I aim for a ratio of 80:20 of healthy eating. All the best.

  5. Thanks for sharing your story! You are right, it is all about balance. I am so passionate about fitness and nutrition as well and hope to help others find balance, health, and happiness! You look totally awesome btw...very fit, healthy, and beautiful!

  6. This is a great post! :) You really spoke to every part of the process of coming to terms with your body & health.

  7. I love this post. It is definitely more about being healthy and fit than being ultra skinny. Have a good week!

  8. LOVE this post!!!

    I have been wanting to get certified as a trainer just to understand it all too.
    you look very fit and beautiful!!! I am struggling with that balance to find all that and get in shape.
    thank you so much for sharing

  9. Girl, you look great! I'm stopping by from the blog hop. I'm one of the co-hosts! Thanks for linking up!

    Looking forward to getting to know you better! :)


  10. Yes absolutely agreed that if you can’t take proper diet on daily base or can’t maintain your weight then I am sure that you have to face difficulty in future.Your advice are perfect for being fit and healthy.Thanks for sharing it.
    protein shakes for weight loss

  11. Hi Cassidy. Thanks so much for stopping by my blog. I'm really glad you did so I could find yours. This is a great post and I really enjoy reading how other people overcame their weight issues. Thanks for sharing your story. You look great, by the way :)

  12. What an interesting journey you have had with food, fitness and body image. Looks like you have found a great balance with real, substantial and nutritious food :)

  13. Love your story!' it is so inspiring and something that everyone needs to learn.. Balance!' balance is key in any aspect of life! Do you have recipe for that quinoa chicken salad?? Looks delicious.

  14. What a great story! I'm impressed that you were able to come full circle and can now balance healthy eating and exercise without the extremes. It's so important to find that place where we're happy with our selves! Good for you!

  15. What a journey you've had, great job finding balance :-)

  16. Thanks for sharing your story! It's great to know that you are in a good place in your life when dealing with food and exercise! Balance is really the key:) Since I've started eating healthier, I too, have been trying to eat a balanced diet and think of nutrition and nutrients; instead of eating the 100 calorie snack packs for this and that! What do you use for your protein shakes? Do you use a certain powder? Just curious, I have been debating whether to start using some protein powder.

  17. I enjoyed reading your story regarding your weight issues. I could use some balance in my life, you have inspired me to attempt it. I am visiting from Thee Networking Blog Hop & am now a follower. Looking forward to more great posts :)

  18. Your blog name made me think of my younger cousin. Very catchy!

  19. Thanks so much for sharing your story! And you looks AMAZING. It's so much about finding that balance ya know? Your eats look pretty similar to mine :)

  20. You look so good. Okay, I have a question for you. I've noticed that my stomach sticks out a LOT now that I have 2 babies. It really didn't do that after my first baby. But somehow, it's just worse now after my 2nd. (He is 10 months.) It isn't fat, it just protrudes. How can I get it to suck back in? I do jazzercise 2-3 times a week (good cardio) and I teach dance 2 X a week and take ballet 2 times a week. So I'm not exactly a slug. I also do crunches every single day. Is it just 'me'? Am I destined to have a protruding belly the rest of my days?


    Fashion and Beauty Finds

  21. This is an excellent post on weight loss and body image. You should consider submitting to some sites for promoting your site. = ) I'm following from the hop and hope you will visit and follow back at Dedicated 2 Life. Heading over to follow you on facebook. = )

    Irish Carter of Dedicated 2 Life

  22. What a great story! You've come such a long way and you look phenomenal now! It must have been hard growing up with two extreme households. My mother has a serious sweet tooth but she is as thin as a rail. Every single night she eats an entire block of chocolate! And dinner was always pasta or something super high carb. She's vegetarian, and so I was by association, so we barely had any protein. I inherited my father's genes, so I'm not quite as lucky as her in eating whatever I want. I was dancing five days a week as a teenager so burned through all that food, but once I stopped I quickly realised something had to change!

    I then followed a restrictive diet and exercised 90 minutes a day in my quest to be super skinny. Thankfully I 'saw the light' and now I can balance my clean eating with junk food and being happy :)

  23. you look wonderful!! good for you for finding balance...
    my college daughters tell me many stories of friends having wt issues...and always extreme...either completely pigging out or nibbling on a brownie and having to run 20 miles....

  24. What an amazing post - thank you for sharing your entire story and how you finally found what works for you. You look great now! I'm currently trying to lose weight the "old fashioned" way (balanced diet and exercise) because you're exactly right, fad diets don't work. Great blog and I'm looking forward to reading more in the future!

  25. you look amazing, I've know the feeling the first baby I bounced back within a couple of months, and the second took longer since I gained 50lbs - and I still have a little xtra something there but now I'm working out and eating superfoods so I feel better.
    Xo Megan

  26. Cass, what do you put in your oatmeal and your peanut butter chocolate shakes?

  27. Wonderful post, and you're looking great! Love the arm photo - I gotta get mine lookin' like that ;)

  28. Looking wonderful!! I admire the way you have maintained a healthy food routine.I am sure to add these in my daily diet as well.


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