Now we’re doing it for real
This was a decisive moment in my life. I had moved back with my mother, I was working at home, I could prepare my meals and snacks. Eat every 3 hours. Have more time to work out. But the most important thing is that this time something was different. I was so tired of the emotional distress of gaining and losing weight that I told myself ‘You either lose weight now, once and for all or accept that you are overweight and stop complaining about it’. And that was my turning point.
I went back to the point’s diet because I can’t be told what to eat. I can’t have a set menu and know what every meal is going to be during the week. It just doesn’t work for me. What helped this time was that I started to read about nutrition and things that I could do to help with the weight loss process because this time I wasn’t going to get it back.
So started to add fruit and vegetables to my meals, substitute refined flour for whole wheat, and I started trying to make treats at home so I knew exactly what was in there. And so it began. My diet goal remains the same: eat as much as possible without gaining weight. So I started experimenting with my newfound cooking abilities. Different flours, dark chocolate, adding seeds to my food, healthier sugars… I would go to the flea market, buy different fruit and read about its benefits. How could I use it? What could I combine it with? How would that help me?
After I was in a good place with my alternative flours, I decided to stop eating wheat. I replaced bread with tapioca, and I used coconut and rice flour for my cakes and cookies. My recipes got healthier, I started to cook and bake more, so I would always have different options at home, and the best part was that after I got the hang of it, I stopped counting calories.
And here we are
This was what really got me into culinary. I wanted to find new ways to eat food that was healthy, flavorful, and interesting. I didn’t accept that healthy food had to be bland. Another reason that made me want to cook was how expensive diet food was. And I’m cheap. I really don’t like to spend money unnecessarily.
Slowly I was able to reduce my sugar intake, and I am proud to say that today my diet is sugar-free, with exception of honey and maple syrup, which I usually eat with oats or cacao nibs. And I have to say, cutting sugar was the one thing that was missing. I was happy with my body, but that last 3 kgs never went away until I quit sugar. And as much as I hate to admit it, my body can’t take sugar anymore. I feel super hungover whenever I eat refined sugar now, so avoid it mostly because I don’t want to feel sluggish. Sometimes I’ll drink some detox juice or eat a salad. It’s all about balance.
And this is how I was able to maintain my weight for almost five years now, even after two years of culinary school. I follow a few rules. I try to eat at least 3 fruits a day (sometimes I make a juice with two and voilá!), I drink lots of water, I don’t eat sugar, I don’t eat bread, I don’t care about carbs or calories. But I’m not obsessed with it.
If I go out, I’ll eat whatever. What’s important for me is to have a routine that is healthy and balanced. Even now that I am mostly vegan I will eat cheese and mayo when I go out. If I’m in the mood, I’ll eat eggs. I don’t mind breaking the rules, as long as I don’t break them every single day. That’s when things get dangerous.
Food made me a better person
When I decided to change my eating habits, I had no idea of the psychological effects that this would have. Since I drastically reduced my sugar intake, I was never depressed again. Since I became mostly vegan, I am calmer and my anxiety, for the most part, is under control.
I can even say that for the most part, I’m a well balanced happy adult – gasp. And I know that it all has to do with food because if I don’t eat well, I get moody. I respect my body and listen to it, and it behaves as I want it to.
But the change has to begin in your mind. It’s not enough to say you want to lose weight. You have to have a plan. Commit to what you want. Anyone can do it. And I’m not saying here that everyone should lose weight. I think that people need to be happy the way they are. I wasn’t happy with the way I looked. That wasn’t the body I wanted.
Along the way, I learned to embrace many things that I didn’t like about myself or that I wanted to change. I learned a lot about who I was and what I wanted for my life. The way I saw my life and the world changed. My profession changed. Looking back I could have never imagined that this journey would bring me to a different country, back to school, into a new profession and lifestyle.
Sometimes I look at myself now and I think ‘who is this person?’ Even I can’t believe how much I changed over the years. But it was a slow organic process fueled by my curiosity and desire to have more food options. It’s that simple. I never took any medication, my thyroid problem has been gone for a couple years, and all I do is try to eat what feels good for my body.
I know this was a very long post, but I feel like this was a story I needed to share. So many people ask me about it, so here it is. I hope this can help someone who is the same place I was six years ago and will make your journey easier.
And if you have any question, comments, suggestions, just let me know! I love to talk about this!