i haven’t always been healthy

A lot of times, when people see that I eat lots of veggies and work out, they ask, “Have you always been healthy?” My answer: Heck no! Just like everybody else, I used to go to McDonalds, eat french fries, drink soda, snack on candy, and do all those typical things. In fact, I used to be a big soda drinker. I lovedddd me some Dr. Pepper.

In 7th grade, I convinced my mom to go to Burger King after school for the ranch burger (hamburger with an onion ring and bbq sauce on top) and an icee. At the time, I was very active so I never saw the weight gain that I’m sure would have happened. Looking back now, I can’t believe I used to eat that. But hey! You live and you learn.

I was lucky enough to grow up liking vegetables. Whenever my mom made dinner, I had no problem filling my plate up with some greens. And when lunch time came around and there were carrots in my lunch, I ate them. My mom also made healthy meals. Sure, every once in awhile we had steak, and I would eat it. It wasn’t my favorite, but I still ate it. But besides that, we ate chicken, had whole wheat bread in the house, and always had fresh fruit and veggies. And when morning time came around, I ate bacon, not knowing any better.

Once 8th grade rolled around, I began to become more conscious of my weight. It was also at that time that my sister began some diets that didn’t work. So at the same time, I was becoming healthy, she was too (sort of, because most of those diets didn’t work.) Then again, I looked at healthy as being 100 calorie pack cookies and “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter.”

My healthiness carried with me until 10th grade. At this time, my sister lost 100 pounds on a weight loss plan that worked. I couldn’t be happier. I was beyond proud of her and I still am to this very day. But 10th grade was also the time when my basketball coach wanted us to write down what we ate. He also showed us pictures of fit women as an incentive for us to work harder. So I became a little obsessive in my quest to be the best.Β 

11th grade rolled around and my healthfulness became obsessive. A little too obsessive. This was the time the ED came up. Bulimia, anorexia, and orthorexia followed me. (And yes. I firmly believe that orthorexia is an ED. I’ll talk about that in another post.) Β So ED came and I still was “healthy.” I put that in quotes because I was still eating healthy foods, just not enough.

Mid way through senior year and I started to realize what it meant to be truly healthy. And I have continued being healthy, never looking back. It’s not about a diet (I hate that word). It’s just about being healthy. I like the way it makes me feel and it tastes gosh darn delicious. I haven’t always been this way but I sure am glad I made the decision to change my life.

When did you become healthy?
Was there a moment when you realized it’s about healthy, not skinny?Β 

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19 thoughts on “i haven’t always been healthy

  1. I love this post haley!! so true – health and fitness and athletic performance are soo much more important than your size or your weight. So many of those “reduced fat”, “low calorie” products are terrible for you! I was never really an unhealthy kid – things like takeout pizza (my mom’s sicilian so I will totally eat her homemade pizza any day lol) and fast food were very rare treats, we had “dessert” every night (portion sized though), and mostly ate lots of fruit, veggies, grains, and lean meats. Some people might argue that it’s never okay to give your kid fast food or dessert, but when they’re treats, it really taught me that balance is key, and that there really are no “evil” or “bad” foods. I don’t know where I went wrong losing that mentality during my ED! I don’t think I’ll ever take my kids to McDonald’s or order Domino’s, but I want them to learn that same lesson – its about balance and moderation.

  2. Dang girl this post was awesome. It takes some guts to open up about struggles like that, you’re so strong!
    I can relate to your past– I used to never give a crap about what I was feeding myself and would chug sprite and McDonald’s multiple times a week. once my high school friends started going on diets and overanalyzing every morsel of food I ate, I too became obsessed with being the healthiest/skinniest, when in reality it just made me get anorexia. I think balance is key for all aspects of life, especially when it comes to food and healthy eating.
    It can be one heck of a vicious cycle, I’m so glad you’re on the path of recovery my friend πŸ™‚

  3. I love this post too! “Healthy” has so many different meanings to different people. Eating fruits and veggies is healthy, but so is eating what you love. It is NOT healthy to deprive yourself of the foods you really want just because they are scary or wrong or not perfect in some way (I’m with you on the orthorexia issue!). I definitely started worrying about my weight wayyy too early, probably in around 5th or 6th grade, so that’s when I started ordering salads in restaurants and drinking Diet Coke etc. trying to be “healthy.” It makes me sad that I missed out on so many carefree years of just eating what I liked and being a happy, active kid. Now, I think of “healthy” as listening to your body and eating what it asks for. I’m in recovery so my hunger cues are still wacky, but in the future I hope to be able to eat intuitively and not just go for the low-cal safe stuff.

  4. This is a great post. I come from a similar household where we ate mostly healthy meals, but I sometimes at crap, not knowing any better. I didn’t fall into my unhealthy habits until college, so my family doesn’t really know, and people I grew up with are often surprised when they see the physical changes and learn about my problems. It’s sad that so many other-wise healthy girls fall into this trap for whatever reason. And, I totally agree that orthorexia is definitely an ED. I’m so glad you shared your story with us!

  5. Love the post! And it took me a little while too. I didn’t really try to start eating healthier until midway through high school. I’ve always been active so I could eat whatever I want and not really gain wait. I stopped eating fast food around 12 or 13 just because I had a bad experience and I haven’t gone back. Fyi I don’t count panera as fast food.
    But you’re totally right, it’s about being healthy not skinny.

  6. I love this post, you are so brave to write about this! I never ate particularly unhealthily but for years I never paid any attention to what I ate, had any ideas about calories or fat, or worried about my body. Then my condition started developing when I was around 14 and all of a sudden I was putting on weight because I had to completely cut down my exercise. This terrified me and I became obsessive about everything I was eating. It’s been a slow journey to the idea that healthy is DEFINITELY more important than skinny but I’m getting there, I just find it sad that I can still tell you the approximate calorie content of everything. You’re inspirational lovely! πŸ™‚

  7. I can so relate to this! I grew up never really caring what I ate. My parents always cooked healthy, homemade meals, but when I was out with my friends I would pig out on junk food. Unfortunately I wasn’t really active, so that led to weight gain. It wasn’t until 2nd year of university that I started to get healthy. But then I took it too far and my ED emerged. I didn’t get truly healthy until 4th year of university when I realized that being healthy is based on so much more than just weight. I may not be at my skinniest right now, but I’m definitely at my healthiest and my happiest. πŸ˜€

  8. I had a similar adolescence. I ate Burger King and Macd’s a lot. In fact I remember my mom bribing me to cooperate with going to church every Sunday by promising me not one, but TWO sausage mcmuffins from Macd’s. This was pre-vegetarian years too. I don’t know where it clicked, somewhere around my senior year and a few years after that I was eating a vegetarian diet, but it consisted of a lot of carbs. I finally loaded up on the veggies, by choice and have never looked back.

  9. Wow, I can really relate to this post! I used to view “health” as a certain number of calories, regardless of all the chemicals i was putting into my body! (those darn hundred calorie packs!) I also loved veggies and fruits and lean proteins but I couldnt escape the packaged diet foods for sweets! thanks for sharing your story! it is very inspiring and a great way to look at things!!

  10. I truly love this post,Haley!
    Before my ED,I used to eat ridiculously unhealthy… I don’t really want to know how much sugar and fat I consumed each day,but it was definitely more than what would’ve been healthy. I actually wonder I didn’t gain any weight though because I was pretty lazy,too…
    Haha,I hinestly changed 100%ly today being active and living a healthier lifestyle! I just wish I could let go of my ED,too,because that’s what I am still really struggling with and what keeps me away from calling myself “healthy”. 😦

  11. I love this post! It was nice hearing your story, very inspiring! I think back to some of things I ate or drank when I was in elementary and junior high, wow! haha Now the taste of many of those doesn’t even taste good to me!
    I too feel orthorexia is a true ED. There is that line that you can cross to where being “healthy” becomes obsessive. I am definitely looking forward to that post! πŸ™‚

  12. Love your story to health. I think we all share a similar path..when I was in middle school..all I ate were milkshakes, candy bars, and McDonalds (eek lol). I am glad as I got older, I became more and more educated about health and healthy food. Some of my friends STILL consume the same foods all the time and it makes me so nervous for them knowing what I know now about health.

  13. I can totally relate to this!! I used to eat McDonalds and all kinds of junk, but I also really enjoyed healthy things like salads and oatmeal. Then I started to get healthier and ate a lot less processed stuff and more wholesome foods. Somewhere along the line I learned about how calories work, and things just went downhill from there. My diet is very different now, but luckily my mindset of just trying to make the best choices and eat PLENTY of wholesome foods has been restored!

  14. I found your blog a little while ago while searching for “health freaks” like me :), and I love your posts. This one is awesome. You wrote about something that I learned not too long ago. Health doesn’t measure your waist, but your strength and energy levels. It isn’t about being skinny but about how you feel inside. Thanks for sharing this. I loved it!

  15. Healthy means SO many different things to SO many people, but I agree with your definition. πŸ™‚ I just got healthy.. Really starting in my freshman year of college. When I gave up meat in my freshman year of high school, I essentially gave up fast food as well, which made me healthier, but still not healthy. Overhauling in college helped me get to where I am now – able to run 10 miles and want to go more – which I never dreamed was possible five years ago, when I couldn’t run a mile. πŸ™‚

  16. I started trying to eat healthy my sophomore-sih year of college but at that time my idea of “healthy” was everything fat-free! If it was fat-free I could eat as much of it as I wanted, right? Wow I’m an idiot.

    It wasn’t until recently actually I’ve started to learn what is REALLY healthy and that being strong is better than being rail thin. I think reading healthy living blogs has really helped me with that!

  17. Pingback: orthorexia: what exactly is it and does it exist? | Health Freak College Girl

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