Like so many, I was once caught up in a cycle of dieting and binging on “restricted” foods. I would “be really good” from Monday to Friday and then, as was expected, would give in to my cravings, eating whatever I wanted over the weekend. Of course, for many people, eating well throughout the week and having a dessert or perhaps a glass of wine at the weekend can formulate a healthy, balanced diet. However, for me, this was not the case.
I can remember feeling guilt-ridden immediately after finishing that chocolate bar which I had sworn to avoid at the beginning of the week. Then I would think, “Well, I’ve already ruined today…I might as well eat what I want for the rest of the day and then I’ll start being healthy again tomorrow. Or maybe Monday. Yes, Monday sounds better; start of the week.”. Only in retrospect can I see how toxic this cycle was becoming.
I distinctively remember one week leading up to a party when I was about sixteen. Throughout that week, each day I would exercise in the morning and evening and severely restrict my calories, sometimes not even reaching five hundred for the whole day. I would merely eat 0% fat yoghurts, instant soup in a mug, cups of tea and coffee with semi-skimmed milk and occasionally an apple. The morning after the party, I was starving and so overcompensated, indulging in comfort food. Obviously, the foods I craved were quick sources of energy: bread, biscuits, pasta, chocolate, cereals; foods containing minimal nutritional benefits. A favourite “treat” of mine was toast with butter and a layer of a particular chocolate hazelnut spread. Nowadays, I’ll take the butter and leave the bread and spread.
With unhealthy eating patterns such as this, it’s no wonder my health started to further decline. At the time, I simply did not acknowledge the link between my lack of food and nutritious choices, and the poor condition of my health. I do not think that my health issues were caused by my erratic dieting, but it certainly prolonged and worsened my symptoms. I was kicking my body when it was down.
However, today, I am pleased that I had to face these health hurdles. If I hadn’t, I doubt I would be as knowledgeable about the importance of food choices and their consequences, both positive and negative. My previous, unstable eating habits are a thing of the past. I no longer count calories, excessively exercise, or feel the need to binge on sugary foods to satisfy cravings. All this I credit to a high fat diet.