I grew up on my mom’s upstate NY cooking style of meat & potatoes, and the standard American diet (SAD) of the 80’s & 90’s – mostly school lunches, packaged meals, & fast food.
When I was 8 or 9, I called Pizza Hut so often that the girl who answered the phone on Friday nights knew my name, usual order & my Dad’s credit card number, which they kept on file.
After I moved to northern Italy for high school, I enjoyed the local fare. I ate cheese, pasta, bread & drank wine every day, for 3 years straight. When I came home, I was almost 140-lbs, a gain of 15-lbs. At 18-yo., I was over-weight & malnourished. I felt heavy, slow, and tired all the time.
That’s 5-lbs. a year. At that rate, had I not made a change, right now I’d be obese.
After high school, I moved to Fort Lauderdale/Miami & promptly developed a terrifying cocaine habit that lasted a little over a decade. At a sickly 100-lbs (I’m 5’7″), I have a vivid memory of being out, wearing a half-shirt, turning my head, seeing my right side in a mirror, and not being able to see my stomach (crazy).
At almost 30-yo., I was under-weight & malnourished. I had a chronic hangover, a cigarette constantly in my hand, a chronic runny nose, a mouthful of decaying cavities, an irregular & painful menstrual cycle, cysts in my ovaries that would painfully rupture, nailbeds that would peel & bleed, thinning hair, high cholesterol, no muscle tone, and no confidence. I was lonely, depressed & ashamed – it was dark.
Since then, thank God, I’ve healed a lot.
I hadn’t had health insurance in a decade & finding affordable care was difficult, so I took up meditation, prayer, and yoga and even got a 200-hr yoga teaching certification. I spent a year studying at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and became a health coach. Eventually, I decided to focus on the prevention & treatment of disease and started down the (long) road to becoming a Registered Dietitian. I even got married, moved to the ‘burbs, and began to know God.
My quality-of-life is near thriving now, and I’ve realized that I have a deep love for human nutrition and a “natural” talent (after reading a hundred books) for healthy eating & living.
After being close to a woman for many years and eating countless meals together, she told me that she “learned how to eat” just by watching me.
After feeding my husband for a few years & changing his diet slowly, he raves about his transition from feeling lethargic & slow-to-recover to having more energy, more mental acuity, more responsive muscles, and less body fat & bloat.
After spending some time in my home, my brother realized simple it can be and is now cooking his own healthy food at home on a daily basis. Now he even shares his tips with me!
Personally, I’ve been a happy ~20-25% body fat for the last 10 years, even without eating “organic” or “clean” (gasp!). My resting heart rate is athlete-fit, below 60, even without being an intense exerciser.
If I can do that, you definitely can. If, after all that abuse & neglect, I can heal my body and enjoy excellent health while still eating the foods I love, you definitely can.
I know you can because I’ve hurled my body no-looking-back, Thelma-and-Louise-style into both depths of abnormal weight. From being coked-out & rail-thin, to chubby & squishy – if I can lift myself up from knowing less-than-nothing to healing myself, to healing others – so can you.