According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, National Nutrition Month is celebrated every year during March. The primary focus is on the importance of making informed food choices while developing sound eating and physical activity habits.
The theme for 2020 is: Eat Right, Bite by Bite.
I know what you are thinking . . . “Great, another article on the latest fad diet.”
No, mama. This is my battle-with-nutrition story.
Let’s get real for a minute . . .
This is a topic that hits home for me.
I have struggled with body image and nutrition for close to TWO decades, and I battled with an Eating Disorder until . . .
I got pregnant with my daughter in September of 2016. I will never forget that very moment that I found out I was pregnant. I actually went into anaphylactic shock, rushed to the ER and within five minutes of being there and being shot full of epinephrine, I heard . . . “You are pregnant.”
In the past, I was told I had a 20% chance of carrying a baby full-term due to the damage I had done to my body, and due to endometriosis. Not long before I ended up conceiving Norah, I had a miscarriage. The first thing that had come to my mind when the doctors told me in the Emergency Room that I was pregnant was that there was NO WAY. It had to have been the lady in the next room, not me.
I spent two days in the ICU for observation and to find out why I went into anaphylactic shock. Turns out, it was a tree nut allergy exasperated by the pregnancy. During those two days, I had a lot of time to think and realized it wasn’t about me anymore. I had to stay healthy for my baby.
(Shout out to Norah, who will always be my baby for literally saving my life.)
Recovery after My Eating Disorder
I first sought recovery in 2013, and meeting with my team of professionals, which included a nutritionist several days per week was not the highlight of my 20’s, but extremely necessary to my well-being today and made me the mom I am now. I weighed in at under 110 pounds and some days when I look back at photographs of myself in my mid-twenties, I am in awe of what I used to believe about myself, or that I used to have to step on the scale at least 15 maybe 20 times per day. While I won’t go into the gory details of my battle, it was scary. At my rock bottom, I was hooked up to a heart monitor, and there were days my mom would wonder if I would wake up the next day.
During my healing process, I got my first tattoo.
It was a tattoo of the National Eating Disorder Association symbol on my foot.
I decided to place it there so that every time I felt the urge to step on the scale, that I could look down and have a constant reminder of the warrior that I am. That the number just doesn’t matter.
Focus on Nutrition
Focusing on your nutrition is one of the most important things we can do for ourselves. Whether you are overweight, underweight, or at a healthy weight, what you decide to fuel your body with is what helps determines your health. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you shouldn’t enjoy that piece of cake or your favorite restaurant. I once had someone tell me, “It’s not what you eat between Christmas and New Year’s. It’s what you eat between New Year’s and Christmas.” That was a light bulb moment for me. Those simple words just clicked, and I knew I didn’t have to deprive myself of the things I loved and that I could still enjoy the meal out because, at the end of the day, I wasn’t depriving myself anymore.
The Other Extreme
Just a year ago, I was tipping the scale at close to 200 pounds. I went from one extreme to the other. My love for donuts was unreal. I mean, I probably should’ve had stock in Dunkin’ Donuts, Chick-Fil-A, and Dr. Pepper. I was unhappy, lethargic, and made fun of myself for my own weight-related insecurities. Making an excuse after excuse about the food I was fueling my body with until . . . I saw a picture of myself that my sister-in-law posted on Facebook. I couldn’t believe that it was ME. Being at the other end of the spectrum wasn’t showing my daughter what “healthy” was just as much as being stuck during the battle of the eating disorder. How could I expect her to be healthy and eat a well-balanced meal if I wasn’t showing up each and every day by example?
So, I decided to take control.
In 2019, I healthily lost 60 pounds for the first time in my life and here is how I did it . . .
Nope, not a fad diet. Yes, I follow Weight Watchers, but I eat a well-balanced diet and still splurge now and then!
I hit up yoga class three days a week and also take long walks with my family around the zoo, lakes, and local parks.
Did you know that without a healthy sleep pattern, and even with eating well and exercise, you will never lose the weight?
I know its hard. I know it’s challenging to put yourself first. I know it’s easy to get the fast-food for your family on the go, and there’s no shame in that! But . . . If you are struggling with a nutrition issue, I encourage you, mama, to put yourself first for once, because taking control of your own health and setting an example for your family is something that only you have the power to do.
Eat Right, Bite by Bite.