I still remember the day that I decided to become “healthier” which meant to eat better and workout more often. It was the Monday after my 21st birthday which means that it was 10 years ago this week. After a crazy 21st birthday weekend I knew I needed to get myself together. I would be graduating college the following spring and I didn’t want to have to start from square one at that point.
I decided to exercise every day. I told myself even if I just did a quick workout video at home at it would count. Before that, giving myself days off had been a slippery slope. First it was a day off Sunday. Then it became the whole weekend. Then I stopped working on out Fridays, too. And many days there were happy hours that I just couldn’t miss.
So this time I actually stuck to my plan and after it really became a routine I started taking days off here and there. I wasn’t running anywhere near as hard as I run now so my gym visits were either a few easy treadmill miles or the elliptical, and weights.
I had also wanted to clean up my diet after my 21st birthday. I wasn’t trying to “diet” but I knew I could lose a few pounds after spending the previous spring semester in London. (You really can’t drink Guinness every day and not gain weight). So my plan was to just “eat better”. Which is interesting to think about now because it is much different that how I think about eating these days. It was 2004 and society in general had a much different view of healthy eating. We were still coming off a low-carb kick and moving back towards the whole low-fat thing plus artificial sweeteners were pretty big.
Instead of eating pasta every night or take out or fried food from the college cafeteria, I started eating more microwave dinners. They seemed lower in calories and usually included vegetable and were low fat.
Instead of eating bagels for breakfast every.single.day I started eating cereal more. I’m pretty sure Special K was my cereal of choice- low fat AND sometimes you could even get dried berries in there!
It took me until I was in college to start eating yogurt, but when I did of course I would need to choose the kind with no fat and no sugar. And the lowest amount of calories possible.
I might not have started eating these until after I moved home from college but I remember my mom and I always ate South Beach Bars. I remember eating them before I would got to the gym and always getting a stomach ache. But they were high in protein and low in carbs so I ate them anyway.
And of course I was drinking tons of coffee because I was a senior in college and the best way to sweeten it was with artificial sweetener of some kind. Splenda was more “natural” and all the hype at the time so of course that was what I used when it was available.
Another one of my favorite snacks around this time were the 100 calorie packs. I mean you could eat cookies and still be healthy! (Please note sarcasm). I’m really not trying to tell anyone how to eat, but in my opinion now if you want to eat cookies you should probably just eat real cookies. I kind of remember these tasting like cardboard.
Well that was quite a blast from the past! To be honest I was still eating Special K about a year ago (not often, but we kept it in our kitchen) and we would also keep some Healthy Choice soups on hand. I will say again I am in no way trying to tell anyone how to eat or trying to tell you not to eat any of these foods. However, I have learned over the past decade that it is much more satisfying and fulfilling to eat real foods rather than diet foods.
Do you remember the first time you started to eat “healthy” and what it meant to you?
How have your thoughts on foods changed over the past decade?