“Maddy, is this healthy?”
“Maddy, show me how to eat healthy?”
“Maddy, should I not be eating this because it’s not healthy?”
“How do I stop eating ice cream?”
Hi everyone, I’m Maddy! I’m currently a nutrition major at West Chester University, and I’ve been given a great opportunity by Amanda to appear as a guest blogger. Being a Nutrition major in college; I get asked those questions persistently. According to many, in August of 2014, I became an all-knowing food and health professional. Don’t get me wrong, it is thrilling to me when I can educate my friends on health or give advice to my family on how to eat a balanced diet. But first, I want to define what my definition of “healthy” is and isn’t.
Healthy should never be associated with perfection. It should never mean that your diet looks EXACTLY like the celebrity model that cut carbs from her diet or EXACTLY like a meal plan you find on Pinterest. It does not mean that your diet is completely free of sugar, fat, “bad carbs” and salt all the time. And it should NEVER mean you don’t eat ice cream. Don’t let healthy be an all or nothing way of life.
In Summer of 2015, my definition of healthy translated into words like restriction, rigidity, and depravity. I was cutting things out of my diet left and right and was only worried about the decreasing number on the scale. Obsessive thoughts, anxiety, and fear soon crept into my mind along with extreme fatigue and hormonal dysfunctions. My diet could not sway from “perfection”; which then led me to isolate myself from people I love. Activities that I usually love like eating out with friends, barbecues, cooking, or riding my bike to the ice cream stand became a dread to me. If I didn’t stick to my unbreathable plan, shame was always there to greet me. On the outside I pretended I was fine, and people applauded me for how good I looked. But on the inside, my mind and body were in utter turmoil.
I needed to re-evaluate what I was doing to my body because as much as I told myself otherwise, it definitely wasn’t healthy.
Let me clarify. It is SO important that your diet is well-balanced and nutrient-dense. Educate yourself and know what food sources will provide optimal nutrients for the amount of energy it gives. Great resources are websites like https://www.choosemyplate.gov/.
Living a healthy lifestyle will not only help you maintain a healthy weight, but benefit you emotionally, mentally and physically more than you might know.
Dietary Guidelines for Americans says,
“A Healthy eating pattern is not a rigid prescription, but rather, an adaptable framework in which individuals can enjoy foods that meet their personal, cultural and traditional preferences that fit within their budget”
Please do not ignore the words ENJOY found in this definition. Food is so important not only to our bodies but to our social well-being. It is made for not only our nourishment, but also for our pleasure and to bring us together as people. Of course, try and eat healthy most of the time. Get your servings of fruits and vegetables. Try eating leaner protein and better fats. Swap some refined, white breads with whole grains and maybe reevaluate your portion sizes. Set specific goals to live a healthier lifestyle because your entire body will thank you. But your soul will also thank you for a night out with your friends, eating pizza and ice cream. Don’t eat the whole pie or the whole tub, but allow yourself to thoroughly enjoy the things you love. Be kind to yourself when you don’t hit your goals and be grateful for the ability to learn from experience and try again. Being truthful, I am giving you the advice I constantly give myself. Time and time again, I remind myself, “Maddy, you love ice cream; EAT THE ICE CREAM”!