The Price I Paid For Bad Eating Habits

Repeating certain habits every day can be costly. I found that out the hard way with my sugar fuelled youth. Let me give you an example day’s eating:

Breakfast would have been 3 Weetabix with 2 tbsp of sugar, pancakes loaded with sugar and lemon juice or toast with honey or jam.

At morning break I might have an iced bun and a can of Fanta from the tuck shop (well less of a shop, more a table in the canteen piled with treats and a dinner lady with a tin money box).

Lunch was always some kind of school canteen burger and chips with a dairy milk (or two) to follow.

Dinner would almost always be followed by a bowl of ice cream or something similar for ‘afters’.

Pretty shocking, right? But because I never really gained any weight there was no immediate feedback. I had no idea eating like this setting me up for problems down the line.

Gaining weight was never a problem for me as a kid

My mum certainly wasn’t to blame for my poor diet. It was probably years before she found the broccoli I stashed away in the hems of the curtain that she thought I’d eaten 🙂

Bad Habits Catching Up

Even though I got away with eating like this originally, as I hit my late teens it started to catch up. Not as weight gain – but I noticed what I ate had a huge effect on my skin, my mood and energy levels.

To this day I get breakouts if I even so much as walk down the confectionery aisle. If I consume sugary foods I feel tired, get sugar crashes and pick up every cold going. I really believe overdoing all the junk as a kid has ruined my ability to tolerate even the smallest amount of processed food without adverse effects.

I’ve blown my responsibility with sugary foods, like an alcoholic blows their chances of enjoying  alcohol in moderation.

But I only stopped for a quick one on the way home from work... That was 10 years ago

On the upside, this has become a strong motivator for me to avoid the things that make me feel bad. I know when I’ve strayed, because I start feeling lousy. I get severe skin breakouts. I’m more prone to getting ill. This is usually enough to let me know I’m not giving my body what it needs to be at its best.

Changing Habits: A Gradual Process

My eating habits didn’t go from where they were in my teens and early twenties to where they are today. It was an evolutionary process. I changed things one step at a time. Adding in things I learned my body needed. And over time it got easier to exclude the processed foods that were causing problems. This was dietary displacement at it’s best. Focusing on eating all the stuff your body needs so there’s less room for the stuff you think you want.

As For Now?

Well, even though I hit the big 3-0 last month I’ve managed to get and keep myself to a level of health and fitness I’m happy with.

 

And I think Michael Pollan’s simple approach to food sums up my current diet;

‘Eat Food. Not too much. Mostly plants’