Over eat, under eating, junk food to healthy food – Tough Choices

foodEveryone in California seems to eat all natural and healthy foods. That being the case, it couldn’t escape my mind that I don’t eat that healthy.  It’s not new news to me to have come to the realization that I don’t know how to eat well.  Portions, nutrition, calorie intake and healthy choices are all things I have a general understanding of, but in all honesty don’t fully understand.

When I was a child, preteen and then teen I was blessed with a high metabolism.  I could eat whatever I craved whenever I craved it.  Some of my favorite memories in high school involved walking to Huntsman Square  Center in Springfield, VA with my friends.  We would arrive at the shopping center and head right to the chinese food restaurant.  It wasn’t a fancy chinese restaurant…. Nope, it was one of those hole in the wall chinese restaurants with no tables inside.  You walked through the glass doors and straight to the counter.  From there you would place your order for whatever you wanted.

When it came to me and my friends, that order always consisted of the typical sugary, sodium rich battered dishes.  Something I never thought twice about because it tasted delicious and I knew I would be having the time of my life when we finally got home with the food and sat down to eat it. So the order was always placed with the worst choices possible.

While the food was prepared we would rush over to Blockbuster Video and rent some movies (yes I just dated myself, we use to go to Blockbuster).  Following that we would trot into Giant, the grocery store at this shopping center, and buy an array of snacks.  We would get a block of cheddar cheese and some crackers, candy, ingredients for my homemade ranch dip and Wavy Lays potato chips to go with it and any other goodies we could think of.

Once our bags were filled and we had our arms full of delightful food and entertainment we would head back to the Chinese Restaurant, grab our takeout order and rush back home with all our treasures.

Right upon entering the house I would whip up the ranch dip and put it in the fridge so it could set while we chowed down on our chinese food extravaganza.  Mmmmm, I can almost taste the pork egg rolls, fried wontons, orange chicken, general soy’s chicken, sweet and sour chicken and the fried rice.  Off course we would split orders like that, just to clarify I wasn’t eating it all myself.  None-the-less I still piled it on and did my fair share of the eating.

We would take a break that typically started about 30 minutes into whatever the first movie was we would be watching and rest our stomachs.  Then some time would pass and we would pull out the cheese and crackers and the chips and ranch dip.  Our fingers would get greasy beyond belief, but that was half the fun.

By the start of the second movie we would dive back into the chinese food and bust out the candy.  We ate a lot and did this just about every weekend.

Want to hear the crazy thing?  I was 6 feet tall and 135 pounds.  That is a weight I know I will never be again, but it still shocks me how skinny I was with all the junk food I ate.  I just didn’t have to worry.  I was an active teenage boy with a high metabolism.

Oh my, I apologize as I ventured a bit off course.  The memories of eggrolls were dancing in my head, but it does get me to my point.  I never had to worry so I never had to learn.

My family was pretty healthy adding to the ironic realization that I don’t know how to eat well and make good choices.  I say ironic because I’ve lived most of my life in pretty good shape.  My Mom and Dad have both run 100 mile ultra marathons and countless marathons.  They ate, slept and drank healthy as I was growing up, but none of it seems to have sunk in.

Now I am trying to change that.  As i enter my late twenties and my metabolism has started to slow I know I can’t rely on the skinny gods anymore.  I’ve started a diet regime and exercise plan, albeit I’ve only started the diet regime and are a bit behind on the exercise part. My diet though brings me back to the early comment I made about having a basic understanding of appropriate portions, calorie intake and proper food choices.

Today, for instance, I woke up and had a coconut water.  Around noon I ate a Special K Meal Bar, yes you read that correctly! I am trying the Special K challenge like a 40 year old woman.  Anyways, then around 3 I had a handful of pistachio nuts and now at 8:30 I’m just getting around to cooking dinner.

It’s like I can only go from one extreme to the other.  I eat junk or I eat nothing.  What I think I need, just like many Americans, is a nutritionist to teach me the proper things to eat and amounts to eat every day.  I’m sure I will get to the right and healthy balance between the food I eat each day and the exercise routine I do. Special K Challenge