My Healthy-Eating Journey

Note: This is just a post to show a personal change for me. I understand that everyone is different and that everyone’s diet is different and that some things that worked for me won’t be suitable for other people. I’m not a dietician or doctor and this is not meant to be an advice article, so please don’t take it as such.

I chose to change my diet and lose weight for me, but my target weight and size are no reflection on what other people should do. Everyone is different and it doesn’t matter what size you are happy at, as long as you are happy.

Anyway, enough of the disclaimer and onto the post!

Really terrible photo of the falafel burger I had at Handmade Burger Company last month. 100% would recommend this burger, 100% would not recommend my photography skills!

I’ve never been a “diety” sort of person. Since my early teens, I’ve championed food-eating of any kind, devouring takeaways, crisps and chocolates with my friends. I was the sort of person who ate family-sized chocolate bars for breakfast, jokingly ordered three starters and loved a good all-you-can-eat buffet. I was the sort of person who read diet articles and questioned why on earth someone wouldn’t just eat the damn cake instead of struggling against it. I was the sort of person who couldn’t understand why the girls at work couldn’t have the cake and the chocolate bar. I was not the sort of person who calorie counted and bought avocados.

Until this year.

In January 2015, I unsuccessfully attempted to get dressed for work. I grabbed one of my favourite pairs of jeans, pulled them up to my waist, then attempted to fasten the button. I heaved and heaved and heaved, gave my wardrobe a confuzzled eyebrow raise, then realised they weren’t going to fasten. So, confused, I took them off, folded them back up, and put them back in the wardrobe, ready to question Andy’s washing skills later.

To put it dramatically, I was devastated. Those jeans were my favourite grungy, grey “look at how awesome I am” legwear and they were unwilling to put up with the size of my arse. How was I supposed to go to work without them?

Luckily, I had some bigger jeans that still fit me, but I was still incredibly sad. I tried on a few shirts and dresses that also didn’t fit and just felt awful. Why was my body betraying me? Why couldn’t I wear my favourite dress anymore?

When I was in university, my body lulled me into a false sense of security. I’d eat a diet that consisted of mainly chocolate and pizza and I’d lose weight. It was amazing, at the time, and I made the most of it by pigging out on Domino’s pizzas and family size chocolate bars. Unfortunately, that was all a trick. A bluff to make me believe that I was a superhero with epic metabolism-based powers. And, as soon as I turned 23, that came to a fast and cruel end, causing me to pile on all the pizza-weight that I’d been saving up for four years.

So, about 20 months ago, after struggling to fit into the majority of my clothes, I decided it was time to think about changing my diet. I’ll be honest, I’d never been a particularly “good” eater. I barely ate any fruit or vegetables, snacked on whatever I wanted, and my idea of “cooking” was banging a frozen pizza in the oven without burning myself. So, even without the weight gain, I knew I needed to make a few changes if I wanted my body to work at its best.

I began with trying to eat more vegetables. I learned to make stir-fries, bought a steam cooker and had a flick through recipes on the Internet. I still ate all the chocolate and snacks I wanted, and the majority of my meals were still the same, but it was a start.

Then, around April last year, my friend gave me her old Slimming World book and introduced me to the world of dieting. I’ve always been against diets, as I’ve always associated them with being hungry. And I hate being hungry. But Slimming World was a diet where you could still eat large portions, so I thought I’d give it a go.

Initially, it didn’t go well. I stuck to it for a couple of days, then went back to my evil chocolate-eating ways. But, even though I was terrible at following the rules properly, I did start learning new recipes, and, after another six months, most of my main meals were veg-filled and cooked from scratch. No more processed foods and ready meals!

After months of half-dieting, in January I decided to challenge myself to do it properly. And for a couple of months I did, and I lost over a stone.

But, it wasn’t the weight that was the most amazing thing. It was the changes I’d started making, changes that meant I was feeling more energised, and wasn’t getting the dreaded after-dinner stomach pains. Changes that made me happier and more confident in the kitchen, so I didn’t have to rely on frozen ready meals.

So, how has Slimming World changed things? What has it taught me? Here’s a little list:

1. I make more meals from scratch
Did you know that you can make a really nice pasta sauce using a tin of chopped tomatoes?! I was absolutely amazed!

2. I eat less chocolate
Chocolate is not a breakfast. Chocolate is not a breakfast. Chocolate is not a breakfast.

3. I eat more vegetables
Through this I’ve learned that leeks taste a bit onioney, peppers make any meal amazing, and fresh broccoli is sometimes full of flies.

4. I’m better at portion control
Which means I don’t end up throwing platefuls of food in the bin anymore.

5. I know how to make rice now
Basically, just don’t throw half the bag in and hope for the best. Measure your rice!

6. I don’t need to buy a snack on the way to and from work anymore
This saves time, money and prevents the petrol station from selling out of Cadbury Starbars.

7. I know which foods make me feel good, and which foods don’t
I might not always eat the right ones, but at least I know.

8. I’m better at meal-planning
I can make a tray of mushrooms last all week now, which makes the weekly shop much cheaper!

9. I’ve learned that healthy meals can actually be nice
No more plain vegetables for me!

10. I know you can have the cake and the chocolate bar
You know, for a treat!

Even though all of this may sound amazing, I’m still not a perfect, clean-eating machine. I still have takeaways, still snack on chocolate occasionally and still have the occasional ready meal. I almost always skip breakfast, don’t vary my diet enough and probably don’t get enough iron. But even so, I am so proud of how far I’ve come. I’m finally eating something other than frozen pizzas and chicken dippers! GO ME!

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17 Comments

  1. I’m a firm believer of a little bit of what you like does you good and that all things are ok in moderation. Chocolate, pizza, cake… it’s all ok as long as it’s not all you eat and that it’s tempered out with ‘proper’ food. It’s never an easy journey and just reading what you’ve learned and accomplished over the last few months – I hope you don’t mind me a random stranger saying that she’s proud of you!

  2. Like Samantha said, moderation is the key 🙂 I’m horrible about my diet, though, so it’s easier said than done. I need to eat more veggies, but I’m really picky about those ~_~ Also, I know it’s better to make your own meals from scratch, and I’ve done it before, but it’s really difficult to do so when I have such long commute every day. Instead, I’m willing to fork over $3.80 USD for an all you can eat Korean meal buffet (one main, one soup, and three sides of the day) near my work. XD Korean food is healthier overall, so it works out for me.

    I found that cacao nibs make for an okay chocolate substitute, btw. It’s bitter, but it has that “chocolate” flavour without all the sugar. I’ve been snacking on those lately (like a tablespoon or so at a time), and it’s been keeping my chocolate cravings away (sort of).

    Keep it up with your healthier eating 🙂

  3. I’ve never been a particularly healthy eater either, so it is something I need to work on. I’m the type of person who never gains weight no matter what I eat, so that isn’t the issue. I do want to eat things that are better for me though. I honestly feel guilty every time I order a pizza because it always makes me feel like crap, and I’m like “there I go again”. It just tastes so good though.

    Also, I’ve never had any burger but a beef burger, but that actually looks quite good. I don’t think it’s a terrible picture either (aside from the bread being a little torn lol).

  4. It’s good that you’ve taken some steps to improve your diet. I mean, you don’t need to be on a green diet to lose weight. There are other foods you can still enjoy. Glad to hear that you’ve incorporated a lot of veggies into your meals now! Portion control is very important. You can still get away with eating a cheeseburger with one patty rather than eating a burger with four patties. Keep it up, Amy!

  5. I think not fitting into my cute new clothes on holiday last year in Barcelona also made me realise that I probably should get my shit together (that in addition to the other thing 😆) But I totally feel you with that!

    I really enjoyed reading your healthy eating journey. It’s not the easiest, I know how it feels trying to tempt away from living off a chocolate forever. ITS A STRUGGLE but as I wrote on my recent blog post (I wrote a bit about clean eating too!!) eventually you just get used to it and you might even stop craving the junk food.

    I’ve heard of Slimming World from a colleague. It sounds great and looks like it’s positive as hell! Especially since you’ve started all these positive eating habits because of it! Number 9 is something everyone needs to know, people assume that just because it’s “healthy” it can’t be tasty but that’s so wrong!!

    EEEK excited to see how your journey turns out! Keep us updated!!

  6. I totally feel you on the difference between teenage/early twenties and mid twenties metabolism. I somehow managed to lose weight eating badly in uni, but now at 25… not a chance. 🙁 Now I’ve started driving its just getting worse – running for the bus was my most consistent form of exercise unfortunately. I also relate to your last paragraph. I feel ridiculously proud every time I manage to get three meals in with actual vegetables. Its hard to resist the temptation to eat chocolate or order something on just eat. Well done for making progress. Good luck maintaining it and making more 🙂

  7. I can totally relate to the realization that your metabolism isn’t what it was in college. I didn’t really pay attention to what I ate while in school, but then afterwards, I started gaining weight, and it became harder to lose it. On the plus side, it does make me eat healthier now, which is always a good thing!

    That’s great that you’re eating more vegetables and making more of your meals! I’ve been doing the same the past month. I’ve always been someone who likes vegetables, but it was only recently that I was more attentive to them and making sure I include them in my meals. I agree that healthy meals can be nice! There’s lots of ways of making foods taste good while keeping them healthy!

    It sounds like you’re doing awesome so far and are making good progress! I think it makes sense to slip once in a while and treat yourself, especially if you’re doing well overall 🙂 I’m glad you’re seeing results from it and are feeling more energized now!

  8. Well done on trying to eat healthier! 🙂 I’m a very fussy eater and will only eat vegetables if I have too. I used to eat anything when I was a lot younger.

    I’ve made an effort to eat healthier the past couple of weeks though and actually willing asked for veg with my roast chicken! 😮

    I’ve heard of Slimming World but never been, I go to Weight Watchers.

  9. Man, college is such a confusing time for everyone’s bodies. I remember eating whatever I wanted and not gaining a pound as well. Not so much anymore…

    It’s awesome that you’ve started eating healthier! I’ve been trying to do the same myself. I think my biggest struggle is cooking. It’s so much easier to buy something than to put in the effort of cooking (and then cleaning up afterwards) but most pre-prepared foods aren’t great for your body. 🙁

    I used to try and deny myself stuff. If only I’d just cut out the pizza and burgers and candy, I’ll be good. Except the more you deprive yourself the more you want it. It’s still nice to eat pizza and burgers and candy once in a while (even better if you make them yourself) as long as you’re doing it in moderation, for sure.

  10. I can relate to this post 100%
    You have no idea
    Good for you for sticking with it!
    I’ve been slacking lately, sadly, due to some drama at the workplace having me down, but I’ve gotten back on track this week. I’ve been trying to take the best steps possible to lose some weight, and so far only managed to get the scale to budge about 15lbs -.-
    However, I’ve gained some muscle mass so I’ll take what I can get at the moment!

    Keep up the good work Amy. I know you’ve got this! <3

  11. OMG I can relate so much! I am at a plateau now and it sucks so I keep gaining and losing the same weight back and forth. Man, it sucks. Moderation is key to this all and make sure to work out and drink plenty of water and you’ll do it!

  12. Welcome to getting older. I still don’t eat that great and I think most of my weight gain is from being less active. I knew that was going to happen once I bought a car. But it also didn’t help that my job moved so I can no longer walk to work. I wish I could find recipes that I actually want to eat that are easy to make.

  13. I’ve never ever been a healthy eater, and I’ve never actively been on a diet just tried to watch what I eat which is very hard when there are so many good food places and so little time!

    Anyway, thank you for posting this and go you for sticking to your healthy eating! Looking forward to reading more about your journey 😀

  14. This post definitely hit home. Last year, most of my favorite pants/jeans wouldn’t even make it past my thighs… it was devastating! Unfortunately, I’m still in the denial stage of it all so my journey in the losing the weight and getting healthier has been a rather bumpy roller coaster ride. Enough about me, I want to congratulate you for taking action and making sure you changed for you. Good for you, Amy! Best of luck in this journey.

    cabin twenty-four

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