Food a Fuel

by Tricia Kelly

I have been on a journey to overhaul my health and fitness for the past couple of years. Since 2011, I have taken consistent action to transform my body on the inside and out and create a better mind, body and life for myself. One of the most significant changes has been my relationship with food.

I have always had issues surrounding diet and nutrition; struggling with bulimia, and using fad diets to achieve short-term success. Throughout the past year and a half, I have made small changes over time. I believe this is fundamental in creating a lifestyle change that can be maintained for the rest of my life.

There has been a complete shift in my view of food and its role in my life. I used to eat whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. Evenings were spent out with friends surrounded by large, SAD meals and massive quantities of alcohol. Even after I began exercising regularly, I used food as a reward. This is a very common practice and I see people doing it all the time. I would tell myself that I was looking great or that I worked out really intensely, so I deserved the pizza or beer.

I would spend a series of days in such an extreme calorie deficit that I would rebound and binge. The binge was extreme. It was more than a splurge meal; consisting of bags high-calorie snacks like chips, candy and cookies. I would eat until I could not move and then would just feel so repulsed by myself and my behavior.

Now, I aim to eat for nourishment and not for stimulation. The more I learn about nutrition and the influence of food and drink on body function, including performance and recovery, the more I want to do to optimize my health. If I am not feeling my best, how can I expect to perform my best?

I want to perform like an athlete. In order to do that, I need to fuel like an athlete. If I am working everyday to optimize my health and live as healthy as possible, why would I want to put things into my body that will hinder its performance and slow down the recovery process?

In addition to being full of vitamins and nutrients, whole, plant-based foods are closest to their natural form and do not cause additional stress on the body. By nourishing my body with such foods, it can focus on recovering from intense training sessions and I can look and feel my best. I also drink a lot of juices and smoothies, especially as a post-workout meal.

Everything I do must have a purpose and clear intention for better living. My mindset, choices and overall vision must propel me to reach my goals. My commitment and dedication to healthy living will continue into the new year. I am eager to see how all of the positive changes continue to effect how I feel and look. I am excited about all of the change I have experienced and am thrilled by all of the ways I am adding to my life!

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