Diets suck. Eliminating any type of food sucks. Having tons of temptations around me all the time sucks. I can derive a laundry list of what I’m not allowed to eat, which includes but isn’t limited to the following:
If you’re not already salivating something is wrong with you…but that’s for another blog and discussion entirely.
See, I’ve always been a foodie. I love food…not in the I’m going to gorge on it and make myself sick in a Scorsese kind of way… but I have a deep and true appreciation for great food.
My weight was always a struggle though.
Growing up in an Armenian/Middle Eastern household always meant that there would be meat, rice, bread, and tons of appetizers plus dessert on a general basis.
By the way, this was and is completely perceived as normal. I seldom see a table with less than 5 offerings when I visit family or Armenian/Mid-Eastern friends.
Food was my comfort, and in it I found an escape. Whether I was having a good day and wanted to “reward” myself, or having a bad day and felt like crap so needed to “console” myself with it. It became my savior but it also became my worst enemy.
One common denominator I found though, was that food was always involved in a social gathering or objective with me… it was at the epicenter of my life.
It wouldn’t matter if it was at a family friend’s house having conversations over Koosa Bel Laban, or while cooking a warm and filling home made pasta, or even a quick meal out at one of my favorite pit-stops back home, Lebanese Flower.
Food was central to my lifestyle and I relished in it.
Any opportunity to meet up for a coffee and dessert with a friend, grab a quick bite, or organize a dinner out — I was there and present. I took liberties in the opportunity of both socializing and eating.
The social Eco-system churned in this direction back home in Abu Dhabi. Eating out is and was of the norm. With my friends, I had the advantage of being young, having money and time to spare, new places to go to and people to meet. Literally, this was my life.
Fast forward my move to the States a few years ago — the bay area to be exact. Suddenly, food was not only diverse, but incredibly delicious!
Quick tip: the bay area is amazing at having innovative food trucks, restaurants, Michelin star chefs, but when you’re living in the Silicon Valley and not a software engineer or one of these guys:
You’re pretty much strapped for cash…and not going to be able to dine out every night Abu Dhabi style. Just saying…
This quickly became a rude awakening for me, coming from Abu Dhabi, living at home and having a full on support system if needed. In addition, my personal cherry on my cake was working for a non-profit (not a great money maker, but definitely helps you sleep soundly at night).
All of a sudden, I didn’t have the accessibility to food that I wanted or craved. I couldn’t just go to any old restaurant because I “felt like it”, or invite friends out because everyone was on a budget. Understandably so…
I was officially adulting.
So maybe this was it…my opportunity to really take a look at my habits and see if they were paying off. From the financial perspective, I was always spending on food, dining out, and having a coffee here or there…my wallet definitely felt it more in the US than back home.
Another observation I realized was after my 5th In n Out venture in the same month…I took a moment and asked myself, is this how I want to live? I felt heavier both outside and within.
It didn’t help that I also felt like the US had this huge contradiction with food vs. health.
On one hand there was a McDonalds and Burger King on every corner, but on that same corner you’d have a gym and a banner that looked like this:
It wasn’t until I got home that day, and was alone that I realized all of my problems had stemmed from my relationship with food. My inability to be comfortable in my own skin was a deeper conversation I needed to have and look into.
I had always prided myself on investing in my hair, make up, and was fortunate enough to feel beautiful in my own face and skin, hell….even fortunate enough to “get by” with the right type of clothing for my body.
All in all, I could pull off sexy and confident, and genuinely felt that way too.
I felt almost vixen-like when I would go on dates, exude a certain confidence that my friends would ask me about, and even dive deeper and ask how I was able to get dates with such good looking/athletic/younger, and fit men. How lady, how?
The truth was that I loved who I was, and still do…in addition to feeling confident with just getting by with the looks I already had.
By the way dear reader…I realize this can come across as a superficial conversation, but I promise I have a point…just bear with me (I’ve shown you pretty pictures so far haven’t I)?
Going off of that…I dug deep. I realized I not only had what I would call a controversial relationship with food, but I needed to go on a …. diet. Cold turkey cut out anything that was making my body scream from within “STOP!”
I know diets suck. I mentioned that earlier. Yet I knew there was no other way to detox myself initially…was I seriously going to commit to nights out, pizzas, and cheetos for the rest of my life?
Only if I wanted to end up with Diabetes and a severe heart attack by the age of 45.
Nope, not feeling that to be honest.
I wanted to live, and REALLY live. I wanted to feel what it would be like to lose all my weight once and for all and not have it “hold me back”.
I wanted to know what it would feel like to be 100% confident and not “fake it till you make it”, and “oh honey just smile, you have such a pretty face” reassurance from family, and friends.
I was starting to look at different factors that would count for me personally:
See, diets do suck…but what sucks more is not living a healthy life, and not being true to your potential. Consistency is everything, and in my short journey so far I’ve discovered I’m in control of what I eat and that makes all the difference.
Eventually, I’ll have my odd cheetos bag, coca-cola or dinners out — but it’ll be balanced and within reason. Excess is never a good thing anyway, and if you can control your food in a healthy way, and love yourself unconditionally in the process, then I fully salute you.
Motivation moment: NEVER GIVE UP. Each day counts, and the results will happen. Just don’t forget to be good to you. I pinky promise, you’ll win within.
From one former In n Out addict to another…❤