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Eating Healthily: The Struggle Is Real

Ione Stevens obtained her bachelor's degree in English in 2016. She is now a library assistant for Stratford University.


Every year we make a resolution to do something to better ourselves. Eating healthily is the one I hear the most. Usually, we start off doing fairly well! We eat more veggies, give up sodas and fast foods, and aim to drink a gallon of water EVERY DAY. After a couple of weeks, we start to slip... I don't mean a tiny slip. I'm talking about a large double quarter pounder meal with a sweet tea kind of slip! One gigantic slip has a way of throwing you back to square one and it really f***kin' sucks.

Eating healthy isn't just a New Year's Resolution. It's a totally different way of refueling your body, which can make it easy at first yet difficult to stick with. You'll find yourself craving so many high carb foods. You'll start to second guess yourself and question whether or not it'll all be worth it. I'm here to say that you're not alone!

The Struggle with Grocery Shopping


Eventually, we will ask the question that never fails to confuse us: WHY DOES THIS COST SO MUCH?!?!

Grocery shopping is usually fun to me. As a major foodie, I love to try new recipes. Variety is nice and being in the kitchen is one of my favorites places to be. In our home, my mother and I are the cooks. To be more specific, she likes to cook savory foods. I have a knack for baking. Together, we are unstoppable in the kitchen!

Every week we pick a day to go grocery shopping. We start off with endless Pinterest searches in 'low-carb dinners', 'healthy snacks', and 'sugar-free desserts'. Then we start menu planning for that week. Three meals for every day of the week. Once this step is complete, we do the dreaded grocery list. If you're like me and you hate to wander to an aisle multiple times, then you'll like my grocery list!! I categorize every aisle and place the items where I will find them in store. The Kroger location we shop at is the one we go to for EVERYTHING! So when I make that list, I know that Apple Cider Vinegar is in the Baking aisle and that taco sauce is in the International aisle.

Putting together a week's menu, followed by making a grocery list, can take over an hour. By the time we're done, we don't want to go. But we have a house of 5 1/2 people (1/2 includes our 4 year old) and we need to eat!

Grocery shopping for us always starts off decent. We feel good just by knowing that we're buying healthy foods. However, somewhere in the middle, our moods shift. Mom and I are having the same conversation we ALWAYS end up having. Eventually, we will ask the question that never fails to confuse us:


It's such a simple question and all we want to do is eat healthy. I find it infuriating that a box of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese costs $1.00. We're trying to find a bag of pecans that DOESN'T cost the same amount as 7 boxes of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese!! Sure, it's cheap and our monthly grocery budget would be PROUD of us for buying so much for such a low price! But when you've cut out processed foods for so long, eating Kraft Macaroni & Cheese will be a not-so-friendly reminder of how hard it is for your body to digest it. To be blunt, it's just not worth the shit pain.

Grocery shopping is not as fun as it used to be. Yes, we feel good about doing it and we feel good about the foods we eat afterwards. But the entire process of shopping for good, healthy foods is annoyingly expensive. So if you're feeling discouraged about all of this, don't worry. WE ALL ARE!

The Struggle of Fast Food Temptation


Yes, fast food is SO convenient, but it's awful. It tastes amazing, but it doesn't make me feel good.

Like I mentioned before, it's so much cheaper to eat bad food. Chips, frozen pizza, boxed pasta, and all other processed foods are either on sale or cheap as can be. To really save money, you can buy the off brand processed foods!! Let's not forget about the coupons we get in the mail... Sure, I'd love to buy frozen mozzarella sticks with a Buy One, Get One Free coupon! But will it nourish my body? Will it boost my metabolism in a HEALTHY way? No, it won't.

The same goes for all fast food chains: McDonald's, Burger King, Cookout, Arby's. The options are endless. I work in a very wealthy area in Richmond, VA. On one long stretch of road, there are numerous restaurants to choose from. There's Chuy's, Capital Ale House, Longhorn Steakhouse, and many more. Across the street, fast food all the way down... It's truly unbelievable how many chains there are and how quickly they pop up.

Every day I take my lunch to work. My bag is full of fruits, veggies, protein, and a bottled water. As soon as I step out of my workplace, I can smell KFC chicken. I haven't eaten there in years, but that doesn't mean I dislike the smell of crispy fried chicken.

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Do you know how easy it is to get fast food from my workplace? It takes less than 5 minutes to get to a Sonic. Also, did you know that it only costs $5 to get a medium size of mozzarella sticks and a medium soda at Sonic? Yes, fast food is SO convenient, but it's awful. It tastes amazing, but it doesn't make me feel good. Don't get me wrong; I'm no where near perfect when it comes to eating healthy. I'm still learning to resist the urge. It takes a lot of commitment and hard work to eat healthy.

Now, there are healthier options of semi-fast food places to choose from. For example, I could order a salad from Panera Bread and have it delivered to my desk. Sounds pretty good, am I right? Well, each salad costs about $6 or $7 and it comes with a side. It doesn't include a drink and you'll need to get one if you don't have one already. Let's say you want to add more protein to your salad. Shredded chicken will be an extra charge, just like anything else you could add to it. Now you have to calculate the delivery fee and include a tip. Before you know it, you've spent over $16 for a HEALTHY lunch!! How is this okay? It's not.

So I buy healthy foods at the grocery store and pack a lunch for work. I do this for my husband as well, which he prefers over fast food anyway. You might be spending a little over $5 a day, but investing in healthy foods will make you feel better in the long run. Let's face it, that 10 piece nugget meal is NOT going to make you feel good at 2:00 in the morning!

The Struggle with False Hunger


I'm not proud of it and I always feel guilty as I'm holding the empty bag in the air, hoping to catch crumbs in my mouth.

I love to snack. Finger foods are my weakness. Whenever we celebrate for the holidays, we always opt to make all sorts of appetizers and it's incredible. One of the biggest struggles for me is to know when I'm bored and to know when I'm hungry. This usually happens when I'm watching television. I'll get all nice and comfy, put on a show I'm currently binging, and halfway through I feel the urge to SNACK!

When I wasn't worried about eating healthy, I'd grab chips or something sweet. It was AND sometimes still is extremely easy for me to eat a whole bag of chips in one sitting. I'm not proud of it and I always feel guilty as I'm holding the empty bag in the air, hoping to catch crumbs in my mouth.

Now that I'm really trying to watch what I eat, the urge to snack and binge TV is easier to maintain. I'm not a big fan of popcorn, but I'll eat it to curb my boredom. To be honest, I never finish a whole bag. Why? Because I get bored with eating it! How crazy is that?! Also, I've learned that if I drink water when I 'think' I'm hungry, the feeling fades. So, if you're like me and struggle with eating because you're bored, try snacking on something healthy that you wouldn't typically choose to eat. I'm hoping that I can trick my brain into wanting popcorn instead of chips... A girl can dream, huh?

The Struggle with Not Eating Enough


It's not healthy to limit yourself to an overly strict diet. Hell, I don't think it's healthy to diet at all!

Some people believe that if you eat less, you'll lose weight. It's not healthy to limit yourself to an overly strict diet. Hell, I don't think it's healthy to diet at all! You don't have to break your food down to 3 small meals a day or less. Just make sure that whatever you are eating is good for your body. Health professionals are saying that it's better for you and your metabolism to eat 5 small meals a day. At first, I thought I could do that. However, if you're used to eating 3 big meals a day with some snacks in between, it can be challenging. In some ways, you'll feel like all you're doing is eating. It's something that I've grown to love.

If you're hungry, eat something. Don't starve yourself! When you eat something, choose the foods that will make you feel good. My mom always says that there is a difference between feeling full and feeling satisfied. We should be eating to feel full. You could get full off of a bag of grapes, but still feel unsatisfied. All because you CRAVED that package of Oreos. You don't need the Oreos and your body doesn't need all that processed sugar. Just because you can't eat the junk you're used to eating, doesn't mean that you should eat less of the healthy foods. In fact, just eat MORE of the healthy foods!

The Struggle is Hard, but You Can Do it!


Remind yourself why you started in the first place.

I have always been told that it takes about 21 days to create a habit. Eating healthy can become your new habit. It just takes a lot of hard work and commitment. You have to fight the urge to eat junk and try not to fall behind in the process. I've slipped up numerous times and I get very upset with myself when it happens. Keep up the dedication and remind yourself that it'll all be worth it. Remind yourself why you started in the first place. You are in the process of changing your life, by simply eating healthy foods. It's going to take time to adjust. For me, I'm currently still adjusting. I'm still fighting the urge to resist the smell of McDonald's french fries.

Do the best you possibly can and watch your life change for the better.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2018 IoneLynne

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