The SparkPeople Blog

How Has Healthy Eating Changed Your Life?

By: , SparkPeople Blogger
12/1/2009 12:49 PM   :  179 comments   :  16,281 Views

This weekend, in addition to cooking Thanksgiving dinner, I hosted a party for 50 people and attended my 10-year high school reunion. By Saturday night, I'd eaten my fair share of carbs and was craving vegetables.

My pre-reunion dinner was a bag of frozen broccoli topped with an egg and some cheese.

My 16-year-old sister had a friend over, and she gave me a weird look as I dug in to my overflowing bowl of green veg.

"How can you eat so much broccoli?" she asked incredulously.

"Easy," I replied. "If I don't eat enough vegetables, I get cranky after a day or so."

"She does," my mom echoed. "Believe me."

That wasn't always the case.

Back in the day, I fed myself with whatever. Sure, I liked vegetables, but I also liked fast food. I liked whole-wheat bread, but I also liked Nutella or butter smeared on top. I didn't really pay attention to what I ate.

But you know what I did notice? I noticed that I was tired, cranky, stressed and anxious more often than not. When I moved to South Korea and started paying more attention to my diet, I started to feel better.

After I ate that bowl of broccoli, I felt better. And then I started thinking about comfort food. Since adopting a healthy lifestyle, my idea of comfort food has changed drastically. Has it for you? Back in the day, comfort food meant mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, giant calzones or pizza, milkshakes, cheesy lasagna, fries dipped in mayo (OK, that's still a guilty pleasure occasionally), burgers with the works.

Now, I'm more likely to reach for a giant bowl of broccoli (topped with a bit of cheese or garlic, olive oil and lemon), black beans and rice with guacamole, roasted sweet potatoes, oatmeal or yogurt and granola when I crave "comfort food."

Before, I dealt with stomach issues, stress, anxiety and overall malaise.

Today, I feel healthier than ever, with more energy and optimism than I had even three years ago. Is it all attributed to my healthy diet? No, but a good portion of it is.

Whole foods: lean protein, fiber- and vitamin-rich fruits and vegetables, whole grain, and a bit of low-fat dairy fuel my diet. Refined carbs, sugary sweets and caloric beverages are rarely present at mealtime or snacktime.

And I feel great!

Now I want to know how a change in your diet has affected you. How has healthy eating changed your life?

How do you feel when you eat healthy foods? What happens to you when you eat a high-fat meal or load up on empty calories? Is healthy eating still a struggle for you? If not, when and how did it become second nature? What changes have you made at home? Do you cook more than before? What healthy meals are your "go-to" favorites? What does your family think about eating healthier foods?

Eating right can have a powerful effect on our lives. So how has it changed yours?

Share your story in the comments below.



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Comments

  • POPPIES1988
    179
    Ive only been trying to lose weight since monday but I wasnt sleeping untill 4.30am and my heart was beating rapidly constantly now that ive changed my diet and started exercising i feel better and am sleeping better I get out more as well and my heart is fine plus ive discovered I love mushrooms I cant eat enough! - 4/1/2011   2:56:25 PM
  • 178
    Eating healthier has changed my life in a way that is just so surprising and unbelievable to me and that is how I actually think about everything I put in my mouth, is it healthy?, how many calories?, how much fat?, is it worth the extra calories or fat if it's not healthy? will I be sorry if I do or if I don't? I never considerd any questions about the food that I put in my mouth until I decided to change my eating habits I just shoved it in and now I even think about what other people are putting into their mouths when I see people eating, it's crazy !!!! but good crazy, I like this change. - 10/18/2010   11:09:32 PM
  • 177
    Since I've started upping the veggies and having less high-fat food my IBS has calmed down a lot, also I am less bloated. I have also found I am less sluggish, my energy is up up up! - 10/14/2010   10:51:39 AM
  • 176
    I decided to stop eating sugar other than a little taste once in a while and I haven't really craved sweet stuff since then. One night, I ate a whole Caramel Cob, (caramel popcorn shaped like a corn on the cob, cute, huh?) I wasn't careful and thought that it was 190 calories, not bad, but after I finished I realized it was 2 servings (so sneaky!) I had been off sugar for a month by then, but I love popcorn and make my own caramel so the combo was hard to resist. Anyway, I felt so sick afterward that I don't know if I will ever be tempted by that again. I never thought I would feel that way about my two favorite snacks. I am also in love with cottage cheese and blueberries together, YUM! What a difference! I just feel so much better and no more sugar swings! AWESOME!! - 10/9/2010   1:08:36 AM
  • 175
    Since I have been eating healthy, I am surprised at how much energy I have consistently throughout the day. I don't have highs and lows like before, nor do I have major cravings. When I go a day or 2 w/out veggies and fruts, I do get a craving for those. Same with exercise. I'm not an athlete or anything, just regular exercise 30 about 4 days per week. If I'm too busy to fit it in, I crave that too.

    I don't have cravings any longer and sweets don't tempt me either, not even chocolate. I also don't gorge myself, I'm satisfied with less. Now when I think of side dishes, it's automatically some type of veggie/s.

    When I do go something crazy like eat a piece of cake or fried food, I quickly regret it, therefore, I don't do that much. Fried food bothers my stomach, and sweets or too many simple carbs, make me feel queasy, as in blood sugar level changes. It's a horrible feeling, so I'm very careful now.

    This whole journey has led to my cooking more, this way my spouse will eat healthier too. I don't enjoy eating out much and alot of it has to do with the way foods are cooked/prepared, especially veggies. I don't care for them cooked to death, or covered in sauces. Defeats the purpose of the veggies, not to mention it's mostly broccoli anymore. Overall I feel great since I've made these changes. I won't be going back! - 9/12/2010   11:09:57 PM
  • 174
    Healthy eating has made a huge change in my life. I feel better and I am losing the final ten to 17 pounds toward an ultimate loss of 100 pounds. It is so great to go in the store and not be tempted by old familiars that were not healthy choices. It feels good for healthy eating to be my way of life! - 9/9/2010   4:28:14 PM
  • 173
    I eat with a purpose now, no more mindless eating. When I choose to eat something unhealthy I eat less of it and seem to enjoy it more. But really it feels good to eat healthy energizing foods! - 8/25/2010   1:22:12 AM
  • 172
    I was surprised how much more energy I have. I use to drag and have to make an effort to get anything done. I'm sure I wasn't fun to be around. I need to daily remeber how go I feel and not slip back on my old habbits. - 8/20/2010   1:09:04 PM
  • 171
    I am still struggling in this. I am eating a lotttttt.. .just because im working out and burning more calories. I eat ALL the time. Whenever there is no one in the kitchen, i eat everything i see. Not necessarily unhealthy, all the time, but a lot of anything is bad.
    Please help me... I am almost spoiling all my good hard work doing this, ... :( - 6/29/2010   2:55:27 AM
  • RARA2256
    170
    I don't eat just to eat. I eat to sustain my body. - 4/20/2010   7:11:46 AM
  • 169
    Since changing my eating habits for good in January of this year (when I started on SparkPeople), I've lost around 8 pounds, sleep much better, have more energy and better concentration, work out more regularly, have a better complexion, have developed a real passion for superfoods and healthy recipes, have regained my sensitivity to fat (meaning that I can now taste the fat in tortilla chips, cookies, etc., something I hadn't been able to notice for a while), have stopped binge eating completely and saved myself from dealing with the problems of middle age such as high cholesterol, diabetes, fatty liver, clogged arteries, etc. (just got the confirmation from my doctor today!). Quite a lot when you consider how little effort I had to put into achieving all these amazing "side effects" of eating a nutritious, balanced diet. - 4/19/2010   4:05:56 PM
  • 168
    i agree with the blog..
    when i eat fries with mayo i feel blowed up.. even when i eat cheese,
    But when i eat healthy i feel great! - 2/25/2010   3:22:26 PM
  • 167
    Eating more fruits and vegetables is definitly a boost to my energy, self esteem, mood, and meeting my goals- I feel like I am a winner! On days I don't- I loose! - 2/16/2010   2:55:19 PM
  • AKRONSASSENACH
    166
    I feel happier knowing I've done the right things for my body. I've lost 11 lbs. so far! Another big bonus...my adult acne has really cleared up. I can't swear the healthier diet is the reason, but I'm sure it has been a huge contributing factor. - 2/13/2010   6:40:19 AM
  • 165
    I have been paying more attention to what I am putting on my plate since starting SP. I feel better and look forward to posting my meals to make sure that I kept within the various range. - 1/28/2010   11:00:14 PM
  • 164
    I feel 100% better when I am awake and active and I sleep 100% better when I am eating clean! - 1/26/2010   8:18:30 PM
  • SASSYBEAN1
    163
    Eating healthy has changed the way I think, the way I shop, and my entire attitude. I feel so positive about everything - and I LOVE to exercise (never thought I'd say that!) My tastes have changed so much that I am putting less splenda in my coffee or tea - and I have a feeling that eventually I'll stop sweetening it at all. Fruits are the sweetest things I've ever tasted now. I reach for fruits and vegetables for snacks and high fat foods leave a layer of sludge on my tongue. Yuck! I love this lifestyle and won't go back for anything! - 1/24/2010   11:01:32 AM
  • 162
    When I am eating healthy foods, my energy is incredible. If I happen to have a high-fat or high-sugar meal/snack, I feel lethargic. It has taken me a long time to actually figure this connection out. - 1/21/2010   8:52:02 AM
  • 161
    Thank you for this wonderful reminder. I started my lifestyle journey just after Thanksgiving and the changes I made 11 years ago to lose 70 lbs are coming back to me. The veggies were one of the big stars in making me a winner. Too bad I slipped out of the veggie habit. Starting today, I 'm jumping back on that veggie wagon big time. Thanks for the refresher! - 1/9/2010   10:22:30 AM
  • 160
    I feel weighed down when I eat "junk foods" that have been deep fried and/or contains a high content of fats and carbs. I usually feel sluggish and have less energy. Simply put, I hate the way it makes me feel!

    When I eat healthier foods, I FEEL like I have more energy, still fit into my clothes comfortably , and am more willing to exercise or engage in recreational sports. - 1/5/2010   9:13:05 PM
  • KOUKY_82
    159
    when i eat a high calorie meal or when i overeat, it affects every aspect of my life: my energy drops, i get mood swings and i get emotional!
    i love eating healthy becus i like the way it tastes and the way it makes me feel afterwards! it keeps me in control at all times :)) - 1/3/2010   8:11:37 PM
  • CYNDERWHOTOO
    158
    I'm just getting started. The water hydration has helped me feel more supple. My recent weight loss has me energized. I feel like I am beginning to take control of my life. Healthy living is the right life for me and now I am more focus on my family and meeting their health needs as well. I have a beautiful 7 year old daughter and with 50 right around the corner I want to be here to see my grandchildren. Food, Exercise, and a Positive Attitude have me moving in the right direction. I am focused and alert for the first time in a long time. - 12/24/2009   10:32:08 PM
  • 157
    My vital "numbers" are much better, and I have more energy! - 12/6/2009   8:23:57 PM
  • LESSOFCATHERINE
    156
    This past Friday evening I attended my neices's dinner that was her final exam for chef school. She was running the kitchen as head chef and was recreating an international menu from a famous chef. The food was delicious and interesting but guess what? There were four courses and three sprigs of arugula, a samll cup of carrot jus and no other vegetables or fruits! It made me realize I no longer eat that way. The menu lacked balance! I would not have realized that before my weight loss journey! - 12/6/2009   10:11:21 AM
  • 155
    Its funny reading your post cuz the other day I ordered a pizza, my first pizza in 3 months. But as I was eating the pizza I didn't feel as comforted as before.... It was strange I never had this "bad" feeling after eating a pizza..... When I cook my other meals e.g. with veggies and whole-wheat pasta I feel better not stuffed and with more energy! So I think new habbits really change you.... - 12/6/2009   8:49:13 AM
  • 154
    It's made me try new foods and rewrite unhealthy recipes. Hasn't quite changed my idea of comfort food yet. I still love a warm bowl of mashed potatoes or pastina. - 12/5/2009   10:38:17 PM
  • 153
    My dear niece is on a list for gastric bypass surgery. She says she doesn't really eat that much. But recently when our family went out for dinner, she snorted a little when I suggested to her mom that she and I split an entree. It has become a habit for me to eat less at restaurants. Half is usually plenty. It made me fear for her a little. It sounds like she is not being honest with herself about what she eats nor what she needs to feel satisfied. Thankfully, the program starts with lessons on such topics. If she's not splitting entrees now, she will be ! I pray it works for her in the long run. - 12/5/2009   1:07:18 PM
  • SHARLENEDBABB
    152
    Veggies are great! Squash and zucchini are so underated. They're good raw, grilled, or sauted. They provide you with vitamins and fiber*** - 12/3/2009   9:01:40 PM
  • SHARLENEDBABB
    151
    Went on a great walk today. Saw the sights, got excercise, and had great conversation with Flamingo95. Great choice of trails Girl*** Love this SparkPeople community! Everyone's so supportive and fun*** - 12/3/2009   8:58:12 PM
  • JMLEE509
    150
    I don't feel so bloated and sluggish since I've changed my eating habits! Being a diabetic my cholesterol levels, blood sugar, and blood pressure are in the normal range and puzzled my doctor since I'm overweight, diabetic, and have high blood pressure. I feel great and full of energy! - 12/3/2009   6:43:40 PM
  • 149
    Today I woke up before the alarm and was able to get out of bed before the alarm went off three or four times. - 12/3/2009   6:16:51 PM
  • 148
    It is definitely a lifestyle change but for the good totally. Many moons ago, I could sit down in front of the TV and eat a whole bag of Lays Sour Cream n Onion chips and 1/2 gallon ice cream. Now, eating like that would make me sick to my stomach. I do have my little quirks where I cheat a bit, but I give myself permission to do that. I just know that I'll go back to eating the Right Stuff. Just like most, when I eat fatty, carb-loaded, high sodium stuff, all I want to do is sleep and I feel sluggish and just YUCK! I notice that when I eat out, even though it's relatively healthy, like at lunch during the week...which hardly ever happens, I don't feel like a snack in the afternoon....to me, that is a sign that the food although healthy was probably loaded with sodium for preservative sake. When I bring my lunch and eat all the RIGHT STUFF, I'm usually a bit hungry by around 3pm....so see, I think there's some theory to this "Eating Healthy" thing. :) - 12/3/2009   3:34:00 PM
  • 147
    I've had a shift in awareness- from just how they taste, to how the foods make me feel afterwards- the more I focus on the results, the more I am aware of how delicious my choices are now.
    Like water- I now LOVE my water, cause my body tells me it's great, and I'm listening. - 12/3/2009   2:57:05 PM
  • 146
    I too feel a bit of stress relief after a "workout" ... I've only been going a month now and a "workout" for me is a long walk with my puppy but it's just the two of us - it clears my head and re-focuses me on WHY I am doing this.... for me!! This is the one time in my life I can be selfish and not feel guilty... this is to better MY life and I CAN DO IT!!!! - 12/3/2009   11:47:44 AM
  • 145
    I do feel better when I eat healthy foods, and I have noticed that my tastes have changed. It takes time for those changes to take place, but the amazing results are worth the time and effort. - 12/3/2009   11:14:17 AM
  • BOTECCHIA
    144
    had two failed starts and I'm just starting again, about a week so far. I do feel better eating right. It's not a lifestyle yet but reading about yours is encouraging and I will start paying attention to what my new comfort foods are. - 12/2/2009   11:55:53 PM
  • 143
    I'm just getting started (less than a week), and am relieved and happy to hear that taste preferences can actually change! - 12/2/2009   11:51:07 PM
  • VANANDEL
    142
    I had not considered that my "comfort foods" would change, but I do know that some of my past "comfort" foods now make me uncomfortable. The other day, for our Anniversary, we went out to a local pub. I had a burger with avocado, bacon and cheese. Although it was tasty, I did not feel well about an hour after eating! Now I need to figure out what are my new "comfort" foods - thanks for an interesting concept! - 12/2/2009   11:39:16 PM
  • 141
    I try real hard to make sure I get my fruit in each day. I am an emotional eater and when I find I think I need to eat I go find something else to do that is not food related. But when I can't handle these emotional feelings I allow myself 1 carrot stick and that seems to help. I feel so much better that I have adopted a healthier life style. - 12/2/2009   10:32:03 PM
  • 140
    I adopted a healthier lifestyle about 1 year after highschool. I discovered beer and living on my own, and shot up to 142!! I'm only 5'4", and very athletic. And I recall always feeling gross and horrible and guilty afterwards. Now I buy fresh produce on average every 2-3 weeks. I make dinner and order salads much more often. I NEVER used to eat salad!!

    I have found ways to fulfill my cravings a healthy way also. I LOVE crunchy foods (chips!!) so I keep carrots, cucumbers, trail mix, and pretzels handy. This blog was very inspirational and encouraging THANK YOU!! - 12/2/2009   9:36:52 PM
  • 139
    I prefer healthy food, although once in a great while I have to have a greasy pub burger and fries.

    I like fresh fruit, but I have never craved it. - 12/2/2009   8:40:39 PM
  • KATAHDIN24
    138
    This feels great to read the blog and the comments. It's inspiring and it's great to know I'm not the only one who craves vegetables, fruit and eating well. Thanks, everyone. - 12/2/2009   8:21:51 PM
  • 137
    I never liked fruit but I love it now. I also crave vegetables and really hate it when the rest of the family doesn't want to eat the whole wheat pasta. - 12/2/2009   5:51:58 PM
  • 136
    Oh how I wish I could say I'm doing everything right now after 11 months on SP. However, I just finished a piece of Corner Bakery Cinnamon Pound Cake and a bowl of Blue Bell French Vanilla Ice Cream. It felt good while it was going down, but even before I finished (and yes, I finished it) I was feeling bloated and sluggish.

    How do you feel when you eat healthy foods? Great!

    What happens to you when you eat a high-fat meal or load up on empty calories? I feel lethargic and bloated.

    Is healthy eating still a struggle for you? Sometimes, yes, but only because of lack of planning.

    What changes have you made at home? No more junk food in the refrigerator or pantry! More fresh produce.

    Do you cook more than before? Absolutely! We also have more "no need to cook" healthy meals.

    What healthy meals are your "go-to" favorites? Brown rice with fish & veggies in the electric skillet.

    What does your family think about eating healthier foods? They don't mind too much, but would prefer to have some of the old junk back in the house occasionally. - 12/2/2009   5:40:19 PM
  • KAWEHILANI
    135
    This is great! I feel so encouraged and hopeful when I read this blog and all of these comments! I look forward to the day that I can say the same things about my tastes changing from unhealthy to healthy! Great job everyone! - 12/2/2009   4:28:24 PM
  • 134
    We went to a buffet yesterday for lunch. I had turkey breast, broccolini, green salad and roasted root vegetables. I noticed the difference in the plates of the other couple and my husband. My tastes have definately changed. My meal was delicious and I enjoyed every bite. As I looked at what the others had put on their plates, it didn't even look appitizing to me. - 12/2/2009   3:32:15 PM
  • ITCANBEDUN
    133
    I try to cook healthy and eat healthy when we eat out. But sometimes fail. But I am getting better. - 12/2/2009   2:52:55 PM
  • GRANDMO1
    132
    Helthy eating makes me feel so good, I have to look and see if my halo is glowing!!lol - 12/2/2009   2:52:48 PM
  • SOUVIENSTU
    131
    Every oncein awhile I start getting cravings for things people don't normally consider craving foods - broccoli, spinach, brussels sprouts usually. And when that happens I know I haven't been eating a balanced diet and my body is crying out for dark greens. And back in the day I used to try to get rid of the cravings by stuffing myself with junk food and whatever was on hand. Now, I kow I can get by with something healthier until I can buy the good foods, which will truly satisfy me so I don't overeat junk, which never made me feel better anyways. - 12/2/2009   1:32:41 PM
  • KATZASTAR
    130
    Because of my job as a medical transcriptionist, my whole life I have been trying to eat healthy so I dont wind up like the people whose reports I type. However, several things made my nutrition even better. (1) The blood type diet. When I do not eat anything made from wheat, my sinuses are totally clear, my back does not hurt and I feel good. The opposite of when I eat wheat. (2) No sugar or low glycemic foods. When I do not eat sugar or low glycemic foods, I feel good, require less sleep and have more energy. (3) Counting calories here at SparkPeople. Even though I was eating pretty healthy, I was eating way too much, especially cheese! - 12/2/2009   1:24:54 PM

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