How Has Healthy Eating Changed Your Life?

By , SparkPeople Blogger
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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METAFUKARI 9/25/2020
When you eat healthy your body and your mind feels better! When you eat crappy you feel like you have less energy and your attitude suffers~ Report
CECELW 8/18/2020
I just love this! Eating the rainbow Report
SCDALYNCH 8/15/2020
Eating better has given me more energy. I feel better. I have lost weight and look better. Report
CKOUDSI617 7/31/2020
"Eat the Rainbow"! :) Report
Good article. Report
FISHGUT3 6/22/2020
thanks Report
SUNSET09 2/2/2020
It’s made me more mindful of the things that help as well as things that are not so good for my health, SparkFields. Report
SDANLSON 1/11/2020
I like fresh broccoli, carrots, cabbage and spinach too. You have to buy pretty small amounts regularly. I grow some of my own broccoli and spinach during the summer along with some herbs and grape tomatoes and strawberries in pots so I can more easily protect my plants. Remember tomatoes are berries. Report
CD23641654 12/28/2019
I find that I feel better when I eat better. It is still a work in progress, though. Report
CHERYLHURT 12/27/2019
Thanks Report
Eating healthy has been a gradual learning experience. I went to WW years ago & began to include 3 vegetables & 2 fruits daily. I tried new foods & found more veggies that I liked. I had health issues so switched to a salt substitute with potassium chloride especially when making big pots of soup on the weekends. Became very conscious of what other meals has in them so found substitutes that would work. I still sometimes eat fried food like calamari or garlic fries but spinach & berry smoothies are common now. I eat more fiber & less red meat. Having a ripe green apple lessens my heartburn. I use all types of non-dairy yogurt; ACV & coconut oil are regulars in my kitchen.
Altho I still love Taco Hell, other times dining out might be ordering only sides to get more veggies like black beans, steamed broccoli, sauteed squash or corn on the cob. I request that filler breadsticks, dinner rolls, or biscuits not be brought to our table. I have learned to not give in to my taste buds - once I've eaten the body us happy w/ whatever I chose. My cravings have improved & also my sleep altho I'm resting very well now that I retired.
Love reading encouraging articles Report
Eating healthy for the last two years has completely changed my life Report
fruits and veg - every day! Report
love this, I know I end up wanting healthy lighter foods after holiday eating and such like. Report
Vegetables are so good and a great snack too Report
What a great question! Now when I look at a menu my eye goes immediately to the vegetarian option and without thinking I'll ask for sauce on the side, or less cheese. And I eat a lot more veggies throughout the week and when I have a meal (or meals) that aren't so healthy, I crave going back to my healthy way of eating. Report
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! Report
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. Report
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! Report
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!! Report
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! Report
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! Report
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! Report
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. Report
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, ... :( Report
I don't eat just to eat. I eat to sustain my body. Report
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. Report
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! Report
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! Report
I feel happier knowing I've done the right things for my body. I've lost 11 lbs. so far! Another big 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. Report
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. Report
I feel 100% better when I am awake and active and I sleep 100% better when I am eating clean! Report
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! Report
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. Report
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! Report
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. Report
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 :)) Report
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. Report
My vital "numbers" are much better, and I have more energy! Report
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! Report
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.... Report
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. Report
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. Report
Veggies are great! Squash and zucchini are so underated. They're good raw, grilled, or sauted. They provide you with vitamins and fiber*** Report
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*** Report
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! Report
Today I woke up before the alarm and was able to get out of bed before the alarm went off three or four times. Report
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 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 see, I think there's some theory to this "Eating Healthy" thing. :) Report
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. Report