“I used to believe I was eating right…” (Autumn’s Story)

Growing up, I always ate my vegetables (usually because my parents were forcing me to), and, like most kids, I also grew up with pop, cookies, chips, McDonald’s—you name it! I still remember how bad my tongue hurt when I would lick off all the cheese on the Doritos chips (YUCK!). Although I felt I had a fairly balanced diet, I always had a love for junk food. Then, when I started my freshmen year of college, I entered junk food heaven! There was an endless supply of cheeseburgers, fries, pizza and desserts. And with that came the freedom to eat whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted, and I definitely took advantage of it. I didn’t gain the dreaded “Freshman Fifteen”—I overshot it and gained almost thirty pounds—all from eating junk food, staying up late and avoiding exercise. That went on for a couple months, and I went through several pairs of new jeans until one day it dawned on me that I couldn’t keep living this way. Gradually, I began to choose salads over French fries. I replaced pop with water. I started getting more active. I even changed my major to Community Health Education! Before I knew it, I had gotten hooked on health and wellness and it became my priority, but little did I know that I was still doing it all wrong. My passion for health and wellness eventually lead me to attend graduate school to become a Registered Dietitian. I loved everything about nutrition. From avoiding fat and eating whole grains to watching my calories, I thought I exhibited a great example of what proper eating looks like. It wasn’t until I started training for my first half-marathon that I discovered the way I was eating was not beneficial for my body. I would eat a bowl of cereal with fruit before my runs, but it never satisfied me and I could never get through my exercises. In fact, that continued until I discovered the PFC lifestyle and actually started fueling my body with real food. Switching out sugary cereal for eggs with vegetables every morning made an immediate difference. Gradually, I swapped out granola bars for berries and full-fat Greek yogurt, and I even added avocado and chicken to my salads. At this point, I had transformed my entire daily diet into the PFC lifestyle, and I could successfully complete my long runs and avoid all my “hangry” moments! In addition, I noticed I had a lot more energy with much fewer cravings, and concentrating at school got easier. Although it wasn’t an easy process, I knew that if I did not eat this way, I would never feel my best. Even two years later it’s still not necessarily easy, but I truly believe in making health a priority and listening to your body’s needs: a balance of protein, carbohydrates and fats. People often ask me if I ever crave fast food or cookies anymore, and I truly don’t. I’m not perfect. I do indulge in the occasional treat, but when I know that Big Mac is going make me feel sluggish, bloated and foggy-brained, I skip it because realize it’s not worth it. My body wants me to fuel up with real food, and that’s what I’m going to do! As Hippocrates said, “Let Food be Thy Medicine & Thy Medicine be Thy Food!” *Disclaimer: I was not drinking pop in my picture above, but it just goes to show how important it is to be careful with your kids because they can be sneaky!

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