I remember the good old days, when I was younger, and the lunch menu consisted of 5 packs of prawn cocktail crisps and a couple of cans of fizzy drinks. How did I survive on all that sugar and salt? It’s funny, but the thought of eating crisps these days does not even cross my mind. I was told off by a friend recently who after looking after my house commented on the fact that there were no items to snack on. To be honest, I think there are if you are open to a hand full of walnuts or some sunflower seeds. Trust me they do not taste too bad. They are even better when roasted in the oven for 15 minutes.
Yet in the days when I was growing up and reaching adulthood, the amount of sweets, crisps, cakes and fried food, not to mention fizzy drinks I would consume sends shivers down my body now. I look at the gradual change and where I am at now and I can look at some of the experiences I had that made me change path.
For me, the crisps caused so many issues with my teeth that it was imperative that I focused on cutting them out of my diet. Glad to say I still have all my own teeth, and no fillings, but it was touch and go for a number of months when keeping crisps out of my diet was proving to be quite difficult.
Fried food was more of a challenge for me, but with all the information available, and being made aware of the contents of some of the products on sale, the message eventually got home. Now, I find that even the smell of fried food makes me feel quite sick on the odd occasion.
There are well known manufacturers of fizzy drinks that may have lost value after I decided enough was enough. A 1.5 or 2 litre bottle would be consumed after training at the gym, or playing football on a regular basis. That could be 4 or 5 days a week.
I have not eaten a biscuit or manufactured ice cream for many years now unless I am out on a special occasion, and sometimes I will turn those down as well. Occasionally I will eat a piece of cake without any fillings or cream as I find most of them way too sweet now.
And our dear friend alcohol has not completely disappeared if you can count a couple of pints of the black stuff every two or more months as having a drink. That is in stark contrast to the regular visits to France when I was younger to stock up on alcohol for a few months.
How did it all change? Well I had to come to terms with the impact it was all having on my health, and also find some alternatives that would allow me to make a change.
I eat far more fruit and vegetables, and lots of seeds and nuts now. Do I miss all the junk food? Surprisingly, not at all. Maybe once every month I get the urge to eat a burger, and to be honest it is rare enough for me to actually appreciate it far more than I used to.
I guess the older I got, the more it began to dawn on me that I could not bounce back from the impact of all the unhealthy living. Do I think about where I would be if I had made this decision many years ago? Yes.. Do I worry about not making the decision sooner? No.. To be honest if someone had advised me to cut down in my 20’s or 30’s I would have ignored them as I was too busy living and enjoying life (or so I thought). And I have also learnt that the decision has to come from within. No amount of advice from others will make you change if you do not make that decision yourself. Others can sway you for a time, but eventually you will revert to type if you have not made a real commitment to yourself.
There is nothing wrong with that as we all have different levels of tolerance and commitment. Its understanding this, and putting your focus and time into the change that you are required to take.
I hope, and wish everyone who wants, or needs to make that change good luck. It is a path that can be hard to stay on even if you do make the right decisions along the way. Making it a way of life with all the modern day distractions and fast foods in front of you all day will only increase the challenge you have to take, but will also make any successes you achieve that much more satisfying.
Good luck to you all.
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