My journey to better health has been a learning experience not all that different from learning to walk. A child learns to walk by first learning to stand, and then wobbles and falls many, many times before he gets it right. I spent many years trying to learn to stand, as I tried all the popular diets and plans, and each of them failed me. It was not until 2010 that I finally gained the support I needed to stand. My doctor, who was concerned about my health and obesity, suggested I work with a campus dietitian. The most important thing the dietitian did for me was make me realize that I did not have to give up the foods I love, nor did I have to eat foods I loathed just because they were healthy, in order to have a healthy and balanced diet. I realized after many failed diet plans, they all had one thing in common – I was no longer enjoying my food. Once I learned to eat the foods I loved in moderation, healthy eating became much easier. Then, eventually the exercise component came along, as I joined a program full of supportive people that helped me learn not only how to exercise properly, but how to enjoy it.
I have also wobbled and fallen a great deal along the way. Life gets in the way sometimes – major changes and disruptions in my routine caused me to fall back on old habits. But, each time I have fought my way back to becoming healthy again, and in fact I am doing that right now. But it has become easier to get back on track now, because I have been here before and I know what to do to make my way back to a healthier lifestyle. Am I walking yet? Not exactly, but I think I am getting there. Given my experiences, the best advice I can give is to think of working toward a healthy lifestyle as not a sprint, but a marathon. And, be sure to enjoy life while running this marathon, or you may not get to your destination. Do what is best for you to get there, and hopefully you will begin walking soon too.
Written By: Crystal Stiles
Emily Estes lives in Lincoln, Nebraska with her Goldendoodle pup, Miss Adley Mae. Recovery from her own struggle with an eating disorder, anxiety, and depression has led Emily to create community and resources to empower others on the journey. Emily owns Sage Nutrition, LLC where she serves as a Registered Dietitian. Her work revolves around her motto that "food is meant to nourish our bodies, not nurture us."