You want the ugly truth? I wasn’t always the model of health that I am today. I didn’t fly out of my mother’s womb wearing a giant fruit hat and a pink and green apron. I never pranced around my living room as an over-active four-year-old shouting that every child should eat more fruit and vegetables. I’m sure that even as a teenager I couldn’t name many types of apples.
The simple fact is that when I was about eight, my parents divorced and my two brothers and I took to drowning our sorrows in junk food. It was the early nineties and the ‘all you can eat’ buffet was a booming business for most family restaurants. Every weekend and some weeknights, my dad would scoop us up like we were a couple of wet rags left on the carpet, and take us to a colourful restaurant that had loud music and an endless supply of soft serve ice cream. This was how I got through the huge anxiety associated with a family break-up. The sugar was there for me and I was there for it.
Little did I know that I was creating a nasty addiction that would only lead to suffering and ill-health. But it gave me comfort at an extremely vulnerable period in my life. The creepiest part is that I began to associate junk food with healing.
The problem with emotional food binging is that it gives you a very short-lived high. You feel really good for a very short time and then you feel really crappy. Whenever I felt the urge to tear my hair out in life, I immediately binged on the bad food.
Here are some of those tearing-hair-out moments:
- Parents sit me down and tell me that we will no longer all be living in the same house.
- Dad announces he is moving to the other side of the country and I can choose to live with either him or mum (the distance being around 4,000 kilometres).
- Both parents re-marry.
By the time I reached my mid-twenties, I had experienced a lot more tearing-hair-out moments and it’s safe to say I didn’t cope well with them. As a result, I had done a lot of binging and I was an emotional wreck. I was also a little overweight and constantly tired because my poor little adrenals were burnt out.
Instead of continuing the cycle, I starting doing something that I love to do: I started to read. I read day and night about health, squeezing as much information into my head as possible. One of the books that changed my life was The Optimum Nutrition Bible by Patrick Holford. Reading this book made me realise that a healthy diet coupled with a good amount of exercise, equips you with the tools you need for all those tearing-hair-out moments. You may even end up with more hair.
So I gave my pantry an overhaul, banishing biscuits, lollies and sugared snacks from my home as if they were troublemakers looking to start a fight.
Within a matter of weeks I was waking up with so much clarity and focus that people wondered if I had undergone a brain transplant.
My only regret is that I didn’t binge on healthy eating books sooner.
Text © Jessica Rosman 2015