The Mediterranean Diet: A Personal Journey
Since starting my job at Oldways (approximately a month ago), I have been trying to decide what my first blog post would entail. I am so excited to be working here, and my passion for food and fitness definitely fits in among the energized and eager staff. But I would say that my relationship with food has been a complex one. For as long as I can remember, “diet” has been a part of my vocabulary. From attending hospital programs of which my mother tried to feign the weight loss motives, to earning the title of the “youngest Weight Watchers participant,” I resigned to the fact that my love/hate relationship with food was permanent and I would always be overweight.
Always an overachiever, I seemed to put everything before myself, and I allowed food as the reward for my academic achievements…and lets face it, anything. Graduating from the University of Michigan in 2008 at 230 pounds, I was facing the potential of serious health issues at too young of an age. After moving back to Boston and starting the job search, I realized this turning point in my life was a perfect time to get healthy. No more fad diets this time. In order to make this my permanent lifestyle, and something I could stick to for the rest of my life, I needed to change my relationship with food and appreciate what I was putting into my body. Adopting the foundations of the Mediterranean diet and lifestyle, as a basis for my 90 pound weight loss finally allowed me freedom and fostered an enjoyment and appreciation for food, and its power, tradition, customs and value.
It has now been approximately two years since I finished the bulk of my weight loss, and when people hear my story, they are shocked to hear I’ve been “dieting” for this long. They often ask how I deal with always being hungry. My rebuttal to this claim is one of the main reasons I am tremendously inspired by Oldways. Being conscious of what is going into your body and focusing on fresh, natural ingredients including fruits, vegetables, foods high in protein, and whole grains, is not what I call a “restricting diet.” I probably eat more than a lot of people, but of the right things. Food shouldn’t be a source of stress; it should be something that is enjoyed with family and friends. The Mediterranean diet is truly a lifestyle that allows for a healthy relationship with food, and I am so excited to be a part of organization that believes this as strongly as I do!