Written by: AMM Volunteer/Guest Blogger – J Howell
I grew up in a household where soda, pop tarts and all other sugary goodness was banned from our kitchen cabinets. Every trip to the grocery store, I pleaded with my mother to buy chips, cookies, and a variety of sugary desserts. To my dismay, she would only fill the grocery cart with more fruits, vegetables, and organic snacks. Over time, I began enjoying the taste of fruits and vegetables and found healthier alternatives to satisfy my sweet tooth. By high school, I stopped pleading with my mother about junk food and reaped the benefits of making healthy food choices.
My healthy lifestyle quickly went downhill when I moved to Atlanta to attend college. Walking after class to get juicy lemon pepper wings, fries and a large pink lemonade became a weekly tradition and getting a chicken biscuit Saturday mornings became almost routine. Not only were these food items in close proximity to where I lived, it was a social opportunity to catch up and exchange stories with my group of friends. The more fast food I ate, the more I craved it. Even when healthier options presented themselves, I almost always chose greasy, fried and processed. These new unhealthy eating habits along with a lack of exercise and numerous late study nights led to significant weight gain, acne, heightened stress, and low energy. Not only did my eating habits affect me physically and emotionally but also financially. Buying fast food multiple times a week instead of using my meal plan severely cut into my already limited college budget. It was only until I reached this low point in my life, did I realize I needed to gain control over my health.
I became a student of nutrition learning from books, documentaries, and even articles on Google. With this new source of information and guidance, I started taking advantage of healthy tips such as
1) making a list before going to the grocery store,
2) cutting up my fruits and vegetables in small containers to have as easily accessible snacks throughout the week,
3) using a one sheet pan to cook my protein and vegetables in the oven at the same time.
With time, dedication, and support from family and friends, I made major strides in my health. I was happier, had bounds of energy and even began performing better in school. Since graduating college and entering the workforce, I’m still challenged daily to make the right food decisions. From witnessing my own transformation, I’m committed to helping others make positive healthy lifestyle changes.
If you are also interested in exchanging valuable information about healthy eating please feel free to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram or visit the Atlanta Mobile Market website where you can also get involved in a wide variety of health advocacy volunteer opportunities.