You probably hear it all time: you are what you eat. The saying implies that if you eat healthy, you’ll feel healthy; if you eat crap, you’ll feel like crap. I am here to back up that claim 100%.
At this point you are all probably aware of my love for the, er, crappier side of the food spectrum. French fries are my weakness. Mozzarella sticks will never not be delicious. Nachos will always have a special place in my heart. Sure, over time I’ve learned to genuinely enjoy — even crave — salads, kale, yogurt, quinoa, and brussels sprouts (especially brussels sprouts!) but I know that if given a choice, I will always want the “bad” stuff.
I should point out that yes, I know there are ways to rework and recreate recipes for junkier foods that makes them healthier. In fact, in order to literally have my cake and eat it too, I try to do this a lot. But underneath the semi-satisfaction that baked onion rings coated with bran flakes may give you, there is always the underlying desire to gorge myself on a Bloomin’ Onion. Them’s the facts.
In order to arm myself in the battle against these constant cravings, I have to remind myself of the aforementioned adage: you are what you eat. And when I eat poorly for extended periods of time, I suffer the physical, mental, and emotional ramifications of that. Par example:
1. My skin goes the way of the Rockies.
I was pretty blessed as a teenager. Whereas my older siblings battled acne and breakouts through puberty and beyond, my adolescence was barely tarnished with a single zit. Now that I’m an adult (HA!), however, my skin gets seriously messed up when my diet is out of whack. I breakout in varying levels of severity, my skin takes on a greasy quality, and simply loses it’s lustre. Not cute.
2. Despite feeling more tired than usual, I am unable to sleep soundly.
I’m already a fairly restless sleeper — the kind who tosses and turns and goes from side to stomach to the other side throughout the night (I’ve woken up with my feet on my pillow and head at the bottom of the bed on more than one occasion). So what happens when I mess with my already delicate sleep cycle by fueling my body improperly? I become an even, uh, restless…er sleeper. Which makes me cranky and irritable upon waking, ultimately leading to me craving more crappy food. It’s a vicious cycle, I’m telling you.
3. Acid reflux rears its ugly head.
In college, during the worst of my binge eating issues, I had fairly severe issues with acid reflux. The stomach acid that crept back up into my esophagus due to my poor digestion (due to poor quality food… you may be sensing a pattern here, haha) while I slept was doing a number on me. It even started to affect my singing voice at one point, causing my voice teacher to send me to the campus doctor for a prescription to counteract the issue. Nowadays, I can always tell when a bout of acid reflux it hitting me, and it usually comes after a particular weak moment. When my eating is clean, however, I rarely have issues with it.
4. It can (and probably should) go without saying, but my digestive system gets its ass whooped.
I won’t go into detail here, but I’m pretty sure you guys get my drift.
5. So much for that manicure.
Another, slightly less noticeable, effect that abandoning a clean(ish) diet has on me has to do with my nails. They come brittle and break very easily when I’m off the wagon. I generally tend to keep them painted most of the time, but when they’re naked I do notice that I get those little white lines on them upon occasion as well — a sign of lacking nutrition.
So there you have it! Just more proof that, aside from the whole weight loss jank that I’m always trying to do here, there are many, many reasons to eat well. Of course, this in no way means I endorse completely cutting out junk food indulgences completely. Emotional health too, remember? I just need to continue to work on using the word “indulgence” as it was originally intended, hehe.
What effects of not eating well plague you?