“Everyone loves a story. Mine’s not glamorous or turbulent, but it’s real. And I believe there are more women out there just like me searching for true health and happiness. Here’s how I found mine.
As an urban professional, I rarely used my kitchen.
I relied on microwaves, takeout, restaurants and street carts for breakfast, lunch and dinner. We live in a fast food society that pumps us full of added chemicals, sweeteners, sodium and unhealthy oils many of which we don’t know are in the food we’re eating. It’s no wonder our society is gaining weight at a rapid pace. Many even have trouble losing weight despite eating what they believe to be a healthy diet.
I spent a decade and a half as a junk-food vegetarian and raging sugar addict without even realizing it.
Working in the corporate world, I was drained, exhausted, pressed for time and uninspired in the kitchen. Most nights, taking care of myself after a long day full of meetings and deadlines meant collapsing on my sofa with a pint of frozen yogurt for dinner then barely mustering the will or energy to pull myself out of bed and do it all over again the next day.
A conversation with a friend at my health club led to my discovery of whole foods and the way they made me look and feel. But there was one caveat – I actually had to cook them.
Living on my own in a Manhattan-sized studio apartment, I had little else than a couple of hand-me-down pots and pans, some dull cutting knives, a steam basket and a George Foreman Grill. Aside from having whipped up some mac and cheese or slice-and-bake chocolate chip cookies in my time, I could hardly find my way around a kitchen. Never interested in cooking, I hadn’t learned how, but my desire to eat healthy food was so strong.
I got off my couch and into my kitchen and slowly began to reclaim my health.
Starting simply with steamed veggies, it wasn’t long before I forayed into fancier recipes to add some variety and flavor. Sure, I burned my rice and overcooked my broccoli more times than I care to admit, but I gave myself permission to make mistakes which made my kitchen much less intimidating.
Quite the opposite actually, my kitchen became a sanctuary — a place for me to unwind and let go of my day. Much like meditation, after cooking and enjoying a healthy meal, I felt both mentally and physically fulfilled in a way I never had before. I was eating more meals at home, bringing lunch to work and feeling more energetic than ever. I realized that I didn’t have to be Rachel Ray to make a healthy, satisfying and impressive meal.
Despite my new-found love of health and wellness, I had an overwhelming sense that something was missing in my life and it’s not surprising that a love affair with sweet treats plagued me.
When I was around sugar, I had little self control and I often substituted it for real food.
I tried everything from artificial sweeteners to quitting cold turkey. The sweeteners only caused bloating and the deprivation caused more intense cravings for what I told myself I couldn’t have.
As I so desperately sought fulfillment in my life, several encounters led me to The Institute for Integrative Nutrition. The day I enrolled at IIN I knew I had come home. I was finally exactly where I needed to be. Unfulfilled in my corporate job, I yearned to find my purpose in helping others. With my passion for healthy eating and exercise, a career as a health coach was the right fit.
My training as a Health Coach woke me up to the reality that sweetness in life can and should come from more than food and I learned how to deconstruct my cravings and stop relying on sugar to find it.
After years spent stuck in the same cycle, rewarding myself with “bad foods” then beating myself up and killing myself in the gym for eating those foods, I discovered how real food could make me look and feel. The cravings disappeared, the energy came back and my weight stabilized. In short, my life completely changed.
Today, I celebrate a sweet life.
I still follow recipes and I’m no gourmand, just a believer in empowering women to find their passion, kick off their stilettos and break in their stove tops as first steps in adopting a healthier, more balanced lifestyle and kissing their unhealthy habits goodbye.”
Marissa is an NYC-based Wellness Coach,
healthy-living expert, and creator of the Total Reset Plan.
Visit her at MWAH! Marissa’s Well-Being and Health.
A Junk-Food Vegetarian & Sugar Addict Finds a Much Sweeter Life – September 2013