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Watch why, not what, you eat

Like anyone who struggles with their weight, I always wished there was a single trick to eating right, as if it were as simple as just avoiding unhealthy food. Life won’t always have a single answer though, and how could I write a weight loss column without talking about a change of eating habits?

I have a weakness. I love eating food, and it’s one of many reasons I was overweight so long ago. I eat junk food when I’m depressed. My break-up tradition consists of an entire blueberry pie in a single sitting, I debate the junk-food aisle at Sobeys every Tuesday, and the whole $1.79 for 10 nuggets at Burger King deal is not even fair. How do you lose weight when it’s so easy to add it?

To be honest, I’ve never reached a point in my weight loss where hunger leaves and I overcome my desire to eat. In fact, the first places I went after running the marathon was McDonald’s and a Chinese restaurant. Eating is awesome, but it can be Kryptonite if you don’t manage it. I had made the decision that, as much as I love eating, I had to manage it to lose the weight I so passionately wanted gone.

When I was hungry late at night, instead of grabbing chips or McDonald’s like my old self, I tried going for a run. A few minutes in, your body no longer recognizes hunger and goes into exercise mode. By the time I got home, I was too tired to do anything besides sleep.

I became vegetarian, for no other reason than self-constraint. It kept me out of the drive-thru, made me think more when out at restaurants, and groceries became fresher with fewer calories. Though it’s frustrating that a bottle of water costs more than Pepsi most of the time and you can get at least four cheeseburgers most places for the price of a salad, five minutes of pleasure eating isn’t worth hours of exercise to completely burn it off.

It’s the hardest part for me — and probably everyone. It’s easy to overeat and set yourself back a few steps. Seeing family members eat themselves into diabetes and friends devour fast food that leads to obesity hasn’t been enough to scare me away from a McDouble or stuffing my face during holidays.

I have an eating problem, but I work at it. I had an obesity problem, I’m still not skinny, but the journey has been amazing and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

Maybe the trick to eating healthy isn’t watching what we eat, but why we eat. I eat when I’m depressed or feel like I don’t have time for a healthy alternative when I’m stressed. Chocolate is like a drug sometimes, but it doesn’t compare to the high of your first race or when you first lose 15 pounds. If you truly want an accomplishment, you make time for it.

“Nothing will ever taste as incredible as a moment no one will ever take away from you.”

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