It all started with a dilemma — I had an avocado, the kind that is almost-overripe and if you don’t eat it that day it will be too mushy to even make guacamole with. “But if I put this avocado in my salad, I’ll be way over my allotted fat grams for the day… and if I don’t eat this avocado, then I’ll have wasted precious money”. Ultimately, my thrifty side over-powered my overly obsessive health conscious side, but it sparked an epiphany of sorts — I have much bigger issues to stress over than avocados.
I don’t remember when it was that I started counting calories, though I think it was around the time I came to the realization that I could no longer eat an entire pizza while blackout drunk without some repercussions. The freshman 15 hit me hard and over time I went from the girl with the munchies to the only college student shopping in the organic (read: overpriced) section of the grocery store.
And it has since only gotten worse. The only thing more detrimental to your waistline than your freshman year of college is your first year in an office job. Determined to not fall victim to another weight gain trap (and with help from a messy break up), my infatuation with eating “good” food and working out deepened. A passion for healthy eating and working out evolved into an obsession with numbers and goals that slowly began to take over my life.
Before I knew it, I was avoiding social outings for fear of consuming too many calories. Going out for drinks — I can’t afford beer calories! Dinner with a friend? Okay, only if I know in advance so I can burn enough calories at the gym beforehand to feel okay about it. Friday nights were for working out because there is no place as blissfully empty as a gym on a Friday.
And then the light bulb went off. I put the avocado on my salad and realized there’s so much more to life at 23 than obsessing over calories and workouts and macros. The so called “healthy” lifestyle I was striving for was in reality quite the opposite — a life with no balance isn’t “healthy.”
Now, I allow myself to eat whatever I want — but I eat healthy most of the time because it makes me feel better. Dairy makes me shit and sugar gives me headaches but sometimes I just need cheese fries and ice cream. I’ll have a few beers with my friends because it tastes good and my friends are fun. I’m not going to worry about avocados when I have careers and bills and family and relationship issues that should matter so much more. Learning to let go of the control has been challenging, but I finally feel like I’m living my life rather than letting my obsessions control my life for me.