By: Dani Sofi Hernandez
This time last year I probably could not tell you the difference between a head of cabbage and broccoli to save my life. It was all Netflix reruns, delivery pizza and marathons, (and not the running kind). By the end of the summer of 2014, I weighed a total of 156 pounds. Being a girl with the height of 5”7, I realize I was no Jabba the Hut, but my body shape did not make me feel like I would be slipping into a Princess Leia slave bikini any time soon… So I decided to toss away the boxed mac and cheese and strap on some running shoes instead. Just that easy right? Wrong. Who knew losing weight would be so tedious and downright impossible?! Being an 18 year old girl in this society is so dangerous because of how easily poisoned we become from the media and magazines. The image we are expected to present for this culture is absolutely impossible to attain. I was so unaware how to properly begin this journey into health, wellness, and weight loss; so naturally I seeked guidance from the internet. I found ads for magical weight loss pills and crazy restricted diets with “do’s and don'ts” about how to eat food and exercise. Of course, me being completely unaware of the actual damage these things truly could cause, I decided my desperation was bigger than my patience. I went to crazy bootcamps and late night spinning classes while eating the same amount of food you’d give your pet hamster. My results? They were quick, but they came with consequences: hair falling out, anemia, body tissue torn down as well as constant fatigue. I could not hold a weight heavier than ten pounds and my skin had turned a dull grey tone. Just the look everyone aims for right? After some time the restriction and weakness made me so powerless that I lost control and began binging and trying to compensate for all the damage I had done. Is that any better of a solution? Definitely not.
Then one night I was on Netflix and found this set of documentaries that changed my whole world in nourishment and health. I put away the scale and began loading up my plate with fibrous vegetables with real sources of protein and my fear of carbs became extinct forever. I realized that you do not have to eat less to be healthy and lose weight, just eat better! I began to eat three main meals a day; beginning my day with a bowl of oatmeal and ending it with a grilled chicken and steamed broccoli. My greatest struggle in the beginning of finally eating correctly was obtaining all this healthy food! The only knowledge I had in the kitchen was how to use a microwave and on good days I could make toast. That's when I finally cracked open the cook books and “how to’s” in healthy eating. My boyfriend and my mother are severely allergic to dairy and my intolerance for it made it so much easier to cut it completely out of my diet. I began learning to bake organically using clean ingredients such as bananas and oatmeal as flour bases as well as black beans and avocados. My baking cut out all dairy products and sugar making it easy to squeeze a tasty treat into my new healthy lifestyle. I made it a goal to diminish the idea that healthy food was unpleasant to taste buds. My 73 calorie brownies and my vegan banana peanut butter nut cake became quite popular in my household. Suddenly, as I watched the faces of my family and friends as they enjoyed each bite more than the last, I came to the realization that nothing made me feel more satisfied than watching those enjoy my healthy alternatives. I now cook savory/sweet alternatives to almost any dish (cauliflower alfredo fettuccine, avocado portobello pizzas, beet red velvet milkshakes).
Cooking is my passion; I spend more time in the kitchen than I do in my own bed. After finding a balance in my workout schedule and learning healthier techniques for relaxation like attempting yoga(emphasis on the attempting), I began to see my weightloss progress in a whole new direction! I joined this incredible gym and my hunger for more knowledge in wellness grew. My friends began consulting me for ways they could lose a few pounds as well as change their eating habits. I felt safer that they came to me, because I had begun to educate myself more on the human body and how to live healthily as well as signing up to get my nutritionist/ fitness instructor certification.
Where am I now? Well, it has been one whole year: I dropped a total of 52 pounds and I plan on heading off to culinary school to become a healthified chef as well as studying to get my instructor’s license. My passion for wellness is growing everyday in hopes to reach out to all the girls that are struggling like I once was. I can reflect on my struggles to help those around me grow and avoid the wrong routes I once took. Reminding others that every body shape is beautiful and happiness is only achieved if you reach your goals with love and a healthy passion. The first step on the route to wellness is never forgetting to love yourself.
-The Geek Who Eats Her Veggies