Food can be your best friend and it can also be your worst enemy, you make the choice. My personal experience from many years ago proves it.

Text: Teele Teder, nutritionist

PREVIOUS SEVEN YEARS: make a few quick sandwiches with sausage and something similar to butter. And… because I don’t drink milk, but need to get calcium from somewhere, I eat a glazed curd bar or some yoghurt. Also one of those wonderful Belvita cookies, which discharge carbohydrates for a few hours – exactly so that I wouldn’t get tired. Super! I drive to work and before an hour passes I’m already waiting for my lunch break…

I usually eat lunch out of the office. Whether I go to a cafeteria or quickly grab something from the supermarket’s ready-meals. At the cafeteria I always opt for the main course because I never feel full after eating soup. I prefer oven potatoes or fries as side dishes and what’s next to those don’t really matter. There are often times when I would like to order seconds right after finishing the meal, but since nobody from my table orders more, I let the thought pass and come back in a few hours if I’m still hungry, because starving is not healthy, right?

At a colleague’s birthday I always choose wine and if I’m offered a refill I never refuse. It would be rude and I can always fit in one more glass! I definitely taste all the snacks right away because otherwise how would I know which one is my favorite to dig into. A few more hours and then I can go to the supermarket! If there is a sale on potato chips I definitely buy them in bulk, but if not then I take just one bag. Because I’m tired from my day at the office, I won’t prepare anything. I’d rather buy something that takes only a few minutes to heat up. I don’t exercise at all because I have so much work to do all the time.

During the weekend I visit my parent’s country house and throw a sauna party. Already at the beginning of the week I’m thinking about what to eat that evening. Sunday is mom’s breakfast pancake day. Yay! I will definitely eat a lot so that the craving for pancakes wouldn’t bother me during the week so that I wouldn’t have to make them myself. Usually I eat when I need consolation or when there is something to celebrate. Food is always a good solution! Even TV shows are more interesting when there is something nice to nibble on. What would life be worth without food?!

JANUARY 2013: Yet another pair of jeans doesn’t fit me anymore. Have they shrunk in the wash? I’m not going to buy new ones, I choose leggings instead – they stretch and feel comfortable. Generally I don’t consider myself the worst looking. When I tuck my tummy, I look pretty fine. And luckily there are many women who are much larger than me, even at the office. Numbers on a scale hit three digits for the first time. But this scale is old and the batteries are worn down as well. Never trust such things!

Time to make New Year’s promises. I have it easy because my one promise given out previously fits just fine: reach my ideal weight! But having promised the same thing last seven years makes me wonder if I may be ill. There is definitely something wrong with my health I think to myself when I make an appointment to my family doctor who then asks what’s my complaint and when I express my desire to be 20 kilos lighter she, being heavier than me, bursts into laughter. “You know, we do need to take into consideration who we are and where we come from. If there is obesity in your family then there is nothing you can do about it. You just need to accept it,” she says in a lazy tone. What a shame she didn’t write me prescriptions for some strong weight loss drugs. I’ve heard that some of my acquaintances have had help from those.

But the visit to the doctor’s office proved to be useful after all – I realized that nothing changes if I don’t change it myself. I don’t want to make the same promises next seven years, get used to my weight eventually and make stupid excuses such as “we are all large in our family”. Although I have tried quite a lot of things – workouts, diets, skimping with food. Two of the latter brought some weight loss but brought along all their friends while coming back. And exercising only built up my appetite.

As time went by I started to take notice which foods made me feel what way. When I ate a whole bag of potato chips I felt lousy the next three hours. My gut became my best guide. All of a sudden it was so easy to walk past the shelves full of potato chips and other snacks and eat healthy because I knew that all this was for me to feel better. My shopping list grew short of items, which I sensed were there only to increase my appetite not to fill my stomach. For example, only the first potato chip tastes great. It’s an almost perfect flavor combination after which you don’t feel the same taste again. But I used to eat them until every last bit was gone, looking subconsciously for that first initial taste. But while eating an egg, I felt every mouthful filling my stomach. This feeling was my guide to better food choices every single day.

DECEMBER 2013: I weighed 36 kilos less than in January. I enjoyed this wonderful feeling given by the fact that I could buy clothes I actually liked instead of opting for cleverly cut tunics or just whatever fit my body. Over a very long period of time I got back the feeling of being energized, confident and joyful.

SEPTEMBER 2015: I graduated from Annely Soots’s private school as a nutritionist and started working at City Health Clinic as a nutritionist.

SEPTEMBER 2017: I joined SmartFOOD’s wonderful team to gain and share even more knowledge and experience.