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

Text: Teele Teder, nutritionist 

THE 7 PREVIOUS YEARS: Wake up, make a few quick sandwiches using 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 yogurt. I have one of those wonderful Belvita cookies also, which releases carbohydrates after every few hours  – just so that I wouldn’t get tired. Super! I drive to work and before an hour passes I’m already desperately waiting for my lunch break…

I usually eat lunch out of the office. Whether I go to a cafeteria or quickly grab a ready-meal from the supermarket. At the cafeteria I always opt for the main course because I never feel full after eating a soup. I prefer oven potatoes or fries as side dishes and whatever is next to those doesn’t really matter to me. 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?

Kolleegi sünnipäeval võtan kindlasti veini ja kui juurde pakutakse, siis ma ei keeldu. Oleks ju ebaviisakas ja mulle ju mahub veel! Kindlasti maitsen kõiki suupisteid, sest kuidas ma muidu teaksin, milline on mu lemmik, mida sööma hakata. Veel mõned tunnid ja siis saab poodi! Kui kartulikrõpsudele on sooduspakkumine, ostan kindlasti mitu pakki, muidu piirdun ühega. Kuna olen raskest tööpäevast väsinud, ei hakka ma midagi süüa tegema. Pigem ostan midagi, mille soojendamine võtab aega vaid mõned minutid. Mingit trenni ma ka teha ei jõua, sest tööd on ikka väga palju.

At a colleague’s birthday party I will 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 anyways! I definitely also 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. And simply because I’m tired from my long day at the office I won’t prepare anything at home. 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. Sundays are mom’s pancake breakfast mornings. Yay! I will definitely eat a lot so that the craving for pancakes wouldn’t bother me during the week and then I wouldn’t have to make them myself either. 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 without food?! 

JANUARY 2013: Yet another pair of jeans that don’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 of the lot. When I tuck my tummy in, I look pretty fine. And 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 previous promise fits just fine: to reach my ideal weight! But having promised the same thing for the last seven years makes me wonder if I may be unwell. “There is definitely something wrong with my health,” I think to myself. Upon seeing my general practitioner, she asks what my complaint is and I express my desire to be 20 kilos lighter, to which 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 monotone manner. What a shame she didn’t prescribe me 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 for the next seven years, and eventually get used to my weight and then 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 also brought along all their friends while coming back. And exercising only increased my appetite. 

As time went by I started to take notice of which foods made me feel what way. When I ate a whole bag of potato chips I felt lousy for the next three hours. Here, 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 choose to eat healthy instead because I knew it would make me feel better. My shopping list grew short of items as I began avoiding the items that would only increase my appetite and not actually 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, always desiring to re-experience that first initial bite. But while eating an egg, I felt every mouthful filling up my stomach. This gut feeling was my guide to making 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 that I actually liked instead of opting for cleverly cut tunics or just whatever fit my body. After a very long period of time I managed to redeem that satisfying feeling of being energized, confident and joyful.

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

DECEMBER 2017. I joined SmartFOOD’s wonderful team to gain more knowledge and share my experiences with diet and nutrition.