My weight has been a struggle for me for most of my adult life. In high school, I was lucky. I was tall and thin no matter what I ate. My diet consisted mostly of cheese and ice cream. That ability changed somewhere in my 20s. Stress eating and a general lack of activity took over, and I became overweight. When I started dating my husband I was at my heaviest weight ever. Fortunately, my husband is a generally active guy, and he likes to cook healthy food. He does a great job of making things that are healthy and taste good (I didn’t believe that was a thing before him really – did you know you could add flavor with spices instead of fat?). Increased activity combined with various diet plans (I think I have tried them all) eventually got me to a place where I could be active and maintain a weight I was happy with. Until I got pregnant of course. Having struggled so much to finally reach a good weight, I was terrified to put the weight back on. I didn’t weigh myself once during my pregnancy, but when I did finally weigh a couple of weeks after Jack’s birth, I had about 50 pounds to lose.
That leads us to today. I have lost the baby weight. I did follow the Weight Watchers nursing mom program, which helped me to make sure I ate enough to keep nursing. Before I got pregnant and now that Jack is weaned I use the free Lose It application on my phone and like it. However, all of that takes time, and I was really feeling like I need something very simple and fast to make sure I am continuing to make healthy food choices.
With my work schedule and taking care of a toddler (oh my God! I have a toddler!) calorie counting was just too much of a task. A few weeks ago, I was reading something online--and I am not sure where I saw it--but I came across the idea to take pictures of my food before I eat it.
So, I tried it. When I looked at my food through the lens of my camera it was a rather eye opening experience. First I noticed that even though my daily calories were fine (I was still counting them) there was a serious lack of color (i.e. fruits and veggies) in my diet. The first day I had a very boring looking bowl of cereal and a Lean Cuisine for lunch. I think we had a frozen pizza or something for dinner. I may have had a piece of fruit in there somewhere, but not a single vegetable. I wasn’t over-eating, but I wasn’t eating a very healthy diet.
The next morning my cereal and milk was replaced by cereal and nonfat Greek yogurt and blueberries. I still had a lean cuisine for lunch, but I added fruits and/or vegetables to every meal and snack. I’ve stopped counting calories; my energy has increased; and I’ve actually lost a few more pounds. And as you can see, I still eat desert on occasion.
Taking a picture gives me a moment to pause and evaluate what I am putting in my body. In that short pause my brain decides if it is colorful enough and if I feel good about eating it. And although I will obviously not be considering a career in food photography, it has become a pretty quick and easy way to evaluate if I am eating healthy or not. All I have to do is skim through the pictures in my phone, and it gives me a quick visual inventory of how many fruits and vegetables I have eaten. Hopefully, eating a balanced healthy diet, will be a habit that I will be able to pass on to my son.
Stephanie and her family moved to Indianapolis from Texas in 2015. She and her husband John have been happily married since 2010. They have a one year old son named Jack. They share their home with two dogs, Torchy and Rusty, and two cats, Timmy and Kit Kat. Stephanie has a BS in Animal Behavior from Southwestern University and a DVM from Texas A&M University. She is an associate veterinarian at VCA Animal Hospital o f Plainfield and has a special interest in veterinary behavior. Stephanie is passionate about being a wife, a mom, and a veterinarian. She loves spending time playing with her son, cooking with her husband, training and playing with their two dogs, and snuggling with her cats on the couch. When taking time for herself, she enjoys yoga, running, reading, and the occasional massage . The views expressed in this article are Stephanie's and do not necessarily reflect the views of her employer.