Jeremy’s story

A man smiling

Jeremy grew up being active and involved in sports. But
he never gave healthy eating too much thought until he found himself gaining
weight several years after college.

In November 2006, Jeremy hit a
turning point when he found that he was too out of shape to play in a company
football game. He decided to change his eating habits.

Cutting out fast food

The first step Jeremy took
toward healthy eating was to stop going to fast-food restaurants. Jeremy used
to eat fast food as often as 4 times a week. To his surprise, he found that
giving up fast food wasn’t that hard. Now, he says, “I don’t even like it
anymore.”

When Jeremy does go out to eat, he tries to pick menu
items that he knows are healthier. He orders salads and lower-fat sandwiches
instead of hamburgers, and he drinks water instead of soda pop. “I try to order things that I know I can modify or are already prepared the way I would
like them to be prepared.”

The importance of planning

Planning meals has been
a key to Jeremy’s success. It helps him avoid the trap of getting too hungry
and resorting to fast food. Each week he plans what he will eat for each meal,
and he shops for groceries with his plan in mind. “It’s a lot easier to make
healthy choices when you’re just planning ahead for it.”

Healthy cooking

Jeremy has always enjoyed cooking.
Now he experiments with ways to make recipes healthier. He uses whole wheat
flour instead of white flour, and olive oil instead of butter.

“The cooking styles that I do now just involve a healthier way to cook
the foods that I already liked,” he says.

Cooking allows him to
have more control over his food choices. “If you’re going to prepare it
yourself, you’re much better off than if you were going to buy it already
packaged. You know exactly what’s in it.”

Not feeling discouraged

Rather than cutting out
certain foods, Jeremy sometimes includes his favorite foods in his eating
plan. “That way I don’t feel like I’m letting myself down by not sticking to my
plan.

“I know the things that I like to eat, like baked goods,
cookies, and stuff like that. I know that I’m never going to stop liking
those.”

He also says he has learned to expect that there will be
setbacks as he changes his eating habits. He accepts that things won’t always
go perfectly, so he doesn’t get discouraged. “Just be patient with it, and be
realistic with your goals.”

Support from others

Jeremy’s friends and family
noticed when he started eating healthier. Their support has helped motivate him
to make a habit of his healthy eating changes.

“It made me feel
pretty good, especially when people started making comments about noticing the
changes I would make,” he says. “You just feed off the positive energy.”

It also helped to have friends with similar goals. They support him with
his eating changes.

Tip for buying healthy foods on a budget

Jeremy has
advice for people who say that eating healthy is too expensive. He recommends
looking for fruits and vegetables that are in season.

“There are
always price breaks on certain things,” he says. “Fruits and vegetables are
expensive, especially when they are out of season. But there’s usually
something that’s in season.”

Take-away message

For Jeremy, there have been no
drawbacks to changing the way he eats. He acknowledges that it takes planning
to eat healthfully. But he knows that it’s worth the effort. As a result of his
changes, he is back to a healthy weight and has the energy to do the activities
that he wants to do.

“It’s just something that’s been really
positive for me.”

Jeremy’s story reflects his experiences as told in an interview. The photograph is not of Jeremy, to protect his privacy.

For more information, see the topic Healthy Eating.

Credits

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Kathleen Romito, MD – Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Rhonda O’Brien, MS, RD, CDE – Certified Diabetes Educator

Current as ofMay 4, 2017