So what DO I eat these days?!

Betsy in sun
Sunrise. Day at a time.  (Photo credit; Jeff Sherman)

I was at an event for work and a woman who hadn’t seen me in a while walked up to me during the reception;

‘I’m just going to follow you around and watch what you eat. I need to lose some weight.  Maybe I can learn from you.’


Nothing makes me more self conscious than knowing someone is watching or judging what I eat.

I spent a lifetime trying to hide the true bulk of what I was really consuming. And I got REALLY good at making sure no single person had the whole picture.

I mean, c’mon… I KNOW I was WEARING my poor eating habits for the whole world to see. But I had pretty solidly convinced myself I was hiding things well enough to deflect major attention.

Insecurities run deep and old habits die hard. Even now, I will still find ways to skip social events that involve food if at all possible.

Throw into this particular awkward ‘party’ mix that I had just done a LONG run. What could that possibly have to do with food you wonder??!  I was eating anything and everything that was not nailed down. I had burned 1,000+ calories running that morning and I was freaking HUNGRY.

And someone wanted to watch me eat?!  Egad… 

So, I promised her that I would share what I used to eat compared to what I eat these days.  She promised to stop following me around. 🙂

So how do you get to be almost 400 pounds and a type 2 diabetic?

Here’s how: I would consume roughly 3,500-5,000 calories on any given day of fast food, carbs and highly processed foods. I was not exercising. This was how I spent the 1990’s and early 2000’s.

A fairly typical day looked like.

  • Breakfast: McDonalds Sausage biscuit, hash browns, large diet coke
  • Snack: Chips, large diet Dr. Pepper
  • Lunch: Qdoba nachos loaded, large diet coke
  • Snack: Candy or more chips, large diet Dr. Pepper
  • Pre-dinner snack: 2 McDonald’s cheeseburgers, large fries, large diet coke.
  • Dinner: Chicken enchilada casserole, rice and beans, chips and salsa
  • Snack: Ben and Jerry’s Phish Food ice cream

Unbelievable that someone could eat that poorly, that much?  I WISH I was making this stuff up… But I really did eat all that stuff. Daily.

I have witnesses. Hell, I have PROOF.

My weight and a type 2 (T2) diabetes diagnosis are confirmation that this was pretty typical fare for me. FOR YEARS.

You don’t just suddenly wake up fat.

You actually have to work pretty hard to get there…

Starting in the early 2000’s, with my new T2 diagnosis, I spent about 8 years settling into a diabetic diet. Portions got smaller. I worked to glean out refined and overt sugar. I focused on a low-carb diet. I lost about 85 pounds during this time period and increased my walking over the years. It was NOT perfect, but it was a HUGE improvement.

July 2011 rolled around and I decided I was going to build a new and different lifestyle. I wanted to be healthy.

And then a WHOLE lot of additional changes have happened in the past 3+ years.

So, what does a day look like NOW?!

I consume about 1,500 – 2,100 calories a day; depending on what kind of exercise I’m doing. I try to work out 6 days a week. I eat a plant based diet.

A typical day pulled from the last month’s food journal:

  • Pre-run: Nut/seed/fruit bar (no sugar added)
  • Breakfast: Banana/granola/cashew butter, decaf coffee
  • Snack: Hummus/carrots and grapes
  • Lunch: Salad with beans, corn, grilled peppers, salsa, guacamole, tortilla chips
  • Afternoon snack: Nuts, apple and more decaf coffee. 🙂
  • Dinner: Quinoa, monster salad loaded veggies, avocado, oil and balsamic vinegar
  • Snack: Honeycrisp Apple with cinnamon and sea salt

Just a few short years ago I would tell everyone that I hated vegetables and I could NOT imagine life without Diet Coke.

Things have changed. 🙂

You don’t just suddenly wake up healthy. 

You actually have to work pretty hard to get here.


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