Once I made a commitment to losing weight and eating healthier food, I realized that the best way to love my body was by making more nutritious choices. Now a funny little habit of mine has made me realize that food is the best way to show those around me that I love them, too.
Monday through Friday, I wake up with my husband at 6 a.m., even though I don't need to be at work for another four hours. It's not because I'm trying to squeeze in a workout or a sunrise yoga session—it's because I like to make him breakfast. Usually it's a big batch of banana oatmeal for the both of us, and I add all the fixings—like wheat berries, almonds, and a dollop of peanut butter. Being a grown man, my husband is more than capable of cooking himself a healthy breakfast, but I really enjoy helping him start his day off on the right foot. Plus, eating our breakfast together is easily my favorite part of the day.
I never considered myself a nurturing person until I started cooking for my husband. In fact, the act of cooking sort of scared me—mostly because I was terrible at it! Growing up, I never really learned to cook. My mom was a single parent, so the majority of our meals were quick and easy convenience meals—Pop Tarts for breakfast, boxed mac 'n' cheese for lunch, and microwavable meals for dinner—which, of course, weren't the most nutritious foods to eat.
But in my mother's defense, she managed to prepare three meals a day for my sister and me, all while holding down two jobs that had her working more than 50 hours per week. We never complained about what my mom made for dinner. If we did, her response was always the same: "I'm not running a restaurant." She made the effort to put something on the table, which we always appreciated.
My mom planted the seed that even if you're short on time, sitting down for a meal—any meal—is a form of bonding. Over the years I've changed the way that I eat—home-cooked meals instead of frozen fare—and I've realized just how much food is love. I used to focus on low-calorie and low-fat foods—typically ones made with artificial ingredients—but I soon learned that they don't make me feel as good as "real" food does. For instance, an apple with lots of fiber and nutrients satisfies me much more than an apple-cinnamon rice cake. Choosing real foods over fake ones makes me feel like I am choosing to treat my body right. Similarly, picking high quality ingredients for my meals also makes me feel like I am taking good care of myself—and now my husband too.
Read Tina's daily food and fitness blog, Carrots 'N' Cake.