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Ester Marsh: Food is not your enemy

With Jennifer’s bariatric sleeve surgery being a success, I want people to know there are other options for weight loss. Jennifer can tell you, she tried every one of them. But surgery is not for everybody.

I am not a licensed nutritionist, nor do I claim to be a nutrition expert. What I do know is well-balanced eating through years of experiencing, and I try to educate myself as much as possible about nutrition.

As I mentioned before, choosemyplate.gov is an excellent resource of free, solid nutritional information that I like to use for my own information. I also read Runners World magazine, which has great recipes.

With a healthy lifestyle, you have to get the correct nutrition. You have to feed your muscles and organs the nutrition they need.

I understand why it is so hard to eat correctly and nutritiously. It’s cheaper to pick from the dollar menu than to buy fresh vegetables and fruits. However, it will hurt your wallet when you go to the doctor more often because of an unhealthy eating habit.

So where do you start?

• You have to eat to survive. As I have mentioned before, many people take better care of their cars than their bodies. Common sense tells us that if we eat a bacon-cheese biscuit for breakfast, a triple (bypass) hamburger for lunch and pizza for dinner, it was a bad day for nutrition. Fortunately, even “on the go” there are better options to pick from.

Look at your body and treat it as your car. Would you put oil in the gas tank? Educate yourself and have meal plans, and I believe anyone can eat nutritiously on any budget with the correct planning.

• See what works for you. There are truly the meat-and-potato men and women and the no-carbs people or vegetarian only, just to name a few. Just make sure you get the nutrition you need. Find what works for you.

If you feel horrible, are not very pleasant to be around (because of your diet) and can’t wait to stop this nonsense, that diet does not work for you. Your diet needs to be a lifestyle. Start again with baby steps and make small changes.

• Food is not your enemy. So many times, I see people cringe when food is served, especially if it’s not on their diet. Once again, I am mentioning Weight Watchers, and no, I do not get perks or paid for it. I just really believe in eating real food in real settings. That truly seems to be the only weight-loss program that teaches people to chose better real foods and portion control.

When you learn that, you know choices to make or what you need to do to burn the extra calories or to prepare yourself when you visit a high-calorie event. The holidays are right around the corner (it’s finally starting to feel like fall), and I love getting together with my dear friends and family. Food will bring anyone together.

None of us wants to hear you complain about being on a diet. And diet actually means food and drink regularly provided or consumed, so all foods consumed are considered a diet, even the bad food diet.

Most of us understand when you are following a certain lifestyle, but there are people among us who love seeing you fail. So when you are loud about being on a specific diet, they love to boycott you. Small changes, small steps, great health and a tasty, healthy diet.

Ester H. Marsh is health and fitness director at J.F. Hurley Family YMCA.

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