my personal journey with food…
I grew up in the Midwest on a meat and potatoes diet along with a pantry full of packaged food. I have always been drawn to food, often thinking ahead to my next meal shortly after finishing the last.
My professional career began in Silicon Valley after moving across the country to California upon graduating college. I spent ten years working in the software industry before leaving to raise my children. My food journey began with my first pregnancy. I was placed on bedrest for 3 months. During this time of daily monotony, food became my joy and savior, helping me cope to get through each day. Eating to excess and not moving naturally resulted in significant weight gain. I gained over seventy pounds and became addicted to all things sweet. After giving birth, I successfully lost most of the bedrest weight, but it was challenging and frustrating as I struggled daily with my sweet tooth.
Years later I enrolled in pastry school to perfect my baking skills and support my sugar addiction. At the time, I thought it was a brilliant idea! I was over the moon to begin this new chapter in my life. However, you could equate this experience to an alcoholic tending a bar. I simply had no control over unfettered access to pastries and sweets, taste testing everything I baked. I began regaining my lost pregnancy weight, I had terribly low energy, and my children were following my lead with sugar addiction. By the time I graduated from pastry-school I was starkly aware I needed to make a change to my diet and lifestyle. This was rock bottom in my food journey. Using tips and advice from the internet I made several attempts at diet change. I wanted to eat healthy, but I didn’t know how to control my cravings or stop relying on quick and easy packaged food.
I returned to school yet again, but this time my focus was health and wellness. I received my certificate of Holistic Nutrition from Bauman College of Holistic Nutrition and Culinary Arts in Berkeley, CA. followed by a certificate in Oncology Nutrition Therapy from Oncology Nutrition Institute. My education has been life-changing. I now recognize the tremendous power of food – the good and the bad. I have learned to nourish my body and satisfy my cravings with delicious, rich, whole foods. My sugar addiction isn’t dead – it still surfaces its ugly head. When I find myself in an environment which is not conducive to my health goals, I might easily fall back upon those old sugar habits. It is in these situations that a deep sense of self-awareness becomes my guiding hand.
My health journey has taught me that our choices when dealing with food addiction are driven not necessarily by how the food tastes, but rather how the food makes us feel. We all use food as a coping mechanism in various forms and circumstances. Addressing what is going on in your mind, heart, and environment is often the link to making lifelong diet and wellness changes.
- ● National Association of Nutrition Professionals
- ● The Weston A. Price Foundation
Helen Vo, People Operations VSCO
Radhika Warrier, Senior Manager, People, Culture and HR Kiva