THE BLOG

How I Got Fit

09/11/2015 05:12pm ET | Updated September 11, 2016
This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.

I've never been on a diet. Okay, maybe I tried the Scarsdale diet when I was 14. I have no idea why. Probably because one of my older sisters left the book lying around and I wanted to be just like her, older and "cool." Glad that phase is over with! But I'm almost 50 years old now and in the best shape of my life. I attribute this to my limited income, two children, excessive stress, and a recent divorce. Lifestyle choices, as it were.

While my income has gradually decreased over the years, I've had to shop smarter. I used to buy only filet mignon, fresh salmon, and packages of chicken breast without regard to it being organic or locally grown. Now a grass-fed steak is a treat about once every two months, sockeye salmon maybe once a month, and what's left of the grocery "budget" goes into a good quality whole chicken that I can roast and pick off of for a few days. The rest of the week is lentils, beans, and eggs. We eat a lot of eggs. Because I'm not working full time I have the luxury of going to the grocery store when I need to so I only buy produce that I'm going to use. I eat a lot of salads. The boys eat a lot of carrots and celery. I eat so well that I can have bacon every day. My doctor said so! I also have a little bit of dark chocolate as a dietary staple. I can't have too much because that would get expensive and then I wouldn't be able to have any. To go on a pre-arranged diet would be too prohibitive for me! It's enough that I buy the boys snack food. If they want something, they can make it from scratch. And they do.

I have two boys. The first one spit up constantly when he was nursing. It took me six weeks to realize it was from the dairy I was consuming. I hadn't had any issues with milk before so I kept on drinking my lattes, with decaf coffee, while I was breastfeeding. When I made the connection I tried every variety of milk available at the time, which wasn't easy back then. I backed off lactose and ventured into a whole new dietary realm. And it changed my life. Ironically I worked in sales for a major foodservice company. I was all about bulk and processed and cheap. The more I researched feeding your children healthy food, which I thought I knew all about, the harder it was to do my job with conviction. It was starting to go against the grain of everything I was learning. Thank goodness I didn't have any school accounts or I would have quit much sooner. When "gluten free" became all the rage, that just about did me in. I was still preaching to my pizza places about the evils of trans fats in their fryer oil, never mind pizza dough as a staple of the American diet. The clock was ticking for me to change careers. I had my own world to clean up.

After I quit my high-paying sales job to work from home on my own, the stress of making ends meet was unbelievable. My house was in need of repair with exposed insulation and no trim, the kids were costing more, and the bills piled up. My husband wasn't very supportive of my decision and that didn't help much either. I started exercising as a way to get out of the house and clear my head. And it brought immediate results. I liked working out so much I even started running. I'm still in a mega high stress situation but with an almost daily workout I keep it under control. And thank goodness I got started sooner rather than later because when I got divorced I needed all my new found skills more than ever!

I love food. I could eat a six-course meal every night. And there is nothing better than someone else cooking it for me! But I'm totally aware of what I eat, I'm eternally grateful for when someone else is providing, and I'm intrigued, entertained and fascinated by the different ways you can prepare the same thing. And, there's nothing more exciting than finding a new food, such as quinoa which I discovered a few years ago. As long as I keep exercising, I can eat what I want.

While I was preparing for life post-divorce, I had this dream of meeting someone and spending hours talking over dinner, either at a nice restaurant or one that we've prepared together. Hahaha! I eat more than the guys I've met and so far have only been asked out to go skiing, biking or running. Call me old fashioned but that's not a date! Dinner is what I'm looking for!