For Food Story Friday, this week, we have an inspirational story by Lauren & Justin from Overcoming Obesity about how their relationship with food has changed their lives. Justin has lost 320 lbs and Lauren has lost 170 lbs for a combined total of 480 lbs … What an amazing Food Story!!!
Overcoming Obesity: How Our Relationship with Food Has Changed
My husband and I have been overweight for most of our lives and used to be absolutely addicted to food. Whether it involved eating out or at home did not matter because we just wanted to eat, and the term “I’m full” was never part of our vocabulary. When you are so overweight, the food becomes a double edged sword. You trick yourself into thinking that it will make you feel better when in fact it is just contributing even more to your low self-esteem. We would run out to the nearest fast food place and binge trying to erase that empty feeling that was always lingering around. The problem is that when you are so overweight, nothing can really make you happy. You just become more and more depressed until you either give up or stand up and do something about it.
Giving up is precisely what he and I had done for many years. By February of 2012, we were in our twenties and morbidly obese. Early on in that month, my husband had a severe kidney infection and had to go to the emergency room. He could not receive the proper treatment because he weighed too much for the equipment there. That was the breaking point for him. The next day he told me that he was tired of being fat and would rather die trying to lose weight than slowly kill himself through food. I decided that it was time for me to take this long journey with him. We looked to a professional who could advise us on the proper diet and exercise.
She told us to stop eating out except on occasions when they were completely unavoidable and to watch our sodium intake. In addition we were to have no sodas, fruit/sports drinks, high-carbohydrate grains, sauces, oil, butter, sugar, or processed foods. In other words we were to eat a high protein, low carbohydrate diet skipping the middle aisles and only drink water. My husband and I took her quite literally and also cut out all added salt completely.
Just over 1.4 years into our new way of thinking and eating, we have lost over a combined 480 lbs. through healthy eating and exercise! Individually he has lost 320, and I have shed 170! As time has passed we have chosen to follow an even more strict diet cutting out red meat among some other things. Everyone must remember that no one is perfect, and there have been days where I have strayed and given into temptations. Nonetheless, our focus remains the same. He and I have made a vow to never allow ourselves to get back to that rock-bottom point again. Once we reach our goal weights we may occasionally indulge in a dessert, burger, restaurant outing, or bread, but it will be done in a health-conscious manner.
If nothing else from this journey we have learned that it is not what the scale says that measures our health or happiness. Instead, it is the food that we put into our bodies as well as the lifestyle that we lead. Our relationship with food has changed so much in just a short period of time, and now we will have the rest of our lives to make a new food story together. Feel free to check out our blog overcomingo.com for recipes, workouts, and other personal experiences.
- 1 lb. 99% extra lean ground turkey breast
- 1 large spaghetti squash
- handful of fresh basil
- handful of fresh parsley
- 2 Tbs. Heinz Reduced Sugar ketchup
- 2 tsp. dried onion
- parsley, for garnish
- 2 egg whites or 1 whole egg*
- 1 cup homemade tomato sauce or store bought low-sodium sauce
- *Note: We do not generally use eggs in our recipes. However, the meatballs were a bit dry, and I would recommend it if you are not watching your egg intake.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Wash the spaghetti squash and cut it in half. Place it on an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet and lay it down cut side up. Ignore the middle piece! I accidentally cut the squash unevenly the first time around. Bake it in the oven for 30-40 minutes.
- Next, take a fork and pull out the inside of the squash. It will have the consistency of spaghetti noodles. Place in bowl and hold warm in microwave until ready to eat! A serving size for this recipe is 1 cup of spaghetti squash.
- Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Take the turkey meat out of the package, and place it into a bowl. Roughly chop the parsley and basil, and put it on top of the turkey along with the dried onion. Next, add the ketchup and egg (if used) to the bowl. Mix well with a fork. Do not use your hands because you may over-work the meat.
- Now you can use your hands! Take lumps of the mixture and work around in your hands until you form a small ball. Continue this until the bowl of turkey is gone. It will make roughly 8-10 meatballs. Remember, they don’t have to be perfect! Bake in the oven for 5-10 minutes or until browning occurs on the outside.
- Make your tomato sauce and bring it to a healthy simmer. Add the meatballs to the tomato sauce. Allow to simmer for about an hour or until sauce has thickened and meatballs are cooked all of the way through.
- Take the meatballs and 1/2 cup of sauce and pour it over the spaghetti squash. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley, and it’s ready to eat!
Serving Size and Nutritional Information: A serving is 1 cup of spaghetti squash, 1/4 of the meatballs and 1/2 cup of tomato sauce which is roughly 202 calories and 28 grams of protein.* Below is a breakdown of the calories and protein.
4 ounces 99% lean turkey: 120, 26 1 cup spaghetti squash: 42, 1 1/2 cup tomato sauce: 35, 1 ketchup: 5, 0 herbs/spices: negligible TOTAL: 202, 28
*Note: We are on a high protein diet, and at lunch and dinner we have 8 ounces of lean meat. Therefore, we split the meatballs between the two of us. The average person may not be consuming this much protein. That is why we put a serving of meatballs as 1/4 or 4 ounces instead of the 8 ounces that we ate.
Recipe courtesy of Overcoming Obesity.