I don’t think that I am alone when I say that I treated my body like a garbage can while in my late teens and early twenties. In high school, thanks to my mother taking time out of her busy schedule to ensure her spawn was well nourished, I at least consumed a few well-balanced meals each week. But upon leaving home, bound for the land of higher education and fueled by the independence of making my own life choices, I of course did what most blossoming adults do and chose a lot of the fun ones. When applied to food, these choices didn’t always turn out to be the best, or the healthiest. I think it’s safe to say that my regular diet at this time in my life featured the words “drive-thru” and “fried,” far too consistently.

I don’t think these types of eating habits are ones that naturally subside after college, or at the beginning of your professional career for that matter (a revelation that shattered my previous and immature misconception). They certainly didn’t for me. As I entered my mid-twenties, my diet did naturally improve some as I rediscovered my love for cooking. But I think my biggest hindrance as far as my diet and overall heath were concerned was my perspective (or lack thereof) of how eating habits correlated with my life as a whole. Perhaps it was just a natural maturation, but I began to see the consequences of poor health in the people that I loved and started to hypothetically apply them to my future-self. I slowly began to realize that I would like to still be around for the individuals that I am building my life around and if I could make daily decisions that might impact that desire in a positive way, why wouldn’t I?

Now, that’s not too say I don’t still indulge in some of my biggest culinary vices (beer and cheese) on a regular basis. I’m also a sucker for anything on a bar menu during football season. But I did come to realize, as I have in regard to many aspects of life, that moderation is a wonderful thing. I’m also not an exercise freak, but I don’t often feel much better than I do after just finishing a good trail run.

More Avocados, Less Lunchables

So the last few years of my life have consisted of incorporating more and more boring and responsible decisions into my daily life. And you know you what? It feels great. Both mentally and physically. Striving for balance in all aspects of my life has proven to be one of the more fulfilling choices in my life, whether it be applied to personal relationships or deciding when and when not to say no to a plate of nachos.

I’m going to get off my soapbox now and take a trip back to grade school and feast on the pizza Lunchables that happened to end up in my grocery basket alongside a couple avocados, and bag of spinach and a pint of Greek yogurt. Like I said before, lifestyle changes don’t occur overnight. That, and I vastly underestimated the power of nostalgia while at Kroger yesterday.