“What are you doing to me?!”

When you eat lots of healthy food, those old-time junk food favorites aren’t as welcome as they were before.

That phrase seems to be the theme for a little over the past week.

You see, as you go along your health journey, there comes a point where you definitely notice some changes– and they aren’t visible.

Sure, maybe pounds are coming off. Yes, you definitely feel better. But that’s not what I’m talking about this time, and the person speaking the phrase, “What are you doing to me?” is none other than my husband.

And that’s because his insides have become healthy. His appetite has changed, and he can longer eat like the pizza-gobbling bachelor he once was. And honestly, it’s not just him. I feel the changes too.

We first noticed the change when he took me out to one of his old favorite Southern restaurants where the food is served family style and is all-you-can-eat. The main course? Fried chicken and country ham.

My husband claimed he and his friends would just sit there and ask for more and more and more. But this time? We barely got through the first round of what they gave us before leaving. And, because of our super healthy insides, we didn’t feel that great because of the greasy fried chicken.

“What are you doing to me?” he joked.

Then when my brother and sister-in-law came to visit, one late night we all weren’t super hungry but they wanted some kind of food so we opted for a quick Little Caesar’s hot n’ ready to split between the four of us. A year ago, the Hubs and I would have split the pizza ourselves. Go a little further back, and he would have eaten the whole pizza on his own.

This time, I had a slice and instantly felt terrible. It was like my stomach was rebelling with questions of WHY! My brother and sister-in-law each had two, so that left three for Addison– which I thought would be no problem since in the past, he would eat five slices while I had three.

The next day he admitted to me that it was hardly an enjoyable experience.

“WHAT are you doing to me?” he asked, a little more grumpily.

We, my dear husband, are getting healthy. And we’re not even doing anything crazy. We just eat more fruits, veggies and lean meats. We work out more often, and we try to eat more than three times a day so that our metabolisms keep going.

And while it may not be a pleasant feeling when the bad food makes us feel terrible, the truth is– WE FEEL SO AWESOME NOW just going about our day-to-day lives.

I think a lot of people are afraid to try to “diet” because they think they’ll miss their favorite indulgences. But that’s why “diet” is really just a dirty four-letter word. We’re living a lifestyle so we technically don’t limit ourselves, especially during special occasions. We’re just smarter about what we eat. Special date night request was fried chicken? Sure. Out-of-town brother wanted pizza? I won’t stick up my nose. My friend had a birthday party this past Saturday? Why yes. Cut me a little sliver of Funfetti Cake please.

The goal with a healthy lifestyle is never to feel limited or trapped or deprived. It’s just teaching yourself how to live smarter so you can be healthy and not let a few indulgences derail you completely.

Like my slice of cake Saturday night. A few of my friends joked to me that it had “no calories” so I should have  some.  I assume people think that since I’m losing weight consistently and trying to eat healthy, that I’m really anti all bad foods. But the truth is, I think there is a time and a place for indulgences, and while I don’t think that place is at work all the time, I do allow myself to enjoy the finer things in life— like celebrating a friend’s birthday. And yes, I even log that kind of indulgence on MyFitnessPal because I’m not ashamed of what I eat and know that I’m eating a healthy diet and making smart choices all day long.

But the best part about getting healthy? When you really do work hard at it, you start to desire those other things less and healthy food more. Did I enjoy my slice of Little Caesar’s pizza? You better believe it. But the fact that it doesn’t make me feel great (along with the knowledge that I probably shouldn’t eat a lot of it) allows me to happily eat one slice without derailing my entire diet. After years of overeating, it’s nice to be able to actually convince myself that I need to stop when I need to.

After all, if the bad-for-you-food  makes you not feel well, you’re never going to overeat it. It’s like your body built in it’s own defense system to allow you to eat a little, enjoy it, and stop where you should.

At first you may be like, “WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO ME?” But then you’ll smile and be like, “Wow, it’s so much easier to make healthy choices now than it was before.”

But man, the scary thing to think about is what that old food was doing to you before. If it’s making the healthier version of you feel ill, then what is it doing to your desensitized stomach when you ate it every day?

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