Your diet today can make or break tomorrow


Chris Cox, Business Manager

Health and physical education teacher Jordan Cross says that when he was a teen he was sporadic and ate junk food when he was with his friends. Looking back, he noticed his body fluctuated depending on the athletic season. He felt like he was careless and didn’t really think about his diet. Cross says he is blessed with his health and while he has bad days of dieting, he is thankful for his knowledge of health now.

Like Cross, I was so clueless with my health and didn’t care about the kitchen, but I was so active it didn’t matter. Before the summer of my junior year, when I finally was sick of being made fun of for being small, I did a tremendous amount of research on the body, nutrients, workouts, diets and everything else you could think of. In May of 2015, I weighed 145 lbs and found my body fat was 13 percent.

Nutrition has now become extremely important and valuable to me. It really started when I was trying to put on a lot of healthy weight for baseball. I knew that I didn’t eat or drink healthy, but I never knew the consequences. Don’t get me wrong, I look forward to cheat meals, but eating healthy has so many more benefits.

Not only does it make you look better, but it also makes you feel better. When I get out of my routine due to business or just the food that is available to me, I feel unbalanced, unhealthy and to some degree unattractive. I have even gone to the extreme to eat the healthier option even if it is repulsive to me. But, it really is about finding healthy foods that you enjoy so you’re more inclined to eat them. Eating healthy brings a certain level of self achievement and confidence, and it is something I am proud of.

I get it, we have jobs, athletics, study sessions, school and other various activities that keep us going all the time that makes our nutrition less of a priority. Eating unhealthy things now such as junk food, fast food and soda can lead to increased risk of heart disease and obesity. Unhealthy foods can also cause cancers related to extreme fat and sugar intake, diabetes and increased risk of hypertension, a condition in which the blood force against the artery walls is too high.

Christina Shay, an epidemiologist at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, says that teens are the most unhealthy group of people. She led a study of 4,673 teens from 12 to 19 years old and asked them questions of not only their physical activity but also of their eating habits. An astounding 80 percent were eating what is considered by most researchers a poor diet. In the United States, more than one-third of teens suffer from obesity. If we keep going at this rate, by the year 2020 there will be as many as 44 percent of women and 37 percent of men from 20-25 years old that will be considered obese, and the risk for heart disease will increase by 19 percent.

All of those statistics scare me so much because not only will heart disease increase, but so will deaths. Eating food that is considered “yummy” can be toxic. I have my cheat meals, but I keep the time between them in control. I go for about two cheat meals a week and they are definitely loaded with sugars, fats, sodium and all of the other nutrients that in high volume are unhealthy for you. I see so many students leave for lunch and come back with drinks and bags of greasy food. I am also a victim of the quick and cheap food corporations.

Not only have I done this life change for the benefits of sports, but it would be much easier to transition to my adulthood and my metabolism slowing if I already take care of myself. I make health a priority and it has shown results. Typing this right now, I am sitting at 176 lbs with 14 percent body fat. After gaining 30 lbs and only gaining one percent of body fat goes to show the wonders of nutrition and exercise. Everyone’s goals are different in some way, but my point for telling you this is that you can do what you want. Cross said that it is all about choices and that now when he is on the road for reffing hockey, even when he gets fast food he gets a salad or grilled chicken and believes in choosing the healthier option.

While completely changing your diet with a snap of the fingers is possible, minor cutbacks may be a better fit since this is for long term health. I think that if people start by cutting out soda, going to fast food once a week, eating like clockwork, getting to-go fruits and veggies and making a gradual change to wheat is an exceptional start to a healthier life. According to fitness magazine, they agree and also have found that more water, more sleep and eating a healthy breakfast are wonderful habits to pick up. Making just some, if not all, of these subtle dietary changes can put you on the path to a healthier, longer and happier life.