My Food Story Part I: High School, College, and My Early Twenties

Once again, I can’t thank you guys enough for all the encouragement and support I’ve gotten these past few days! I wouldn’t be sharing this if it weren’t for all of you! :)

Ok so…as you know, today I’m writing about something that’s been on my mind for a few months now. The time has come to write down my thoughts and be completely honest. I have a lot to say, and I don’t want to completely overwhelm (or bore) you guys, so I’m thinking it will end up being three separate posts. I hope you guys stick along for the ride!

It’s My Food Story: the good, the bad, and the ugly.

And the really ugly.

Childhood/High School

When I was growing up, I never thought twice about what I was eating. I had no food allergies, no “tummy troubles”, and was an all around healthy kid. Well, sort of healthy. I’ve always had a sweet tooth, and back then I ate a ton of processed snacks (Hostess brownies, Oatmeal cream pies, Doritos, Chips Ahoy, etc.!)

I also hated vegetables and needed a large glass of milk to eat 4 string beans (not joking).

But my mom made us eat our veggies, and cooked balanced meals for us. We didn’t have much money and ate a lot of spaghetti, chicken, shepard’s pie, and american chop suey, but I know my mom did the best she could. And hey, back then, the adjective “organic” referred mostly to chemistry and very rarely to food. Times have changed.


College is really when I began to think about my appearance more. Sure, in high school I thought about it, but never obsessively. I had a huge support system and a close family, so it was never something that occupied my mind too frequently. But college was different. Going out and partying/drinking for the first time, combined with lots of takeout food and dining halls….I started to gain weight. My clothes not fitting right was the first sign.

So began the gain-lose-gain-lose cycle of my life. I started eating healthier and working out, returned to a comfortable weight, then stopped eating healthy and stopped working out. Then I’d gain again, and the cycle would repeat. This went on for years. I’m not talking about dramatic weight losses and gains here. I never weighed myself (just went by how my clothes fit) but I’m guessing I would go back and forth between a 5-10 lb range.

During this time, I never thought too much about food. What had lots of calories, what had few calories, how much I was eating. It was more like, oh–guess I should eat less pizza and more turkey sandwiches. And run more. Common sense stuff like that, nothing crazy.

Early 20′s

Last year when I was 24 years-old, I started having digestive problems. I won’t get into too much detail, but basically, it seemed like everything I ate disagreed with me. No matter what, I felt extremely bloated, gassy, uncomfortable, etc. It was mortifying to put it lightly. I had a few really bad “attacks” also, one on Easter Sunday that caused me to miss dinner. I was miserable, embarrassed, and completely confused. I went my whole life without a single stomachache (ok I’m exaggerating) but seriously. What was going on.

GLUTEN was going on.

“Oh my god even Subway is bothering me? What’s happening!!”
“…..Bread.” ::lightbulb::

It took me 4-5 months to figure it out, but once I eliminated gluten from my diet, I was back to my normal self. And felt nothing but relief.

Until I felt deprived. Like I said, up until this point, I had no dietary issues, ate whatever I wanted whenever I wanted, and kept myself in check by making sure my clothes fit.


Ok guys, I think this is a good place to stop for today. Tomorrow, I’ll continue with My Food Story, and finally explain my blogging hiatus, which I hinted at here!

11 thoughts on “My Food Story Part I: High School, College, and My Early Twenties

  1. Alex @ therunwithin

    very interesting, my childhood was the same way. i would eat anything that was put in front of me without thinking twice. i was a good eater and was proud of that. high school hit and joined a new friend group – enter my ed. being diagnosed with celiacs was actually when things started to improve. it makes a huge difference! can’t wait for more!

    1. aftertheivyleague

      I can’t even imagine what you must’ve gone through with your ed, but it’s so awesome to read about your life now in recovery! That’s great that being diagnosed with celiac’s had such a positive effect on you…I’ve come to terms with my allergy more now, but you’ll see it definitely wasn’t a smooth transition! haha

  2. Jorie

    It’s so hard to eat healthy in college, and I think most kids are truly not prepared for it. They warn of the freshman 15 but when you’re presented with an all-you-can-eat smorgasbord buffet three times a day, it’s hard NOT to overeat and consume too many calories, no matter what kind of exercise regiment you keep up. Add in a few hundred extra calories from drinking and it’s a recipe for weight gain. I definitely experienced that up-and-down cycle, and I was so glad to break free of it when I graduated!

    1. aftertheivyleague

      Seriously, when I look back at my college years (just this past May I was on campus for a few days) and see the things I used to eat all the time without thinking twice….I’m shocked I didn’t double in weight! So unhealthy, don’t know how I did it!

  3. Chelsie @ Balance, Not Scale

    Our childhood eats (especially the dinners) sound extremely similar. My parents did a super great job of getting us to eat pretty balanced meals and adequate portions. Dining out was reserved for birthdays only — we always ate at the dinner table together. I was never concerned about what I was eating, my weight, or my body — until high school when my body started to change and my self-esteem plummetted. I’ve been fighting my ED ever since, and once I was finally starting to win, the intolerances took over!! Bummer!
    I definitely attribute my GI problems more to my ED than my childhood. Totally still a newbie at the gluten-free lifestyle though — I’ll be checking back often .. slash. Possibly spending a lot of time perusing your older posts! ;)
    Also — totally with you on the acute and intense embarrassment of the bloating/gas. Especially when at work. Or just out in public in general. I’m so glad to have it (somewhat) figured out. :)

  4. frhuman

    Wow! It seems gluten is becoming such a huge issue these days. I can’t wait to see how you cope with it. I always think I wouldn’t have a clue what to eat or not eat if I had to eliminate it.

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