While I am a dietitian, I was not always a nutritious eater. Growing up, we had a garden and I did love my vegetables. However, aside from daily salads, I had my fair share of packaged processed snacks, sodas, and candy.

I never really thought anything about what I was putting into my body since I was a slim child and teen. The only obvious consequence of this diet was cavities in my baby teeth.

I continued this lifestyle into college, not thinking about what I was putting into my body. Weekends were spent having beer at frat parties, followed by pizza, greasy burgers, and fries.

Fast forward four years later to my first job. I was working in the fast-paced world of advertising. It was long hours with little time for anything other than quick take out food that was often processed, pasta, pizza, or Chinese.

Those foods paired with constant junk around the office let to mindless indulging.

Also, this was about eleven years ago so healthy options were more limited than they are today.

Seven years passed by, and I still had poor eating habits. It eventually took a toll on my body.

Aside from not eating well, I was never really that into my job. I would go to work with no purpose and I consistently felt depressed about my life.

Little did I know was that my diet may have contributed to my feelings of sadness.

Everything changed when I got a book for Christmas entitled “Chill Out and Get Healthy: Live Clean to Be Strong and Stay Sexy” by Aimee E. Raupp L.Ac. M.S. It opened my eyes to what was really healthy and how food can have a bearing on your mind and performance.

I followed the advice in the book and started making healthy changes. I slowly cut out processed foods and incorporated more vegetables and other whole foods.

I also began to exercise and started the Couch to 5k. I would run nightly after work and was able to get up to four miles. It was truly a great experience to be able to run that far after having no interest in running. This made a vast improvement in my mind and body.

I began to do more research on how certain nutrients are important for your body to function normally.

I was interested in learning more about this science and wanted show others how they can change their mind through changing their diets.

I decided to become a dietitian nutritionist. I began to feel happy when I exercised and loved learning more about nutrition and how our bodies metabolizes nutrients.

Three years later I am happy to say I have met my goal of becoming a Dietitian. It was a long road, but I am thrilled to have changed my career.

What I have realized from this journey is that nutrients are an essential part of our diet. If we are consuming processed foods that have no nutritional value, it is detrimental to our bodies and minds. Eating a balanced diet with a large portion of vegetables, good fat, and protein is essential to maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

In the end, it takes one small behavior change to be on your way to a healthy lifestyle

Jeanette Kimszal, RDN