Fast Food Junkie to Fitness and Nutrition Coach
How I Kicked My Habit
Yep, that’s me…Brigitt Castille, former “Whataburger Addict!” The picture on the left is 2009 and the picture on the right is 2016. I had formed a habit of eating fast food for lunch nearly every single day. It all started with boredom. Sounds weird right? Not the typical reason one repeats a habitual behavior.
I’m from Dallas, Texas where Whataburger is plentiful. I loved their burgers, taquitos, and their unique tasting catsup. In 2002 we moved to the East coast for my husband’s job. The nearest Whataburger was hundreds of miles away and oh how I missed it. Whenever I would go back home to visit, it was on the “must visit” list.
Fast forward to 2008, my family moved to Arizona for another work transfer. I was elated to find out that there was a Whataburger 5 miles away. What started out as getting my long overdue “fix” from a place I missed, turned into me going there 3-4 days a week. I would drive 10 miles round trip to get a damn burger. When I wasn’t driving there, I was getting fast food from somewhere closer. I always got it to go and would bring it home and eat it while watching my DVR. My kids were at school, my husband was at work, the house was empty and I was keeping myself company with fast food. I knew it was unhealthy and wanted to stop but I wouldn’t.
It wasn’t hard for me to figure out why I was doing this nearly every day, I was bored and lacking purpose! I was living in a new place, I missed my friends and was lonely. For some reason, eating fast food while watching my shows was filling a void. Look at this memory that showed up on Facebook from 2009 . Even though I was joking, clearly I saw the dysfunction.
Despite the excessive amount of needless calories I was consuming every day and the unhealthy ingredients, I was able to keep my weight “under control” through semi-regular exercise. I wasn’t considered overweight but I wasn’t in great shape either.
Shortly before we moved to Arizona, I started teaching group fitness classes at a small gym and I knew that I wanted to continue on that path. Once I got settled in my new home, I faced my fears and went to audition for a local health club. After getting hired, I slowly started adding classes to my schedule, meeting more friends and building a new life. Even though I was occupying my time more and more, I still had to have my fast food. I had developed a bad habit that was proving hard to break. I needed a greater purpose to put my energy into, I just didn’t know what it was.
A few years later, I was chatting with a coworker at the gym. Before Tamara Buschel was The Workout Mama, she was the yoga instructor that followed my Tuesday spin class. She mentioned in passing that she was a personal trainer. For whatever reason, being a personal trainer always seemed unattainable and too lofty of a goal. I never really ever considered it even though I’ve exercised my whole life. That conversation really inspired me. I thought to myself, “If she could do it then so can I.” I had no idea this chance and random conversation would spark the purpose and intention I needed to redirect my focus and attention.
I chose NASM as my certifying organization and dove right in. It is a tough course but very well respected. I completed my Certified Personal Trainer course in just 3 months and little did I know this was just the beginning. A few months later, I received a random email from Precision Nutrition. I had never heard of them before but they were taking the nutrition world by storm. It had some video links to a few of their nutrition seminars. I never knew I was going to be so fascinated. It was then I realized I wanted to be a nutrition coach too. I signed up for the course and earned my Sports and Exercise Nutrition Coach Certification. This further fueled my passion and my career was starting to take shape. This change in focus and added education was exactly what I needed to break this cycle.
When a bad habit starts, often times it can’t simply be broken… it needs to be replaced. Whether it’s not being able to face your work day without an expensive and calorie filled Frappuccino from your local coffee shop or “having” to have dessert after every dinner, if your gut (no pun intended) is telling you to cut back… try these steps that worked for me:
- Identify the bad habit and reflect on why it started in the first place.
- Research the reasons and consequences as to why you want to stop it.
- Research alternative, healthy actions that could reasonably become a new habit.
- Search for purpose as extra motivation. It may not even be about you.
- Put a plan together and commit to action, it could take from 2-8 months. Yes, you read that right! Read the study here.
- Tell your friends/family and ask for support. This is crucial!
- Remember this is a journey. If you fall short one day, let it go and get back on your plan the next day. Every day you succeed gets you one step closer to your goal.
- Don’t underestimate yourself. You are stronger than you think.
- Find your purpose, make a plan and commit to action. You won’t regret it.
Disclaimer-If you feel like you are suffering from addiction of any kind, you should seek the advice of a licensed addiction counselor.
Until next time…..
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