This week it is ALL about the food! I LOVE to talk about food...I LOVE to eat food...I LOVE to try new foods...and I LOVE how food fuels my lifestyle and allows me to do things that I LOVE to do on a daily basis. I know you all probably know this, but if you don't, I am a FOODIE! Just like so many other women in today's society, I too have struggled with food. When you are constantly bombarded with images of what you should look like and articles telling you what you should and shouldn't eat, it can become overwhelming, stressful, and exhausting. But once you are able to find that "happy space" to say screw you and do and eat what makes YOU happy, life changes!
When I first connected with Meg a few months ago, I knew that I wanted her to contribute to this space. Meg is an RD that also calls herself a "Food NERD that plays with plants!" She is also a taco guru, music lover, and obviously a FOODIE! Her story, her passion, and her outlook on food and life is inspirational and I hope you will head over to her blog Root For Food to learn more about her and follow her journey. In the meantime, THANK YOU Meg! XOXO
Freedom In Food
The other day at a restaurant, I observed a woman carefully measure out every single item she ordered to ensure it was exactly catered to fit her meal plan. When it didn’t measure up she ordered more food. She took away food. She brought out her own food from her purse. At last, she even squeezed some lemon juice on top to make it fit the EXACT measurement. It blew my mind. One of her friends said, “You shouldn’t have to measure food like that for the rest of your life… that’s a little obsessive. What kind of life is that?” (YES. Yes for friends who are willing and able to speak truth into other friend’s lives. What a true friend.)
Honestly, when you see things like this, it is hard not to judge. It is hard not to roll your eyes and shake your head, thinking, “she has gone off the deep end. “ And yes, maybe she has, but haven’t we all in one way or another?
I think many of us struggle with this kind of manipulation- this kind of warped perfection of healthy. Thinking that we need a carefully outlined guide or road map to health or fitness or weight loss or whatever your “goals” may be. I believe it all manifests itself in many different ways. Hers happens to be in a very visual one for all to see.
For you it may be a working out, it may be counting macros, it may be restriction, it may be juice diets, it may be with body bands or even bulimia or laxatives. Or maybe just stressing about food in general.
But I believe all of these stem from the same foundation of fear and self- un-acceptance. They stem from a place of not feeling adequate enough and finding a high and some sort of comfort in these variables that we can control and manipulate. It stems from of a place of “I’m not good enough… so this will get me good enough.”
This was me. 100% this was me. I wasn’t measuring out my food but I did count calories, severely restrict, and exercise myself to death for YEARS. All in an attempt to make my body submit to my wishes and take on the form I was convinced would make me beautiful and desirable. I was ashamed of myself and felt self- manipulation was the only option. And I am not the exception in this kind of toxic behavior or mindset.
There is one BIG problem with this mindset: It is working AGAINST our bodies instead of WITH our bodies. It is saying I don’t like you the way you are so I am going to take the reigns and make you how I want you. It is saying — you don’t know what you need for nourishment, so I am going to ignore you and apply calculations and formulas. It is removing natural intuition and mindfulness from our bodies and applying science and even aggression. It is saying— you don’t know how to burn off calories fast enough or work efficiently enough so I am going to exercise vigorously. It is saying I don’t like how much you weigh so I am going to provide you less fuel. It is ignoring craving and dismissing them as misbehavior.
Wow!!! We live in a society that often promotes punishing our bodies into submission… versus loving our bodies into wholeness. I say wholeness because I think it best describes a beautiful mindset. One that says, body, I love you and want to work WITH you. I want to listen to you and treat you with care and love. It is a mutual respect for your soul and your body have towards one another- I love you, you love me, so let us pursue wholeness and wellness together. It is coming to that place of self-care and self-love that brings unity and peace to your spirit and your body. It is owning your body exactly how it is. Owning YOU exactly how you are. It is eating with the mindset of NOURISHMENT, not of calories or fat or carbohydrates. It is working out with the mindset of STRENGTH and HEALTH verses calorie burning. It is living life with an inner mindset, remembering your body and physical appearance is a part of you that needs to be loved and nurtured. How much more valuable is a beautiful spirit, a happy sprit and a life well lived? One that is free of guilt and anxiety. Can you imagine?
If you are not in this place, I challenge you to begin to adopt this new state of body and mind. To blossom into unity with your body. See it as a friend to grow with verses something that needs to be subdued into obedience and disciplined to reach your “goals”. To be completely honest, I still struggle with remaining in this positive place. To be honest, every day is a new challenge. Some days are better than others. But acceptance and self-love is the first step. As corny and cliché as that sounds…. it is true. Honestly, if you don’t START your journey with LOVING yourself and accepting your body the way it is nothing- no diet or disciple is ever going to get you to the point of contentment or happiness.
All of this being said, I do think it is healthy to have an understanding of the amount of calories and macronutrients you need daily. But when it becomes dogmatic and religious and creates a point of potential guilt around food, I believe this is when we have strayed from what our bodies are designed to do. I believe there is a substantial difference between awareness, and actual counting- as counting often eliminates a lot of the flexibility and grace your body desires. Unfortunately, our bodies cannot fit into a box and nutrition cannot fit into a formula. It all boils down to having an understanding of basic nutrition and letting your body do the rest. HOWEVER, many of us have turned off those signals. We have gone so far down the rabbit hole that our bodies don’t know how to communicate and we don’t know how to listen. Thus, there are some exceptions here and times when I do believe it is appropriate to follow a strict meal plan. This allows you to retrain your body to recognize proper nutrition and crave it when you are lacking and not when it is satisfied. This type of re-wiring can eliminate restriction, binging, and everything in between. Trust me, I’ve been there. We’re all in this together!
If you have any more questions regarding this, feel free to contact me. Of course, all of this is my humble opinion. I believe our bodies are incredibly perceptive and are capable of communicating their desires if we would only rekindle that beautiful relationship. I believe this is true freedom in food.
LOVE your body! LOVE yourself! And LOVE the foods that make you happy!