My wonderful friends in blog world, and in the real world too, I realise I promised you the whole story about my relationship with food and my body and that I still have two (well three really) parts to go.
Thank you to everyone who continues to comment on these posts, on the things that I reveal in the stories that I tell, and to my family who (even though they lived through all of this) still give me hugs anew whenever they finish reading another of these posts.
When I discovered fitness all over again in my last post, we might have all thought that my journey to a healthier relationship with food was nearing a happier, more balanced, end.
However, like many relationships in life, there was another difficult period just over the hill.
When I discovered ways to help myself enjoy exercise, and stopped using food as a panacea for pain in my life, I lost weight.
Then I slipped a little the other way.
I became afraid of food.
Me. Afraid of food.
Real food. Treat food. In-between food.
All of it.
Afraid that somehow, magically, that piece of cake I ate on the weekend would turn into body weight overnight and I would be back at the beginning of this whole adventure.
Afraid that if I varied my diet too much I would lose all control and end up bingeing at midnight again.
Afraid of peanut butter. Afraid of butter. Afraid of full fat anything.
While I was losing weight I used calorie counting to help me with ensuring that I was meeting my goals. Certainly a great method for losing weight, and as a dietitian something I assist my patients with when they are trying to lose weight and eat more sensibly.
What is not healthy is seeing that number and deciding that it should always be lower, that you don’t really need to refuel after a tough workout, that you can keep cutting portions down and down. That you should always be searching for a food that fits a mathematical equation rather than what fits into what your body really needs in the moment: the food that will satisfy, soothe, and nourish.
I am not sure exactly what helped me to snap out of this part. It may have been looking at glorious food books and blogs and wanting just wanting too much to go to the party rather than always look in the window. It may have been watching the way my little sister allows herself treats a few times per week and has stayed the same weight nearly her whole adult life.
It may have been realising that I was telling my patients to not be so harsh on themselves, and that I needed to practice what I was preaching.
It may have been signing up for a half marathon and realising that you can’t keep cutting down on fuel when your body needs you to take care of it and eat enough so that it can last the distance. It may have been reading Michael Pollan and wanting to respect and love food that much.
So, somehow through a combination of all of the above I started bringing food back into my life.
I realised that there is real food, treat food, and in-between food.
Sometimes a cookie counts as all of the above.
I realised that I needed to just let go. To listen to my body. To nourish myself, not punish myself, with my food choices.
To look at this as a whole- life thing not an in- the-moment thing.
Let go of the fear of butter. Let go of the fear of a non-measured meal. Let go of uber-low-fat-no-flavour “foods”.
You can’t spend your whole life, three times a day, being afraid of the plate in front of you.
So, I let go of the fear and embraced the food.