This is going to get weird. And by weird, I mean personal.
I just read this blog post by Monique at Ambitious Kitchen about finding a definition for “being healthy.” I’ve read countless similar posts, all ending in the same conclusion: being healthy is about “balance” and “listening to your body.” You know, eat salads most of the time, but eat a burger or the cookie when you’re craving it. Exercise, but don’t overdo it. I love the message, but I struggle with taking it to heart. In all honesty: I don’t know how to find my balance, and I am scared to try to find it.
One of the first posts I ever wrote was about how I can’t track my calories/macros/whatever on things like My Fitness Pal because I get obsessive. Recently, I’ve been super into finding the balance. I desperately want to attain this picture of “balanced health.” Of being the person who eats intuitively, has no shame in choosing the burger or the salad, and will eat when I’m hungry and stop when I’m done. I’ve read most of Intuitive Eating, and the authors advocate for people to completely give into their cravings, allowing themselves to eat cookies for breakfast if that’s what they so please, while honoring their hunger, and eventually things will work themselves out and a more nutritionally balanced diet is achieved. Through following the intuitive eating principles, I’ll be at my natural weight, my body will want nutritious foods, and I will find “food freedom.”
The thing is, I’m scared to take the leap. I’m scared to lose control of what I am eating. I don’t trust that I will eventually even out. I am scared that my natural size is bigger than what I am now. I don’t want to buy new pants, nor do I want to gain weight. Every time I begin to relinquish control and I try to begin my intuitive eating journey, I freak. I start over-correcting and only eating healthy foods again, or turn to that darn My Fitness Pal to start counting macros or something. I honestly do love a good salad, so I just tell myself that’s what I want all the time after a weekend of pizza and beer or whatever. I’m also worried that my weird restrictive tendencies have left me with a lack of self-knowledge about my hunger levels.
Anyway, why am I even writing about this? Well, I need to get my thoughts out. I want to live this balanced life, I want to have “food freedom,” and I want to see if there are others who struggle with this or have any advice. I find the blog posts and articles about finding this illusive “balance” so powerful and inspiring, yet I cannot bring myself to embark on this journey. I know it will require work. I know I will probably gain a couple pounds. At the moment, I stand at 5’8-9ish (jury is still out on the real number), and I am around 125 pounds, which, according to that dingy old BMI standard is normal. But we all know BMI is pretty lame. Also, and this may be a little TMI, I haven’t gotten my period since going off birth control in January, and I’m a little freaked about amenorreah. Thus, I realize I will probably gain a few pounds in this journey, and I have to be okay with that. I tell people all the time that the scale has no bearing on their self worth, yet I cant bring myself to believe that.
Additionally, I begin marathon training soon. I want to be able to fuel my body properly for that. I do not want to lose steam because I am not eating enough. I have read enough blogs to know that my appetite is going to increase, and I want to be in the right mind-space to honor my larger appetite. Not just during marathon training, but after as well.
Basically, this is where I’m at now. I want to find balance, I want to get over my food issues, I am just afraid of what could happen. I’m sure this is a metaphor for my life, TBH. I’m an anxious person. I don’t take risks because I fear the negative consequences. I like having control, and letting go of some sort of control on my eating scares me. I have to trust that things will work out, that my body knows more than my mind does. I think I need to start this now. School is over, I am just going to be working all the time (your girl has gotta make dat paper) and taking a couple classes this summer, so I might as well make my ultimate summer goal to be to find the balance. Maybe I won’t completely attain it, but at least get closer to it. Stop shaming myself for eating “bad” foods. Stop even ascribing labels to food. Just be neutral. Food is food.
Thank you, lovely human, for reading this long, rambly post. I appreciate you. If you have any advice on where I should start, or feel like you’re in a similar situation, or have been in a similar situation, or just want to say hi, please do! I’m sure I will be interspersing posts about this stuff throughout the summer (yes, I am going to post regularly this summer…another goal of mine), and I welcome any help or kind words.
Other things that have inspired this post:
- Cassey Ho’s (aka Blogilates) “How I healed from Metabolic Damage” video. (Full disclosure…I started tearing up while watching this…yup.)
- The Real-Life RD’s blog. Robyn is an RD with a “more food” and “finding balance” approach that I really admire. I especially appreciate her WIAW posts.
- Maddy Moon’s blog. This girl went from othrorexic fitness model to a beacon of food freedom hope. Super positive.
- Fannetastic Food’s (and company, I just am a reader of Anne’s blog) new Joyful Eating program, which focuses on helping clients learn how to eat intuitively and find the joy, rather than the anxiety, that food brings. I am a strong believer in food being something that brings people together and is at the heart of a community, so the message really resonates with me. Unfortunately, I am the epitome of a broke ass bitch at the moment, so I don’t think I can actually be a part of the program. However, it is probably a great resource for someone who can afford the program and is in a similar situation as myself.
- Sweet Tooth Sweet Life’s “How I’ve Changed” post about how she has found more of a balance in the 6 years she’s been blogging.
- There are literally so many more inspiring posts, these are just what I’ve seen recently.
Again, thank you so much for reading.