A few months ago,
I wrote about my journey with food.
I wrote about doing crunches when I was a tween
grunting and sweating on an itchy hotel room floor
hoping to create a flat belly.
I wrote about being full after a fancy meal out
and quietly sneaking off to the bathroom to shove my fingers down my throat
in the hopes that something would come up.
Nothing ever came up.
I wrote about the South Beach Diet
and Weight Watchers
and staring at my stomach in the bathroom mirror
wondering when it would be different.
I wrote about how despite being pretty free around food
that I still had some struggles.
How after months of working with my own coach
to de-classify foods as “good” or “bad,”
I still wasn’t really giving myself “unconditional permission to eat.”
I wrote about ice cream.
I wrote about all of these things
…and then I took the post down.
There are a few different reasons why I pressed delete.
Unfortunately, all of those reasons were rooted in fear.
A couple of people told me that the post made them feel uncomfortable. That they hadn’t known me to have any sort of restriction around food. That they didn’t know what to say. I should have said “I’m sorry this makes you uncomfortable. You don’t have to say anything. You don’t have to fix this. I needed to speak my truth.”
I should have told them how sad it is that diet culture is considered “normal.” But instead I allowed myself to be filled with shame rather than share my story.
I was also afraid…because who knew how this would end? After discovering that I didn’t have the true food freedom I thought I did, I was afraid that perhaps I never would. That I would always approach food with some level of fear. And if that was the case, did my coaching services hold value?
I took the post down, but I promised myself that I would continue to work towards this unicorn of food freedom. I wouldn’t give up.
I gave myself true unconditional permission to eat.
“What if all I want is ice cream and pasta?” I asked my coach.
“Then all you will eat is ice cream and pasta.” she said.
I gulped with fear. But I trusted the process anyway. And let go of ALL rules.
During that time, I discovered frozen yogurt again. And donuts. And popcorn.
I realized that my body was ravenous. And sometimes for lunch, I would eat a sandwich and then a whole second one. Or I would wake up in the middle of the night, my stomach grumbling because I hadn’t eaten enough that day. And rather than forcing myself back to sleep, I got up up and made a bowl of cereal.
Sometimes I ate emotionally,
and learned that food didn’t really make any difficult emotions go away.
So, I learned to find nourishment beyond food.
I stopped posting recipes during this time.
Because while I do love to cook,
I was learning to eat at restaurants without fear.
To eat boxed mac n’ cheese without shame.
Eventually, many of my cravings settled.
I learned to trust my body’s hunger cues.
I was generous with my portions.
I took my time.
Sometimes I left food on my plate
and other times I went back for seconds.
And the truth is
after years of subtly restricting my food,
I did gain some weight.
This is the opposite of what you wanted to hear, isn’t it?
You wanted to hear that after tuning into my body’s needs that I shrunk in size.
Because that’s what society tells us is better, right?
Smaller is meant to be better.
What a stupid lie.
My body fell at a size I had been fighting for many years.
A size that was natural and totally me.
A size that didn’t require any restriction in oder to maintain.
In time, I fell in love with this body.
I became completely tuned in to my her needs.
I could hear her when she asked for yoga,
or a hug.
I also became tuned into my soul’s needs.
When she asked to be with friends
or read a piece of fiction
or to create a piece of writing.
Last week, I discovered a half-eaten granola bar in my purse. Along with a bag of almonds.
And I just smiled.
Because if you would have told me last year that I would eat half of a granola bar, and somehow just forget about the other half, I would have laughed at you. Back then, I planned my meals and snacks to the T, and ate accordingly. Now, I listen to my body and respect her needs. I trust that the granola bar will always be there. So will the kale, and ice cream, and sandwiches.
I have found true, absolute, food freedom.
I have met that unicorn.
I’m starting to cook more again.
To roast lots of veggies.
To put some overnight oats in the fridge.
And this time, there is no force.
I can eat the overnight oats in the morning if I want.
But I can also change my mind and have a donut instead.
I’m laying shame down along with food rules.
Both are too heavy to carry.
I’m telling the whole story.
There may be some recipes on this site from time to time
but there will be even more truth telling.
Because that’s soul medicine to me.