I've always seen myself as fat. My entire life. I went on my first diet when I was 14 and my mom sent me to Weight Watchers because I'd put on a few pounds while lifting weights with the volleyball team. I was 5' 3", post puberty, and gained 10 pounds of pure muscle. I went from 115 lbs to 125 lbs. I'm certain she never would have done this if she'd known about the downward spiral into which I was about to fall.
Shortly after that first Weight Watchers meeting I began hiding the food I ate. I would sneak spoonfuls of peanut butter after I thought my parents were asleep. I'd eat ice cream straight from the tub because if I didn't put it into a bowl, the calories didn't count, right? This was the first time in my life that I'd ever labeled food as "good" or "bad". It was the first time I'd ever felt ashamed of what I was eating. It was the first time I felt judged.
That round with Weight Watchers didn't last very long, but the message was ingrained in my head. You need to be skinny to be worth something. You need to be skinny to be successful. I need to stop here and say: My mom did everything she's ever done for me out of love. She did not judge me. She did not tell me I was worthless. These were the lessons I took away from these experiences.
I tried various other diets with little to no success over the next few years. I took diet pills in highschool trying to lose weight for Spring Break. I lived off of Slim Fast and pizza thinking I was being "healthy". I became the master of crash diets. They'd always be followed by a binge and then I'd start all over.
As an adult I've tried Weight Watchers again (several times), Atkins, Protein Power, Cabbage Soup, Grapefruit Juice, etc, etc, etc. All the while adding more and more pounds to my body with every binge.
About two years ago someone suggested a book called Intuitive Eating. I checked it out of the library and then purchased my own copy. To this date I've only read the first few chapters, but it was enough to change my life. It's completely changed the way I look at food and has given me the permission to eat what I want without fear of being judged. It's allowed me to give up the "good" & "bad" labels that I'd assigned to food and I was finally able to free myself from the hell of yo yo dieting. The book told me to eat what I want and how much I wanted and as often as I wanted. It gave me permission to have the mother of all binges.
I gained 25 lbs.
I gained 25 lbs and I gained a whole truckload of insight into my relationship with food. I learned that I've felt like shit for most of my life. Once I gave myself permission to eat absolutely anything I wanted at any time, I started craving real foods. I wanted to eat to feel good. I wanted to eat to nourish my body. For quite some time eating lost a lot of its appeal to me. I used to eat ice cream and cookies, and chips and pizza and, and, and to feed the rebellious side of me. Against whom was I rebelling? The system. The nutrition experts. Society. Everyone, everyone, labels these foods as bad. Everyone knows we aren't supposed to have them. As humans we all want what we aren't supposed to have. We desire what we are told is forbidden.
Once I was through rebelling, once I told myself I could have all of that if I wanted it, I didn't want it anymore. That stuff made me feel like crap and I didn't want to feel that way. I wanted to listen to my body and nourish it properly. I wanted to feel good.
After these revelations, I decided to try losing weight one more time, but this time listening to what my body wanted. I ate what I wanted, but I always went for the low fat, sugar free, low carb, low this, low that versions. And I still felt like shit. I was so confused. I was listening in tune with my body and I knew my body didn't like and didn't want what I was eating. But the "experts" couldn't be wrong, could they? Could they? I'd followed their advice for years and I woke up one morning and weighed 225 lbs. I started to wonder...
I did some research and through the suggestion of a friend I looked into green smoothies. OH WOW! What started out as a fun way to get some extra fruit and vegetables into my family has led me down a path of discovering an entire new world of whole foods nutrition. I had no idea. I've never felt better.
I know drink whole milk. I eat real eggs. I eat beef. I use oils in my cooking. And I've never felt better. The milk is raw, the eggs are local from pastured chickens, the beef is grass fed and the oils are tropical. My research led me to this book. Ironically, that book was sitting on my shelf; a gift from my husband's aunt and uncle several Christmases ago. I got it down, dusted it off and I haven't looked back.
I know, deep in my soul, into the core of my being that my body craves whole foods. My body needs whole foods.
I'm not dieting. I'm changing my life. This is where my story changes.
~*~This post is part of the Food Renegade's Fight Back Friday~*~