One of my nutrition classes requires a weekly discussion post usually based off of a article or book written by someone in the field. I absolutely love reading published work that preaches what I preach or even convinces me otherwise. This morning started with a webinar by author Michelle May, MD and a first chapter preview of her novel Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat: How to Break Your Eat-Repent-Repeat Cycle. This cycle consists of why, what, where, when, and how much food we eat. Emotional triggers, social events, and even ignorance of proper nutrition is all broken down and discussed within each title.
For the discussion post, we were asked to look at a part of the cycle and determine which category we individually struggle with or confide in the most.
I couldn’t help but focus on the question “Why do I eat what I eat?”
It’s going on a year now that I haven’t counted a single calorie. For most of you, you’re probably thinking ummm cool? Well for the three years leading up to that, I couldn’t function without counting calories. Every celery stick, almond, and carrot was carefully logged and added and scrutinized. I revolved my life around the small magic numbers that food contained, rather than enjoying it and mindfully eating. I ate what I ate to maintain this imagine that skinny was healthy, I ate what I ate to lose weight that wasn’t there, and I ate what I ate to try and make myself feel acceptable in the world of #fitspos.
When I left for college and began actual weightlifting, that was my out. I fell into this powerlifting mindset and I finally had an excuse to eat things that I normally would’ve stayed clear of. I followed the diet trend #IIFYM or if it fits your macros because every other insta fit guru who was strong and lean also did. I ate over 150 grams of protein a day in protein shakes and quest bars. I wanted to be strong and just lift heavy weight. I didn’t care how I looked in jeans, I thought everyone who lifted was supposed to look like stuffed sausage in the casing. Twenty pounds heavier will do that to you. I ate to gain as much muscle as possible, I ate to maintain an imagine of being a big strong powerlifter, and I ate to be like every other phony donut eater on the internet.
Today when I faced that question, I couldn’t help but be taken back. Two years ago I was 120 pounds, skinny and weak. One year ago I was 150 pounds, heavy and sluggish. Six months ago I was faced with the reality of actually needing to lose weight. It wasn’t just ‘in my head’ any more – being 5’3″ it needed to happen. I thought about how I did it, why I ate what I ate and how I chose to eat today.
I let go of every self sabotaging fitness account that made me compare and convince myself that if I ate like that person, I would look just like that person. I had to figure out my own ‘diet plan’ which took a lot of listen to my body and my cravings and my needs. I had to cut the bullshit for a while, salads came back into my life and peanut butter was out the door. Sure I had to sacrifice for a while but slowly but surely twenty pounds came off and I feel leaner and better than ever.
Today, I eat what I eat because I am hungry, I eat what I eat because I don’t have to worry about calories anymore, I eat what I eat because it delicious and tasty food makes me extremely happy, I eat what I eat because I work hard to enjoy a burger and beer with my love, and I eat what I eat because I want to continuously grow and become the healthiest me.