I thought I’d write a bit about food and my evolving philosophy and relationship with it.
I love food. Always have. Always will.
I grew up in a meat and potatoes household. Being the daughter of a farmer and a nurse I always had good food on the table. We never had many treats in the house, and always had our fill of fresh food. As I got older and when I graduated and was responsible for feeding myself it was clear I still had a lot to learn. At my heaviest I was around 220 lbs and I knew that I needed to change something so I began tracking everything I was eating and making sure that I wasn’t exceeding my calorie goal but that was the extent of it. I didn’t focus on nutrition, just on calories. It was a few years of trying and failing, and then right before I got pregnant I got serious about it, I lost about 40 lbs.
Then I got pregnant and gained that 40 lbs back. After having Ezekiel I dropped 30 lbs in the first 6 weeks, and then Ezekiel was having some digestive issues and in a desperate attempt to fix it, I began the elimination diet. Basically I eliminated anything that could possibly be causing him problems, which left me with very, very few options for food. For 2 weeks I basically ate vegetables, fruit, and chicken. Slowly I reintroduced each item I had eliminated to see if I could figure out what was bothering Ezekiel. It ended up being gluten, so I went gluten free and at this point I was still tracking calories. Ironically I was tracking the calories to make sure that I was eating enough to sustain myself and Ezekiel. At this point I also became very interested in nutrition and how best to fuel my body and provide good nutrition for Ezekiel. From January to June the weight just melted off, I wasn’t actively trying to lose weight, but I was actively pursuing the best way to fuel my body. My goal was to feel good, and eating well was helping me to feel good. I hit my all time goal weight in June and I’ve held that weight since.
I’ve dabbled a bit in every corner of the nutrition world. Gluten free, dairy free, vegan, vegetarian, vegan before six, protein powders, raw food – you name it I’ve probably tried it for a couple days or more. Today I’m more interested in fueling my body with real, unprocessed food than I am with the calories I am consuming. About 6 weeks ago, right around the time I started this blog, I stopped tracking calories and deleted my calorie counting app to simplify my life a bit more, also to unchain me from my phone. I began a journey of letting go of the control of counting calories and freeing myself to eat how I wanted. I also wanted to make sure I was still fueling my body with food that was going to make me feel good. Once you stop tracking each morsel it can be a dangerous spiral downwards if you are not careful. It’s easy to stop paying attention to the food you are putting in your mouth if you aren’t writing it all down.
There’s been ups and downs and a lot of learning but I’m still enjoying this process. I’m learning a lot about what my body needs and wants. I guess this way of eating is called Intuitive Eating but I didn’t know that was an actual thing until a few days ago. You can learn more about it here. For me it’s not only about feeding myself, but feeding my family and it’s definitely a journey that isn’t even close to being done. We are always tweaking our diets here and there but I’m thankful my husband is pretty open minded. He takes a while to arrive at a conclusion about certain foods (white sugar is his latest – he’s switched entirely to organic coconut sugar) but once there he believes wholeheartedly and changes his diet.
When it comes down to it we are both passionate about nurturing Ezekiel. We want our diets to reflect how we want Ezekiel to eat. We want to teach him how to eat well, and why he should eat well. We want him to understand why he should choose the banana over the chocolate bar. We want him to love fruits and vegetables and understand that a treat is a treat and not a daily part of his life. We want him to eat good wholesome food and so we also want to eat good wholesome food.
Since starting this intuitive eating process I have learned that gluten definitely does not agree with my body, that white sugar wreaks havoc on my body and that one cup of coffee is my limit (but I still drink more). I’m learning that stress and exhaustion go hand in hand with terrible eating and I’m learning strategies to combat that. I’m filling my freezer with baking that is gluten free and refine sugar free so that when I’m wanting that bit of comfort I can have it without feeling terrible afterwards.
I’m learning that eating enough fruits and vegetables in a day will make the next day much better. I’m learning that if I don’t drink water I will have a huge headache the next day. I’m learning that if I eat brown instead of white (rice/bread/pasta) I won’t feel as sluggish. I’m learning that I don’t need huge helpings or seconds or thirds. I’m learning that just because it tastes fantastic does not mean I need to over indulge, I just need to enjoy that moment fully.
This life is a journey, and we are all life long learners. This is just a small excerpt in my journey but I’m fully enjoying it.