If you currently have an eating disorder, are in the process of leaving food rules behind, are working on body image, or at the beginning of your intuitive eating journey, please skip over this post 🙂
Hi friends! I’m so excited to have a new site, and a place to post weekly. Well, that is the goal anyway. Today I just wanted to give an update because I feel like my mind has been running running running when it comes to finding my “voice” career-wise, social media-wise, and most importantly, me-wise. It left me feeling extremely confused.
I don’t know about you, but I’m personally a very black and white thinker. It’s something I’ve been aware of for a while now, but even so, it can be super sneaky with where it takes place in my life.
I’m either all in or all out. Working my butt off towards a goal, or removing myself from it completely. Immersing myself in a certain topic, or withdrawing from it. Okay, I think you get the point.
If you’ve followed along for a little while, you might know that last year I started intuitive eating. It was truly a blessing. I was a little too obsessed with clean-eating (cutting out multiple food groups), working out until overuse injuries came along, was at the point where I was always fatigued, and even lost my period. Not okay. Let’s just call this time “black.”
I read intuitive eating, health at every size, altered my instagram feed to see all types of bodies, removed food rules and my intense exercise regimens, and the need to constantly change my body.
Ahhhh, a breath of fresh air.
Yet, I slowly began to only read blogs about intuitive eating, only listen to podcasts that were anti-diet, only fill up most of my newsfeed with body activists, and only think about how i could become more self-accepting. I felt guilty when I drank a green smoothie because green smoothies must mean I’m forcing myself to be healthy. I didn’t want people to know I was going for morning runs because that must mean I’m forcing myself to do it. Let’s just call this time “white.”
For most, the time to totally ditch anything and everything “wellness” (I put this in quotes because wellness has been claimed by the diet industry. Read a post on this here) related is much needed. For me, this was exactly what I needed last year in order to get my head out of diet culture. It was crucial for me not run or drink green smoothies, because to be completely honest, I wasn’t doing them for the right reasons beforehand.
But I began to have the same feelings with striving to find this perfect balance as when I was in diet-mode. I was doing things based of off external validation, what others thought and taught, and not listening to my own body.
The point I’m trying to get at is just like with trying to be perfectly “clean”, toned, and healthy, there can be a level of striving for perfection with anything. Even with imperfection. I know, how does that even make sense?! It’s hard to explain, but you can even have this bar of perfection when it comes to loving yourself.
So now I’m working on this black and white thinking and finding that gray and true balance is totally unique to me, just like your balance is completely unique to you. Looking back, I’m actually grateful for going through both extremes because it’s helped me narrow down my gray where I can take bits and pieces from both.
For example, I’ve been an athlete since I was a little girl, and have always been playing sports. I still play in an adult field hockey leagues (and yes the 50 year olds can kick my butt). Competing, challenging myself, and being active brings me so much joy.
I love to go on long runs and even do planned workouts in the gym! Will I do fitness routines from online influencers for some inspiration? Yes. But I personally won’t follow them, because I find constantly seeing their “transformation” pictures doesn’t serve me. I also love my morning walks and know there is a time and place for both.
Will I make green smoothies? Yup. But not after a weekend of eating “off limit foods” like I used to do. Recently I’ve been making and enjoying them after a night out with my friends (and a wee bit of dehydration lol) or on an extremely hot day.
I’ll probably never have a rice cake again, I won’t be afraid to ever have white bread, yet will probably stick with my sprouted bread when I can (hi Knock Your Sprouts Off from Aldi!) because I like options that add a bit more of nutrition when I enjoy it.
As for my career, I don’t ever want to aid in weight loss. If that’s black and white, then I don’t want to be gray (gettin’ corny here guys!!!! bare with me). But I also don’t think working with eating disorder patients is where I want to be either. Maybe I’ll find myself with a food company, a sports team, or a hospital right out of school. Who knows.
ANYWAY, I’m rambling. To people with a completely healthy relationship to food, this might sound so weird and even dramatic. But to many learning to tune out the external noise and advice we’re constantly flooded with, it might resonate a little.
For some, my gray is their black and white, and some people’s balance is not balanced for me at all. The suggestion I have (going off of personal experience) is use resources like mentors, blogs, podcasts, and instagram as inspiration, not the written gospel. Expose yourself to new ways of thinking, but don’t lose yourself along the way.
Here’s to balancing green smoothies with chocolate peanut butter ice-cream!
*If you’re finding yourself feeling out of control around food, and consumed with thoughts around food + body, these are some resources that I have found the most helpful: