Thursday, 28 July 2011

The Key to Change is To Let Go of Fear

Over the past couple of days I've received a few really sweet emails asking if I ever suffered with an eating disorder and if that's what I'm referring to in my About Page.
The short and technical answer to this is no. Even at my thinnest my BMI never sank below about 18.5 and I always ate 3 meals per day etc. Although I truly believe adapting your eating style to include some aspects of the Weston Price Foundation would be helpful to most anyone, I can't claim to have any personal experience with healing anorexia and I would obviously recommend people listen to their medical practitioner above and beyond anything they read on this blog. I'm so sorry I can't be more directly helpful on that level!
However, I do want to add a proviso to that response.
Although the short and technical answer to that question might be 'no', the longer (and possibly more accurate!) answer to that question is, in some ways, 'yes'.
I've never ever had an eating disorder per se, but I definitely didn't always have the worlds most positive relationship with food. For a while, I had way too much anxiety attached to both what I put into my body and how it looked.
I thought I'd split this post into two parts. Today's post will explain a bit about my dieting history. Tomorrow I want to list what I believe were the key signs that I wasn't really operating a functional relationship with food, and how I overcame them. It is so easy in today's world to just accept that women are neurotic about their bodies and this is the way it has to be.
It doesn't.
You can have your cake and eat it too.
Even more importantly, if you bake that cake from scratch, save eating it for special occasions with people you love, nourish yourself with vegetables, proteins and healthy fats all week, than you are probably a billion times happier, sexier and more fulfilled than whatever emaciated movie star whose figure you covet this week.
I can pretty much guarantee that.
Anyways, here is the history;
  • When I was growing up I was always a tiny bit on the podgy side. I was also the worlds pickiest eater. I wouldn't go near anything resembling a vegetable and I used to have to order pizzas without tomatoes. I pretty much lived off pasta and ketchup and cheese, and salt and vinegar crisps.
  • Although I wasn't seriously fat, being even a bit podgy as a kid is never all that fun. I had plenty of friends and I wasn't bullied about it, but the occasional joke was made and I do remember feeling a bit weird about it from time to time.
  • When I was 8 or 9 we started spending more time in the States. I got really pretty tubby for a few years, but in the States I was considered average. It still made me a bit self conscious from time to time, but I didn't have to worry about being teased anymore and most kids in my class were actually plumper than me. They also ate even worse diets.
  • When I was about 11, we came to England for the summer. I ended up accidentally losing some weight. For the first time in my life, I could wear trendy clothes and felt like some skinny kid off TV - it was so exciting! When we went back to the States after the summer I vowed to keep my new slim figure. The diet I took up wasn't entirely healthy - a lot of processed carbs and hardly any vegetables - but everything I ate was from the health food store and I also walked dogs every day  before and after school. I lost a bunch more weight and spent most of my early teens very slim.
  • I continued eating this way for the following 3 years, all of which were spent in Northern California. I also stayed slim and healthy.
  • When I was 14 we moved back to the UK. This was a big transition for me and, although I loved it, I was determined to completely shed my Northern Californian identity. This included anything and everything attached to healthy eating. I spent the next 5 or 6 years living off bacon sandwiches, snakebites (the cider and beer combination) and chain smoking cigarettes. My ultimate aim was to be one of those girls who chain ate junk food and who everyone wondered how they stayed so thin. (Unfortunately this turned out to be a bit delusional because, although I definitely chain ate junk food, I also gained two stone. Woops!)
  • Right after I turned 21 my father died. Obviously, this affected me in a billion difficult ways, but it also had a positive impact on some of the ways I approached life too. I decided I had to make some changes; to stop just letting my life pass me by and to stop being so unhealthy. These changes were great at first but - like a lot of great things - I ended up taking it too far. What started out as quitting smoking, culminated in excessive paranoia regarding non-organic foods, meat and virtually any form of fat.
  • Parts of my health obsession were tied up in some weird obsession about extending my life and in ensuring I never got cancer. Unfortunately, parts of it were also tied up in being thin. Losing weight can be very addictive! I lost a healthy amount of weight and then I lost some more and although I was never technically underweight I wasn't a healthy weight for me. I was definitely being super disciplined about what I ate.
  • I ate in this way for about 5 or 6 years and it wasn't until earlier last year, when I started properly studying nutrition, that I realised what I considered to be healthy wasn't healthy at all. It was obsessive and slightly neurotic and it wasn't doing me or my personality any favors. It was also impacting the relationship I had with my fiancee . Louis trained as chef and loves to eat out, as well as to cook fantastic meals with butter as a key ingredient. I realised I was going to have to start to re-consider what was really going in with my bod, and what I really wanted to achieve.
To be continued....xox

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