Over the last few years I have made some very grand statements about the food I eat.
NO Sugar, NO Gluten, No Dairy, only organic etc etc etc…
and now I am making another one:
I am giving up healthy eating! (sort of)
Once I started paying close attention to the food I ate, I started paying too much attention to what other “healthy” people ate and began eliminating things from my diet like I was running some kind of wellness witch hunt, pointing the finger at anything that could be considered a trigger food. on the flip side I began to glorify the latest in hip new veggies! “ooh look at me eating my kale all the time, I’m so healthy and great with my kale” (pretty sure I have never actually said that but you get the idea).
I used my fussy food habits to create an identity of a healthy foodie. I so badly wanted to be that super healthy girl with the glowy skin and shiny hair and I wanted other people to look up to me for my food choices. That’s what my subconscious thought I needed to be in order to become a successful health coach.
Without realising it, I had planted myself on a pedestal where “good” food built me higher and “bad” food threatened to topple me off.
Suddenly my grand food persona felt less like a vibrant lifestyle and more like a dinner sentence. It felt more and more like if I stepped outside my own healthy boundaries I would
a) be a big fraud; b) gain weight or c) be like everybody else…
With so many restrictions on my food I started to feel like a huge phoney when I indulged on a piece of cake – yep, cake with gluten and sugar and dairy oh my!
My poor husband couldn’t keep up either. One day I would flat out refuse to eat the tiniest smidge of bread because it wasn’t gluten free, the next I would stuff down a piece of garlic bread and then whine that I was bloated. He didn’t dare to question me either because I became a bit touchy about it and a simple “oh are you eating toast? Doesn’t that have gluten in it?” could result in a very dramatic reaction. Besides, I wouldn’t be able to explain myself. Just last weekend I poopooed crepes at the markets because they weren’t gluten free and then inhaled French toast about 10 minutes later… pretty clear that I was just making up my own food terms… (don’t judge me, I’m on a journey!)
I am a healthy person. Delicious, healthy and often home cooked food still makes my tummy very happy BUT not everything I eat is healthy. Not everything I eat is perfect and not everything I eat fits into a neat little dietary category. You know what? That’s (now) OK with me. I am not giving up being a healthy person, just giving up on the healthy eating obsession.
I recently realised that my food obsession was making me not only a bit annoying but also antisocial. I stopped letting myself have as much fun because I was obsessed with what might be on the menu.
I am giving myself permission to relax and trust that I am doing the best that I can. I am growing more comfortable with letting down my food guard and am allowing the not so great choices to be surrounded by the great ones.
I have learnt two very important things this month which you have likely heard before. In fact I had heard them several times before but was a bit oblivious to how they related to me… till now!
- You are not defined by the food you eat! There is no good or bad food and if someone eats differently to you does not make you, or them, better or worse. I know how it feels to be praised for a food choice and I know how it feels to be judged for a food choice and honestly – both are rubbish. Yes I will always advocate for fresh healthy food and I will continue to spread the good food vibes, but no, that doesn’t mean that by default I judge you if you don’t eat the same way.
- You are not defined by the food you eat! There is so much more to you than being sugar free! Like your love of going on adventures, the way you make other people feel and the joy that oozes from your heart when you with your bestie and laugh about silly memories of the time you got drunk and tried to use a fluorescent light tube as a light saber. That’s the good stuff my friends! (side note: do not use fluorescent light tube as a light saber – It will explode!)
Try not to focus too much on building an identity and focus more on what makes you feel good – and I mean actually good! Not good because you think it should make you feel good… What do I mean by this? An for example for you: Xtend Barre classes. When I first heard about these I so badly wanted them to be my new thing! I was going to have that lean dancers body and be graceful and fit and all that jazz. But I hated the class and felt crap after. Other people would say “oh how great is it! I love barre etc etc. and I would agree and gush about how fantastic it was because I really wanted it to be right for me. I persisted with going to the class for a little while but it really just wasn’t my thing. That doesn’t mean it’s not a great way to exercise, but it wasn’t great for me.
So that’s why I am giving up healthy eating… well I am giving up the label oh “healthy foodie” and the excessively healthy eating.
Have you had a similar experience? I would love to hear from you in the comments below.