I want to talk to you about my body, food, exercise and some challenges I’ve been having lately. I had a food obsession starting when I was really young (like 12 or 13, but most severe in my early 20s), and but didn’t really realize the extent to which this was not healthy or normal until after I’d moved beyond it. Looking back, it was absurd how much of my life was consumed by tracking the calories and nutritional content of every morsel of food that went into my mouth. I’d convinced myself that this kind of rigidity was entirely necessary – that without it I would surely gain weight. I was certain my “healthy” weight was 100lbs (at 5’3″). I had a binge eating problem for most of my early 20s because of this rigid “all or nothing” mentality.
Then something strange happened. At 23 weeks pregnant with my son Landon, it was like somebody just flipped a switch in my brain. I just stopped feeling guilty about eating. Just like that. Gone. Since then I’ve not counted a single calorie, stepped on a scale, felt guilty for eating dessert, or obsessed over eating the healthiest diet on the planet (I eat vegetarian/mostly vegan for many reasons if you wonder). I overeat from time to time and I tend to compulsively turn to food when I’m stressed still, but I’ve not truly binged for over 3 years.
What happened? I’m not really sure. Maybe it was pregnancy. Maybe I simply “outgrew” my obsession. I think probably the combination of motherhood, and then losing Landon, put things in perspective, and really there just wasn’t space on my brain for trivial concerns like belly fat anymore. I also think I appreciate my body more now than I ever have.
The thing is, I feel like lately, especially with continuing to breastfeed my daughter and needing more calories, I’ve gone to the other extreme. I’m constantly snacking and overeating (and often eating less healthy foods), and I rarely have the motivation to exercise or do more vigorous yoga practices, whereas in the past I ran/biked/worked out/yoga every damn day. Sometimes it’s delightful to indulge, but I know it’s affecting my energy and mood negatively.
But I also have been struggling to make changes because at the end of the day I don’t care about losing weight or having abs or all those motivations. I resonated with Rachel’s podcast where she talks about the importance of quitting an unhealthy habit out of LOVE for yourself and because you want to have more energy/feel better/be healthier and happier etc. — not out of guilt or fear.
SO I’ve decided to create a little challenge for myself: 30 days of no compulsive, mindless eating. Only mindful eating. No more stuffing food in my mouth at every given moment it’s available, eating half of Lily’s food, eating in the car and at the fridge. If I want to eat something, then I’ll need to sit down and eat it with my full attention (wayyy more easily said than done with a toddler). AND I’m going to try to do some actual sweaty, heart rate elevating exercise every day, even if just for 5 minutes. Not for any external achievement or goal, just for the love of those good ol’ endorphins.
I’d love to hear your thoughts and if you have an habits or issues you’re working through, or if you want to join me!