Many of you may know me from my other blog, Tasty Eats At Home, where I share gluten-free and dairy-free recipes and have been doing so for 5 years. Most of my posts are related to (hopefully) mouth-watering dishes that I make for friends, family, and myself, but some of you that have followed that blog for a while may know that I’ve also struggled with ongoing digestive issues even since removing gluten and dairy from my diet, and I’ve worked to find relief from those issues (as well as others). I’ve tried removing FODMAPs. I’ve tried eating grain-free/paleo. I’ve had allergy tests done in an effort to determine what was going on with my body, visited a gastroenterologist and had numerous tests done, and even visited an Integrative Medicine doctor to determine if there was any other way. I wasn’t totally vocal about all of this, as I felt like I couldn’t share completely what I was doing, lest you come to believe I’d found an answer to all of my issues. I hadn’t. My digestive issues have lessened over time, but I have a suspicion that has more to do with time to heal than any of the above.
But I also wasn’t vocal about my simultaneous struggle to stay slim and/or lose weight. This was a goal that started as an on/off goal well before I went gluten-free; but as I became more involved with healthy eating, it became less of a positive goal, and slowly crept its way into every fabric of my being. An obsession. I counted calories. (I still do.) I tracked my fiber intake. I lowered my carbs. I obsessed about protein. I eliminated food groups. I followed a mostly vegan, high-raw diet. I did Whole30s and thought I was gaining a healthier relationship with food, only to fall face-first into a batch of frosting later on. I never missed a morning workout, no matter how tired/sore/sick I might have been. I weighed myself daily, if not more often. I believed that if I just did the next best thing, somehow my body would be perfect and I will have found the miracle.
Instead, I found my way to a truly disordered relationship with food and my body. I still saw myself as…well, not fat, per se, but bigger than I wanted to be. I saw flaws. Cellulite. Squishy parts. Even if I was at my “leaner” weight (which was always heavier than my “goal” weight), I was only one sugar binge away from fat. I also was starting to lose my health. I was wearing my body down with a continuous cycle of insufficient calorie intake, too little rest from exercise, and incredible anxiety about it all.
And then something clicked. When I was getting close to running my first half-marathon earlier this year, I was running out of energy in the middle of long training runs. Five miles in, and I’d hit the wall. Truth is, I wasn’t eating enough. I was still trying to eat mostly paleo, and keeping my daily calorie intake around 1,400 (I might get to 2,000 on long run days). I wasn’t recovering quickly, I was losing strength (I lost my ability to do full push-ups during that time, even though I was doing them on a regular basis previously and never stopped.) and even more insane – I was gaining weight. It was during this time that I was wondering if something was wrong with me. I started to research about carbs and fueling for endurance, and started allowing more into my diet as a necessity. Shortly thereafter I found a little Facebook support group for people tired of diets and looking for balanced/healthy approach to eating. My world then shifted on its axis.
Since then, I’ve been EATING. Recovering. Becoming healthy. And more importantly, I’m working to let go. Let go of the anxiety. The body shaming. The obsession and struggle to be thinner, fitter, more perfect. I’m forgiving myself for only wanting perfection, and learning to be happy and in love with me. I’m hoping through this blog to not only share my personal stories, but also help break down the body-shaming, the dietary dogmas, and the misinformation that is so prevalent throughout the media, the diet industry, and into everyday life. It’s a journey, but it’s one well worth the time. Won’t you join me?