I grew up in the era of FAT-FREE, MEAT-FREE, convenience packaged, nutrient deplete food-like stuff. Where skinny was the end-goal to trump all other aspects of health and beauty. What a load of bologna! It has taken me over 3 decades to get it straight and the journey’s not over. Diet is not a one-size-fits-all end point but rather an ever evolving process that takes into account one’s current state of health, energy needs and lifestyle demands.
As a competitive team gymnast, body weight & image stuck at an early age. I was always naturally thin, but after quitting gymnastics at the age of 17 I fell into a vicious 12+ year cycle of disordered eating & exercise addiction. My hair fell out, I lost my period (truth is I never actually had one without the help of the Pill!), I was moody, undernourished, and lacked any mental focus, oh and I had fun panic attacks and anxiety. I was constantly obsessed with my body and food. It was my own prison.
My strategy to maintain this madness was to starve myself until I couldn’t stand it, then binge on sugary cereal, non-fat yogurt, salsa, cucumbers, pickles, and LOTS of gum and diet 7-up! Anything low calorie and fat-free. Then came ‘white crosses’, a cute little ephedrine stimulant that cured me of hunger and just made me amped and snappy. Lovely, NO not really. Ask my x- boyfriends, co-workers and girlfriends…
After college, a friend suggested that I look into massage therapy school. I did and quickly decided that was my path. I loved everything about massage school. And it assisted me in finding some of the answers to my own health struggles. I became fascinated with natural medicine and the world of supplements (I thought this was the answer for awhile). I still however was a ‘vegetarian’ and calculated everything I ate. I was still mostly hungry, moody and anxious.
I also grew up in the era where antibiotics where dulled out like candy for any minor infraction. I had ear infections, mono & pneumonia all before I was 10. And when I was 27 I swallowed some giardia infested water followed up the next year by a fun tick-borne illness called Lyme’s disease. So needless to say, my digestion was shot and any sort of balanced gut flora was all but absent. I suffered with candida, super-duper fun!
But all this drove me deeper to finding answers. When I eventually accepted the importance of ‘healthy’ fats & proteins I began to heal and ‘normalize’. My hormones and moods stabilized. My anxiety and depression dissipated. I became a much nicer person, I think. Happier and healthier if nothing else. Eating a nourishing, real food, balanced diet was liberating. It set me free. I know rejoice in my relationship with food. Guilt be gone! But my diet is ever evolving as my energy demands change and my body ages. I welcome the journey and I hope that I can inspire others to do the same.