My battle/journey with food...
l haven't always been "happy with myself". Some days I feel good about my appearance. Some days I feel rubbish. I'm 34, so I'm not quite weathered with age, but I'm not a spring chicken either. After two kids, I have lines that I didn't used to have and blemishes that I have learnt to live with. I don't do enough squats to warrant a perfect perky bum like seemingly every other person on instagram and my boobs reached their peak rather quickly at age 15. They had a small window of perk, then continued to grow into cow udders. Now at least they serve their purpose as milk makers for my babies, so I force myself to be more grateful than resentful.
It hasn't always been easy for me to talk about my weight. I was one of those kids who never stopped running around, not a bit of fat on me, then hit 12, got boobs, hips, slowed down, loved food a little too much and the battle began. It didn't help being on the receiving line of a few thoughtless throw away comments from my former-model mother, urging me to "lose weight" and printing off fad diets for me to follow. Although this hurt and I harboured a lot of anger towards her for that, I've come to understand as a mother myself, that it wasn't her intention to hurt me. It was actually the opposite. She only ever wanted me to be happy but her conditioning was that of "look a certain way, be a certain weight or you wont be accepted." We live in a different would now. You can be any size, shape and gender you want and people MUST accept you. If they don't they'll be boo'd off the politically incorrect stage and spat on. My step-son has two trans people in his class and doesn't batt an eyelid. The world is becoming much more accepting. Good on it.
When I was 15 I found a way to have my cake and eat it too. Literally. I figured out that if you ate food, you could just as easily vomit it up. When you’re taught from a young age that beauty is your highest form of currency and you find a way to eat food AND be skinny, it seems like a no brainer. A few of us formed a bulimic club at school and covered for each other when we went to the bathrooms. Luckily, I managed to divert from the kind of eating disorder that creates serious damage, but I’d created a negative dialogue in my head about my body. At 23 I discovered by counting calories I could control everything I ate. I ran 5 kms every day and eating food that was basically air became like a game. “How little can I eat today?! Let’s see!” I would touch my hips every morning when I woke, relieved that they were sticking out. A thin layer of fluffy white hair covered my body in an attempt to keep me warm and I lost my period for the next two years. My brain felt weird. I knew something wasn't right but I couldn't pin point exactly what that was. Now I now it was a case of not giving my brain the fats and nutrients it needed to function properly. I was anxious, self conscious, sad. At 25 I went to the doctor thinking maybe she could help me. To her it was obvious: "Stop running, start eating". I ignored her. I became vegan so I could justify not eating certain foods at peoples homes or with friends at restaurants. It's hard to know if all this was just a symptom of the eating disorder, or my age. I suspect a combination of both. Anyone who has been through their 20s knows them to be "tricky". A lot of "who am I?", "what's the point of it all?", "what's my purpose?" etc etc.
I hit 30 and everything changed. It was like I'd graduated from a degree of Life Is Hard, and now I was settling into a post degree of Life Is Short, Try And Enjoy It. I was no longer running 5kms everyday. I was exercising in moderation, eating what I thought was healthy and living with two of my best friends. Life was the best yet. But the best was still to come.
Meeting Scott changed my life. That's obvious considering he's my husband, but he also changed the way ate, the way I saw my body, the way I viewed exercise. Ultimately, his love of good fats rubbed onto me and it re-set my thinking and re-regulated my hormones. I really think it's taken about four years, a good chunk of our time together, to really understand why my body now feels, looks and operates better than ever before. I attribute that to a few KEY things that I'd like to share with you.
I eat way more protein. That means chicken, meat, and yes, dairy. Mostly always grass fed and grass finished, free-range and organic. Pretty much without exception. Unless I'm at someone's house and they have gone to the trouble of making me a delicious dinner, I will not offend them by not eating their non-organic or non-grass fed meal. Same goes for sugar and gluten. Which are my next two.
I rarely eat gluten. Gluten is a protein that triggers other proteins, and collectively they disrupt the integrity of your gut lining, increasing permeability and consequently triggering an inflammatory response. At the bottom of this I'll attach more info on gluten written by Scott. In a nut shell, I ALWAYS feel bloated, sluggish and tired when I eat gluten. Whenever Scott and I eat gluten it's only a matter of time before one of us says "Oh no I've got gluten eyes." It's that heavy feeling in your head behind your eyes - like a hang over. Not eating gluten also keeps me away from unnecessary foods that can make me pack on kilos. ie biscuits, bread and pasta. (although I do love the occasional gluten free bowl of pasta.)
I don't eat a lot of sugar. Fruit included. I worked out a while ago that I get easily addicted to fruit because of the sugar in it and then I start to crave it. The more protein and healthy fats I eat, the less I want sugar. So we don't have much sugar in the house. I do LOVE a hot chocolate as a treat when we go out. But it's a treat. And it stays a treat.
Fat. I used to avoid fat like it was the plague. But these days I LOVE it. I'm always aware of how much I'm consuming... but butter, oil and bulletproof coffee are three things I couldn't live without. I start the day with a bulletproof coffee (I'll post that recipe below) and I fast until 11 every day. Which gives me a feeding window of 7 hours. I usually break my fast with buttery eggs, sauerkraut and broccoli or similar vegetable/ protein combination. This keeps me full until around 4 when I'll have a snack. Then we eat an early dinner around 6.
I allow myself to enjoy a wine without the guilt I used to attach to it. It was the first thing to go when I used to count my calories religiously. (I still count my calories for the record as it helps me stay in control of what I eat - I just give myself more room). I think also having kids gives one slightly more reason to pop that cork (am I right?!). I think it's important to point out what while I am married to a health coach, I am also human and not perfect so yes, I like a wine - sue me.
So there you have it. 5 (seemingly) simple things that helped me make peace with my body and food. I say seemingly because while it might seem easy, eating mostly clean isn't easy. It's taken me approximately 34 years to work out what works for me and my body. The world is full of temptation. But all we can do is try.
I have to wrap this up. I have a small child pulling at my arm trying to get my attention and another due home from day care any minute. Thanks for reading about my journey with food. I guess I wanted to share for the same reason I share anything really, incase it helps someone. There is so much more I wanted to say and I feel this has only scratched the surface of what I think is a very complex and life long journey for most. Self love, body love etc. It's not easy. I read The Beauty Myth a few years ago and this was something I wrote down, to remember myself:
The economy will do anything to survive and it depends on unconscious personal anxieties to thrive. Behaviour that is essential for economic reason is transformed into social virtue. And because of this we unknowingly enter new fiction after new fiction. When one fiction is exposed as a lie, a new one is created. That’s how the economy survives. When women were liberated from their roles as domestic goddesses, a new wave of feminism begun, making women feel worth more - so the economy created an ideology to make women feel “worth-less”. An attainment of virtuous beauty. Hence consumerism swiftly shifted from domesticity to self-maintenance. An unattainable and ever changing one one at that. The idea is that we never win because once we win we stop consuming. So the bar will always be lifted higher and higher. There will always be someone skinnier, someone with a better squat booty; with fuller lips; perkier tits; slimmer ankles; longer lashes; shinier hair; with the latest mascara; coolest lipstick colour; cuter yoga outfit; better skin etc fucking etc. 💅🏽🤕We live in a time of conscious market manipulation. A $33 billion a year diet industry, $20 billion cosmetic industry and $300 million cosmetic surgery industry. These have all risen from the capital made out of unconscious anxieties. Women unknowingly trapped themselves. Liberated from one myth, we walked straight into another. 🔁
Don’t buy into the myth. You are beautiful. Shine bright my friends. XX
Bulletproof coffee recipe:
Tablespoon of butter
1 long black
2 tablespoons of MCT oil
Here is an except from Scott's book The Keto Diet on gluten. I just took a photo but you can read so much more about all things health on his site.
Photo of my breakfast this morning. Yum right? That's all natural hot sauce on top.
PS. I added more delicious products to the Sunkissed Casa shop. My candles aren't far off either. The first round sold out in a day so I ordered way more. Super excited to share them with you. I'm obsessed wth them all. And waaaaaaay more cool things to come so keep your eyes pealed!! All good for the planet and the soul.