Tuesday, April 12, 2022

I quit all my diets

For the past eight years I have been trying to heal myself with food (and supplements, but mostly food). I use food as medicine. 

Well...I have taken a break from "diets" once before (when I was pregnant with Reuben) and also had a six month stint of healing in 2019 where I was able to eat mostly normal; but for the most part I have been restricting some part of my menu. For eight years.

I ended up very depressed over my food choices and the rules I had given myself. My husband was concerned. He kept asking me what was wrong but I didn't know...I just wanted a donut! I just want ice cream and enchiladas, I thought, but I couldn't have them. Or, could I?

Rashly I thought why not quit? What is the worst that could happen? I could be in pain; but I am already in pain. Nothing could happen. Everything could happen. I could eat regular for a week and go back on a diet if it doesn't work. 

So I quit.

Four years of Paleo. 18 (ish) months of keto. Weston A Price diet, on and off. Gaps. All have helped and taught me a great deal about my body, discipline, and food. 

It has been about a month. The first week was great. I ate all my favorite foods. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on Ezekial Bread. I buy that bread for the kids and you know what? It is absolutely delicious and did not give me a stomach ache in the least. I have always wanted to try it! I made my favorite wild rice and kale salad (haven't had rice in at least two years?) and ate potatoes. I even went out to a restaurant and ordered food and didn't have to ask for a special menu or worry about if something was gluten free. I just enjoyed a nice date with my husband and kids. I made hummus from scratch and ate gobs and gobs of my sourdough bread. 

It was food heaven. I tried to avoid sugar when I could, and eat gluten free if it wasn't sprouted, because I know those are my two biggest triggers, but I didn't want to make any "food rules" after so many years of restrictions.

I had a bit of bloating, but I ignored it and just focused on eating what I craved.

The next two weeks were really hard, which totally took me by surprise. I started feeling a lot of guilt over eating what had previously been "bad foods" for me. I also begin to worry and obsess over gaining weight. On the gaps diet, I lost a lot of weight (it happens when you only eat soup) and was down to my pre pregnancy (with reuben) weight of 145 pounds. I thought I looked great and I also felt great, but one cannot eat soup forever. 145 pounds is about 10 stone, or 66kg. I had not been this weight in seven years and I felt really good about myself when I hit that number!!! (ugh. beauty is not a number but for me after gaining so much pregnancy weight it really made me feel less ugly) For the first time in a long time I recognized the person in the mirror, I looked like myself again. And it felt good.

I am still struggling today with negative thoughts over weight gain, but I am trying to let go and love my body through this new stage. I have indeed gained weight but my clothes still fit and I am trying not to let it get me down. The scale says I weigh 155 today. However, I am active, exercise, and this is a new experience for me so I need to just roll with it for awhile. I do yoga 3 times a week for 20-30 minutes each time, and I also do HITT twice a week for thirty minutes. I go on walks with my kids and garden and also sit in a chair and read books. And I enjoyed donuts last week from a local donut shop that were beyond delicious and I also had some ice cream a few nights with my husband after the kids went to bed. Food I have not had in over 6 years. I went six years without donuts! (okay, I do remember having a few gluten free ones but come on....do those really count???) 

I have also struggled to come to terms with what is healthy. Before, healthy was me adhering to all my diet rules. Healthy was the paleo diet. Healthy was my keto diet. I had a list and I stuck to it and...sometimes it helped. I didn't go into these diets trying to give myself an eating disorder or to make dieting my identity but slowly, I see where I have erred. 

I gave up my diets to the Lord. I do want to heal, and I want to abide in Christ, but I don't want these changes I am making to come between me and God and joy. 

Don't even get me started with trying to figure out how much I can eat!! I feel like a little baby learning things all over again.

One of the main reasons I wanted to quit dieting is for my kids. They have lived with me through all these diets. Reuben is six now, and I want him to see "regular" food for the next few years. I don't want him to have ideas about "bad food" and "good foods" (we can have the talk about preservatives later, because are those even food?) but you get the idea. I want us all to be able to eat the same thing and for meals to be easy, fun, and honestly affordable. Have you seen the price of food lately? How are people making it? 

We needed a reset as a family. So badly.

And, how am I doing? I have been bloated. I know the sourdough bread, unless I fully ferment it for over 8 hours does give me a stomach ache. I had one time where I ate something and I had gall bladder (at least where I think my gall bladder is??) pain. But I have had no other issues! I checked my blood sugar and it has been fine. It's amazing. Look at what God has done, look at what I get to enjoy. Every time I eat I marvel at his goodness and feel so in awe that this is my life now. I am praying I can get over the hurdles that doing a complete 180 in my food choices and that this can just become my new normal. I want to be as many others are; living my best life, growing and cooking my own food, eating fermented veggies and the occasional donut and moving my body as much as possible in this technicolor world God has made. 

I feel free. 

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