I want to work on listening to and being more in tune with my hunger cues. I need to. I only have a few symptoms lingering at this point in my healing journey and I think that’s a result of a few remaining pieces to be healed. My relationship with food being one of them. I have a feeling that if I work on and heal this relationship, eliminating this stressor from my life will have a significant positive impact on my physical health.
I’m definitely feeling more alive these days. Others are seeing it too – in the fullness of my face, the glow I radiate, and the more energetic presence I emit. In fact, I would say I feel more (consistently) alive and present than I have in a long time. My drive and passion for life is slowly starting to return. It’s empowering to see, and feel, this dramatic change in my health. But I know that if I want to sustain this vibrant health and continue on this upward trajectory I have more to heal.
Almost daily over the past two years, I find myself asking my mom if it would be ok for me to eat insert perfectly healthy food here. I don’t know what makes me believe my mom to be an authoritative figure on health and nutrition…in fact, she’s far from it. But I guess it’s easier to hear her voice than to hear my own internal voice over the millions of voices and opinions that are competing in my own head. These impossible questions for my mom are usually driven by these internal debates…I think I’ve eaten too much fat today…no, my body needs it to heal. Fat is calorie dense, it’s energy. NO, fat is overburdening my liver! Oh no…what about salt?? I’ve definitely eaten too much salt today…now I can’t have salt for dinner. I need to replan my dinner to something light…something with low or no salt or fat. I’m not really hungry…but I planned to eat a date and banana smoothie before dinner…I should eat it anyway because I want to gain weight…ugh now I’m not hungry for dinner! But I need to eat this meal to get enough calories and nutrients in…I’m so full but I need to finish my plate…ugh I feel like shit…why did I do this to myself again?!?!
It’s like I’m Alice, falling down the rabbit hole, not knowing which way’s up or down and spiralling out of control, unable to make any decision. I guess this is why I turn to my mom, when my internal knowing fails me, I look to her for support. I look for any support at all.
Some days, some very rare days, my stress around food is non-existent. On these days I finally find peace with food, at least, temporarily. But I can’t seem to figure out why. Why these days? What is the common factor behind those glorious stress-free days. These days are usually days on which I’m feeling really well – or am I just feeling really well because I’m not stressing about food and not ignoring my body cues? It’s a vicious cycle and a tough one to break, even with awareness!
Even as I write this, I find myself thinking about food…what should I have (notice I don’t say what do I actually want and feel like) for breakfast? If I have peanut butter on toast, will that be too much fat if I have my leftover chickpea pancakes with tahini sauce for lunch? I’d be having a nut/seed butter twice in one day…oh no…and I pan-fried the pancake in a bit of oil…and roasted the vegetables in oil too…that’s a lot of fat…and no omega 3 fatty acids…maybe I need to add in some omega 3s…that would be healthier for my body right? I think I’d feel better if I ate a better balance of fats? Screw it…maybe I should just have fruit for breakfast…it’s easy, healthy and fat-free!
UGH. I’m so tired of this dialogue. I’m so tired of this stress. I’m so tired of being in the kitchen and making food 24/7! Maybe that’s the true reason that I’m in the kitchen…maybe my constant cooking and presence in the kitchen is not a result of me flowing with my healing after all…maybe its a result of me desperately grasping for control over my healing, over my life.
This unhealthy relationship with food is not new to me. I struggled with my relationship with food for years when I was younger. I had finally found myself in a healthier place with food in the few months leading up to my diagnoses. I was eating out a restaurants without fearing every ingredient, consuming the occasional baked good without guilt over the sugar content, and even adding in a touch of oil to my own home cooking just because it tasted good! But my health challenges over these last two years have brought all those fears and unhealthy behaviours with food back tenfold. I even started to blame that newfound food freedom as the ultimate cause of my health diagnoses! How could I be so carefree with oil? With eating out? It was those damn (but oh so delicious!) donuts I ate for my birthday!
With so many doctors (who, by the way, often have no education in nutrition) and practitioners telling me what I can and cannot eat with “my disease” and the healing communities I look to for alternative guidance and support promoting certain foods and villainizing others, it’s no wonder I’m confused!! From all that I’ve learned and seen, both from my own experience and knowledge and the experiences and knowledge of others, is that health and nutrition is completely individual. It’s completely individual because we are completely individual. My biology is different from your biology. My tastes are unique from your tastes. What makes me feel good may not make you feel good. And let me tell you, celery juice, especially in the cold Canadian winters, does not make me feel good!! We need to silence the outer noise in order to hear our own internal voice, our intuition. Deep down, I think we all know that it’s simple – eat closer to the earth and listen to your body. Because only your own body truly knows what’s good for you. And my goodness if peanut butter brings you joy, then I give you full permission to allow yourself that joy!
Update: I ate that toast for breakfast…with a thick layer of peanut butter I might add! Because when I silenced the noise, that’s what my body was truly craving. I even went back for seconds because this healing, hungry woman was just not satisfied!!