19 Jun F*ck Diets
Diet. It really is a four letter word for deprivation. Over my life I have done many different diets, none of them longstanding or enjoyable. Why do we do this to ourselves? I know for many of us, myself included, body image issues were at play. For me it started at a young age.
When I was a pre-teen, I was pretty chubby. My sisters friends and kids at school used to tease me or make fun of me. Man, I still remember how bad that made me feel. Around eighth or ninth grade I started exercising and changing what I ate and didn’t eat. My body started to lean out and the attention I received changed. All of a sudden people weren’t snickering, poking fun, or saying mean things. I started to get more popular, boy were noticing me. I had my first boyfriend. Keep in mind I was thirteen/fourteen years old, what a shit time in our lives that can be with puberty and all the changes there.
Over my high school years I definitely didn’t improve my habits. I would go hours without eating AND I played sports. This isn’t good for anyone but skinny was the way to be. This was also a time when the media and medical community demonized fat, saying fat makes you fat. I avoided it like the plaque. I now know how crucial fat is for hormone development among other things.
I took these disordered eating habits with me to college. Lets take poor nutrition and add alcohol- GREAT combo. I would go the gym and workout like a crazy person, I thought THAT was healthy. How in the hell I managed to not only survive college but to be on the dean’s list is beyond me.
Once I was out of school, I got really serious with my gym time. I had set my sights on doing a figure competition. Alright, LET’S DO THIS! For those that don’t know me well, when I am in, I am ALL in. For four months I lived off chicken, cod, broccoli and egg whites. When I looked in the mirror I would only see the areas where I still had body fat and I knew those bright lights on stage would highlight them. So I started manipulating carbs, increasing cardio etc. Just so you know, I had a coach that was helping me with this. Sometimes the fitness industry can be part of the problem. Guys I felt like shit.
Crazy thing is, I did more than one competition. People would tell me I looked so good and thin. I didn’t want skinny, I wanted ripped. I think back over my life and how I felt physically and emotionally- it is nuts on how focused I was on that crazy shit.
After my last competition, it literally took me an entire year to balance my hormones. Every time I ate I would have horrific stomach cramps- this lasted for almost two months. When I switched my focus from competing to doing what I loved, biking and strength training, I slowly and I mean slowly began to heal my relationship with food. Food is fuel to help me do what I love.
It’s just food. I will say that again, it’s just food. Try to eat more of the stuff that you know makes you feel good and less of the stuff that doesn’t. If you eat a cookie, great! Enjoy it, then move on. I eat veggies, carbs, protein and all types of fat because it makes me feel good in the long run. I also allow myself to enjoy wine and chocolate because it is also something I enjoy.
It has taken me many years to learn that diets not only suck but they don’t work in the long run. Eating should be a pleasure, fuel you for life and doing what you love. Finding that in yourself is hard work but it is so worth it.