DO I THINK HEALTHY EATING IS DISORDERED EATING?
I wanted to take the time to address a topic I have given a lot of thought to lately - the notion that people like me who take pride in and are intentional about the foods we eat have an unhealthy relationship with food. Not true, I say!
This post is not trying to advise you on what YOU should do for YOUR body but rather sharing my personal experiences and what has worked for ME. I realize we are all different and my experiences and successes may not be yours but I know that since I’ve been sharing my stories, recipes and “food tips”, 1,000’s of people have reached out to me to express their thanks in these sharings. I have also heard from some health professionals who frown upon my plant-based and food combining lifestyle and argue that we should not be intentional about what foods we eat but instead intuitively eat what your body wants. While I agree there is some merit in the concept of eating what you “intuitively” want, I think putting down those who take a more intentional approach to their diets is wrong. Why? Because there are a lot of people out there who are malnourished, overweight, unhealthy, battling disease, unhappy, and confused who may benefit from developing a different relationship with food and who may appreciate a new mindset when it comes to their diet. After all, food is medicine. We have to eat to live. There is no way around that. Food has the power to change so much within you AND around you.
Yes, for sure you need to find what works for YOU; what method of eating aligns with you. But if you are stuck in a cycle, for example, whereby your food habits have led to unhealthy conditions than simply intuitively eating what you want may not be enough to turn things around for you. It may be hard for a girl who is terrified of food to know what aligns with her and to turn her relationship with food into a healthy one. One out of three Americans will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime, yet A LOT of this could be avoided through a change in diet and lifestyle. And, the fact is, making this change often takes intention, dedication and perseverance. But it’s so worth it!
As a person who is into holistic health, went to a holistic health school, is plant-based, practices food combining, and who takes great pride and cares deeply about how I nourish my body, I’ve heard some people try to place me in the “disordered” category. I really find this hard to believe. Over the past few years I have taken it upon myself to heal from an autoimmune disease that took over my life for nearly 6 years. Since I have discovered exercise and practiced an intentional, healthy diet, I FEEL beyond amazing from the inside and out. My skin glows from a mile away. My mind is sharp. My energy is superb. I am the strongest I have ever been. And, most of all... I LOVE what I eat! All of this has helped me to not only take care of my body but to love my own body image (no one will want to speak about this but girls of my generation STRUGGLE with body image. Sorry, but it is a problem and it is true).
In my opinion, taking care of your body is a form of self respect. I strive to always be the highest version of myself. I can tell you that I would not have gotten to this place if I had kept intuitively eating what I was eating - sugary muffins and scones for breakfast or munching junk food before bed. If I had not made the decision to be more intentional in what I ate I know I would still be battling severe migraines 4 to 5 nights a week. I know I would still be unhappy with my body image. I know I would still feel poorly about myself.
Was developing a plant-based diet lifestyle hard at first? Was learning about food combining a process? Yeah, it was. Like anything new, it takes some time and it takes some dedication. But the payoff was worth it!! I made a change in my life that I know I needed to make for MYSELF.
So, when I hear others say that I may be too healthy or too obsessive or that I may have a disorder, I simply look at how far I have come in turning my physical and mental health completely around and shake my head in utter disagreement. And, in terms of “intuitive eating,” I will eat when I am hungry, eat the portions I need to eat until I feel full, but I do think for MANY people dealing with unhealthy weight issues, disease, and a poor relationship with food and themselves that simply being told to intuitively eat may not be enough. There may need to be intention and dedication. And remember, the relationship you have with your food often times has nothing to do with the food itself for it may have to do with the relationship you have with yourself. Taking care of oneself is a form of self respect and the greatest gift we can give ourselves. And it often starts with how we choose to nourish our bodies and our souls.
Wishing you well on your own journey!!