Feb 2, 2012

Distorted Eating

More often than not I struggle to find words to begin a new blog post; unless of course they're something like "I made the best cake ever!", or "New raw desserts in Sydney" etc... With such statements as those it's not difficult to begin and the ball just rolls on it's own accord. But when wanting to write about something a little more meaningful I always find it tough to start. Ironic kinda, as here is an entire paragraph already!

So I wanted to put my fingers to the keyboard mainly so my own sake, so I can get a feel for and sort-of map out where I wanna go from here.

As a nutritionist-in-training with a background in vegetarian, vegan, and raw live foods, I've always continued to up-grade my diet. It's like a hobby to me; I enjoy trying new things, seeing how my body responds, tweaking things along the way, all in an effort to feel, BE, and look my best. But in addition to these healthy habits of mine, comes a darker side and a history tainted with eating disorders.
I've come to notice that it doesn't seem all that unfamiliar in the raw food world either - to have a past with an eating disorder. Perhaps because in a distorted way a lot of us were initially striving for the best food our body could get, but in the process we got a little lost. Or maybe it's because on raw foods the restriction of every other food group is so severe, it's an easy excuse not to have to eat breads, pastas, meats, cheeses, dairy, cakes, biscuits, chocolates, rice... and everything else. There are possibly some people out there that fall into the latter, but my intuition tells me that if that's the case, they are few and far between. I think raw living foods for anyone with an eating disorder history is a blessing, for more reasons than I care to mention here.

So why all this talk about eating disorders? 

I've been very much in the head of my eating disorder lately. That might sound strange and a little hard to grasp for some, so let me explain a bit first.
Some people recover from an eating disorder. Some don't. And some might have to learn how to manage it if it hasn't completely left them, but they are wanting a better life. I'm in the third category. I learnt this years ago and have been doing my absolute best to manage my ED, much to my success. Until recently.

Everything in my life seemed to be crumbling around me, according to my over-reactive self that needs to have everything a particular way most of the time. I'm not being too harsh on myself here, neither am I being too easy. It's been a tough few months. And I began to notice that in a bid to regain some control when I felt like nothing was in my control; I turned to my food. And began controlling that. I had a crazy thought that if I could lose a few kilo's then everything would feel better (even tho a small voice in me was trying to yell "BULLSHIT!! IT NEVER WORKED BEFORE!!") But that's how I used to cope. Controlling my food and food intake felt really good as a teenager coz I got the result I wanted. And I felt in control. Calmer. But it's a vicious cycle as with trying to gain control through calorie restricting, one always ends up over-eating due to initial starvation, and then comes guilt, then restriction, then over-eating... the story goes on. So in an attempt to try and gain control, we only spiral further away from it. Go figure.

This week gone I felt like I was stuck in 2 places - one where I wanted to continue what I was trying to achieve by calorie restriction and not tell anyone because they would think I was stupid for wanting to lose weight as I don't need too... and the second place was me wanting to eat proper food and feel amazing again! That second voice was the real me. But as my head went from one to the other and back again within the space of minutes, it was very hard to decide whether or not I actually wanted to call a friend... Ok I do. No, no I don't anymore, I want to stay here and try to eat nothing. But I want to be vibrant and energetic... No I want to be skinny again, don't let anyone know!!

I was beating myself up because I felt like a failure for not following through with my restrictive plans, but feeling like more of a failure for not knowing how to help myself! Then thoughts of "How am I to help other people if I cant help myself??" The thoughts kept on coming. And all negative of course.
When I felt enough courage and strength within to ask my partner for help we began talking. He asked me "why can everybody else fail, but Christie can't?" And then told me to stop thinking about other people coz unless I sort myself out, I'll never be able to help anyone else.
We spoke for a while as I really needed to hear the cold hard facts and truth about what I need to eat because my brain was not functioning, I couldn't think, I felt like a little girl again needing someone to feed me because I couldn't make the decisions of what to eat for myself. I made a vow to myself that the following morning was going to be different.

That was this morning. I didn't get up at 5am for the gym, instead I slept in til 730am then went for a walk/run before coming home to stretch and make a big banana bowl. It was the first decent sized meal I'd had in a week. For the rest of today I ate green grapes and figs, keeping it really simple, and dinner was zucchini pasta with a tomato-capsicum-nectarine-garlic-chilli sauce, and chard greens ripped up and thrown in!
My head feels so much better. I feel like I'm alive again. Functioning. Thinking straight. Smiling :)
Sitting here with tea and a few dates :) And all this has happened since breakfast. That's the beauty of raw foods. They are what they are and they will only do amazing things to our bodies, spirit, and souls.

So from here I want to continue this. I kinda feel like I'm back at square one. Getting fuel to my brain. Supplying nutrients to my cells. Fuel for my training. When I first went raw I was eating truckloads of fruit, and felt AMAZING! I wasn't interested in the gourmet-raw at all, and think I got into it when I first had problems in my relationship. Emotional eating I suppose, I don't really remember. Always a sweets fan though, I did enjoy the raw treats I made and bought. And I still do. But for now I'm just going to stick to fruit, greens and soft veggies. If I want a treat (let's say I manage to sneak a Saturday off work and duck over to Taylor Square Markets for the best raw desserts in Sydney...) I'll have one. But leave it at one. And have them rarely. I know how easily my body can become addicted to cacao as delicious as it is, it's not something I need to be eating everyday. I know it works wonders for some people, and as a transition food it's fantastic, but for my body right now, use sparingly! The same goes with nuts, oils and fats.

It's actually been quite interesting the past 24hrs how my body and my brain have responded to what I have decided to begin doing. I was planning another 3weeks on a diet consisting of 2 pieces of fruit a day, 2-4 cups of greens a day, 2 protein shakes... and with that I was drinking espressos! Now, let me explain... espresso, espresso, espresso... oooh I love how the word just rolls off the tongue! It is such a tough one for me, I'm not gonna lie. I've gone loooooooooong periods without it very easily. But I wasn't a barista for 8yrs just to earn money. And I didn't travel around  and live in Italy to meet a sexy bronzed man. I love coffee! Good coffee - I love the culture around it, I love the smell of it, you name it! But it's got to be amazing coffee or I wont touch it. Anyway... even though my love for it is so strong, I notice that I'll drink it day after day when I'm in a self-sabotage mood. How does that work? I don't know. Coz when I'm happy as larry, loving life, loving me, and feel like a coffee, I'll have one also! It's no biggie for me and I don't think "omg it's not raw" I couldn't care less and figure if I'm loving it that much in that moment, it couldn't possibly be doing me any harm. I'd sit and love every teeny sip of my espresso. Get a high and be one my way. And might have another one 3-4 months later... I'm getting off topic here... where was I... Yes! Planning my 3week restriction, which was to be followed by a week long juice fast, and then another month long cleanse. My god Christie!

But like I said, I've been very interested today in seeing how once I spoke to my partner last night (who knows me better than anyone, knows how to push my buttons, as well as reignite my flames that have been burnt out), and made the decision to stop being stupid, my body fell into place. It knew where it wanted to go. It was my head that got in the way. An all to common theme with me it seems. Head stuff = easy. Heart stuff = hard. And that's ok. I'm not perfect (although I have spent years trying to get there). My body was waiting patiently in the wings until my head came to it's senses, and reunited with my body. And my body knows exactly what it wants. Fruit fruit fruit. Greens. And a few veggies. The odd avocado or coconut. More at different times of the year, but right now not so much.

I feel tonnes better than I did last night when I was balling my eyes out in a state of confusion, worry, fear and disconnect. Today I also moved all my gear out of my mums home where I've been staying, and into my grandmothers house where I will be living on my own from now on. I am very excited and feel it will be a big turning point for me. With a fridge all to myself, 5kg of grapes, 13kg of bananas, and then some... it's the perfect time!

Here's to tomorrow!!