There’s a term for being obsessed with healthy eating. It’s orthorexia. While I don’t think I fit the criteria for that diagnosis, I do think I have teetered on food obsession. When I was in high school, I struggled with this yo-yo cycle of overeating then having days not eating much to make up for it. I’m not sure why weight and food have to be such an issue for people. Why do we put so much value on how we look? The world is screaming at us with the “perfect” self-image. Stand in line at the grocery store and scan the covers of the glossy magazines…weight loss foods and diets, new exercises to try, and models in skimpy clothing.
I tried a pretzel and Diet Mountain Dew diet while in high school because my friend wanted to lose weight. We both lost weight, but of course, our nutritional intakes weren’t that great. As an adult, I have tried to eat healthy, but I ate a pretty typical American diet high in carbs, sugar, pizza, soda pop, and fast food. Illness has a way of changing life habits and perspectives, though.
Since I first became ill in 2010 with my GI issues, I have been on numerous diets. Some have been at my own discretion while others have been at the discretion of a nutritionist. I have been on the GAPS diet and the Paleo diet. I remain on a gluten-free diet. I have several food intolerances. It’s aggravating. Sometimes, I just want to eat peanut butter. Sometimes, I do. Sometimes I have reactions, sometimes I don’t. It’s strange…I can eat quinoa one day, no issue. I can eat it another day and have achy shoulders. I ate tuna salad one day from my favorite organic, gluten-free bakery and eatery…no reaction. I made tuna patties at home…raging reaction with congestion, inflamed lips, and skin that peeled around my mouth for a whole week.
I have kept food diaries and logs. I have used My Fitness Pal. I have done smoothies for breakfast. I have juiced. I have done no chocolate diets. I have restricted caffeine. I have done no sugar diets. I think I think about food way too much.
To tell you the truth, I felt the best on the GAPS diet. My skin was awesome and clear, but I was also sleeping a lot during this period and had a relatively low stress period in my life, so that could definitely contribute to my overall health. I felt relatively good on the Paleo diet if I steered clear of too many coconut and almond flour based items and Paleo treats.
But honestly, I’m tired of all these restrictions. I continue to remain gluten-free. I let my guard down around the holidays and when on vacation. I’ll eat gluten-free goodies and drink chai tea lattes with almond milk. And, then my skin breaks out. My stomach hurts. I have brain fog. And I’m grouchy.
I can whine and complain. I wish that I was a little thinner like I was just a few years ago. I wish I could eat anything I wanted like my friends. Then one day, the lyrics from the Casting Crowns song “All I’ve Ever Wanted”…really spoke to me…it was like I was being convicted… “I was chasing healing when I’d been made well. I was fighting battles when You conquered Hell.” WOW…these lyrics immediately spoke to me.
What am I chasing? I don’t want to be focused on food all the time. I don’t want it to consume me so much. It’s exhausting. I want to be healthy. To feel good holistically…physically, spiritually, mentally…everything. Besides, I am so much healthier than I was just a few years ago.
I realize that I am over thinking food. I make things so complicated at times. I know the basics of good health, and I know the basics of what makes my body feel good. These things are ….drink lots of water, eat chicken, eat lots of veggies (preferably cooked), eat a good breakfast, control portions, limit sugar to very little, don’t drink coffee (whining at this one…), sleep enough, take time to pray, to exercise, to write, to laugh, to learn, to dream….To be confident and determined that I can overcome these issues. To trust the one who holds my hand.