***No, this is not a dissertation but it's long enough to be one***
There has been something that's been causing me to shy away from blogging and I feel like I need to share it both in the hopes that it may someday help at least one person and also so that I can get it out there and move on.
Last summer that I finally realized I needed to let go of my rigidness and rituals, especially regarding food (see this post) During the period of time when my life was somewhat free-falling (end of a relationship, quitting grad school, moving home, trying to figure out what to do with my life, etc), I found it necessary to cling to some semblance of control anywhere I could get it and my diet was a great place to start. I started trying to eat healthier, paying attention to nutrition for pretty much the first time ever. I started using a calorie counting app and was shocked to see how much more I was eating than my body really needed per day (according to the mr. internet).
For awhile, it was very liberating to make all these discoveries about what foods made me feel good (protein, veggies) and which ones made me feel just ick and not full for long (junk food, bread). I naturally lost weight and gained confidence but what started as a healthy outlet quickly turned into something else entirely with me deciding which foods were 'bad' and not okay to have any of, ever. I was in fear of gaining back the weight and thus, losing the new confidence. While I began my nutrition journey by logging calories after a meal and thinking on the bigger time scale, I soon switched to logging calories beforehand to make sure I didn't go over my 'limit'. I lost even more weight but instead of feeling healthy and great, I started feeling weak and delicate. Of course, our society being the way it was, I got even more compliments with people expressing admiration for my weight loss and general skinny-ness so the thought of gaining back a pound was associated with losing people's respect and admiration. It was at this time that I was posting a lot of outfit pictures for fashion weeks like the ones below...
This is me, with not enough food
Constantly feeling hungry and counting calories was mentally distracting, to say the least and I'm not going to go into all the details of how much it took over my life for a few years but last summer, I finally crossed the line, mentally, where I realized I couldn't go on like that. It became clear to me that I could survive, but not live, with that amount of food and control mentality.
With the support of select family, friends, boyfriend-fellow and a therapist, I worked my way up to trying foods that were on my 'bad' list and began the journey to relearn intuitively eating. For several months, I was doing pretty good. But then Christmas rolled around with all of the cookies, candy, and general home-cooked comfort food. Like the rest of America, I gained a few pounds but unlike most of my peers, it was far more distressing to me in my fragile state.
It's been a journey since then to find my balance. The balance between eating healthy and enjoying food - between feeling in control but not too in control. The thought of restricting my food is distressing but so is the consequence of eating whatever I feel like.
Obviously, this has been a huge part of my life for the past three years and there have been a lot of topics I've wanted to blog about that have stemmed from this larger issue but I needed to get this out in the open first. I've also been hesitant to post any outfit posts (i.e. pictures of myself) when I have gained a few pounds compared to the photos above. But I'm tired of that. So here's to moving forward.