I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with food, as I’m sure many people can relate. I love the way it tastes, the variety, the mouth watering satisfaction. I hated the way good-tasting food made me feel bad and fat. The more I learned, I hated the way the world had become. How it seemed most things were bad for you, healthy food was hard to come by and expensive when you did find it. I hated how most people were simply ok with not eating right and being unhealthy. Couldn’t stand to watch my family slowly kill themselves with the junk that was the root of their ever growing lists of medications.
I was a chubby kid who, in one summer, got tired of being chubby and went from a size 16 to a size 9 from pretty much not eating. I then leveled out to about a 12 and stayed there for the rest of my adolescence.
I was diagnosed with rebound hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) when I was 14 after I passed out in geometry class one morning. It was manageable but also made me feel trapped in my own body. I had to eat frequently and avoid sweets, (which was fine since I never had much of a sweet tooth) I also couldn’t get too hot or do any sort of physical activity without passing out. Living with this into my twenties, coupled with a series of health related unfortunate events, including my grandmother’s open heart surgery and my miscarriage at 15 weeks, led me to do some serious thinking, “Bad health CAN’T be a fact of life. This can’t be NORMAL.”
So I began researching. I found myself engulfed in learning how to take care of myself. I didn’t want the same fate of my elders, bound by an assortment of daily pills and yearly surgeries. There had to be something we were doing wrong. I didn’t buy that it was “just part of getting older”. We couldn’t all be doomed? Nature evolves to better a species, doesn’t it? We couldn’t, by nature, be this sickly of a species. Nature doesn’t f*** up THAT bad.
Healthy Eating is a Fairly New Concept
I quickly uncovered the underlying theme of every health conference I attended and everything I read: Food. In a world of processed convenience, we’ve forgotten how are bodies are suppose to be fed. In the past, nutrition was never something we really had to think much about. We mostly ate what we and our neighbors grew. There were no chemicals, pesticides and processing. Everything was fresh and home grown.
My own diet consisted mostly of ballpark burgers, Ramen noodles and tortilla chips. “Healthy Eating” was never a deeper concept to me than losing weight. I thought weight = healthy and the way you made that happen was by eating salads. Something I did for a straight year and a half. Unfortunately, a fried chicken salad drenched in ranch, cheese and bacon bits isn’t going to make much of a dent in anything (and didn’t).
Making things even worse, is the 100s+ of diets and trends out there telling you their way is the right way. It can be confusing, stressful and seemingly impossible with the strict guidelines you get on some of them. They make us feel like we’re not allowed to eat anything and we end up starving and grumpy.
Sustainable Changes = Sustainable Results
The reality is, all of those diets work AND none of them do. For one, they’re often drastic overnight changes that last for X amount of time. Unsustainability means non lasting results. Temporary diet changes don’t work, lasting lifestyle changes do.
Second, it’s all relative and depending on your particular body. Since we evolved all over the world, our bodies all grew adapt to different things. That’s why some people swear by a certain diet and others say it never worked for them. Some people can eat things without consequence, others experience discomfort, bloating, allergic reactions, etc.
My solution to straightening out all the chaos has been to practice mindful eating. Often, when people talk about mindful eating, they mean to notice your food. They’ll tell you to do nothing when you eat but eat. Taking note of the textures, tastes, smells and really enjoying your meal. This is great but it goes much deeper than that.
Mindful Eating is Multi Dimensional
Eating does more than feed our bodies. It’s a spiritual practice and when done correctly, can free our minds. We need to notice what we’re putting into our body, the energy it holds and how it makes us feel afterwards. This, for me, has been the best way to indicate what my body thrives on so that I can eliminate as needed and adjust accordingly.
You can’t expect to feel whole if you’re not taking care of / treating yourself as whole
— Savannah Shea🕉Blake (@Earthand_Water) July 7, 2017
I’ve found that dairy irritates my stomach, gluten gives me indigestion, sugar amps up my anxiety and all three leave me bloated. I’ve mostly cut them all out of my diet completely, switching to coconut milk, gluten free options and mostly sticking to a real whole food diet.
I’m not perfect, sometimes I still eat cheese (my lifelong love) and if we go to a restaurant where they give you rolls, I can’t resist. It’s ok to not be perfect. Don’t let society have you thinking you’re a failure if you don’t flawlessly stick to your rigid guidelines. Trying is better than not and over time it gets easier. The key is to start small and focus on one thing at a time.
Vibrant Food = Vibrant Life
Through changing the way I eat, I’ve successfully cured my sugar problems (I haven’t had a spell in YEARS!), gained more energy than I’ve ever had in my life and I’m super happy with my body (though it’s important to know that I don’t focus on size & weight but instead on health, nutrition and how I feel)!
I’ve been able to take up yoga, tai chi, kayaking, gardening and all sorts of things I was never able to do in my teenage years and early twenties! It’s been the most freeing thing for me, knowing that I am living life to the best of my abilities and thwarting any future health concerns that may have come along had I continued the way I was eating.
I recommend to all of my clients looking to eat better to start a food journal. Take note of what you eat and how you feel immediately after, an hour after and even later on. Keep track of it all so that you can listen to what your body is trying to tell you. Getting started is the hardest part.
If you’re interested in working with me to get your eating habits under control, feel free to email me to talk. No harm in a conversation.
Best Vibes Always, S.S.Blake
P.S. Tell us in the comments if you have any similar stories or tips for us! We thrive in togetherness!