Thursday 29 September 2016

Achieving Balance

Well, this month is almost over. Hot damn did that fly by! I'm almost not ready to be done yet, as much as I want cake..
I raised well over my goal, I "broke" a time or two. I craved, bargained, and eventually got over my intense craving for cream cheese icing. I created new, fantastic habits ("ugh, you mean you're going to keep eating tofu after this?!" - ever the supportive boyfriend, Jake). I hopefully encouraged good changes in a few people, or atleast made putting your health & well being first in their minds. But what did I receive the most from this month? I learned the art of Balance. Beautiful, freeing, sweet balance.
This meal sounded so much better in my head, but as it turns out, there IS such a thing as too much curry paste. ;)

Something I obviously haven't shared with many is that I have struggled with disordered eating since I was 13. Struggled hard. Sometimes it has won, sometimes I have won. There has been a constant voice in my head telling me how food is the enemy, that I need to limit what I'm eating because I haven't exercised for a while. That even though I enjoyed the fuck out of that burger, I need to obsess and feel guilty about it for the next day or so - while attempting to "balance" out the calories that dirty burger had by depriving myself the next day. That feeling "full" is wrong, and should be avoided. Somewhere down the line in puberty, food became enemy #1 in my psyche. Poor food, what did it ever do to deserve such villainizing!? It's a very real, very constant struggle. One that I have long battled and attempted numerous times to find the magic switch to make it go away, not realizing it isn't that easy. To be very honest, when I told my mom I was doing this month long challenge, she was incredibly supportive.. Until I told her it was centered around food. She was not all that keen about me doing anything that included the word "challenge" with food and me, because she is very aware of how quickly that could become restrictive and toxic. And she wasn't wrong. Her concerns were very warranted, because it not only crossed my mind; in fact, the idea of restricting myself for an entire month for a healthy, charitable purpose.. Excited me. 

However, to my own bewilderment, I surprised myself. As I ate healthier and cleaner, it wasn't the restricting that excited me, it was how good I felt. Amazing even. Food is making me feel good?! Since when did that happen. I didn't want to restrict myself anymore because eating all of this nutritious, good food was making me feel vibrant, and energetic, passionate! And happy. The often glaring, abrasive, loud voice became smaller and smaller. She was replaced with a voice that loved me, that loved the healthy habits she was seeing replacing ones that had enveloped me for too long. She encouraged me, kept that good feeling going, patted me on the back and told me "it's okay, don't beat yourself up; you'll do better next week" when I ate terribly in Vegas. She's the one who replaced the thought of "you need to go for a run to burn off those calories from yesterday" with "remember how great you felt after that run last week?! Remember how your anxiety went away?? Let's do that again" 

This is a very personal post for me to write. I've written and deleted something like this about 10x in the span of this blog. I have wanted to share it, but sharing your very personal secret in this space is hard. It's something I hold dear to me, because it's a vulnerability I haven't wanted to allow others to know about. In telling my story, I've now ensured it no longer has a hold on me; I'm free. The thing with a secret is when you figure out that you're stronger than it is, it no longer has a hold on you. I am not sitting here on my high horse thinking I'm "cured"; but damn it, I've come farther this month than I have in years, and for that I am fucking proud. 

And so, this month has allowed me to finally find & actively pursue the balance in 80/20, with no guilty feelings left over. In eating healthy, nutritious, clean and green foods 80% of the time, you give room for and enjoy the" dirty", fun, delicious 20% of treating yo self - the ice cream dates, the big fat cinnamon buns; the juicy burger & a beer on a Friday night. It's okay to indulge, in fact it's healthy. The balance in knowing that being active because it's good for my body (& is basically free therapy), and knowing that when I "eat the rainbow" and spend time in the kitchen whipping up fun, healthy filling meals, it allows me to fully enjoy the treats that would have left me wracked with feelings of self hatred, insecurity and feeling like a failure for being human

This challenge has changed me. Never will I take my own health for granted. Never will I let my friends and family take their health for granted - quite simply I love them too much to let them. And never will I talk to myself in any other tone but one of love, as though I would my very best friend. 

And with the wrapping of this month, I implore you to do a few things for yourself:    

1. Make an appointment with your doctor. Get a full blood panel, smear (or cough and squeeze boys ;) ), and make sure everything is in tip top condition. Your body does a lot for you, you owe it this. 
2. Be kind to yourself. There is enough outside in this world to tear you down, the voice inside your head needent be one more. 
3. Make some healthy changes yourself. It takes 21 days to make a habit. Replace one you've been meaning to with something beneficial. 

As always, thank you for reading, and allowing my voice to be heard.


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