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Things that aren’t ok when dieting or ‘seeking health’

Hi, hello it's me. Ok, let's get right into it:

  • Chronic constipation (this can happen when you eat too much protein, fiber or too little food bc digested slows significantly)

  • Eating 50+ grams of fiber daily

  • Eliminating/reducing carbs or fats because they have too much protein 

  • No period. Period

  • Having to pee constantly around the clock

  • Distended / bloated belly round the clock

  • Feelings of physical fullness but not satisfaction (always wanting more)

  • Overconsumption of energy dense foods (felt primal)

Because I ‘ate flexibly,’ meaning I could make anything I wanted work in my day, I didn’t see any of the above as red flags for disordered eating. What I was doing (eating lots of veggies! high protein! plenty of movement! seeing muscle mass!) felt ‘healthy’ (as reflected by what I was seeing in my echo chamber of a feed, as well as feedback from others which used to mean everything to me). 

I feel differently about all of that now. I’ve never been diagnosed with an eating disorder, but I sure have checked a lot of the boxes, particularly those closest to orthorexia. (Orthorexia refers to an unhealthy obsession with eating “pure” food. Some may even limit their food choices to the point that there are only a dozen or fewer foods they are willing to eat.)

When I first started tracking macros and losing fat, my body was already in perfect health, and objectively, looked that way too. It was just my mind that needed some attention. I see that now. But in this culture, when we feel a way we don’t want to feel, the last place we check in is with our Deep Knowing. (Probably because seriously....deep down we KNOW we know, and don't always want to know the truth.)

When I reflect on all of it, I’m grateful for the lessons I learned. I reduced my high intensity cardio lifestyle picked up regular strength training. I gained a massive knowledge about food quality and composition which I still tap into today. I made some incredible connections with people I'll forever love. And most importantly, learned what health truly means to ME along the way.

 But I’m sure I could’ve found a path to all that with much less resistance…not to mention collateral damage that took years to clean up. 

It feels to me that this small, mostly privileged subset of culture, which still gets plenty of screen time on social media, ad targeting and for some of us, the call is even coming from inside the house (family), is shifting a few degrees away from dieting extremes. I love that for us. 

Or maybe it is just the fact that I’ve realigned MY focus, and what you put out there becomes magnetic, bringing you more and more of it. I have an entirely different algorithm than I did several years ago. And instead of deep diving after seeing the occasional extreme stitch, I’m amused at the ridiculousness of it all, and can be gentle with my past self about it. 

It is disturbing to me that so many continue to be wrapped up in extremes that they don’t even know they are in. I see it every time I hop on instagram. And of course what works for me isn’t a prescription for anyone else. So never take my words as anything more than the perspective they represent.

But it took getting to this point (after many messy years) to realize that every single ‘ailment’ I had, was brought on by dietary decisions and lifestyle choices I made to directly affect my appearance. While I told myself - ‘you’re making decisions that a healthy person would!’ I was actually getting further and further from the objective definition of health. My body was falling apart.

When things started to deteriorate from the inside out, never did they have anything to do with being gluten sensitive or having poor adrenal communication or some -ism of the thyroid. Those were all just symptoms of the harsh commitments I made to diet and exercise in the name of a fucked up version of health. In another layer of bad judgement, to "heal," I leaned into protocols that were even MORE restrictive as an excuse to maintain control in hopes of keeping weight off. (Truthfully I was blind to that last part at the time, but had I giving my inner knowing just an ounce of attention, I could have seen.)

So once people know the story, the question I always get asked is: How DID you stop? Weren’t you afraid of gaining weight? 

It all came back to being patient, gentle and compassionate enough with myself to find balance and moderation. That’s literally it. It’s not sexy. It's not easy. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do because there are so many conflicting messages out there and there was so much UNDOING I had to work through in my own mind.

It took detoxing and scrubbing social media (even friends). It took a lot of meditation and support from a therapist. It took help from Ketamine. It took lots of podcasts and books from sources I didn't always agree with, but wanted to understand. And it took infinite compassion and forgiveness of myself for all I had lost, forgotten, missed and fucked up along the way. 

They say you always want what you can’t have. And the reverse is true too…what you allow yourself to have, releases its hold on you in time as well. Including thoughts about worthiness, weight gain and what is truly beautiful. 

So yes of course I gained weight. Probably 40 or 50 pounds or more but I honestly have no idea. My weight has stabilized now and I haven’t stepped on a scale in years. And you know what? Not a single person has told me they love me less or implied in any way that I’m unlovable because of it. 

The only one who needed convincing was my ego, and my soul and body have worked really hard to convince her too. She’s mostly on board. 

And presently, in a not-so-subtle test, I’m actually close enough to perimenopause that there are a whole host of new diet extremes being hurled my way. Fasting. Keto. Massive food elimination. I’m not saying that there won’t ever be a time that a variation of one of those things won’t be helpful to me. Or that it hasn't helped someone else. But not for me and not today. 

The time is long gone that I will ever lose my faculties not only about what health means to me, but what is MOST important to me again. This time here with these people I love is so precious. It's really ALL THAT MATTERS. When that became the primary voice in my head, I knew I was strong enough to share anything. 

What about you? Any of this resonate? And what are some things you thought were normal parts of living a healthy lifestyle that turns out were just a dumpster fire of symptoms? If you have thoughts I would LOVE if you would share them in the comments section here.

Thank you for taking the time to read what I felt a strong pull to unleash today.

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