This Christmas is my third of complete food freedom and I am feeling fantastic! I wanted to share this post today as I know many of my readers are currently in the process of letting go of dieting and finding true health. Where ever you are in the stage change process, this is for you. If you are still on the fence about making a change, I hope to inspire you to take the leap. If you are already starting to change your mindset and lifestyle, I hope to motivate you to keep going and see that the challenging times are worth it. If you are already on the other side, I hope to celebrate with you!
For anyone who hasn’t followed my blog since the early days, you can read my three part story starting here. In a nutshell, I struggled with (undiagnosed) disordered eating for nearly a decade until I finally chose self-recovery in 2016. Most of my teenage years were spent counting, restricting and trying to burn calories or going off the rails completely and experiencing uncontrollable binge eating. The reason for finally recovering was the fact that I hadn’t had a period in 8 years. Despite doctors telling me it was fine and “normal for an active girl like you”, I discovered otherwise and I became determined to get my period back. This meant looking right at the thing that I had tried to hide and avoid for many years prior i.e. my extreme diet and exercise regime.
Letting go of dieting
What followed was a several year unravelling of all of the food fears and rules that I had lived by for so long. It wasn’t a straight forward path and I can only see it clearly in hindsight. Basically, the first stage was that I stopped restricting how much food I ate, gave up my gym obsession and chronic pursuit of weight loss and allowed my body to find balance. The problem was that I did this whilst following a vegan diet. On one hand it worked and I was able to recover my period. At the time, it was the right decision and I was motivated by environmental as well as health concerns. However there was also a part of me that enjoyed the idea of continuing to have some food rules and restrictions to live by.
So fast forward three years, during which I enjoyed many social events, festive seasons and birthdays as a vegan. I would be lying to say this was all bad. Of course, at the time I loved what I was eating and I was happy to no longer be constantly worrying about calories and whether I would get fat from the celebrations, rather than just relaxing and enjoying them. I had some vegan friends and enjoyed being part of this community. But there was always this nagging feeling that I was left out from my family and friends. I couldn’t just eat was people gave me and I had to be hyper aware of what I was eating. Food was something to be enjoyed, yes, but in a way it was still something to be controlled and calculated.
Again, to make it clear, I am not saying that everyone who follows a vegan diet has this kind of experience. Or that it is bad in any way. But for me personally, coming from the disordered eating background that I did, it wasn’t the right choice. Mainly for my mental health but also on a physical level as during this time I also experienced lots of persistent health problems. Mainly signs of nutrient deficiencies and a slowed down metabolic rate after all my years of dieting and stressing my body. I feel like I aged rapidly during this time and noticed problems with my skin, hair and teeth that had never been on my radar previously.
Finding food freedom
Eventually, I accepted defeat and decided to give up my vegan diet in 2019. Since then I have enjoyed 3 Christmas periods of complete food freedom. I have eaten the same thing as my family. I have enjoyed Christmas treats without the crazy restrict and binge cycle. I have eaten intuitively throughout the holidays and never felt starved or overly stuffed (although of course I have eaten a bit more than usual!). Every year I have felt so relaxed and content without all of this craziness going on inside of me that no one else could see. I haven’t felt the need to get wasted to shut up this voice and have just enjoyed spending a chilled out festive season.
I am so grateful every year that I made this choice. It really has been life changing. I reached my goal of getting my period back but I am so glad that I didn’t just stop there. I am grateful for my body continuing to send me signals I couldn’t ignore so that I continued this journey to food freedom. I have received so many additional positive results that I could never have imagined. And most of all I feel more grounded and happy within my self than I ever have. Before, I thought that I would accept myself if I had the perfect body or if I weighed a certain amount on the scale. Now I see that these things are not me at all.
Becoming more myself
Through consistent yoga practice and lots of inner work, I finally understand that we are multi-faceting beings. Yes we have our physical body which we need to take care of as our vehicle in life. But my physical body does not define me. Much more important is the other personality traits, positive energy and love and compassion for others. I am still working on becoming the person I want to be but I am no longer confused that it is a physical transformation that will take me there. I am just glad to be in a healthy, well-functioning body that allows me to do the things I love. And I wish the same for you!
So, enjoy the rest of the holidays and I wish you all of the best for the new year. I hope that you enjoy this winter period of reflection and rest to prepare for new challenges and growth in 2022. I will be starting a new free January challenge with regular blog posts and activities so make sure you are following along by email and join my Facebook group to be part of our community. And here are a couple of pictures of my number 1s in my community, my lovely parents who have been here for me and supported me throughout this journey. I’m very happy to be spending Christmas with them again this year after being stuck in different countries in 2020!
Over to you…
- Comment: Are you recovering from dieting? How has finding food freedom been for you?
- Please like this post and share to support my business, I really appreciate it!
- If you liked this post, follow my blog or subscribe by email to receive updates on new content