by HILARY WIEBE
As I’ve said before, I don’t consider myself an “after.” I’m still living, learning, and making mistakes like everyone else.
A lot has changed in a year. Slowly, I’m letting go of old habits, but more importantly, old attitudes about food, what is “good” or “bad” for me, what and how much I “should” or “shouldn’t” eat. I’m learning to stop giving food an emotional value and to start trusting myself.
I’ve read several articles lately about orthorexia. And I find it scary how easily I can relate to them. How so many things were labeled as good or bad, how willpower made me seemingly better than others. Or how after making one poor or less healthy choice, I could feel guilty and worry about it for hours. How I would pre-plan virtually everything, and although I may have held it together on the outside, I would be inwardly freaking out about a food situation outside of my control.
I wrote the above paragraph in past tense, but the truth — if I’m honest — is that it’s still hard. When you’ve struggled with a mindset and behaviour patterns for years, they’re not going to go away overnight. Not even in a year.
But that’s the bad news. Good news is I am making strides. And all these articles I’ve been reading, posts I’ve been seeing, and strides I’ve been making have gotten me to thinking…
What if all the labels we’re putting on food, diet, and lifestyle are actually hurting us more than helping us? What if calling something out for being healthy or not is really only a matter of opinion? What if it’s actually healthier not to have strict food rules or things that are off limits? What if it doesn’t matter if something is Paleo, gluten-free, or within your macros for the day (*just to be clear, I know that these lifestyles are helpful for many people for dietary and health concerns, and I don’t want it to seem like I’m judging those people)? What if it’s more important just to listen to your body, and what it’s feeling and craving at that point in time?
What if social media, Instafood and all those hashtags and food porn are just feeding (pardon the pun) the vicious cycle of disordered eating? What if cheat meals (who or what are you cheating on anyway?) didn’t need to be a thing? What if clean eating was just a mask for disordered eating? I mean, if we go look at Instagram feeds, it seems like all people are eating is green smoothies, oatmeal bowls, produce galore or insanely decadent “cheat meals.” Is there no middle ground?
What if eating less isn’t the answer? What if eating more could better nourish and fuel your body? What if embracing foods you avoided for years actually wouldn’t make you gain a whole bunch of weight but might in fact work the other way around? What if, if your body felt hungry or like it was craving something, you listened and fed it?