I have a confession to make, and a few stories to tell you (by now you know I love going to the past and telling stories almost as much as I love eating cupcakes and I LOVE eating cupcakes). Today's stories though, are so very personal and tough, because they have to do with one of my biggest struggles, the one I've had since I was a little girl, with my favorite best friend/comfort/nemesis/I forgive you let's be friends again/why are you doing this to me/that's it your grounded again bestie: FOOD. My relationship with food though, as much as I love to eat, went hand in hand with dieting. Almost all my life. Even until recently. Hence the public apology I want to start this post with.
A couple of months ago I published three posts and three podcast episodes titled the "A Way of Eating" series. I was so happy when I wrote these posts because my intention behind them was to separate veganism from all the dogma that is out there when it comes to food rules, i.e. oil free, gluten free, soy free, clean eating, etc. These posts had a little surprise in store for me, something I wasn't expecting at all. Something that came in the form of an epiphany/ice bucket in the head wake up call that caught me completely by surprise.
In the third episode of that series, I gave you a run down of how I ate, I talked about the fact that I include oils, gluten, soy and even oreo cookies in my diet (I mean...yeah... they're oreo cookies so who can resist?). That I eat raw and cooked foods. That I eat based on whole foods and also include vegan cheeses and vegan meats in my diet. All good. Then I told you about how I found a way of eating that worked for me based on some of my hormonal issues. I wrote it and recorded it with about 20 annoying disclaimers stating that this was right for ME, Kim, not that this was a recommendation about how you should eat.
In spite of the disclaimers, a few weeks after I had published those posts and episodes I had my wake up call. I had fallen into the dieting trap yet again, when all I've been wanting to do since I began this blog and our online program is help you find balance with food, improve your relationship with food and eating, and especially quit the dieting cycle.
Note to self: none of us are immune.
I had fallen prey to some of the recommendations I've heard through the grape vines for people with my hormonal disorders (by grape vines I mean the hundreds of well-meaning people who are still caught in the dieting trap and disguise it with the most uttered word in the developed world right now: "healthy"). Granted, I told you I had balance and followed some of those guidelines only some of the time, but it was too late. I had been bitten by the ouroboro snake that keeps eating its own tail and I had a body numbing epiphany a few weeks later while I was taking down my Christmas decorations and setting out ornaments on the table and had red glitter all over my face.
This was an important day in my life and I'll tell you more about it at some other time, but here's what I do wish to tell you now.
If you've been following the blog for a while and have been helped by my body positive and anti-diet messaging and heard or read the last of those three posts and felt triggered in any way by my language (even though it wasn't as bad as it could have been... yikes! I shudder just thinking about that), I am deeply, deeply sorry. This is the reason why I have deleted those three posts and episodes, and don't worry, all the wonderful little bits of it will come alive again in a future post, especially when it comes to separating the simplicity of veganism from the "sub vegan diets" that are popping up all over the place. I didn't however, want any of you, or any future readers to feel a call back to old dieting ways. Although I mentioned many times I only followed certain guidelines, these guidelines turned out to be not only unnecessary (a.k.a I'm not doing them anymore and guess what.. nothing happened!), but harmful and a step back for me, not to mention they were another word for "diet guidelines" which is another word for "diet".
Before we begin with the stories in this new series, I want you to know that I stand by everything I've talked about in this space, everything I've taught you about quitting the dieting cycle, about allowing all foods, about taking this vegan journey into whatever place is doable for you, about striving for progress, not perfection when it comes to a vegan diet, about loving your body where it's at, about listening to your body and your hunger and fullness cues and about eating mindfully. This has been a difficult and beautiful wake-up call for me because not only am I going through it publicly as of today (that's the difficult part for me), but I have now experienced something in my own skin, something that many of you have asked me about and I had never experienced: the temptation to go back to the old way of doing things after you thought you had left that steep hill behind you. By steep hill I mean the Mount Everest that is the dieting and controlling of food and weight conundrum.
If you didn't listen to that episode, you can just continue enjoying our content moving forward knowing that even I make mistakes because of my human being in a non-perfect weight obsessed world status. If you did listen though, other than the apology in this episode, let me tell you this when it comes to how I eat, since that was the topic of that post:
I eat vegan, and within that scope I eat everything.
Gluten, sugar, soy, whole grains, beans, bread, chocolate, oreo cookies, vegan cheese, nuts, seeds, kale and birthday cake. I eat when my body tells me I'm hungry (and sometimes when there's something delicious in front of me out of sheer pleasure) and I stop when I'm full. I don't measure or weigh my food. I don't count calories or grams of anything. I don't limit the foods I eat on certain times of the day. I used to do all of these, sometimes a few of them together, and that's the idea behind this new series: the dieting chronicles. My personal stories shared for all the world to see, as a way to say I'm sorry for possibly taking you back a step and reminding you of a way of eating that perhaps you're trying to stay away from. So far I've told you my food stories, my cooking stories, my body image stories (yikes those were personal), my veganism story, but now we're heading into the darkest tunnel of all, my dieting stories. There are so many, which is why this is a series.
So as not to have you here forever today, this is just the introduction, and we'll get right into part 1 next week, but here's the little glimpse of what you'll read or listen to in this series.
This is the story of how 15 year old me, with the greatest body positive role models at home, the greatest food loving family at home, and a simple emotional attachment with food and some overeating problems became a full blown dieter, went from an amateur emotional eater to whatever the equivalent of the tour de France of emotional eating is, and achieved hotdog eating contest status when it came to overeating. All because she went on a diet and got hooked. For years.
It's the story of how I once ate 10 steak tenderloin rounds (when everyone at the table ate 2), and how I had not one but two bowls of pasta with them. It's the story of the 10 tacos I once ate with a friend, and the time I almost had to be taken to the ER because of a popcorn overdose (thanks Home Alone matinée and uncle Aly for insisting I have the potato skins before the movie and then the giant tub of popcorn -extra butter of course- while he ordered another one for himself (meaning there was no sharing... the whole thing was so much fun until I got home of course).
It's the story of the dietitian nutritionist that told me she could take me down to a number of kilos I will not mention here, which would have made me clinically underweight because, and I quote, "your face can take it".
It's the story of the weight watcher's points and my internal dialogue of point negotiations. It's about actually being afraid of certain foods, and I'm talking the not wanting to walk to your bathroom at night after watching a horror movie kind of fear. It's a story about weighing and measuring everything, about having ketosis days and soup only days and the wonderful, thrilling, temporary joy of being off the diet, and the wonderful temporary joy of being on a new diet. It's the story of the gynecologist who sent me on a dieting path while she (as I found out later) had an eating disorder. It's the story of falling in the magazine trap, the local news trap, the facebook trap, the diet book section trap one too many times, and it's the story of finally finding a little peace with food when going vegan, eating veggie burgers and delicious vegan desserts with gusto (finally!), only to feel bombarded yet again by the countless mini vegan dogma diets that are around every corner these days. It's about how enticing the term clean eating sounds (I mean who doesn't like clean stuff right?). It's about having diet amnesia and it's about the endless climb, and the endless Alice in Wonderland fall that comes every time you go on a diet, going after that white bunny that you never seem to catch because he's faster, smarter, smaller than you and just an illusion.
So buckle up.... we start next week!
Thank you for being here, for reading and listening, for accepting my apology or moving on if that's your choice. I love spending time with you here and that won't stop anytime soon. You are the driving force behind brownble and you have taught me possibly more than I will ever teach you.
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