Photographing a Health Blogger and Disordered Eating Specialist reminded me of the day I took control of my health again. It also forced me to acknowledge my own battles head on.
A new definition for ‘diet’
Unlike everything I had done before, I discovered a new way of eating that wasn’t a diet, but a way to press reset and educate myself on what foods worked for me and what made me feel good. The fact that there were likely to be other health benefits was an added bonus. I had nothing to lose and everything to gain.
My reset began with a 30 day eating plan. Based on plant-based protein shakes with specific fruits or nut-butters added, with a structured evening meal plan to accompany the programme. I was nervous. I hadn’t cooked since meeting my husband eight years ago. I had to face head on one of my biggest fears – food and consuming it. I was measuring myself (vitals) and weighing myself, this all sounded so familiar, I cried the first day I began. The difference this time? I was in control. Nobody saw the results except for me. I had chosen this path and I was learning how food affected more than just my weight.
For this 30 day period, I chose to follow a vegan diet. I had never done this before and didn’t really have any idea what I should be replacing meat and fish with. Was I getting enough nutrients and nourishing my body? Thankfully I had some amazing resources to hand and have discovered many more since. I also chose to cut out coffee and alcohol during this period. For anyone that knows me, coffee is a huge part of who I am, this was big.
Food = excitement
A week or so into my reset, I found that I was excited. Happy. Enthusiastic. For the first time in memory, I was excited about food and putting it into my body. This excitement had been fuelled by the positive comments I received from others about how happy I looked. How I was ‘glowing’. That I looked well. Not a single person mentioned weight and I felt good. I actually started to look at myself in a mirror and not feel sick by seeing the person who stared back.
As well as learning about what my body loves and responded well too (fresh veg, fruits, protein) and didn’t (dairy, gluten), I started to notice how I felt mentally too. My concentration levels improved. My insomnia was lessening. I felt positive and ‘can-do’. I felt happy. I was hungry to learn more and harness this miracle of nature and share it with the world.
That was back in February this year. Since then I have been on a mission to connect with experts in the gut-mind field and to further my own education. Specifically I have noticed the shift in lower levels of anxiety, how to spot triggers, and also how my change in diet helped other health issues I deal with that regularly contribute to the negative feelings I have for my body. It’s a slow process, but I am gradually learning to like myself. Maybe one day I will even say I love myself.
Whilst I haven’t remained strictly plant-based and coffee has returned to my life (it’s called balance), I do have a better understanding of what works for me. What makes me feel good. What keeps my gut, body and mind healthy.
To learn more about how to deal with disordered eating, help others dealing with this, or generally how to take better care of your health from a dietary perspective, be sure to visit Rachel at Healthy and Psyched and learn for yourself how to love food and your body again.