My Struggle with Food
I am struggling with writing this post so much. I literally have 4 Word documents open with different drafts.
I know there’s wisdom in not sharing every single personal detail of your life on the internet.
But I think if more people were open about their struggles, big or small, it would help others to know they aren’t alone.
I’ve never really been overweight or underweight. I’ve always been in sports and considered “athletic.”
When small-ish people talk about food and weight and body image – it’s kind of looked at in a negative way. People almost get mad at you if you’re in “good shape” but you struggle with body image or food or whatever.
But I think no matter what, most people have insecurities…some more than others.
Last year I really hit a high point of struggling in the area of food and feeling critical about how I looked
During college I typically had 4-hour workouts almost every day. I really could eat anything I wanted and not have any consequences.
Obviously, that isn’t real life. I’ve graduated and am now responsible for my own workouts. I can’t, nor should I, do 4-hour workouts anymore.
Society has kind of created this idea that we need to earn our food. We need to go for a run so we can earn that ice cream.
But ok, I totally had that mindset for real.
Jokes aside, it’s been really hard since I graduated. I kind of went through this awkward stage of finding balance with working out and food. I think a lot of college athletes probably struggle with this. But even more so, I think most women (in any circumstance) struggle with this.
I started trying all these different things like calorie counting, Beachbody’s 21 Day Fix, and Whole 30.
I spent hours prepping and cooking food that didn’t even taste good.
I was so desperate I made some ‘Whole 30 approved’ homemade ketchup.
And then I quit the Whole 30.
Because homemade ketchup is no way to live your life.
This is America.
And now I feel the need to stop and say that I don’t have a problem with “clean” eating, or paleo, or whatever you are or are not eating. People tend to get a little passionate about their nutritional orientation
I’m talking about food in light of my own obsession and ‘legalism’ (for lack of a better word).
My mind was CONSUMED with food and I was really frustrated with how I was feeling. I was either eating super tiny portions of gross really boring food or huge amounts of unhealthy foods and then trying to “run it off” later.
I literally cringe when I think about what I was eating.
Some of the really well known BeachBody coaches share their meal plans every month for people to follow. They look something like this:
Breakfast: Chicken, Rice, Broccoli
Lunch: Chicken, Rice, Broccoli
Dinner: Chicken, Rice, Broccoli
Desert: ½ Tablespoon fat free/sugar free/love free ice cream
Ok not really.
Most popular diets are so sad. They cost so much money and there is no way to realistically stick to them or make them a way of life. They take people’s money and ruin their metabolism.
Following a low calorie diet, eating out of a 1/2 cup measuring container, and only eating Whole 30 approved food is no way to live.
Life is short and Jesus loves you.
Unfortunately it took me a painfully long time to figure any of this out.
Honestly, I started to scare myself a little with how I was starting to think.
Throwing up my food didn’t sound like that far fetched of an idea.
Skipping a meal started to sound like a good way to help me not feel guilty for eating “unhealthy” foods.
I feel so ashamed that I ever had those thoughts, and it’s really hard for me to even admit it.
And don’t get me wrong, these thoughts weren’t turning into actions, but my heart was clearly not in the right place.
I don’t say this to be all, “Woe is me,” or to make anyone feel bad for me. I know girls who really do struggle with eating disorders and I am in no way claiming that or trying to draw attention to myself.
I am trying to be transparent and honest though.
This might sound silly, but I started praying that God would help me get control of my thoughts and take the obsession away. And right around that time I heard about flexible dieting and macros.
I heard about it through instagram…go figure.
This lady I follow kept talking about eating poptarts and posting pictures of herself in such good shape. I was so confused.
I started out by doing research on what macros are and how flexible dieting works.
To me it seems like there are two parts to flexible dieting.
The first is macros counting itself. Macro nutrients are just Fats, Carbs, and Proteins. By giving yourself a realistic number of fat, carb, and protein grams per day, your calorie intake becomes much more balanced.
For example, instead of eating a 2000 calorie diet made up of 45% fat, 45% carbs, and 10% protein, you might eat 25% fat, 39% carbs, and 36% protein. This still allows for fun foods, but it also requires you to eat healthier foods too. There’s no way to eat 2000 calories of junk food when 75% of your calories need to come from carbs and protein.
By just changing my macro percentages around, I can eat a combination of yummy food and healthy food and still eat 2000 calories a day. This means I never have to cut out any foods indefinitely. I eat balanced and it prevents me from going under or overboard with food.
For me this has been SO freeing. I can go out to pizza with my family and actually order pizza…not a side salad. Or on the flip side, I can order pizza and not be consumed with guilty thoughts or feel the need to do a second workout.
To balance my macros, I might eat an egg-white omelet with veggies and meat for breakfast, a few favorite snacks, and a chicken salad for lunch.
I plan it out to have enough macros left over for a great pizza dinner with my family.
The second part of macro counting or flexible dieting, is that a lot of people do what’s called a “reverse diet.” I won’t get into that in this post, but I am absolutely convinced that if someone wants to lose weight, this is the safest, smartest, most realistic life changing way to do it.
And you don’t have to purchase any programs or supplements.
Eating ice cream and pizza is not wrong. Refraining from ice cream and pizza is not wrong.
Being a glutton and being overwhelmed with guilt and having obsessive thoughts over food is a whole different story though.
Macro counting gives me parameters and goals and helps me so much. It’s such a practical tool, and I am so thankful God introduced me to something that has helped me gain a little more control in an area that I struggle with so much.
This whole post might seem silly I guess. I know I’m making a big deal over something pretty trivial.
But I think it’s relevant for a lot of people. I know I can’t be the only one.
God created food to fuel our bodies and to be ENJOYED. Food is not something to be earned, abused, or obsessed over.
I know this verse is bigger than just this, but literally – we’re supposed to eat and drink in a way that brings glory to God.
I think it’s justified to put thought into what and how we eat. But I don’t think obsessing over it and worrying about it every second of the day is what we should do either.
Food, like anything else, has the ability to become an object of worship or consume your thoughts and mind. This is something I have to be really mindful of – and sometimes I have to take a big step back and get my priorities straight.
I’m not claiming that counting macros is the only way to eat, but it’s really helped me. I think it’s worth sharing because it’s not as well-known as so many other “diets” or nutritional approaches.
Have you ever heard of and/or tried macro counting? Have you found anything that has helped you gain better control over this area? What’s your nutritional approach?