A few years ago, I did a Muscle & Fitness Hers 30 day transformation challenge. I ate a low-fat, high protein, calorie restricted diet, and did a ton of cardio in addition to my daily resistance training. At the end … Continue reading
Happy National Eating Disorders Awareness Week! Today’s podcast was pretty much PERFECTLY timed with this week—I couldn’t have planned it better if I’d tried. It’s posted a few days earlier than normal, but don’t despair: Finding Our Hunger will be … Continue reading
This week, I had the incredible privilege and pleasure to speak with Liz Wolfe of cavegirleats.com and the Balanced Bites podcast—someone I’ve been dying to speak with for a long time, because of her wit, her wisdom, and her ability … Continue reading
I had a different plan for today’s post, but something I posted on Facebook (and the reaction it received) prompted me to change course. Here’s a loaded question: is skinny sexy? I posted this article on Facebook, entitled, “Wish you … Continue reading
Restriction is a compulsive act, a desperate attempt to control a world that feels disordered by handing over your power to a disorder that pretends to be manageable. It’s the attempt to discipline a chaotic mind with the misplaced bullying of a powerless body.
Restriction is a subconsciously malicious act, punishment for a body that refuses to act as your mind wills it. It’s a removal of the things you love for the sake of purposely leaving a hole in their place—a reminder than you do not deserve to feel full.
In the nutrition world, restriction is practiced with the halo of health, but the intention of weight loss. In the nutrition world, less is more is always less—and it leads to the awful pendulum swing to more and more and more. Restriction and bingeing: equal and opposite reactions.
In the nutrition world, restriction is practiced and maintained through lies—to yourself and others:
“I know I’m only eating oatmeal and egg whites and protein powder and sugar-free syrup, but I feel so full all of the time. And I have so many options—I can make pancakes and mug cakes and protein pudding. That’s not restriction at all.”
“I have points/calories/macros left over today/it’s my cheat day. I’m free to eat—I’m not restricted at all.”
“Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels. I’m not restricted; I’m skinny. You see the difference?”
But what do you do when you have to make a change to your diet for your health? When eliminating an inflammatory food means the difference between living an optimal life and dealing with crippling stomach pain, skin problems, hormonal imbalances, or more serious diseases like MS, diabetes, Alzheimer’s or cancer?
What do you do when the “unrestricted” eating has to brush past the realm of restriction? Especially if you come from a past that includes disordered eating (anything from yo-yo dieting to a full blown ED), restriction—rules, elimination, plans, goals, etc.—can be a slippery slope.
So many people choose to restrict for aesthetics. For punishment. This body I have is not the body I want, so I will chip away at it until it looks or weighs the way I desire it to be. Restriction is the attempt of a willful mind to conquer an unwilling body. Restriction for aesthetics will ultimately lead to ill health (physical and/or mental).
That’s why I have to tread carefully around the “gluten-free”/Paleo/etc. etc. world. Is my healthy diet restrictive? Are we here because we’re trying to define our bodies through rules and limitations? Or because we’re allowing ourselves to open up our diets and nourish our bodies in a different way?
When I was a vegan, I was restricting. My ultimate goal was to be light and thin and free. Instead, I broke my hormones and found myself chained to a body worked even more poorly than when I first started punishing it.
When I first started eating Paleo, I was restricting. My ultimate goal was to heal myself from the damage I had done as a vegan—but also to get thin.
And then something snapped. My health took center stage. Thin stopped meaning. Restriction fell away. I put away the bathroom scale, let the food scale’s batteries die, removed the calorie counting apps from my phone. I went to the farmer’s market. Bought new cuts of meat. Learned to love new vegetables. Added heaps of saturated and monounsaturated fat. And I allowed my body to change–without trying to control it.
There’s a line between restricting for thinness and changing your diet for health reasons. And it’s a fine, fine, fine, fine line. But I believe it’s possible to choose health-promoting food without falling into the trap of orthorexic/restrictive thinking–or just giving up and adding twinkles to the shopping cart. It starts with choosing your body over your mind. It starts with choosing to do the scary thing of potentially gaining weight so you can get your hormones in order. With choosing to let go of your desire for a six pack to ensure your bones won’t break when you’re 30. With choosing to love your body instead of trying to force it into submission.
This week’s podcast with Jennifer Fugo from Gluten Free School attempts to parse the language of restriction. Although Jennifer didn’t come from a background of ED, she works with clients who have had to start doing the work to put their bodies first and their minds’ desire for a different body second.
The number one lesson you’ll learn is: how to TAKE CARE of YOU.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on where the restriction/health line begins and ends—and how you have found a way to start taking care of yourself. (But please be civil…I know this is a highly charged topic, and people tend to get a little incensed about it…)
health: helTH/ noun the state of being free from illness or injury. Let’s face it: When someone says “healthy body,” what’ the first image that comes to mind? I guarantee it was something along the lines of this: [image source] Or this: … Continue reading
Here you are on your journey. You’ve been shaken up out of the routine that’s made your life gray and unmanageable. You’re starving for attention and the only way you know to get it is to act out, run away, … Continue reading
This is a big one.
A few weeks ago, Kevin Geary of The Rebooted Body virtually sat down with me, Jennifer Fugo (Gluten Free School), and Ali Shapiro (Truce With Food) to talk about how we (women) talk about our bodies–and how the way we talk about our bodies impacts young women.
You don’t have to have an eating disorder to have been the victim of a bad body image–girls grow up with so many conflicting and/or damaging messages about health, fitness, body image and such (no surprise there, huh?), but the question is: what are we gonna do about it?
Please–if you have some time, this podcast is worth every second. Give it a listen–and then I want to hear your thoughts!
Can you think of a moment in your own development (or in the development of your children) when YOU heard a message that invited ED and company in?
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[source] How do you strengthen the muscles for embracing yourself? I think the problem with acceptance is that we often feel resigned to our “fate,” as if whatever we have to accept we do so only grudgingly and because … Continue reading
I know I don’t normally post on Saturdays, but I had to share this with you. Recently, I was on the Rebooted Body podcast, which is hosted by Finding Our Hunger podcast guest Kevin Geary. It was, quite honestly, one … Continue reading