Are you being bullied?

Omg, does your head ever get so filled with food rules you want to scream?  Each new diet or new research that comes out has some new food rule to follow.  What the hell is right?!  

Food rules feel like being bound up!  

Have you ever labeled donuts as BAD?  Have you ever beat yourself up for eating one?  Or 4?

Have you ever labeled donuts as BAD?  Have you ever beat yourself up for eating one?  Or 4?

Remember the 80’s and the new thing was LOW FAT everything?  Talk about feeling bullied into not touching anything with fat in it!  The horror.  That was just the tip of the iceberg, for me at least.  What was the name of those fat free cookies???  You know, the ones you thought you could eat the entire box of and it was ok because they were fat free.  Snackwell's??

My mother put me on a restrictive diet when I was 12.  I made this mean that I wasn’t enough because obviously, in order to be loved, accepted and worthy, I needed to be thin.  I realize now that she really just wanted a partner in restrictive eating.  A support person.  Yay, I was the lucky one.  NOT!  

This began part of my journey with food rules.  I learned a lot about food and nutrition along the way because deep within me, I knew diets were bad and I really, really liked food, too.  I was always looking for the best way to get real food into my body and still lose weight.  

I’m not much of a math genius so counting calories was never my thing.  Put a fork in my eye!  I always felt counting calories was kind of stupid and pointless.  I mean, if it were that easy, wouldn’t we all be at our ideal weight?

Oh my gosh, I remember post baby #1, going to Diet Center.  I thought that was healthy because we did take vitamins and supplements.  I ate like a bird, but damn it, I ate all day.  

I lost the weight.  Yay!

I couldn’t maintain the weight.  Loser, low blow to my self esteem, etc.  

I couldn’t eat more than 1 egg and 1 slice of toast for breakfast;  ½ a sandwich for lunch;  ½ an apple for a snack;  dinner was a salad with grilled chicken and some sort of processed fat free dressing.  A splurge was eating out and NOT measuring my grilled chicken salad, no croutons, no cheese, no bacon bits, no fat dressing.  GAH! Clearly, this was not a lifestyle and I knew it.  

This was DEPRIVATION.  Frustration sets in because now everything that had worked, didn't transfer to the life I wanted.....which was ultimately food FREEDOM.

Enter in vegetarianism.  I love veggies!  I love animals.  I never could choke down beef, unless it was ground.  I ate cottage cheese, eggs, and fish for my protein sources during this time and spent HOURS in the kitchen trying to make fancy vegetarians style meals.  Then, because I wasn’t thin enough and I’m kind of competitive, I pushed it a bit further and went more vegan.  I gathered a lot of food information.  I even managed my 3rd pregnancy predominantly vegan, then raising my 3rd child for the first few years of his life as a vegetarian.  Albeit, a bit of a junk food vegetarian.  

Picture this:  McDonald’s drive thru with 3 children.  1 vegetarian and he naturally liked foods vegetarian.  I order a cheeseburger Happy Meal, no burger.  Say what?! Yeah, that got some confused responses.  *heehee and shaking my head

Finally, I discovered weightlifting.  This opened a whole new world for me in many regards, but specifically in the food realm.  As I started gaining muscle mass, I started to CRAVE animal sources of protein.  I had to get over myself and my food rules and listen to my bodies messages.  I experimented with using my hand to judge portion sizes.  It was still a food rule, but it felt so much different.  

After baby #4, my weight was NOT coming off.  I needed help.  I exercised, ate ‘right’ and lost as much as I could on my own, but then I enlisted the help of a personal trainer.  I actually went through several, online and in person.  I learned yet another new way to eat!  

Macros.  

Now this is a mathematical system I could handle!  I could easily add my grams of protein, carbs and fat in my head.  I didn’t mind weighing my food in ounces or grams.  Holy smokes!  This was actually kind of fun, scientific, easy and it worked.  

Until it doesn’t.  

Did I mention I’m a bit competitive?  Yeah.  That’s what happened.  I started to compete in natural bodybuilding.  It was fun and a great ego trip, until you walk off the stage and then it just goes to hell in a handbasket.  I’ll save the mental angst for another time, but what happened for me was extreme rebound weight gain, adrenals were fatigued, my gut was leaky (thanks Splenda and all the artificial crap I was eating because my body was really starving for real food!), I had developed allergies to most of the foods that I ate and, well, you get the picture.  I was a mess and had such an aversion to RESTRICTIVE EATING I could scream!

I had to learn to look at food in a new way.  

I had to take apart and fight all the food rules that were stuck in my head.  

I had to educate myself on whole food nutrition.  

I still remember the time I went to Sonic and ordered a cheeseburger/tots and forced myself to say with every bite, “Omg, this is exactly what my body needed today!  This is so good.  This is so nourishing for me right now.”  Try it sometime.  I dare ya to start tackling the judgement of food in your head.  It really took the draw to fast food off the table for me.  

You see, this was part of my journey to release the restriction that food rules had created for me.  I was so damn sick and tired of JUDGING each bite that went in my mouth;  counting every f*cking gram I consumed; making sure I didn’t eat anything labeled “bad” or that I got my ass to the gym no matter how bad I felt because, by God, I was going to force my body to lose the extra weight!!!!! I was wearing myself out and creating stress where there just didn't need to be any! 

Food rules were bullying me!  And I allowed it.  Until I decided I didn’t want to live my life this way.  I decided I was so tired of being frustrated and I just wanted to eat good food and get my health back.  

Weight took a back seat so I could focus on healing my body and being ok with my weight and really accepting and embracing that food is simply ENERGY.  It is nothing more and nothing less.  The labels we give food is what can make or break us.  

Personally, I was just tired of food rules and stopped jumping on the next new thing that the government wanted us to believe.  Good grief, the information overload that has come out in the last 5 years alone is crazy!!  

For me, the end of frustration was also the end of eating to follow some food rule.

How are food rules affecting you, your weight, your mental health, your relationship with your body and the world?  

I want to from YOU! Share in the comments below or share in an email.  I’d love to hear from you, especially if you are sick and damn tired of feeling frustrated and overwhelmed due to the FOOD RULE BULLY.  

Let’s do this a different way!  

Well, I got schooled….

The other day, I posted in my Facebook group a post about celebrating something we felt good about for the week.  I proceeded to list off a few things I felt good about:

  • I felt good about getting to the gym every day even if I was tired or sore.

  • I felt good saying no to Taco Tuesday, said with humor, for Pete's sake! 

  • I was feeling really excited about a new group program I’m working on for the fall.  

I thought about who could possibly benefit from celebrating small victories that week and shared this post in a few groups I belong to on Facebook.  It didn’t get a lot of attention, except in one group, other than mine.  It was an Intuitive Eating Support group.  The first comment was a celebration and it was awesome!  This lady posted in response to exactly what the post was supposed to be about;  feeling nourished in some other form that isn’t stuffing yourself with food.  

I could feel her fullness and joy.  

Awesome!  

But the next comment was ugly.  

I was told that my post was full of diet mentality.  WHAT?!  This is news to me because if you’ve followed me for long, you know I’m super anti-diet.  I responded to her and we bantered back and forth.

She called me out on skipping Taco Tuesday.  She said that was not INTUITIVE, it was diet mentality and restrictive.  Um, no.  Just no.  That was INTUITIVE for me.  

You see, I have spent most of my life in the throes of DIET MENTALITY:

  • Eat this, not that.  

  • This is good food, this is bad.

  • How many calories will that be?  

  • Did I go over my macros?  

  • I hate raw carrots, but by damn, that’s what the diet is telling me I have to eat.  

...Yada, yada, yada...  

You get it, I’m sure.  But these are NONE of the reasons I CHOSE to skip Taco Tuesday (or Thirsty Thursday, for that matter!).

Here's the inside scoop:

I checked in with my body.  I asked it what it felt like.  I asked it if I really needed handmade tacos.  I checked in with how I can feel afterwards.  I looked at the fresh produce I had on hand and my body called to that.  My body said it wanted the fresh produce.  My body said it didn’t want to feel overfull from eating corn tortillas that don’t alway digest easily for me.  If I had eaten them anyway, because hey, it’s Taco Tuesday (and yes, that did cross my mind), that would NOT have been an intuitive choice.  

She told me that going to the gym when I’m tired or sore is DIET MENTALITY.  I informed her I was a retired natural competitive bodybuilder and personal trainer.  I was fully aware of when I should go to the gym or skip.  

Maybe I needed to have explained this more clearly in my original post??  I hurt my shoulder in the gym last week.  It’s sore.  It hurts!  Does that mean I can’t go do legs or walk?  NO.  I’m tired, not exhausted.  What’s the remedy for the afternoon lag or even feeling like the tank is running low when you’ve been working all morning? My intuition and my body said, EXERCISE! I could have just as easily chosen caffeine or sugary treats or even taken a nap, but I'm going for BALANCE.  

Exercise was MY balance. 

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You see, my schedule has been either busy or my chiropractor has told me about every other week to stay away from weights, so I’m having a little difficulty getting into a consistent routine.  This is a bit frustrating for me.

Again, I checked in with my body each day. I asked it what it would need to feel balanced and energized.  Some days I needed to feel the grounding energy of lifting weights.  It helps me feel into my body and connect in a powerful way.  Some days it is simply going and walking off built up, blocked energy from working with client or with my family. If my body had let me know it was just too tired to go to the gym, I would stay home.  Heck, one day I lifted and came home to meditate for 40 minutes.  That is what my body craved and I listened.  This was worth celebrating!  To me.  

Then she attacked my comment regarding working on my new fall group program. She accused me of trying to promote it.  Well, that was certainly NOT my intention.  I have been having a great time putting this program together.  Working really hard to make sure every component of this program is exciting to me and beneficial for my participants.  I’ve been having a really good time with this!  I’m not trying to promote it in any Facebook groups because this is not a virtual group, but a live, in person local group.  

So, no, not promoting (in that group, anyway).  

When people like this start attacking people in groups, it just amazes me. I didn’t think of it until later, but why didn’t they get curious and actually ask questions?

Why did they ASSUME anything at all?  

WHY did they feel the need to piss all over what was supposed to be a supportive post?  

I don't know.  It's not even my place to figure it out.  But, what IS my responsibility is to GET CURIOUS.  

Whenever I feel triggered by something this is what I do and what I will do with my clients is very similar.  

Dig deep, sister.  Dig deep.  

I got quiet.  I connected.  Does that sound familiar?  Just like when I'm discerning what food to eat, how to move my body, what I need, etc. And when I feel connected to my highest divine self and truth, I begin by:

  • Asking myself WHY did these comments trigger me?  

  • What is the positive intention in this experience for myself?

  • What is important for me to learn? 

  • What am I making this mean about me?  Is that true?  

When I completed this mini meditation, I realized a few things.  And I was super excited for the clarity and a new plan of action!  

For starters, I wasn't CLEAR in my post what I was really trying to say.  Now, if you are in my personal group  you would probably have understood much more clearly, but if you don't know me from Adam, my delivery might have been confusing.  Oops. 

Secondly, I was afforded the opportunity to get CLEAR on my WHY.  WHY did I make those choices and was it from a diet mentality?  If I'm going to be honest, ugh, I would have to say perhaps a teeny bit, yes.  

I also realized I have SO MUCH TO SHARE!  I had been wracking my brain for content to write about and to teach and nothing was tripping my trigger.  But, oh boy, did that group spark my creative juices!  

Finally, I realized that speaking my truth and just being me is important to me.  It's necessary for me.  And when I KNOW something in the innermost core of my being that something is right and true, for me, I get empowered, brave, and find the energy to move forward.  And with much gratitude, I was able to let go of the hurt feelings and anger and any attachment to the group or the 'mean girls' in it.  

The next time you feel triggered by something someone has said or done, get CURIOUS and try these steps to dig deep, baby.  

I would like nothing more than to hear about your experience and your a-ha's.  Shoot me an email and tell me about it or reply in the comments below.  What worked for you?  How did it work?  How did it change your perspective?  

Many blessings and may you have so much new awareness to work with!

Tori