If you asked me to describe my upbringing in one word, I would probably choose “well-rounded”. My parents exposed me to a variety of activities: summer swim team, soccer, basketball, violin and clarinet lessons. Even though I was dedicated to the activities I dabbled in, I never really excelled in any of them. Deep down inside, I wanted to have the reputation of being an accomplished athlete, but this didn’t happen during my childhood. When high school came, my instinct to prove my athletic prowess became more urgent. As a freshman and sophomore, I participated in basketball in the fall, swim team in the winter, and track in the spring. At the start of my Junior year, I set a goal to qualify for the State track meet in the mile (1600 meters) by my Senior year, so I replaced basketball with cross country, while running extra mileage after practice and doing strength training on my own to become a faster runner. Despite my efforts, I only qualified for the Regional meet, falling short of my goal.
The bitter taste of not achieving my athletic goal in high school stuck with me, so my determination to change that became a burning ambition in college. After realizing that I simply was not fast enough to be competitive on the NCAA running scene, I signed up for my first ultramarathon as part of an elective Advanced Running Course. The more I prepared for the 50-kilometer race (31 miles), the more distorted my outlook on food became. I thought I needed to diet in order to be a successful runner, something I had never done before.
Food no longer was just food. It was a trap - an addiction - and it controlled my life. As long as I obeyed my “food rules”, I felt at peace. My rituals served as a false religion. Subconsciously, I made myself in “right standing” by obeying my foolish food rules, but whenever I strayed from my diet plan, I would feel “at war” with myself. Instead of living a life of freedom in Truth, I selfishly trusted in my temporary willpower to make myself feel better by following my self-made diet plan (or so I thought). It is very easy to fall into the belief that micromanaging your food intake will lead to beauty, control, success, power, acceptance, or feeling “clean”. Unfortunately, dieting and food restriction very often leads to guilt, shame, bondage, and reduced self-trust with food.
Perhaps you can relate to my story with your current outlook on food. Maybe your food beliefs have become so entrenched that you aren’t able to live a fulfilling, flexible life. On one hand, you want to have more freedom around your food choices, but on the other hand, you feel that if you let go of your food rigidity, you will gain weight and fear of the unknown creeps in. Disordered eating is a very slippery slope, and left to yourself, freedom from dysfunctional eating patterns is unlikely. If you don’t know where to start, please contact me, so I can help you get started on the road to recovering your outlook on food and wellness!
Stay tuned to read more of my story...