Tuesday, April 08, 2008

If I keep waiting to post until I have the time/ability to type out everything that has gone though/is going through my mind it will never happen.
I believe so strongly in the idea of eating intuitively that I plan to not only do my senior seminar on it, but to also base my practice around it once I become a registered dietitian. This will be quite controversial in my school as the non diet approach is still not widely accepted in the dietetics community though it was briefly mentioned in the obesity/weight management chapter last semester. The professor said, 'some RDs have found great success with this method" barely explained, and then moved on to weighing, food tracking and calorie counting.
In the intense tidal wave of emotional revolution I experienced when finally getting it recently I wanted to behave like a zealot and convert anyone and everyone around me and to proclaim dieting to be harmful for everyone. I forget that not everyone stays on "a diet" for years at a time, spinning their wheels and getting further bogged down and lowering their self esteem. Some people don't seem to be negatively affected by this behavior (constant restriction, self flagellation, etc) but I must say I believe it is a smaller percentage.
Eating intuitively is not about abusing your body. If you think it means never making positive nutrition choices for yourself again or contiuing to binge without investigating what is triggering the abusive actions, please look further inward. I am not an expert at this point, I do not have all the answers, nor do I think you are a depraved lunatic if you prefer to count what you eat and rely on external cues to determine what and how much and when you eat. I do believe however, that learning to trust yourself, trust your body and trust your judgement is a crucial step in truly loving and accepting yourself. Do only what you can see yourself doing the rest of your life, happily.
I've gone through a bit of grieving over the way I've treated myself the last few years and even now it hurts inside, and it is startling how insidiously the damage was wrought. I am well versed on the science side of things, I never ate below 1200 kcals a day, I got lots of protein and vitamins, etc etc. I drank my water, I worked out like a machine, I turned away artery clogging "treats". The MENTAL aspect of holding rigid control, feeling low when it slipped, pushing, pushing always pushing, never happy with myself for long, never reaching the mythical perfection...it nearly broke me. I can see that now. I sat in our bed one night and just sobbed, so angry I did that to myself. The clinical symptoms related to semi starvation are me down to every last one of them, if not all, nearly so. Since letting go I no longer feel so angry or irritable or impatient or stretched so, pardon the word, thin.
Positive things came out of it, I learned to cook and to love doing so. I found a profession that I think I can use to be a positive influence on the world, especially women. I started this blog and met people that are amazing-strong, intelligent, funny women. I learned I love yoga and riding my bike and a host of other activities. Now I can move further towards the shiny happy end of the spectrum.


M@rla said...

Oh this was such an excellent post, but it has me laughing anyway. 1) "depraved lunatic"! I love that! and 2) I don't know why, but I read that last sentence as "shiny happy end of the SPECULUM." OMG what is wrong with me!

I'm so glad to hear you talking about the balance you've achieved now. Sometimes I'm there, sometimes it eludes me, but I know how hard it can be to juggle all these conflicting messages and thoughts. I've thought often that the fitness world can be just as problematic for women as the dieting world--I don't think these experts realize that when they recommend that women do XYZ, the women will DO it. I think they're used to men who run about a 75% compliance with any given program, not 99%. So that mindset of "if you're not achieving what you want it's because you're not working hard enough" can be very dangerous for women.

I will be interested in whatever you write about intuitive eating. I don't know anything about it except whatever the cool kids mention on their blogs. I think my main question about it is whether it can be achieved with modern foods? It seems to me that modern diet can circumvent all the cues that our bodies would normally give us. Like, if you're eating a bunch of processed carbs like potato chips, something like that, how can you possibly tell when you've had "enough"? None is too much, the whole bag is not enough.

I also have a big theory about human beings naturally being wired to "over" eat, but that's another post... now I will turn your blog back over to you!

G.G. said...

Oh, I really hear you about grieving over what you've done to your body. Be glad you stopped hurting yourself while you're still so young. That's one of the hardest mental/physical obstacles I'm having to overcome--I know I (me, myself, no one else) took the good healthy body I was given genetically and wrecked it because it wasn't what I wanted it to be. Now I've got to put the pieces back together and it's going to take an awful lot of Bondo and body work to make it look anything like what it did in its prime.

You've got such a positive attitude, and it's great to see the philanthropic bent of your aspirations. Helping young women take care of themselves nutritionally is a good place to start when you hope to make the world a better place by what you do with your life.