I ran across a website the other day called www.fatnutritionist.com . This website resonated with me for several reasons.  When I first got to the site, the first post was about “real food”. What is real food? How do we define it? It depends of course on each individual.  There are hundreds of dietary theories out there, each professing to be the “only way to eat”.  But each of US needs to find and determine which way of eating works for US.

Personally, I have struggled with my relationship with food and what dietary  theory works for me since I was in my late teens.  Until then, I could pretty much eat what I wanted, and didn’t have a problem.  When I was 17, I went on the “soda cracker and Diet Coke diet”. This was a bad idea, and the start of my downhill spiral relating to food.

College made it worse. I gained the obligatory freshman 15 along with a few more. Mostly brought on by excessive drinking I would guess.  I got married two months after my 20th birthday weighing 30 pounds more than when I had graduated from high school two years earlier. After having my first baby, 18 months later, I decided to do that starvation thing again.  This time it was a yogurt and Diet Coke at noon and maybe a lettuce salad with vegetables and some vinegar for dinner. A few more Diet Cokes and a pack of cigarettes rounded out the day.  I quickly dropped the baby weight through probably the most unhealthy way possible!

A few more years, a couple more babies and a few more rounds of yoyo dieting.  After my second baby, I joined a group called TOPS (Take off Weight Sensibly). They had weekly meetings, but really no set diet plan. We got together, got weighed and chatted about recipes. Again, I got it all off, but I wouldn’t eat at all on weigh in day! I would barely drink water! I wore as few clothes as possible. Kind of like an old school “Biggest Loser”.

I gave up after baby three, and I think in my head I reasoned that every time I lost weight again, I got pregnant again. I decided to just stay where I was at that point.  I was a fat, unhappy smoker who drank a lot of Diet Coke and started my day with two Excedrin to get out of bed. Of course there is a lot more going on than just my problems with eating by this point, but that is a post for another day.

When baby three turned 9, I decided it was time for a life change. It was a new millennium, I was staring turning 40 in the eye and I found yoga that year. What a great year! This was the year I decided that being a vegetarian was the only way to eat. I gave up meat, practiced yoga every day, quit smoking, started walking, which led to running, which led to training for a marathon, which let to, YUP, another really bad relationship with food!

The year I trained for the marathon, I was eating roughly 1200 calories a day. I was teaching yoga classes, lifting weights and running. I was doing some type of working out at least 2 hours a day.  I lost weight. I lost hair, I was exhausted. But damn it, people kept telling me I looked great!  Unfortunately, by the time I finished the marathon, my body was broken. I wouldn’t even drink Gatorade during the race because it had calories in it! After the race, I wanted nothing more than a Big Mac. I hadn’t had any fast food, much less meat, in a couple of years. I ate it, lived with a stomach ache for a week and gained 8 pounds between the time we left for the race and when we got home three days later.

At this point, I realized that I needed to keep eating less and less and working out more and more to stay where I was weight wise. I gave up. I just couldn’t starve myself any longer. I couldn’t workout more than two hours a day! I had a business and kids. I couldn’t have every waking minute consumed with the thought of food. What could I eat, when could I eat it, how much weight would I gain if I put it in my mouth?

I went back to walking, moderate weight lifting and teaching a few yoga classes a week. I also added chicken, fish and eggs back into my diet. Within a few months, I had gained back over 20 pounds of the 60 I had lost. It was heartbreaking for me, but I felt better. My hair started coming back in thicker, I wasn’t always exhausted and my body just felt healthy.

Over the almost 10 years since this happened. I have gained back another 20 pounds of that weight. I still walk almost every day. I have done many more races including half marathons and another full marathon. This time with no time goal other than to finish. I still teach  yoga and I love to lift weights.

I still have major issues with my relationship with food. Real food to me now just means whole foods with no artificial crap in them. We eliminated artificial sweeteners from our diet. We also won’t buy anything with ingredients we can’t pronounce. This is a step in the right direction, BUT….

I feel like I have been hungry for like, I don’t know, 12 years. I hadn’t had a doughnut in several years until a few weeks ago. Food and guilt have gone hand in hand for me since I was 17 years old. Anytime I have put anything in my mouth that I don’t think I should be eating, I can feel guilty for hours or days.  I am jealous of people who can eat and not get fat. They piss me off.

This is where we come back to www.fatnutritionist.com  She talks about getting right with food. Finding that center where you work out some, eat intuitively and get comfortable in  your own skin.  I need to work on that place. Many people need to work on that place. More women I think that men? I might be wrong.

So today, I start the journal. This journal is different. Rather than tracking every calorie, worrying about ever gram of fat or protein, I am going to track how I FEEL when I eat. Getting in tune with the intuitiveness and mindfulness of eating. Listening for true hunger rather than eating out of boredom or thirst.  I will be eliminating a few things during this journal challenge. I will limit myself to one class of wine, twice a week. I also plan to make sure that any animal products I consume are organic, local and/or free range.

Anyone else who is struggling who would like to join me on the journey?  Email me at Jennifer.monsos@gmail.com I would love a journal buddy while I work on my relationship with food.

Have a great Monday…