This is my 101st post!
You may have noticed that it’s been pretty quiet on here lately. The last time I posted was at the end of May! At the time, I was still trying to keep sugar off my plate. Shortly after I wrote that post, I realized that I was tired of trying so hard for minimal benefit and it was time to go back to life as usual.
Only, for whatever reason, this time was different without much pomp and circumstance. I gradually reintroduced sugar and didn’t find myself craving it like a crazy person during periods of abstinence. Research suggests that new habits take approximately 66 days to stick. In my case, I was eating sugar-free for 5 months. Perhaps, because I had dampened my reliance on it, its reintroduction was less satisfying than my prior sugar-addicted brain and taste buds had anticipated.
I had toyed with the idea of charting my sugar intake in July. I thought it would be interesting to compare how much sugar I actually consumed vs my estimated intake charted in my “Coulda Woulda” post. However, that plan fell through. I reached a point where I was getting really sick of “diets” and everything that went with them. I didn’t want to record anything or have to pay such close attention to everything that I ate. Luckily, I have internalized the low-FODMAP diet, so my shopping and meal planning are automatically centered around the foods that I know will give me the least grief even when “anything” goes.
I really feel as if I have the healthiest relationship with food that I ever have. It’s been a long road to get here, but I am happy to have finally arrived! This isn’t to suggest that I have a “perfect” relationship with food. That does not exist. I still eat for comfort or celebration at times when I am not hungry. The important distinction between my days of self-loathing and now is that I allow it and move on without feeling guilty. I am able to stop eating when full, because eating beyond that no longer fills me up the way it once did. I acknowledge why I am eating the way that I am (stressed out, tired, social circumstances, etc.), analyze whether or not I would do the same thing next time, and adjust my habits accordingly. Mindfulness is key to this transformation.
I never gave food much thought prior to my junior year of college when I started to restrict and binge. I started to label foods “good” and “bad” and could only resist my favorites for so long before an inevitable binge would ensue. It was an ongoing battle complicated by malabsorption issues, perfectionism, and depression. As a child and teenager, I ate like an average American. I’d snack on Dorito’s after school and eat plain white bagels with cream cheese for lunch. I had a healthy relationship with food in the sense that I didn’t stress out over my meal options or worry about my weight, but I often made unhealthy choices.
These days I have the best of both worlds. My standard eating pattern is full of healthy foods that I enjoy eating, but when I stray for a meal or an entire weekend, I appreciate my junky indulgences and go back to my usual pattern of eating without beating myself up over my fall from grace. I finally know which foods I can digest which allows me to make informed decisions about my food choices. By paying attention, giving myself permission, and having the knowledge of how various foods affect me, everything falls into place.
I have finally come to terms with the fact that my fibromyalgia doesn’t care as much about my dietary manipulations as I do. Being absolute didn’t lead to absolution. Tweak as I may, wish as I might…it’s still there whether or not I am virtuous enough to eat dairy-free, gluten-free, sugar-free, etc. However, it’s nice to know that eating a very clean diet does make my symptoms rear their head less often and with less vigor. It’s a tool I can use when I’ve deemed the benefits outweigh the costs. There may be times when eating a boring diet is superior to the convenience of a quick meal at Jimmy John’s. There will be other times where eating onions in a veggie tart with friends is worth the tummy chaos for the pleasure of flavor and company. I’ve gotten much better at striking a balance in the gray zone without getting trapped in my black and white tendencies. For the past couple of months, I haven’t followed any specific diet beyond my standard low-FODMAPs template. This is naturally lower in dairy, sugar, and gluten thanks to the necessity of limiting lactose, fructose, and fructans respectively, so it kind of works out.
I had been wanting to lose a few pounds but was really struggling with how to go about it. With fibromyalgia, it’s hard to plan a workout regime with any confidence. You never know when a flare will leave you down and out of commission. For me, I get broken more often than not where exercise is concerned. As a result, I was left with the traditional option of calorie counting. I decided that that option was not healthy for me either now that I’d just gotten used to my newfound healthy relationship with food. A surefire way to fuck up a healthy relationship with food is to start obsessing over every calorie that goes into your mouth. With a natural tendency towards perfectionism, calorie counting is a slippery slope to disordered eating. The calculator on the computer says you’ve already met your calorie quota for the day, so you go to bed with a growling stomach. It’s no way to live.
After bitching about my conundrum with several understanding girlfriends, I finally talked myself into just eating smaller portions and trying to sit on my butt less. That was the best I could offer the process. I made a silent pact with myself that if nothing were to come of it, so be it. Health o’er everythang.
To my surprise, it worked. I’ve lost 4 pounds in 1 month which is exactly the amount I could hope to lose if I were to follow a program based on standard weight loss protocols. It’s not a perfect system, but it’s working all the same. I’m not letting myself get too attached to my new weight, because I know how easy it is to regain such a small amount of weight. Not to mention that winter and all of the comfort eating that goes along with it is hiding just round the corner…
In any case, I’m pretty happy with my current situation. As a result, I think it may be time to break up with this blog. It’s not you! It’s Me! I’m tired of the diet roller coaster and of over analyzing every symptom, wondering if it was the cheese on my burger. I’ve exhausted my dietary trials. Since this blog is essentially dedicated to that purpose, it seems logical to retire.
I may still write occasional posts for shits and giggles, but I have no idea what I’d write about. No promises there. All I know is that I’m sick of talking about my health problems. I’ve hit a dead end. I accept this and have no further comment where my diet is concerned. It could be fun to write general pieces on nutrition research or something in that vein. We shall see where the wind shall blow me. Haha, I said “blow me”. :D
Mixed messages aside, you guys are da best. Thanks for reading my blabs over the past 3+ years. I shall miss this place where diet and swear words collide. I’ve learned a lot, but it’s time to move on.