Public Notice: Valentine’s Day candy is on sale! GO… GET… IT!
(I actually traded those two boxes for a big heart box of assorted chocolates soon after…)
I really wanted a heart of assorted chocolates. So I went out and bought myself one (begrudgingly because I wanted someone to buy it for me…oh well). And I did end up buying the wine that was in the same aisle because YOLO (for my mom, that means “you only live once”). It happened to be my favorite wine so I thought it was a sign. It was. Fate was calling me. Fate knows I like wine.
(Take me back to my happy place…Napa)
I’m writing this to show that even as a future RD I still occasionally have disordered thoughts about eating. In high school and the first year of college I struggled a lot with disordered eating. I won’t get into the details, but it wasn’t easy and sometimes…actually more often than I like to admit…the thoughts come flooding back in. For example, today I did a lot of things that made me feel like I shouldn’t go buy wine and chocolate (and then drink and eat said goods) even though I wanted to.
- I put off my run all day…and then decided it should be a rest day because I was just tired and the sidewalks were not looking good.
- I had chocolate for a snack today (usually I save chocolate for an evening snack).
- I have been very indulgent lately eating lots of cheese, chocolate, etc. and just eating more (hello, Megan, you are training for a marathon!)
- I have been a complete couch potato today (as you should since class was canceled…)
Why is it that these actions make me feel like I shouldn’t have what my body (and mind!) really wants? Society. I am made to feel like I should restrict myself because diet culture preaches restriction. I am made to feel like I should alter my actions to reflect what I “should” do (whatever that means…) because society breeds comparison.
I struggle with comparison a lot because I am a twin. Imagine having someone who looks like you, but isn’t you. It’s impossible to not feel constantly judged. If others aren’t comparing you to each other, you are comparing yourself. My parents always asked why my sister and I are so type-A and need to get straight As and be the best because they did not make us feel that way or foster that type of environment. The only explanation I have is being twins. We are set up to be competitive and to compare ourselves. Unfortunately I struggle with this more so I am usually the one comparing myself to Julie.
In my mind she is taller (well this is true), she runs farther and faster (she also loves running way more than I do). She has a job, a boyfriend, and a dog. She has money and travels to exotic places. It’s easy to get caught up and feel as if I am not enough. But I am just in a different chapter. I’m in graduate school. I’m still writing my future.
I “should” myself way too much. I feel that I should eat more fruit and vegetables. I feel that I should eat less chocolate (not possible as I sit here eating chocolate…). I feel that I should drink less wine (nope also drinking a glass right now). I feel that I should workout more. Blah blah blah. It never seems to end. But luckily I can filter these thoughts on good days. Other days I need a reality check and luckily my friends provide that.
We are all good enough. There is no perfect person. There is no equation of perfect actions. Be you. Be great. Be funny. Be smart. Be unique. Be you, whatever that means!
So even though I struggled with feelings of guilt today, I went out and I bought myself a discounted heart of assorted chocolates. I also bought myself that bottle of wine. Maybe I wasn’t physiologically hungry, but emotionally I wanted the wine and chocolate. I wanted to treat myself. And even though I have been a bit more indulgent lately, I deserve to treat myself. It’s not always chocolate and wine. Sometimes it’s a new workout headband from Skida or a pink running watch(talking from recent purchases). Soon it will definitely be a new tea flavor from David’s Tea.
Whatever it is, stop the “shoulds” and stop the guilt. Personally I know it’s easier said than done, but it’s a process. Intuitive eating is a process. Normal eating, especially after a period of disordered eating, is a process. Life is a process. Ask for help if you need it. Talk to friends. Talk to a professional. Journal. Whatever helps you.
You’ve got this. Don’t beat yourself up. The world tries to do that enough. Be you. Love you. Because other people do too.
For me, I’m going to be aware of these emotions and let them float on by because I am happiest when I am content with myself. If the thoughts linger, I will journal or write here. I will also talk to my friends and ask for help. I also acknowledge that February is one gloomy, hard month and I deserve some slack…and extra vitamin D.
I’m off to bed without judgement. Tomorrow is a new day.