All foods fit. Make peace with all foods. YEEEES. Here’s the only but: how do you continue to heal your relationship with foods when certain foods make you feel literally like sh*t? This is a tough subject and important for many of you. Listen to the latest Love Food podcast for options to sift through on your Food Peace journey.
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This episode’s Dear Food letter:
I wish we had become friends sooner because just this year I’m realizing how good it truly feels to be on the same team.My mother hated and feared you, yo-yo-ing from diet to diet. Though I know she tried to insulate me from this, and always told me I was beautiful, her hatred of her body was palpable. The first time I remember thinking “I’m fat” was the first day of fourth grade. From there on out, I restricted. I declared myself a vegan in seventh grade, which happened to coincide with puberty. I associated the new attention from boys with my sudden weight loss, a correlation I still struggle with. I continued restricting my eating and obsessively exercising throughout highschool. When college came, I realized drunken nights out presented an opportunity to X; I could eat pizza or Oreos and then X and blame the alcohol. Gradually bulimia crept into my sober life, too, and I began purging regularly, any time I ate outside of my rigid framework.
My therapist at the time introduced me to intuitive eating and HAES. I remember laughing out loud through hopeless tears when she told me; it literally felt like a joke. I regained weight my first year out of college and I was miserable. I tried to mentally prepare myself for another grueling six months or a year of restriction and exercise to get back down to my goal weight, and I found I just didn’t have it in me. I started eating and moving intuitively in earnest that year. It’s now been two years and I finally feel free to eat whatever I want. I exercise regularly and I’m stronger than I’ve ever been. But now I have a new problem.
My body doesn’t actually get along with all types of you, food. My stomach is very sensitive and I’m very, very lactose intolerant. When I eat dairy products, my digestive system seems to collapse. I have terrible stomach pain and horrible gas and diarrhea for days. Fried foods seem to do the same– they run through me and leave me embarrassed and in pain. After years of harming my esophagus with stomach acid from throwing up, oily or spicy food gives me terrible acid reflux. Yet the past couple of years, I have continued eating these foods because they are delicious and I feel free to eat them for the first time in my life. When I try to restrict my dairy intake, I feel like I’m back in eighth grade, eating vegan. When I’m out with friends and everyone but me is eating pizza or fried street food, I feel like I’m back in college, afraid to touch “bad foods” and denying myself the simple pleasures that I so deeply feared to partake in.
How do I move forward? My goal for this year is to try to sink even more deeply into intuitive eating, and to simultaneously find a way to respect the boundaries of what my body can and cannot process. I don’t want to be constantly dealing with stomach pain, or trying to hold in gas and having to rush to the bathroom at a moment’s notice. What do I do if I want to keep healing but many of the fear foods I’ve worked so hard to reintegrate actually wreak havoc on my body? I’m scared if I put ANY hard and fast rules in place it will feel like a new chapter in restriction and will become a slippery slope. Is there a way to restrict for foods that are incompatible with my digestive health while maintaining a clear intuitive eating mindset?
Trapped between extremes
- Julie Dillon RD blog
- Link to subscribe to the Love Food’s Food Peace Syllabus.
- Beth Rosen’s website (this is Julie’s go-to IBS expert): GoodnessGraciousLiving.com
- Intuitive Eating book and website
- Find an Eating Disorder Dietitians near you.
Do you have a complicated relationship with food? I want to help! Send your Dear Food letter to LoveFoodPodcast@gmail.com.