On Food Freedom and Intuitive Eating

Being a mother and in my 30s has been very liberating for me in terms of how I perceive food. In my 20s, I struggled with disordered eating for several years, surviving to a large extent on skinny vanilla lattes and protein bars, and took immense pride in barely tipping the scales at 100 lbs.

But in 2007, the disordered eating stopped. Why? Because I was forced to stop eating. I was diagnosed with a gastrointestinal blockage, and had multiple abscesses in my bowel, which had to be cleared with IV antibiotics before I could have surgery to remove the blocked piece of intestine. For three long weeks, I was in the hospital with no food by mouth. I was kept alive (barely) by IV fluids and a PICC line to my heart (which later resulted in a blood clot in my arm; a story for another day). I weighed 90 lbs, and I distinctly remember leaving the hospital in XS sweatpants that kept falling down because my waist was too narrow to keep them up.

Since then, I’ve had a wake up call about food. I am so blessed to have a working bowel that can process and absorb nutrients. We take food as sustenance for granted, and being deprived of it was a sober awakening to never starve myself again. Now, I don’t deprive myself of anything. I do have a relatively clean diet, but mostly because I actually *love* healthy food. I nourish myself with vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, and good quality dairy, but every day I have a little treat, and on the weekends I splurge. I like tacos, and ice cream, and pizza, and wine, and I find embracing these “forbidden” foods, has actually helped me keep a relatively stable weight for many years now (pregnancies aside; that’s when I allowed myself to become a gluttonous beached whale). I personally would never do a diet like Keto or Whole 30 (no offense to those who do, and find it works for them), because I don’t believe in cutting out entire food groups. I’d never measure my foods into containers that restrict portions (again, no offense to those that do), because I have a healthy appetite, and portion control isn’t really my thing. Balance and moderation are the key to happiness and health for me.

Food freedom is really the most liberating feeling in the world. I don’t stress if I “cheat” too much, or put on an lb. or two, and I just eat. I eat when my body tells me it’s hungry. I eat what my body is craving. I eat because I can.

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First I eat the tacos, then I wear the bathing suits.