Content Warning: Disordered Eating
My relationship with food has not always been healthy. I've lived through periods as seeing food as an enemy, as my crutch and as something that I needed to eat as much of as possible to have some control over my life. At times, scarcity mentality won and other times, the very unhealthy societal conditioning pushed to the forefront of my mind. Either way, I feel like although I usually eat healthy, some of my habits are far from healthy.
I've also lived through the popularity of many few fad diets, Olestra, Fen-phen and the rise of "low fat" and then "low calorie" products. My parents lifted weights and for many years of my childhood, ate clean and watched their weight. There were also times when we didn't have much, and that we ate at McDonald's multiple nights a week, although those times were less prevalent.
Often, I remember cooking being a big part of the evening. There was almost a ritual around it. My mom was a waitress and my dad was a chef, so food was definitely important and it served as a decompression and connection time after our busy days.
As I got older, I was out with friends more and eating at home less. I was easily swayed by society, friends and the need to feel attractive. I went through lots of cabbage soup and baby food, before realizing that I didn't actually need to lose any of my 110 pounds.
At 13, I went vegetarian for animal ethicacy reasons. I quit eggs the following year and milk the year after. I didn't research first. The internet had just been installed in my house and Google wasn't a thing, plus, I didn't really think of the fact that I may need to be sure I was getting everything my body needed. I ate a lot of Oreos and Lays potato chips during these years.
I've definitely never felt healthier but especially with the pandemic and changes in habits, I have added some weight. I actually really haven't minded how I look or feel. The only difficulty is that, being an aerialist, I have to pull myself into the air, go upside-down (in other words, getting my butt over my head) and have the endurance to essentially strength train and do cardio for multiple minutes at a time. An extra 20 pounds makes this all a bit more difficult, which causes me to train less and get discouraged.
I find myself stressing over getting enough calories (leading to what I call "scarcity eating") and I've been struggling with a bit of brain fog. I thought these were all great reasons to start Nutritional Counseling with Jess.
My favorite part about our initial talk was working with someone who actually knows the vegan diet and how to make it healthy and work well for an athlete. She gave me pointers on my brain fog and energy dips, advice on how to make sure I was getting those precious omegas and I set goals and discussed how to make meeting them easier.
Jess really took the time to find out about my past (disordered eating, body image issues, etc.) and kept that in mind as she was helping me to make a plan. She did not urge me to make huge changes and instead, kept expectations and diet/exercise adjustments small. I feel like the things that we discussed are very attainable and I'm excited to get started with them.
I'm really looking forward to our future sessions. I'll be using this blog as a journal so that anyone who is interested can check in and read about what this experience is like. If you have questions for me, feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org and if you have questions for Jess (including how to start your own Nutritional Counseling sessions), you can reach out to her at email@example.com.