Food Psych

I recently started listening to a podcast called Food Psych. I heard about it from someone on Twitter and decided to check it out. It’s about intuitive eating, breaking out of diet culture, eating disorder recovery and Healthy at Every Size.

I’ve listened to about 10 episodes so far. They are long, a little over an hour or so. Each episode starts with a Q&A and then the rest of the episode is an interview with someone new each week, depending on the topic.

I am finding it very informative and interesting.

I learned that bulimia isn’t always about throwing up after eating. It can also mean a binge and then a strict restriction period to “make up for” the binge. I did not know that.

I also learned about orthorexia.

It was interesting to hear this term and learn more about it. Reflecting on my time blogging and reading “Healthy Living Blogs” for almost a decade now, I can see clearly that that whole “thing” was probably orthorexia. Focusing on diet culture, weight loss, over-exercising, being rigid about workout schedules and only eating “healthy foods.” There was a blogger that put a carrot in a hot dog bun instead of eating a hot dog, and a bunch of other truly bizarre (and disordered) things.

I was definitely part of this culture. It makes me think long and hard about my own journey. The podcast talks about how 90% of people who lose weight cannot keep it off. I guess I fall into this category? I lost 110 pounds and kept it off for over 10 years. I think that is pretty commendable. But at the same time, I maintained my weight by strict workout schedules and very low calorie intake. I don’t know that I fall into the eating disorder category per se, but definitely the diet culture category.

Something that happened recently: Logan has been telling me repeatedly lately that he’s hungry. This is after a meal, he had plenty of food during the meal. Michael and I have questioned if he was hungry or bored. We offer “you can have applesauce or a banana or some carrots” and of course he says no. He wants the crackers or granola bar.

This has been very triggering to me. First, I remember being a kid and wanting a snack and my mom would offer fruit or vegetables only. I grew up in a very strict food house, in the 90’s when it was the all low-fat/non-fat/no-sugar craze. So we didn’t get “treats” which lead to me bingeing later.

So hearing my son tell me he’s hungry and he wants to have a sweet treat, is triggering. Michael and I have been very conscious about letting him be intuitive, not being strict with food. We don’t want him to grow up with body issues/food issues etc. I especially don’t want that because I know how it feels and what it leads to.

But here I am, Saturday afternoon when Logan has had some crackers and raisins as a snack (with watered down apple juice to drink) and he’s whining that he’s hungry and I feel MY food issues pop up and I am mixed: do I restrict him? Do I give in and potentially create not healthy eating habits?

Boys can have eating disorders, too. It’s not just girls, even if it USUALLY is girls. I don’t want Logan to grow up like I did. I don’t want him to have body shame, or become obese, etc. It’s a hard balance for me, especially since I am still trying to come to terms with my own food issues.

At one of Logan’s recent “well baby” check up appointments with his doctor, whom I REALLY liked, gave me pause. She weighed him and stuff and suggested we “monitor” his weight. I was flabbergasted. Logan has been in the 97% percentile for height his entire life. 95% sure he will be a very tall boy (my brother is 6’6) because there are a lot of tall men in both sides of the family. His weight was around the 50% percentile, as it has been his whole life as well. I didn’t question the doctor, partly because I was so surprised she even mentioned my toddler’s weight. But I left feeling like “WTF”. Logan is tall and skinny as a rail. His clothes in his size are always a little too big.

This was the first experience as a parent of “Body shaming” my kid. It stuck with me for months. And listening to Food Psych Podcast, I am hearing in these interviews of people who had their body and food issues start at a VERY young age. Like ME. I was 9 when I suddenly realized there was something “Wrong” with my body. (I was not fat in anyway, but I THOUGHT I was.)

I’m working through a lot of things right now, thinking about stuff. But I wanted to pass on the info about the podcast because I am really enjoying it and I think a lot of people will too.

Take Aways

Thank you all for the comments and feedback on my Diet Culture post. I think it resonated with a lot of people and more and more I am seeing things on social media about people kind of being “over it.” Over the constant “THINKING” about food and calories and portions and dieting. An instagram friend I’ve followed for years posted recently that she was burned out on it and has been doing Weight Watchers since like the 5th grade. One comment on my post, from Beth, said keto “consumed a lot of brain space” and that is exactly how it felt.

What have I been doing since I quit? A lot of stuff actually. I’m back to just counting calories and watching my portions but not going crazy. I’m not tracking carbs, not worrying about carbs too much. Just doing what worked before.

One thing I did, was I un-synched my Garmin to MyFitnessPal. I think part of my problem has been *thinking* I was doing good creating a deficit but not really doing it. I’d see that I had all these “Extra” calories in my app for the day and I’d think, It’s okay to eat a little bit more. So unpairing the two apps means I don’t see the calories I burn. And now my focus is just on keeping in my range (1400-1500 calories a day).

This has helped me a lot. When I reach that number for the day, I’m done. There are days I eat more. But I don’t worry about it. I’m not hungry. I do not feel like I am starving myself. I do not have intense cravings because I am depriving myself any foods. On days I AM a little extra hungry, I just eat a snack! And it’s ok.

The other thing that has happened is that I no longer associate exercise with “I need to work off ___ food”. Not that I thought of exercise as punishment. I love exercising, it’s a good stress reliever for me and makes me feel good. But there are definitely days when I am not feeling it but did anyways because of eating ____. I think we’ve all been there. Anyways, now I just exercise because I want to, when I want to.

One of the other take aways from doing keto, that is NOT negative, is that Fat Is Good. Eating healthy fats like avocado, nuts (my favorites are cashews, macadamia nuts and walnuts), olive and avocado oil, olives, etc. That stuff is good for your body, good for your brain AND makes you feel fuller.

But the more I think about it, the older I get, the more stressful life gets in general, the more 2020 throws at us…the less mental space I have for all of that stuff. Is it important? I don’t know. I am trying to be healthy. I am trying to keep my portions in control. I am still exercising. I just don’t want my entire LIFE consumed by how many calories I can eat, how many carbs I’ve had, calculating NET CARBS all day long. It is just not healthy for my mental health.

Am I happy with my current weight and body? Nope. But I am trying to make peace with it, work on it, keep doing what I am doing.

I’ve been following a lot of body positive, positive eating, sustainability, eco-positive people on Instagram recently and it’s been giving me a lot to think about. (If you guys are interested, I can provide links and names for some of my favorites.)

It’s really made me wonder how much of my journey was healthy? I lost weight in the healthiest way possible. I didn’t crash diet, I changed my lifestyle, I retrained my brain and eating habits and chose healthier options. I maintained my weight for over 10 years doing healthy things. But was it 100% healthy? Or were there things that were a little questionable? Like being so strict with my workout schedule, never deviating, feeling stressed if I was injured or sick and had to take time off. Was I healthy if I was doing keto and being super restrictive? Did I mess up metabolism for good by limiting my calories for so long? I have a lot of questions. Lots and lots of questions…