Because of my binge eating disorder, it has always been hard for me to stick to a healthy eating plan. Even when I lost a lot of weight on Weight Watchers, I did it by eating 4-5 Skinny Cow ice cream sandwiches a day, McDonald's Happy Meals with a diet coke, and fat free cheese. A totally unhealthy lifestyle but it fit the "points"and I lost weight. However, I never addressed the food addiction so I never got better and put most of the weight back on. Stress would trigger cravings and I would think "I can have one milkshake." Next thing I know, I am driving out in the middle of the night to the 24hour Dunkin Donuts and binge eating at McDonalds three times a day.
The Whole30 diet that we are doing for this month is about so much more than just what food you eat, it is about a lifestyle change. They encourage eating organic fruits and veggies, and pastured, humanely raised meats if you have access to these things. They also promote a healthy sleep schedule, exercise, active recovery from exercise, stress management, personal growth, and more. I believe this time I have done so much better with my Whole30 because I have tried to incorporate all of their suggestions such as sleep, recovery, and personal growth. However, there was one thing that we did which I believe has helped in starting to break my binge eating disorder cycle.
Last week we took a visit to Fair View Meadow Farm where we get our locally raised, pastured, "happy" meat. This changed the way I think about processed food and overeating. I see these beautiful animals that help heal me and I think, "What a dishonor to them to binge on junk food when they have given so much for my health and healing." I also learned how much work the farmers have to do to bring such amazing food to our table and it really bothers me to think that I would eat manufactured Skittles from a bag or food that is made from factories or places like McDonald's where the animals, farmers, and workers are treated horribly. So not only have I not eaten anything that is not Whole30, but we have not eaten out anywhere, except a "naked" roast chicken from Whole Foods when we ran out of backup food on a trip. Once you learn how food is made and all the added stuff most companies and even family owned restaurants put into the food to make it saltier, fattier, and sweeter, it makes you see things differently. It is ethically irresponsible for me, since I do have a choice and the resources to choose where I eat, to participate in a system that is unjust.
So my biggest challenge this Whole30 is not overeating dried and regular fruit because that is where I can see the binge eating disorder taking over. I can still also overeat wholesome food, and it is a myth that "no one overeats broccoli and fish." If there is nothing else to eat in the house, yes I will overeat whatever is there. That in itself was an important thing for me to learn because everyone tells you no one overeats healthy food and so you don't even realize the disorder is as bad as it is. But again, knowing where the food comes from has helped me realize that overeating good food is just wasting it. I should not waste food, instead I should eat well and honor the animals and people who brought me the food, as well as honor my own body which does not deserve to be filled with chemicals, antibiotics, food dye, and processed oils which hurt and do not heal me.
I know recovery from an eating disorder is a long road and often includes relapse (like the homemade beef jerky I ate like it was a bag of potato chips last night), but it is clear to me that I see things differently now than I did before.