A Reaction To Food Influences and Getting Back To Center

 

 

A look at food influences today and how we need to listen to ourselves individually rather than let social media and others make our decisions for us.

Guys, I love food.

If you follow me on Instagram, you obviously know my love of both eating AND photographing food. If you don’t, then I’m sure you still have a pretty good idea by reading my weekly favorites posts since they’re usually more than 50% food products. The only reason this isn’t a food blog is because most of the time I have no idea to actually create food aside from following someone else’s recipe.

Ok, that’s an exaggeration. I don’t wish that this blog was entirely dedicated to food because then I would also have a hard time writing posts like this.

I’ve discussed it before, but for new readers here is a quick recap —

About a year after I entered recovery for drugs and alcohol, I developed some pretty serious disordered eating issues. Thankfully, I used the people I had met in recovery for one set of disordered behaviors to help me with a second. I slowly but surely started to reshape my relationship with food and found myself in a place where I was able to eat it because I enjoyed it and not use it as a tool to shame, reward, or punish myself emotionally and physically.

Because of the up and down relationship I’ve had with food and exercise over the years, I’m sensitive to phrases that I hear from other people pushing for clean eating or the denial of foods. It’s not even that I’m as personally sensitive to it as I am wary of how these messages will be internalized by groups of women who may be in the same place that I once was.

Over time, I’ve gotten almost combative to phrases such as “I have to work off all this food” and “I’m fasting to save my calories for ______,” to name a few. You know how something gets hyped up and you don’t want to try it just because everyone else does? Well, I’ve gotten angry about everyone else’s preoccupation with food and how it may impact younger or more impressionable people. As a result, I’ve somehow started staging some kind of personal protest that only I know I’m involved in and seems to only be impacting me. Ha.

If you’re unfamiliar with my food philosophy, I believe you should eat whatever you want. I believe if you don’t have any health complications related to your diet then you should love and enjoy food however you wish. Listen to your body and eat to nourish, fuel, and make it happy.

Lately, per my weird personal protest only I seem to know about, I see people advocating for fit bodies and “making up” for food choices and I jump to the other end of the spectrum just to challenge that idea. I eat whatever I want. I post about donuts 2145677 in one week.

It seems like a grand time, but I also end up eating when I’m not hungry or eating something that I truly don’t enjoy to prove that people can eat whatever they want. I’ve somehow developed some type of aversion to consciously planning my own healthy meals in protest of seeing them advertised in unhealthy ways.

All this makes me feel like I am challenging some kind of new social norm, but by taking a step back it feels more like I am again using food to deal with emotions and control situations that I don’t have control over, just in the opposite way.

More specifically, what I think I’m actually doing, is trying to protect any previous version of myself who may be on the internet by showing that you can be happy and healthy without spending $25 on a jar of coconut yogurt or only eating half a piece of chocolate. That you don’t have to work out 24/7 to be fit. That you don’t need to buy special health products or put 96 adaptogenic herbs in your smoothies.

A lot of this post is a mind dump that I’m trying to coherently weave together. It’s a little bit about me and a little bit about you. I want to protect everyone and not have people go through what I did by buying into a lot of misinformation and comparison, but honestly that’s not my job. It’s also pretty impossible.

I’m writing this to remind myself that the only thing I can control is myself. People, places, and things are all out of my control. Just as you do, I need to find my own version of balance and not find myself so averse to advocating for a healthy lifestyle that doesn’t involve SO many desserts and gluttonous foods.

I love warm salads and foods that nourish me. If I eat too many sweets I get sleepy and want to take a nap. I also find my athletic performance suffers more when the foods I’m eating aren’t the best for me. By listening to my body and making food choices that way instead of through some desire to protect the world or fight influences I might take issue with, I feel like I will be able to find my balance again.

I suppose my takeaway for this post is to find your own medium. See how your body feels after certain foods or meals. If there’s no issue, don’t let outside influences push you towards behaviors that aren’t intrinsic. Become educated about products before you buy them. Be true to you.

For anyone concerned, I will still seek out donuts in every new place I go because they are beautiful and delicious. I just may not eat three of them. 🙂

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14 Comments

  1. December 4, 2017 / 9:22 am

    A great post, Erin. I used to increase my work outs or add miles to my run just to compensate for my over eating. Somewhere, somehow I lost my pause button. As my weight inched up I began various cleanses and food programs, vegan, vegetarian, Palio, raw… I once did the master cleanse for 28 days! It was pointed out to me, (duh) that the first bite of over eating sets in motion the craving for more. It’s that first bite that gets me, just like that first drink. I also eliminated my trigger foods, like that crack hazelnut creamer that I put in my morning coffee. One day at a time.
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    • erinsinsidejob
      December 4, 2017 / 12:22 pm

      One day for sure. You got this Monica!

  2. Loved the post as always, Erin. I used to look at other people, what they were eating, and compare it to myself. If I ate more, I’d beat myself up over it. It’s important to remember that everyone’s needs are different. What your friend needs to survive is not the same as what you need!

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  3. December 4, 2017 / 10:43 am

    It’s almost as if we’ve been chatting. I’ve been told that I sometimes talk in my sleep – do you sneak in at night and listen? lol

    I’ve also kind of launched that same protest and, like yours with you, it’s only impacting me. I’ve lost my sense of balance and I’m trying to figure out how to get it back. For me, I’m certain it’s more to do with stress than fighting against what I see on social media, but I know that social media doesn’t always help. I woke up this morning with a renewed sense of purpose and a desire to get back to ME (where did I go??) and honestly, that’s the first time I’ve felt that in a while. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this and making me feel less like I was on a crazy island in the middle of an ocean surrounded by “bad” choices. ha. But seriously, thank you.

    • erinsinsidejob
      December 4, 2017 / 12:21 pm

      YOULL NEVER KNOW.

      I’m glad you can relate and it’s tough going through those periods. I’m on one now and just working on getting back somewhere in the middle.

  4. Lindsay
    December 4, 2017 / 11:57 am

    Erin,
    I love this post. I’ll admit, sometimes I see all those donuts and wonder how you don’t blow up by eating all that, then I remind myself that not everyone has a problem with food.
    I agree that is so hard to know what to do sometimes because of all the clean eating and supplement posts making you wonder if you should be doing that. It’s definitely overkill. I also get sucked into looking at all the beautiful people (and food) and it’s just so all-consuming.
    Personally, I have a problem with bingeing, so I feel like when I eat “bad” foods it sets me off on a string of overeating and craving more. It’s something I’m working on, and if I’m being honest with myself, all the social media probably isn’t helping.
    I think it’s awesome you realized what you did about yourself and are trying to change it. When I eat “clean” I feel great mentally and physically and my workouts are improved, and when I eat poorly it’s the opposite, but I know a little balance goes a long way.
    I had a scare about 5 months ago where I was literally eating whatever and whenever I wanted and didn’t think it was a big deal bc I’m in shape and work out. I started to see the numbers on the scale creep up and was feeling uncomfortable in my own skin and I knew it was an issue that I had to take care of, and I did. I still slip up.
    It definitely helps to know other people have issues too, so thanks for sharing. I love your posts! (I’m @linds_coffee on IG)

    • erinsinsidejob
      December 4, 2017 / 12:20 pm

      Thanks so much for your reply Lindsay! That’s exactly where I am now. Of course I still exercise, but I’m eating whatever and it’s starting to affect how I feel in my own skin.

      Also, I usually buy a bunch of donuts at once, photograph them all, and then try to split them w people or just don’t eat them all. If it’s one I totally eat it, but I’m not actually eating a dozen donuts by myself 😂😂

  5. December 4, 2017 / 1:57 pm

    Thank you for addressing this and for putting so eloquently what has been running through my mind for months now. I think it’s so common for people with a disordered eating past to later overcompensate and basically say F it all to healthy eating. I know I got into this weird mindset where I was like ya know what, I’m gonna have cake. And the next day, it was like I’m gonna have this cookie! And it was more of a rebellious doing what I couldn’t in the past rather than actually eating what I was craving. I think now I’m slowly getting reattuned to what my body actually needs, and more often than not, that’s a pretty healthy selection of foods.
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  6. Lindsay
    December 4, 2017 / 1:58 pm

    Haha, I figured you weren’t eating ALL of them, but I do wonder how much of them you eat. Only bc I’m all up in people’s business when it comes to food! I would not have that much restraint!

  7. December 4, 2017 / 6:14 pm

    I am all about the “everything in moderation” approach. I don’t believe in cutting out certain food groups and only eating healthy all the time.

    I found that 95% of the time, I want to eat what makes me feel good. And the last 5%? I allow myself to eat whatever I want (because in moderation, even bad food choices have a purpose!).
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  8. December 4, 2017 / 6:37 pm

    Again, thank you for your openness. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in other people’s ways of life. It sometimes makes me hesitant to be super open about my workout plans, what I eat, etc., because I don’t want people comparing themselves to my individual life. We’re all so different, and it’s important to do what works for us and only us.
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  9. December 6, 2017 / 9:17 am

    Thankful for the heart you have for this issue Erin; you have such a sensitivity to balance and to those who have disordered eating issues. This is why I keep coming back to your Instagram, because you have that balance. I love the salads, cookies, donuts, and just everything that you share; I understand how frustrating the diet talk can be, and I’m so thankful for you and that God has placed you in my life and the lives of others to share that balance. It blesses me and others so much.
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  10. December 6, 2017 / 12:36 pm

    This post is a breath of fresh air amidst all of holiday healthy eating talk. I’m sick of the extremes…sometimes I just want to eat Christmas cookies with my family and move on.

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