Life is about flexibility – there are always new situations around the corner, unexpected decisions ready to jump out and surprise us, and unplanned happenings. With time we all learn that nothing goes 100% according to plan, no matter how much we would like it to. We can’t always control the situations around us, there’s no sure-fire way for making sure something works out. All the remains is to wake up each morning, not with a sense of fear and dread, but with a sense of excitement and eagerness for the new challenges life will present us with.
I used to be very rigid in my food rules. Recovering from an ED means I’ve had to part with a lot of food rules. There was a time in my life that eating had NO spontaneity in it. I knew days in advance what I would eat, at what time, how many calories were in it, who would be around when I ate it etc. Even typing this out is difficult for me, because its so sad to look back and see how bound and controlled I was by this horrible disorder.
Recovery has been a process of letting go of all these rules and regulation. Some things were easier, others took longer, but I am now proud to say that most of these aforementioned restrictions are no longer a part of my life. An old habit will creep up now and then, but I try my best to recognize these thoughts when they come in, and stop them before they have a chance to take a hold on my mind once more.
I believe 100% in healthy eating and living. I believe both of these components are essential to a productive and happy life. I believe that what you fuel your body with has a direct connection with how it will work for you, so it is worth it to put some time in effort into ensuring you have the right “tools to do the job”.
On the other hand, sometimes life has a way of putting us in unexpected situation where we CAN’T keep up with our health ideals. Let’s say the food we are used to eating is not available, or we are put in a situation where we are expected to eat something that isn’t entirely “whole food”. And then we are faced with a dilemma – what to do? Will it do our body more good to just skip the fuel all together, or is it better to make an exception?
I’m definitely more in favor of the second option. I think your body won’t suffer horribly if you eat a slice of white bread once in a while, or have a bit of cream in your coffee. You might even have to eat cheese if it’s the only thing available, or skip on your regular salad. But my theory is that your body won’t really tell the difference if you eat white bread over whole wheat ONCE, but it sure will let you know if you skip your fuel all together. A few hours later you will feel tired, cranky and lacking in energy. So although we should strive for healthy living, there needs to be an element of flexibility as well.
If a dessert is offered that is made with white flour and sugar, it won’t kill you either, particularly if it’s socially inappropriate to refuse (cake at a wedding perhaps). Sometimes being so rigid in your food beliefs has consequences other then just physical ones. Food and meals in our culture is so much more then the process of providing your body with energy – it’s used to bond, to celebrate, to welcome, to appreciate, to get aqainted and so much more. Missing out on these vital elements of life just because of rigid food rules just isn’t worth it.
This weekend I had to make several exceptions to my ideal “health standards”. I ate a soup with white pasta (the horror) because it was what I was served at my internship. I ate a slice of white bread twice in one day, because it was all that was available. And I ate eggs (yolk and all) two days in a row. Did it kill me? No it didn’t, but it also showed me that it is possible to be flexible and live healthily at the same time. It’s just a matter of treating your diet the same way you treat life – roll with the punches, enjoy the journey, and take each opportunity as it comes.
– this was actually really delicious :P)
Any thoughts on the matter?