Part of my mental reprogramming around food and health and body image is trying to stop categorizing “good days” and “bad days” based on food and fitness. This requires letting go of the idea that having the periodic pizza is bad, or that ice cream is bad, or that donuts and french fries are bad. And for awhile, I was existing in a world where all of that was in moderation and I had stabilized at a weight that was only considered “overweight” by the metrics my doctor uses but she doesn’t like using that word even when the guides say it so this weight was okay as it seemed my “stabile” weight and it wasn’t anything that may lead to other health concerns in and of itself.

REMINDER: I don’t step on a scale often but my “goal” is to stabilize and hold the same weight for at least a year (and hopefully then longer) which I have not done ever. EVER. So I step on it about once a week just to find where my “stable” weight is and then to see if I’m holding it.

It was nice to see the same basic weight every time I stepped on, even without stressing out over food and health and fitness. It was a good thing.

And my doctor would not encourage me to lose weight for health, as long as I’m still active and moderating my unhealthy food levels.

EXCEPT my blood pressure is not so great and so I’ve been back to thinking about “good” and “bad” foods in different ways and do you know what that has done? IT HAS MADE ME CRAVE ALL OF THE OVEREATING OF ALL OF THE BAD FOODS AGAIN.

So I started binging a lot of salty/fatty foods and whenever I binge on that stuff my sugar craving skyrocket as a counterbalance and I’ve started gaining weight again.

REMINDER: I’m not stepping on a scale to lose weight, I’m stepping on it to try to maintain. I know I already said that but some people REALLY hate the scale and don’t understand why I keep stepping on it. My doctor 100% agrees that the yo-yo of weightloss/weightgain is harder on my body than any moderate stable weight so finding what “stable” is with moderate exercise and normal eating was the most important thing…AND THEN TO STAY THERE.

And I’m not staying there. And I know I haven’t been because I’ve been relying on my habit of binging through exhaustion and stress and I’ve been binging the foods that are worse on my blood pressure and then I counter balance they salty binge with a binge on sugar which is hell on my body in DIFFERENT ways.

So now I’m in this weird new place where I really do need to start thinking about food for HEALTH reasons not for WEIGHTLOSS reasons and y’all???

It’s fucking with my head.

It’s like as soon as I was back to framing “good” and “bad” foods…even for different reasons…I suddenly wanted to binge them all. This time it’s related to blood pressure and not body weight. But the binging of them has caused me to start gaining again when I had stabilized for the first time in YEARS and in the end this whole goal should be about loving a body that WILL LAST ME A LONG TIME and so I’m twisted around my own food demons again but from entirely different perspectives and also? I went back to my nightly seltzers again. It’s like for me when I start to crumble, I DO IT ALL THE WAY BABY.

So I have to really spend some time thinking about food in a different way. The “good” and “bad” classification is the easiest but it also triggers all of my terrible binging habits so I need to start framing it as I am painting a big picture of a rainbow and I don’t need to avoid red all-together…I just need to remember that the rainbow is not complete without all of the other colors. If red stands for all of the foods I need to monitor for honest-to-god health reasons and not weight reasons, I just need to step back and see how much red I have in my day. If I’m painting a full rainbow with my food, have I gotten all of the other colors in too? No one wants a rainbow with too much red. So instead of thinking about foods as being “good” and “bad” which is EASY, I have to create a more complex association around my diet and instead of good/bad just constantly be reframing the conversation around BALANCE.

BUT IT IS HARD, Y’ALL. I’m still working with my therapist but I really just want to be NORMAL, you know? Just to eat moderately without thought and to trust myself not to binge on things that are going to send me down an unhealthy path. My mother has terrible issues from high blood pressure so I know what that looks like and I do NOT want that. But I also don’t like thinking about food because it triggers all of these body image issues so on one hand it feels like I need to have CONSTANT VIGILANCE to keep this body healthy into several more decades but on the other hand THINKING ABOUT FOOD MAKES ME EAT WORSE.

Here’s to always teaching old dogs new tricks.

5 Comments

  • Charlene Lammers

    It is hard balance not to be hard on yourself. I have learned there is no good food or bad food. Just moderation.

    on the blood pressure look at your salt content. Sometimes we are getting it in the most odd places. If you can eliminate from that spot do it. Another tip. Foods wit potassium will help flush out extra salt naturally.

    You are doing a good job with yourself.

  • LC

    My parents GP is big on trying to regulate things without medicine. Both my parents have high cholesterol and she told them to a few eat brazil nuts a month. I thought it was a little odd until their numbers came back lower and that was the ONLY thing they changed.
    https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/325000.php

    So maybe something similar with your blood pressure. No extra salt, more potassium and fiber instead of “I can’t eat this, I can only eat that”.

  • Misty B Stiers

    I get it. Also – you said this: “I really just want to be NORMAL” and I know it’s in the context of all of this but when I find myself reaching for that I remember all the wonderful things that come with being NOT normal and how common those things are. How every time I’m reaching for normal I’m assuming the outside easier, healthier, better… when it’s not. It’s just different with its own challenges and aggravations. SO I’m offering unsolicited advice and parts of me hates myself for it, but part of me wants you to know how NORMAL you make me feel every day because I feel less like a singular. And how inspired I am every time you write. So please never be normal. 🙂 I adore you exactly where you are.

  • Kylie

    Your line: “I just really want to be NORMAL” hit me right in the feels. I, and I’m sure many many more, get this. So much. And I hope that you’re able to continue to find new coping strategies and healthy balance. You’re incredible for documenting this and helping so many others. You got this.

  • Maribeth

    I’m now sixty years old and I have finally gotten it. I’m no longer looking at good and bad foods, or how many points, or anything like that. My health is my first concern. And, in the end, it’s all about balance and loving your imperfect self!