THE STORY BEHIND IT ALL...
My Journey through Food and my NEW Philosophy
Okay, so I see food a little differently than most people. It's a true fact. Since I was 11 years old, I had practically downloaded an entire nutritional data base into my head because I was so obsessed with being healthy and having the 'perfect diet'. There were so many claims about how to lose weight, how bad being 'fat' was for you, what you 'should' eat....blah, blah, blah. Being a perfectionist, I took all these things to heart and tried to sculpt my diet around them. I cut out fats, sugars, carbs... and I didn't realize how much I was harming myself in these attempts to be the perfect eater.
In that way I guess my story is not so different from other people's. They wake up one day and find an extra 25 pounds has crept on. I woke up one day, and all the sudden, at the age of 11 years old, I had lost 30 pounds. By this point I was so wrapped up in my perfection that I barely ate, exercised like a maniac to the point of being totally miserable, and had no energy or interest in life whatsoever. The doctors yelled at me, my parents were at their breaking point, and I was dying. But I was too afraid to change, too caught up in what the world had been telling my, too self-concious and afraid that I was worthless if I could not master my eating.
So, here's the real deal: let's start with another introduction. I'm Sarah, and I'm a recovering anorexic.
There is a LOT more to the disease than just eating and wanting to be thin, pretty, or even the perfect eater, as I mentioned above. It is nearly impossible for me to describe all the difficulties and pressures I faced daily with anorexia. It has a lot to do with family dynamics, self-confidence, and a hundred other factors that I could go on for days about. But that's what happened in a nutshell.
On this path to recovery, I've gone into several residential treatment facilities across the country because I was so wrapped up in my anorexia. I found it impossible and scary to let go. Over the course of these stays, I've learned a much better approach to eating: The INTUITIVE EATING method. Here's how it works: You eat what you want because your body knows what it needs to keep itself fueled and happy. It's all about the moderation. Really. Try it out, even for a week. After some time, you don't WANT to eat junk anymore. I crave whole grains, yogurt, and fruits and veggies most of the time, but I still have my daily fix of chocolate and coffee because my body WANTS that.
So, in general, I eat a LOT of
- whole grains
- Protein Bars and Shakes
- Soy and Tofu
I'm not going to be preachy and tell everyone that they should give up meat, or even try to explain a whole bunch of health benefits to it. (I will never give any diet 'rules'. Those only ever lead ME down the wrong path.) Quite simply, I'm vegetarian because I love animals and was appalled by the conditions animals used for food had to live through in their short lives.
It started watching 'FOOD INC' in Freshman year. It made me feel sick.
Sophomore year, I was sent away to treatment again because of another severe drop in weight. I realized while away that eating meat lead to extra guilt whenever I ate, and considering all my struggles, I didn't need anything else on my conscience. Vegetarian meals, which I still felt guilty for eating, did not weigh on my conscience, however, since I knew no animals were harmed.
This summer, at a camp for students interested in practicing medicine as a career, we got to observe the beating heart of a fertilized chicken egg. Each student cracked the egg into a petri dish and found the live embryo. I could see the little beating life. Everyone agreed that it was amazing... until it was time to go and we had to simply dump the little life into the trash can. I felt terrible. I also considered the conflict of eating meat while being staunchly pro-life (we will leave ANY discussions out of this blog, please. It's not an appropriate forum). How could I kill this chicken life while at the same time doing everything I could to save a human one? It was settled. I went vegetarian.
And know what else?
- miss meat
- have a protein deficiency
- have an iron deficiency
- nearly drop dead every day
- Feel healthier
- Love myself more
- have the ability to enjoy my food more
So that's that.
In Christ, Sarah