I have been eating ice cream every day.
This is a far cry from the woman I was last year, who thought sugar was dangerous and should be avoided at all costs.
And it’s even farther from the 20-year-old who cut out food groups, did “cleanses” where she did not eat, was paranoid of eating basically anything, and desperately tried to “fix” her body.
This has been a massive process for me.
For my entire teenage life, I was obsessed with fixing myself. All my ways of relating to food stemmed from this idea that I was broken, my body was against me, and I had to make it better.
First it was acne, then digestive issues, then rashes, and over the past few years, it’s become many issues related to my cycle.
I let go of the anxious, obsessive, restrictive part of me in my early twenties.
I really had to let go of her, I started eating everything again. But at that time, “eating everything” meant eating Cheetos and Chips Ahoy and whatever else I wanted at that time.
A few years ago I realized that my period was getting worse.
I had many symptoms, but the biggest one was that I started getting blood in my poop every month when I bled, a symptom of pretty significant endometriosis. I’ve been to many doctors and it became very clear that nobody was going to help me unless I wanted to take the pill or get surgery, which I did not.
I cut out gluten and dairy because that was what everyone I could find online said to do.
Even though I was pretty sure those foods didn’t bother my system.
Last year I did keto because I read a piece by someone who said it helped her endometriosis. To do a restrictive diet when I had been orthorexic in the past was quite a difficult thing to hold myself through, but I could and I did.
For basically an entire year since then I had been super low-carb. Barely eating sugar or grains, except on the rare occasion. I thought wow, look at me, being so healthy, it’s not even hard.
But you know the truth?
Beneath all these different types of diets, beneath the “eat everything” phase.
I didn’t know how to feed myself.
And I could not break the biggest pattern that I had: going way too long without eating between meals.
I told myself it was probably good (intermittent fasting! that’s what keto people love to do!)
Last year I learned how important this was hormonally. How the single biggest thing to help your body balance hormones is to stabilize blood sugar by eating every few hours.
I was not open to looking at this pattern of avoiding eating, not really. So I translated this information into what was easier for me – eating less sugar.
That had to be good right? Everyone thinks sugar is bad. If I don’t eat sugar my blood sugar won’t spike.
And then about two months ago I found Jessica Ash’s work.
It was perfect timing for me and in reading her work it suddenly made everything I had researched about food in the past click together and make sense.
I started eating breakfast within a half hour of waking up.
I started eating every 3 hours.
And I started eating a lot of high-quality, grass-fed dairy. And organ meats. And red meat – my favorite, that I had tried to limit in the past because it was “bad.” And oysters. And bone broth. And gelatin. And potatoes – oh my god, potatoes. And coconut water and endless tropical fruit and fresh squeezed orange juice every morning.
The biggest thing that I had to confront first was my not eating pattern. That I had completely wanted to avoid.
Every morning for at least the past couple years I would wake up and spend the next couple hours being annoyed that I had to make breakfast. I would lay around with Jordan, maybe do some work, maybe play on my phone. I would get hungrier by the minute and I would resent my body for being hungry until it either stopped feeling as hungry or I ended up in tears because of how hungry I was.
I would then eat breakfast and feel relief.
And then it would be time to think about making lunch and I would feel annoyed and stressed that I had to make food again.
I had a 1:1 session with a woman last year who was the first one to question me about this pattern. Maybe she was the first person I had really explained it to.
We were talking about the issues with my cycle and I explained how annoyed I was with my body for being hungry all the time.
She stopped in her tracks and looked at me very seriously and she said: “You are angry at your body for having needs. This is the root of all of it.”
And I heard her but it took another 6 months to really be willing to look at it.
There have been many pieces of this puzzle that have been coming all together. And I could write a book about all of them – the emotional work I’ve been doing has been just as essential as the physical things I’ve been eating.
I’ve been unearthing the ways in which I wasn’t allowed to have needs as a child. The ways my needs were made wrong, and I learned to not have boundaries and not listen to my body.
I repeated these patterns in how I related to myself as an adult.
For a while, last year, I was convinced that the food patterns were simply related to the fact that it was hard to have to make food throughout the day. Jordan and I actually had a personal chef delivering our meals for a few months because of this.
But you know when something is a pattern when you think you solve the problem but it just shows up in a different form.
We had all the food made and prepared in our fridge. And I STILL would not eat, would not prepare it. I would either say “I don’t feel like making it,” or I would decide that I didn’t want that particular meal that day and would barely eat any of it, or wouldn’t touch it at all.
When I started eating within a half hour of waking up – eggs, potatoes, and orange juice – I was astonished at how much energy I suddenly had. Like, I would wake up and immediately prepare breakfast and eat, and then I would look at Jordan and be like, now what?
The few hours of drama I had with myself in the morning was suddenly gone.
In eating every few hours I regularly found myself in tears from how GOOD IT FELT TO ACTUALLY EAT.
To give myself permission to eat things like cheese and steak and lots of homemade jello and sugary fruit. Honey. Maple syrup.
And in this I found that my body was actually STARVING.
In the beginning it felt like I was hungry every hour. So I ate. And I kept eating. And every time I felt hungry instead of being annoyed that my body was hungry again I was like oh, wow, you’re hungry, let’s feed you.
My hunger has shifted over the past month but it is still there. I can sometimes go 3 hours (the recommended time frame) without getting too hungry. But more often I am eating every 2 hours or so.
I also started having a giant bowl of ice cream before bed every night. (sometimes now I have replaced this with hot chocolate, or milk with honey – I have been playing with different options to see what my body likes most).
Jessica Ash calls this the bedtime snack and has a lot of info about how our livers need to stay full of glucose in order to do their job well.
I won’t go too into that here except to say: I have been having a lot of sugar at night every night.
Last week I slept through the night for 4 nights in a row.
Prior to this, I can count on one hand how many nights I have slept through the night in the past TWO YEARS.
Every night, I would wake up at 2 am, and then fall back asleep.
I had actually been blaming it on Jordan’s snoring, lol.
Since those 4 nights in a row I’ve probably had another 3 or 4 nights where I’ve slept all the way through.
If I don’t eat enough at dinner and my bedtime snack, I’m pretty much guaranteed to wake up at 2.
I feel like I am in this learning process with my body, figuring out what is best. The best night’s sleep I’ve had was actually after a meal we had at Jordan’s parents’ place, where I ate ham and potatoes with cheese and meringue with cream and berries and decaf coffee with sugar and then came home and ate ice cream.
I’m serious. I slept so well and woke up the next morning feeling amazing.
And this last period was probably the most pain-free period I’ve had in many years.
I have been waking up most mornings at 5 am, without an alarm, with a lot of energy.
In the beginning I was really worried that my skin would break out again. It had cleared up pretty much entirely when I stopped eating sugar. And it was so bad when I was a teenager – it ruled my entire life.
So I was nervous.
And I did break out a little bit at first, which Jessica Ash said to expect, as when our bodies are fully nourished they can start detoxing excess estrogen.
But something interesting I noticed about these breakouts was that they were different than usual. They were tiny, and in strange spots on my face, where I don’t typically break out.
So I didn’t worry about it, and they went away. I expect that will probably occur in cycles as my body heals.
And then there has been the weight gain.
I have been preparing and expecting to gain weight. Jessica says this, that as we finally feed our bodies with the nutrients they need, they will put on “safety weight.”
Basically my body has been in stressed-out, starvation mode for probably the past 15 years of my life (honestly maybe my whole life, since my childhood consisted of a lot of pop tarts and lucky charms, lol).
You may have seen the process I’ve gone through around stopping lifting weights. I imagine at some point in the future I will pick that back up, in a different way, when I am ready. But I have already been adapting to what my body looks and feels like without all that muscle.
And now I have been noticing my butt getting bigger and fatter (Jordan is thrilled!!), and my belly starting to appear.
I truly would have told you I was over all body issues.
And this has been the biggest test for me yet.
I have been noticing a sneaky pattern during this past week, as my belly grows a bit.
I will notice my belly and be like oh wow, I am gaining weight.
And then a little while later I will hear this bratty part of myself not want to eat. It feels like I want to throw a temper tantrum, in a way.
She sounds like “I don’t want any of these foods, I do not feel like eating!”
And when I tune into it, the spot she is covering is that she hates that we are gaining weight.
And I am having to go all the way back into my teenage years, into the ten-magazines-a-year I was obsessed with reading, into this conditioning that because I am skinnier I am better.
The other day I had the thought appear that I did not want people at the beach to see me “getting fat” because then they would think I was letting myself go and that I didn’t have the discipline to be skinny when really I did but I was just trying to be healthy again. But they wouldn’t know the healthy part. So I didn’t want them to see me fat and think that.
It has taken a lot of sitting with my little girl, journaling with her, letting her know I love her, to hold myself through this process.
And actually it hasn’t been hard.
Because it feels so good to actually eat – and to eat all these foods I thoroughly enjoy eating.
I sobbed when I slept through the night more than one night in a row.
I can feel how safe my body is starting to feel. How important supporting it is.
And that is truly worth everything.
I honestly never thought I would write a post about food, or eating.
Or weight gain!
I spent so much of my life researching and stressing about different foods and trying different diets that honestly when people talk about food I tend to check out. It is hard for me to be with other people’s disorder around eating if they don’t recognize it. Most of our culture has some issue in their relationship to food.
I would have much preferred to go through my food stuff on my own – like when trying keto last year, I didn’t tell anyone (except for the people in my actual life who had to eat with me).
But this new relationship with eating is affecting every single thing in my life in the most beautiful way.
And this is only the beginning.
It feels as though in all areas I am stepping into fully parenting myself.
And I can also feel how the way I am nourishing myself right now is preparing me to be a mother (I think we have 4 years or so til that will happen, if it does).
I am no longer relating to my body from this place of “it is broken, I must fix it.”
Instead it feels as though I am just taking care of myself.
Without any attachment to how my body changes or what happens as a result of that.
Just from the place of: This is what it feels like to be nourished, and I will give that to myself.
If you liked this piece, you might also enjoy:
– The fitness world is built to disconnect you from your body
– A look inside my life right now: dropping Daddy/little girl, moving from maiden into mother
– Your ego will tell you that you need to have goals
– Running on empty: nourishing yourself before it is too late
– 10 things I’ve learned about money that may surprise, disgust & delight you