“Clean eating” is the new big thing out there in the food-world. And I’m not saying that ironically, it is surely one of the best new developments, mostly hyped on instagram and fitness blogs or vlogs. I myself consider my diet a very clean one, and I am ALWAYS checking the ingredients lists on processed foods that I buy (and not just because I have allergies). Clean eating is definitely a BIG thing, and I myself am glad that it is. However, I don’t eat 100% clean, and not because I necessarily need to, but because I don’t want to.
In the past few weeks especially, I have been able to shift my focus off of food in a super positive way. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely adore baking, cooking, recipe testing, and all that goes along with it, but my head likes to play tricks on me, and I get caught up in a restrictive way of thinking much too quickly. Now that I am working, I find it to be a lot easier to focus less on what I’m eating, and more on simply nourishing my body because it needs the energy.
In fact, I must say I find it a lot easier to listen to my body’s needs…and respect what it needs all the same. I have told you that I struggle with overeating from time to time, but I have to say that issue has nearly become irrelevant now that I am so busy. And that’s not to say I am not eating enough, I am simply able to differentiate much better between emotional eating and hunger.
So why not just eat clean?
I have found that if I focus too much on eating “healthy snacks” only, and only baking “healthy goodies” and making sure I lower the fat and “non-clean” ingredients too much, I slip right back into restriction. For example, a guest I had the other day gave me two Rittersport chocolate bars, full of “illegal” ingredients, and much sweeter than anything I would normally have. I put them in the fridge, thinking I’d probably never have them (not just because I am deliberately not eating refined sugar, but because I very rarely crave it)…but when I got home the other day, these two chocolates were all I wanted. I’m not sure whether it was an actual sweet tooth craving or just a craving of the “forbidden fruit”…I went with it, and lo and behold, felt satisfied after 2 pieces each.
In the past, I would’ve beat myself up over craving “unhealthy” food, and even more so for actually giving in to the craving. I would have probably eaten half of both chocolates, vowing to start eating healthier again tomorrow. Instead, this time I went with my gut, which is still hard for me to do after all those years, and my mind kindly rewarded me: not with the urge to overeat and feel guilty, but with true satisfaction for giving myself what I wanted and pride for finally feeling satisfied and not guilty.
This may seem completely over the top to anyone who has never experienced restrictive eating, but, let me tell you, for me it was a big step.
Clean eating works extremely well for anyone who wants to be healthier. I love eating clean, simply because I love eating veggies and fruits, and have never been a huge fan of largely processed food anyway. For most of my childhood, my family didn’t have access to largely processed food, and things like cereal were a “treat”. For me, it’s no big deal to eat clean – for me, it’s a big deal to step out of the label once in a while without feeling guilty.
And it’s the same for any label we give our diet! For example, measuring out 1 tsp. of olive oil for sautéeing veggies is one of those things I have stopped doing. I am not following a high carb – low fat diet, and so it’s completely irrelevant how much fat-intake I have throughout the day, as long as I am healthy. On some days, I feel like adding a lot of oil, on others, I prefer steaming the veggies. I am learning to trust myself more and more on that, and I am so proud of myself.
My boyfriend has told me countless times over the past years that one day, I would finally be “alright” concerning the toxic thoughts in my head. And, while I rarely believe him when he tells me, I must admit that, looking back over the past 6 years that I have known him, it has continuously gotten better. My mind was a different “place” when we met, and I have come extremely far.
It’s a very personal thing to share, but I know a lot of you are struggling to believe that one day those toxic thoughts are going to be gone…and, while I can’t say that after 10 years, the thoughts have simply gone, I can promise you that eventually, the thoughts will be small enough to ignore.