Over the course of 20 days, this yogi, with a history of eating and body image disorders, has vowed to clean up her chaotic eating from a place of compassion and non-judgment and blog about it in hopes that it starts a conversation for others who also experience food to be a dual path of healing and crazy.
Read part one here.
Day one of clean eating can best be described as a series of mild ups and downs.
First of all, I planned on running 10 miles with my marathon buddies, but the cold, dark rain dictated we postpone until tomorrow. None of us have appropriate rain gear and we didn’t want to chance getting sick. We’re kinda smart that way. Or maybe we’re wimps. I guess it depends on your point of view.
Can’t say I was disappointed. To run 10 miles is a new amount of distance for me. Each time I’ve run this far—which is only twice—I’ve said a silent prayer to the Running God whom I imagine is clad in Lululemon running tights and Nikes: Please Running God, let me finish without something awful happening, like having to go number two in the woods.
So, no morning run.
The other side to no exercise on day number one is, for someone with chaotic eating—this sucks. I depended on my run to cancel out the Eggplant Parmesan and wine I had at a potluck the night before (a self-proclaimed last supper, which all chronic dieters will recognize and know exactly what I’m talking about). I only had one piece of the eggplant, but it was large and laden with cheese and breadcrumbs. The wine was red and dark. As I ate and drank with good friends around a fire and under a full moon, all I could think was everything I was ingesting would soon be forbidden.
So when I woke up this morning with a full belly and a rained-out run it was not surprising that I felt a spark of panic.
If I can’t exercise to the point of a sweaty bra and wet hair, at least once a day, I feel like something is missing. I feel uneasy. This sometimes causes me to want to fill the discomfort with food. When I go a day (and sometimes two, which is unbearable) without a sweaty workout, I feel like my body is bloating right before my very eyes.
This is distorted thinking—the rational part of me knows there is no way this is true.
The good news is that even though I had an unsettled feeling in my body, I did eat in a way that resonated with how I want to be. With a good friend, I prepared homemade veggie burgers for the week ahead. I drank a green smoothie packed with kale and nut butter. I cut, chopped and spun a salad and topped it with homemade salad dressing.
I treated my desire to change my diet with the care and time it needed even though this meant I had to skip some house cleaning. Oh well, emptying the cat litter can wait.
The other good news is that, at the end of day one, I ordered a cappuccino with soy milk from Starbucks to balance out my need to be overly restrictive. I put my feet up and sipped it and allowed the sweet creaminess to soothe me. I let go of my usual thoughts of failure. I could whip myself for consuming caffeine, sugar and soy, but no, not this time.
Food is not the bad guy; it never has been.
Even though I am tweaking my diet and am going to restrict some things over the remainder of the next 20 days and am probably going to have to sit on my hands more than once when the desire to open up a bag of chips or bar of chocolate hits me, food is not my enemy.
When you give food more power than it should have and continuously restrict, the brain becomes obsessed. A groove gets dug deeper. A fatal attraction relationship shows up and wants to fuck with you big time.
The yogi knows renunciation is sometimes necessary for making essential changes. But the renunciation has to come from a place of compassion, or else the underlying dark forces of shame, sabotage or rigidity will rise up and even slap you.
So as I sit here, writing, and sipping cappuccino, with a moderate amount of healthy food in my belly, I am aware that I am not empty, nor am I full.
The cappuccino was a conscious choice of nourishment for the end of my day and I think I am being pretty compassionate. I accept that banishing all food pleasures is not the way.
As the sweet boldness begins to fill me, I take a deep breath. I am content. Actually, I am feeling like a wise yogi. I am stomping on some demons while being my own best friend.
And tomorrow I will run 10, if the forces of nature allow it.
Like elephant food on Facebook.
Ed: Sara Crolick