"Anything which is extreme is toxic!" I declared this in the kitchen today to my husband about a popular semi-deprivation diet that we decided to try. This particular "program" is out of character for us, as I am not a proponent of deprivation on any level. I am into balance and feeling good. I thought it might help with some fatigue, perhaps be interesting to see if we have any food allergies, and as a topper be a good resource for clients.
10 days in and we were unhappy, tired, looked sunken and hallow, had deep blue circles under our eyes and energetically we were way off. We were unwell and only a third through the program. Our friends noticed, my parents noticed.... I do not think two people could have been worse walking endorsements for this way of eating. We needed to do the simplest thing to rectify the extreme. Check in with ourselves and give ourselves permission to listen and trust what we needed, not what some book thought was right for us. Literally that night, eating a light vegetarian legumed whole grained dinnner made all the difference in the world. The next day we were back to ourselves!
This experience made me aware that some of these extreme detoxes and cleanses can be a vehicle for creating or maintaining eating disorders. I qualify eating disorders as thinking way too much about what you are eating or not eating, as well as getting stressed out about food more often than not. Along with that a dismorphic image of your body as compared to what it really looks like.
I am senstitive to these thoughts and patterns because as a teenager from 12 to 15 years of age, I suffered from an eating disorder. Mine began with the positive attention I recieved from family and friends when I naturally lost my "baby fat". This happened at the same time my life at home became unpredictable. I remember making a conscious decision to take back control. The timing of instability mixed with the new found enthusiasm from others became a cocktail for anorexia.
My body became very thin and felt I had to maintain that with various mind games, physical ways of measuring what I ate in a day, as well as exercising for longer than what felt good. I had to hide all of this, which made my life even more complicated and inauthentic. I got down to 87 pounds at my lowest weight and stunted my mestration until I was almost 16. I put my body and mind through so much stress. It was exhausting and I was very unhappy.
Having had this experience in my youth, I use it to be a better mother to my daughter. I see the pitfalls for each girl brought up in this society and understand that each is somewhere on the body image/eating disorder/lack of self-love spectrum. I have learned to be gentler and softer to myself. To give myself what I want and to feel good about that. Now I spark and sustain magic where as before I starved myself of all magic. It was as my magic ebbed over these last 10 days, that I knew I had to end the ‘program’.
It is important to remember we all on some level just want to be healthy and feel good about ourselves and our lives. Sometimes certain cleanses and taking out certain foods can be super helpful in that journey. The way towards health is a different path for all. For me it is about being loose rather than rigid and unapologetically doing what feels right.