03 September 2013

Finding Kindness

Eating disorders and I have a long-standing relationship. Name an ED, and I have had it at some point in my life. The one that has taken the biggest toll on my well-being (both physical and emotional) is compulsive and binge eating. Far too often in my life, I have turned to food avoid dealing with my feelings. If I was depressed, angry, stressed, anxious or nervous, I'd stuff my face. The Freshman 15? Yeah, that was just a drop in the bucket. But today, during this extremely anxious, stressful and frustrating time I'm going to write about food instead of eating my feelings away.  Next best thing, and zero-cal.
The funny thing is that I LOVE food. But I have had a love/hate relationship with it. I am finally at a point where I find pleasure in cooking and eating and guilt is not the main emotion that fills my mind as I enjoy a meal. I know what it feels like to eat good food, and I know my body is better off for it. I turn to kale instead of cake, and one spoonful of peanut butter does not turn into the whole jar. (OMG, I can actually eat a spoonful of PB and then put the lid on? Who am I?!) Sure, I do find myself eating too much sugar, or drinking too much on occasion. But I no longer embrace the "fuck it" attitude. Just because I eat shit at lunch doesn't mean that I need to throw the whole day down the drain. Not worth it. Now I can tell myself how much better I will feel if I lighten up, both with respect to my food and my feelings.
Negative thoughts have ruled my mental state for, well, pretty much as long as I can remember. Ironically, this is what helped me find a new path. Fed up with my 541st trip down the yo-yo diet path, I bought Skinny Bitch in an attempt to finally lose the weight for good. This was one of the most powerful books I have ever read. Not only did it keep me LOL-ing, literally, from cover to cover, it opened my eyes to nutrition in a way I had never considered before. And a new vegan was born. I had no idea what the premise of the book was when I bought it, but it changed my life forever. I started researching, reading, learning, experimenting. Alicia Silverstone's website and her book The Kind Diet have helped me to become gentler with myself while thinking about other beings and the planet at the same time. So yes, becoming vegan was originally a decision I made for my health. But it has grown into so much more.
Life is too short to live in a world of negativity. It's not good for the mind, the body or the soul. (Don't believe me? Read this.) I have to tell myself this over and over again. It's easier said than done, sometimes. But even now, in this time of mental and emotional distress, I know there's nothing to do but wait it out. And while I'm still anxious, I am forcing myself to calm down. But the funny thing is that not once during this time have I thought about drowning my sorrows in vegan cookies or nachos. Progress is progress, right?
Going vegan was one of the best things I could have done to help heal my compulsive eating. I have had the incredible privilege of working with Courtney Pool, who has taught me so much (and I look forward to reconnecting with her when my life settles down a bit in the next few weeks). While there are times when I want to just say, "To hell with it all, I'm just going to eat pizza and cupcakes," I know it's the wrong decision, for so many reasons. Reflection is a powerful thing. And it is allowing me to become healthier and happier.
There are definitely vegans who eat shit and are unhealthy, just like there are omnivores who are in excellent health. I'm not here to preach, I'm merely stating what has worked for me and what has healed my relationship with food and, in turn, myself.
Soon I will post some of my favorite sources for vegan yuminess. For now, follow me on Pinterest. And, in the timeless words of Bo Muller-Moore, Eat More Kale (Sign Bo's petition to stand up for small business!)

 From left to right, four incredible women who have changed my life:
      Don't be stupid, follow them all on Twitter! (And follow me, too!)


  1. Thank you for sharing this story of your experiences, congrats on coming so far and conquering so much. I find when I am in a bad place emotionally or mentally that my twitter peeps have the perfect mix of virtual hugs and virtual ass kicking to put me back on the right road. Live and eat in the light dear one.

  2. Your story is inspirational! I'm excited to read about your journey.