Foodie, Heal Thyself
By: Michelle Shain
If you didn’t read my first post, you can read it here. If you don’t feel like reading all that, here’s the short version: I found a lump, read a lot and found out about nutrition and potential food allergies and started my journey to healing myself with food…
And then there was Thanksgiving. You know what I mean.
There was pie. And gravy. And casseroles. And more pie. And, oh what the hell, why not have another glass of wine? I didn’t just fall off the wagon, I’m pretty sure I ate the wagon. Then I woke up the next day with a food hangover, wondering where everything went wrong.
I’m sure you’ve been there before, and if not then hit the road, because I’m here to talk to my people: The Many. The Ashamed. The Overindulgers.
Listen, I’m not going to lie to you. Eating right is HARD. A lot of those diet and healthy living gurus try to sell it like it’s an easy thing. “Drink a green smoothie and eat raw, local, organic, paleo whatever every day and feel great!” And they’re absolutely right that you should be doing those things. You should totally, totally drink a green smoothie and eat all those things. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy. There is a whole psychological thing that has to happen to stay on the straight and narrow.
When I was a kid, there were three things you could always find in my family’s kitchen: diet soda, chocolate chip ice cream, and an array of delicious processed foods in boxes and cans and little glass jars. We felt like Chicken Tonight very, very often in my house. Mom would make dinner every night, but being a latchkey kid, often I would come home from school and go straight to the kitchen to find something to eat that wasn’t hard for a kid to prepare. This usually meant canned spaghetti products. Or macaroni and cheese from the blue box. Or potato chips. You know, the real healthy stuff.
I reckon this is a generational thing. I bet quite a few of you came home to a similar situation and set off an unhealthy pattern of eating much the way I did. Or maybe you came from one of those “you better eat everything on your plate, mister” households. Either way, it all comes down to the same thing: it’s your parents fault.
I’m joking, I’m joking. It’s so easy to place the blame elsewhere, but really, we’re not children anymore. We are fully capable of controlling ourselves. But sometimes, somewhere, in the deepest, darkest parts of our brains, that little kid in us comes to dinner. And if we haven’t been taking care of her, boy, is she STARVING!
So it’s time to get back on the wagon. It’s time to learn how to soothe that little latchkey kid inside of me and keep her from losing her mind when the turkey dinner comes out. I’ve made up some steps here for getting through the holidays without completely losing control. Mind you, I’m following my intuition and making this up as I go, so we’re going to have to find out together if they work.
- Forgiveness. I forgive myself for eating the pie and drinking the wine. It’s OK. Pie happens.
- Clean Slate. Tomorrow I will reignite my commitment to healing my body by kicking off with one of those aforementioned green smoothies and eating raw foods throughout the day to recharge my system.
- Negotiation. I will pre-emptively negotiate with myself regarding Christmas (if you make three healthy choices, you can have the rum-filled eggnog).
- Water. If all else fails, keep drinking the water. Hydration makes a big difference!
- Forgiveness. I’m putting this here again because chances are good that things are going to go awry again. It is the holidays. Nothing ever works out as planned.
Life is complicated. Sometimes things don’t work out as planned and sometimes things fall out of balance. I think perhaps acceptance of this fact is what can make me (or you) successful in healing with food. It’s important not to react to overindulgence with even more overindulgence or, even worse, over-restriction. That’s a sure way to set yourself up for failure, trust me! You’d be amazed at how many times I failed at super-restrictive diets!
Well, good luck everyone. I hope you have made it through Thanksgiving unscathed. And if you had a setback in your health goals, it’s OK. Just pick yourself up, dust off the stuffing crumbs and recommit to yourself. Your health goals are about YOU and only YOU. And how can you be healthy if you aren’t being kind and forgiving to yourself?
Michelle Shain is a writer, artist, baker and graphic and web designer. She and her husband are the owners of Ob La Da, a locavore bakery in Marshfield, MA.