Monday, June 12, 2017

What Food Freedom Looks Like {or how I'm kicking disordered eating once & for all}!

I’ve kept pretty quiet about this…


I didn’t want to say it and then not follow through with it…again.

I didn’t want to talk about yet another method I want to try to overcome my long-time struggle with disordered eating…only to find it not working for me…again.

I think I was publically sharing about other “plans” I’ve created for all the wrong reasons.

It was like, maybe if I wrote it all out and shared it, it would give me more motivation to actually do it. Or, maybe if I saw it in writing, then that would make it true.

Not the case. Ever. And I’ve been doing that for far too long. Scripture tells us that the praying you do in secret will be rewarded by God {Matthew 6:6}…so I opted to just let this be between God and me for a little while, rather than sharing it with the world before I had even surrendered this stronghold of food to Him.

I did share this with my fiancé, as I wanted his support {which, of course, I got}, my future mother-in-law {who also uses this same eating plan I’m going to talk about here in a sec}, and a couple of very close friends {who know my struggles with food well, and whom I trust sincerely with my heart}. Scripture also tells us that we are not meant to do life alone. “Two are better than one, because good return comes when two work together. If one falls, the other can help him up. But who can pick up the person who falls down alone?” ~ Ecclesiastes 4:9-10. So if I had tried to do this on my own, sharing it with no one at all, I definitely would have fallen down, and felt too defeated to get back up. God has blessed me with wonderful people to support me through the early stages of this new lifestyle. And with HIS help, I am conquering disordered eating once and for all!


So…what IS this change? What AM I sharing about this time?


I’ve been off sugar and gluten for two weeks.

Two. Whole. Weeks.

Now I’m sure some of you are thinking, “That’s nice, Em, but it’s only been two weeks.”

Yes, I realize that’s not that long. But I’ve never been able to go more than just a couple of DAYS before with no cheating. So this is actually a huge feat for me!

And I’m sure someone else is thinking, “Why go COMPLETELY free of sugar and gluten? What about everything in moderation?” or “Why not just gluten, or just sugar? I could NEVER give up both?” 

I know. It sounds so negative doesn’t it? I didn’t think I would be able to do it either. That’s part of the bondage I was stuck in, and exactly where Satan wanted me to be. I’m not saying that food is a stronghold for every person who loves sugar and heavy carbs, but it has a real danger of becoming one, just like anything else.

I was introduced to the Trim Healthy Mama plan over a year ago, and it made a whole lot of sense to me. I’ve tried it and stopped, tried it and stopped, unable to stick to the plan. Unable to stop my urges to binge. Unable to stop my cycle of negative, self-sabotaging thinking {i.e. “I’m never gonna be able to do this, so why even try?”} from the enemy. So, as I said before, this time I approached it differently by only surrendering to the Lord, and only sharing with a few supportive people instead of publically. That was enough to remove the “pressure” and “expectations” of doing something a certain way, and then having to tell everyone that, once again, I did not succeed.

What is Trim Healthy Mama, {link} you may ask?

I’ll go into more detail in a later post, because it gets a bit complex and hard to explain. But I do HIGHLY suggest you check it out for yourself, by clicking HERE!

{NOTE: No one from THM has asked me to say any of this. I’m sharing this with you because I believe in it, and it makes so much sense!}

All of the recipes I’ve tried from this plan have been so unbelievably delicious, and they don’t even “taste healthy”. You can’t tell that there is no sugar and no gluten. Even with the desserts! I even found a recipe for a soda that was so yummy, it’s officially my go-to drink for when I’m seriously craving coke {which happens A LOT}! And I know it’s so hard to believe that it didn’t taste sugar free, but I’m telling you, if Emily thinks it tastes good, it tastes good! ;) It is definitely not a SAY GOODBYE TO ALL THE FOOD YOU’VE EVER LOVED ordeal. That WOULD give it a lot of negative connotations, and this is the most positive thing I’ve ever done!

So even though two weeks is not that long, I’ve learned A LOT already. I’m officially, and totally ALL IN on this venture, and I have no desire to go back!

Maybe you’ve never had an eating disorder, but you DO want to establish healthy eating patterns, or maybe just feel better physically and mentally over all. This eating plan is so doable and GREAT for long-term, unlike a lot of fad “diets” or 30 or 60 day “meal plans”.  

Here’s what I’ve learned…and what you can benefit from too…


{one} Attitude is EVERYTHING!

I’ve turned up my nose at lot of veggies for most of my life. Especially green ones. Granted, I’ve always loved cooked {even sometimes raw} broccoli and cauliflower, but I could never bring myself to eat things like cucumbers, celery, onions {although I know they are not green, but still}, and especially lettuce or other leafy greens. But recently, I was served cooked collared greens made with sausage and rutabagas. And I just made the CHOICE that I was going to like them when I tried them. Guess what? I loved them! And now I would eat them all the time if I could! I haven’t been brave enough yet to try onions or cucumbers, or even lettuce in a salad yet, ha! But the fact that I was able to try, and then completely devour collared greens is a good sign that trying new foods with an open mind is a REAL AND EFFECTIVE THING! 

I also experienced a swift slap across the face not so long ago when I heard someone say, “If I don’t like a food that was created by God Himself, then I have a problem.” WOW! Talk about a huge heart conviction, and a good reason to change my mentality towards healthy veggies that come straight from the earth that I previously “didn’t like.”


{2} Saying, “Just this once,” or “Just a little bit,” is NOT okay.

These types of phrases open yourself up to temptation WAY too easily. If you’re anything like me, you might have an “all or nothing” mentality. For me, there is no such thing as “just one bite.” One bite turns into the whole thing. “Just this once” turns into, “Eh, I’ve already messed up, so what’s the difference?” And that becomes a huge downward spiral.  

Now that’s not to say that special occasions don’t call for a “cheat day” once in a while. My wedding shower is next week, for example, and I have every intention of splurging! But I know that won’t turn into a problem because I am prepared for it. It’s about anticipating those times, and allowing yourself to let go of the guilt of treating yourself for a special day.


{three} The detox is the WORST part…but don’t give in!

Yeah, so in this case it’s not so much about giving UP the plan, it’s about giving IN to how painful and hard the detoxing might be on your body. My detox was AWFUL! I had severe headaches for almost the entire first week, and no matter how much Tylenol I took, they wouldn’t subside. There were also two days in a row that my entire body was in extreme pain from head to toe, to where I could hardly even move! Those were the days when it was hardest to keep going. I wanted so badly to have some sugar just to make myself feel better physically. But I knew if I did that, I would have to start all over again, and I just couldn’t face the defeat of that. I got through the detox, and I now I’m feeling better than I have in literally YEARS!

{4} There is a big difference between willpower and self-control.

Willpower is something you make yourself do. It’s part of a “try harder” mentality, and invites a lot of guilt and shame if you can’t “will yourself” to accomplish something no matter how hard you “work”. Self-control is a fruit of the SPIRIT, not a fruit of the flesh, and it invites a lot of GRACE. If you are walking in the spirit, you are able to resist the temptations of the flesh {Galatians 5:16}. This has nothing to do with working hard. It requires nothing but your full submission to God, and full belief that His holy spirit has the power to GIVE you that self-control that you need.  

If you walk alone, and try to do it on your own willpower, you will almost surely fall down and become discouraged every time.

{five} Weight loss is a side effect…a WONDERFUL side effect…but only a side effect.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t doing this to lose weight. I really love the idea of losing weight. But my main priority truly is kicking eating disorders to the curb! I want to get my blood sugar under control and actually feel good both physically and mentally. I want food freedom…freedom from guilt and shame that toxic habits have pulled me into. And I’ve found all of that, PLUS weight loss. Of course, I haven’t lost a whole lot of weight yet, and it’s not super obvious to outside observers yet, but I can definitely tell on myself. Even though I have not stepped onto the scale {and I don’t plan to for a very long time…too many triggers}, I can tell because my clothes fit differently, and it LOOKS different in the mirror. And that’s such an amazing feeling, on top of just feeling better overall!

{6} Finding the right sugar substitutes is key!

Some people find certain sugar subs to be really yucky…and I agree! Sometimes THEY are what make foods or drinks actually taste sugar free. Well, no of course you’re not going to want to eat or drink that! Why put yourself through something that doesn’t taste good if you don’t have to?

So I’m going to introduce you to something spectacularly wonderful {yes, that’s right}!

It’s called xylitol. And it is the closest thing to sugar you will ever find. It’s the same texture and enough of the same taste that you really can’t tell a difference. I put it in my coffee, mix it into smoothies or other drinks, and many other sweet recipes.

Truvia and stevia are also excellent, good tasting choices. And Trim Healthy Mama has a couple of their own sugar subs which, once again, I will discuss further in another post.

{seven} And finally…ONLY with God’s help, and by His grace was I able to do this.

I’ve already pretty much covered this, but it’s so important that it needs to be reiterated…

Trying to do this on my own was not even a choice for me. Walking with God and living by His spirit is what gives me drive to excel…to “run this race with perseverance” {Philippians 3:14} toward the great reward He has for me! With His guidance I CAN do all things…and this WILL be a course I can stay on, to come out healthier, happier, and officially eating disorder FREE!

And that’s all I’ve ever wanted for YEARS!

You can overcome your food struggles, or just learn how to have overall healthier eating habits too!
Watch for future posts!

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