When I started this blog and coaching business, last year, I was at the top of my game. Eating better than I ever had before, exercising nearly every day, AND I had just lost about 25 lbs. After years of battling my body, battling food and battling nutrition, I felt like I had the eye of the tiger!
And the truth is, I did… what I did not expect was that I would blossom into a Family Food Coach. Coaching has been amazing, but it has also been heartbreaking.
I have watched the pain of eating disorders, and how disordered eating and disordered thinking about food affects entire families. I have witnessed mothers and fathers who were DESPERATE for their children to eat, many of whom made amazing progress, some of which made progress and decided that Food Therapy was the next step (which is a GIFT to parents of kiddos with sensory issues and other major obstacles around food, and I cannot recommend it enough)-and a fair few that confessed to me, “Maybe I’m the one with the food issues.”
I was left with this question, time and time, again, “Why is food so hard?”
Where does our food come from? Does it matter? Why is junk so bad for us, but we love it so much? Why do we eat NINE plates of heaping food at Thanksgiving? Why do some people struggle with eating enough, while others binge eat, and BOTH confess the same thoughts and feelings about themselves, their bodies and food? Why does a vegan wake up one day and decide to eat a cheeseburger? Why does a lifelong meat eater decide to go veggie? When did we stop serving home cooked food at schools? Who decided chicken nuggets were a good idea? Why do we demonize potatoes, bread and more? Why does everyone keep yelling at each other about organics and GMO’s? The rabbit hole is long and vast.
And when our family’s life took a dramatic turn 7 months ago, I was met head on with how hard food still is for me. Anxiety is easily quelled with a donut-or my favorite food guilty pleasure, Filet-O-Fish. Don’t judge me. It’s hot and the bun is soft, and it reminds me of my childhood. Food is hard.
I coached a Whole30 group at the beginning of the year, and while I was cheering them on, I was miserable. Not from the Whole30-it’s an amazing plan, and it did wonders for me, but because I had so much LIFE on my plate, that I couldn’t get excited about returning to peak shape. On day 31 of my THIRD (my second public) Whole30, I fell face first into a giant plate of fluffy buttery pancakes.
Food is hard.
I began to read comments on social media shaming folks for what they eat or what their kids eat. Shaming people for not knowing what macros are. Telling folks that the information is out there, you just have to want to find it. Folks who have always been thin who attempt to tell folks who have always struggled with weight how to eat better and more. I listened to women lament anniversary breakfasts and amazing first dates complete with dessert because it “ruined” their food day.
Food is so damn hard.
I heard story after story about little kids who go hungry over the weekends and summers when school food isn’t there for them. Watched debates over how much food we should serve these kids while they are at school, and now, even proposals to essentially do away with free and reduced lunch. Saw how an agency named the School Nutrition Association spoke in the name of all lunch servers and school food directors claiming that kids don’t eat the healthy food (although it had been proven that they do, and especially the kids in need, do). All the while NOT telling folks that they are a Political Action Committee funded by food giants. Food giants who just so happen to benefit from selling and serving junk to our kids. And listened with jaw dropped when this same agency, recommended that we repeal the healthy food requirements of school and then RAISE the price. In other words, less nutritious food (cheaper to make) for more money, which means those food giants make even more money. But you know, kids, they can eat whatever they want and not worry. As obesity rates and type 2 diabetes rates skyrocket among the youngest of us.
Food is hard.
I’ve watched the debate over GMO’s and Organic foods catch fire. Watched as the sides explode with anger and accusations. Yet, neither one is listening. Went to an Organic Farming conference and learned first hand some of the major issues of coexistence. Most of which no one is willing to acknowledge-including the folks who think they are making a case for organics, and just as much from those who are merely regurgitating talking points from GMO producers.
Food is hard.
Most of all, I have watched my own little bundles of joy blossom into great food lovers. But just like me, when the going got tough, they reverted back to the their happy foods. Buttery toast (albeit whole wheat) and strawberries for one, and Ramen (albeit with veg) for the other. Not terrible, but not the varied and beautiful diet I was foolishly so damn proud of. Food is important. Food brings us comfort. Food helps us. And it can also do the opposite. I’m learning more everyday. And I’m re-committed to helping you learn more, too.
Because food is hard. But it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. We’ll figure it out together.