Hey everyone! Usually these blog posts are super lighthearted and chill, but today's post is going to be a little more serious, and I'm going to talk about an important topic that I used struggle with, and still do struggle with here and there; restrictive eating.
I struggled with heavy restriction not to long ago, where I was eating under 1000 calories everyday, and exercising every single day for nearly 2 hours. It caused me to face a lot of mental and physical issues that I still deal with today. Although during this period I was in the darkest place, i'm very thankful that I was able to rise above in the matter of a few months, and that i'm able to tell my story and help anyone else struggling. Recovery doesn't happen overnight. You don't just wake up one day and start eating like normal without difficulty. It takes months, sometimes even years to feel normal again. I'm here to tell you what I did to finally recover from the horrible, twisted mindset of restricting in the healthiest way possible. These tips are what I swear by, and would recommend to anyone who is going through the same thing I was. :)
1. STOP. CALORIE. COUNTING.
This was they very first step, and probably the hardest thing I did to recover. When I finally realized that enough was enough, I went to my stupid calorie counting app that had been the #1 app i'd been using for months, and I just deleted it. If you say to yourself "no, I don't have to delete it, I just won't track!" Then it'll be 10x harder to recover. Just like people, you have to cut toxicity out of your life before it does more harm than it already has. Since I had tracked so specifically, I basically knew the calories of everything, so I would still track in my head, but, it's a lot better than writing down or tracking everything. This will probably be the hardest step, but, it's the most important, in my opinion. Just. Delete. The. Damn. App.
2. SPEAK TO SOMEONE YOU TRUST ABOUT WHAT YOU ARE GOING THROUGH.
You have to open up to someone about how you are feeling. It'll be really hard and you might not want to talk about it. Odds are, the person has probably already noticed the change in you, and they know something is up. You aren't a burden. Don't feel like you are being "annoying" for asking for help. These people are here to help you. They want the best for you, and they want you to feel happy. I find sometimes it's easier to open up on text or through writing, so if that's what you have to do, then so be it. Just talk to someone and let them know how you're feeling. If you feel like you don't have anyone that you trust enough to talk to, see a professional like a doctor, nutritionist, or therapist. That brings me to point #3.
3. SEE A NUTRITIONIST!
This was definitely the smartest thing I did in recovery. If I hadn't seen my nutritionist, I know I wouldn't be where I am now, physically, and mentally. I was so lucky to have had the best nutritionist ever. Not only did she help me with my eating, but with my anxiety, as I'm very prone to it. Right after my first meeting with her, I was so motivated to get better, and to start eating more. Me and my mom went straight to the grocery store and got everything she recommended, and I tried to incorporate those foods everyday. I learned so many things about how to fuel yourself properly, the cause of my anxiety and how to stop it, and the reason for my restrictive mindset and what I needed to do to feel better. Slowly, but surely, I started feeling so much more comfortable around food, and I welcomed things back in, one by one. Things that I would never touch, like nuts, cheese, granola bars, etc. I can't thank her enough for everything she's done! Go see a professional and talk about what you're going through. It's worth it. Your health is worth it. You are worth it.
4. MAKE A LIST OF YOUR "FEAR FOODS".
This one is not only key to recovery, it's also actually really fun!! I just made a list of all the foods I'm scared of and won't eat. At first, the list was suuuuuuper long, and that's okay. There's nothing more satisfying than checking things off a list, and when you finally make peace with one of your fear foods, you will feel so accomplished. And when I say "make peace" I don't mean eat it once. I mean you finally feel comfortable with that food, and you eat it guilt free, and happily! Try knocking off one food per week. Make that your goal! I definitely still have some foods on my list that I need to check off! Some of the foods that I enjoy regularly now that I used to be terrified of are pasta, nuts, and pita bread/crackers! My next goals are cereal, bagels, and SUBWAYYY <3 ugh I can't wait to eat subway again!!
5. REMEMBER WHY FOOD IS IMPORTANT.
Food isn't just a thing that makes you gain and lose weight. It's waaaaaay cooler than that. Food fuels your workouts, makes your muscles grow (and your bootayyyy), makes you super happy, makes memories, and can help clear your skin, make your hair grow, and promote healthy digestion. That's just the start, my loves. There are HUNDREDS of reasons why food is so important for you and your body. Life is too short to not eat, and just focus on being skinny. Eat delicious food, grow muscles (and again, your bootayyyy), get strong, hit PRs, try foods you've never tried, go out to different restaurants with your friends, feel and look refreshed. Trust me, it's way more fun to eat lots and lots of food, look hot, be stronger than ever, and feel INCREDIBLE, than to be skinny and depressed.
6. LISTEN TO YOUR BODY.
This is kinda a broad point, but let me elaborate. Your body knows itself so well, so use the cues that your body gives you to fix how you are feeling. When I started recovery, my hunger cues were extremely messed up, and I was hungry all the time and I never felt full. It took me a while to finally understand my hunger cues, and learn what symptoms mean what. It's all about trail and error. If your feeling fatigued then you may need more food, or less exercise. If your anxiety is heightened, you may need to lower your caffeine intake, if you're feeling bloated you may want to figure out what foods bloat you. not only should you listen to your physical cues, but listen to whats going on in your head. If you're like me, in the beginning months there will ALWAYS be a battle in your head with your head and your heart. Your head saying "no don't eat that, you'll be fat. you look fat today" and your heart saying "girl hell nah EAT IT SIS. you need food. you are hungry! you want to get better and you DESERVE to get better. EAT DAT FOOD GIRL." LISTEN TO YOUR HEART. There will always be a little voice in head that makes you feel bad and like you don't deserve to get better. But another part of you will know you need to get better and it will be there to remind you that you want to get better. Do your very best to acknowledge your negative voice and speak to it using your positive voice. You can even write down your thoughts, and I guarantee you'll start to see a pattern.
7. START SMALL.
This is what I thought when I decided I wanted to get better: "OKAY! I'm gonna eat so much food starting tomorrow!!! I go for seconds, and thirds, and I'll have pasta! And cake! And piz-" Nope! Then the next day I didn't change my restricting. Start small, and slowly progress. Your fitness journey is a marathon, not a sprint. Hell, It's a marathon up a hill, off a cliff, into a volcano, and in a pool full of sharks. Start with one thing, and build up. Even if that just having 10 nuts a day, or a slice of cheese, or a couple of extra crackers. This way, you are less likely to relapse, and you can give your body and mind proper time to adjust. Write down little victories you have, and celebrate them! That means your that much closer to being fully recovered!
8. REMEMBER; IT'S YOU VS YOU.
You are the only thing stopping yourself from recovering. You are in control of what you do. Don't let your negative thoughts psyche you out, and stop you from fueling yourself. There will be setbacks. You will want to give up. The process won't be fast. It took me a full year to get where I am now, and I'm STILL trying to recover from little things that still remain from restricting. You are stronger than you know. This whole process is so worth it in the end. Don't forget to remind yourself that you are AMAZING and you will be happy and fully recovered soon. You'll physically and mentally feel so at peace, and you'll find amazing, healthy ways of feeling happy and in control. You'll soon be able to tell your story and help others.
I hope this helps some of you who are going through this horrible cycle of restrictive eating. I got through it, so can you. It's going to be hard, and it ain't gonna be pretty, but it's all worth it in the end. I've never been so happy, strong, energized, and full in my life, and I can't wait to hit more goals. If any of you need someone to talk to about how you are feeling, or need specific help, PLEASE either DM me on instagram @jeccafit, chat me in the bottom right corner of your screen (make sure you leave your email so I can reply back!), or shoot me an email! email@example.com. YOU WILL GET THROUGH THIS. YOU GOT THIS. YOU VS YOU. PROVE YOUR RESTRICTIVE MINDSET WRONG. LISTEN TO YOUR BODY. RESPECT IT. I LOVE YOU! <3