Yet over the last year or so, my diet had become an obsession. I just always assumed I was very committed to my diet and had the willpower to say no to all of the unapproved foods. When I decide on a diet, I usually commit 110%. When I was on Keto, I didn't give in to unapproved foods. Even when dining out with friends, I'd order the burger with no bun or whatever else was on the approved list (granted I'd still, in my head, be worrying about hidden carbs that could be in my food).
I'd say last year was probably my worst year for diet obsession, specifically starting in July. I got into Keto hard. Every book I read was diet related, I spent hours on the Keto reddit forum, and basically immersed myself in the world of very low carb dieting. I spouted off my low carb dogma to whoever would listen and judged the carb eaters. I wouldn't go anywhere without bringing pre-approved snacks and checking menus. Then after a few months, my weight loss stalled.
I wasn't originally counting calories, just making sure to keep my fat grams high and the carbs low. I had lost 20lbs in 2 months and my body decided to slow down. That's when I bought a food scale. What if I had been eating too many carbs all of this time? I figured I clearly was doing something wrong - clearly I needed to be doing this perfectly. I got to the point of weighing everything I ate, drank, or even thought about eating. It was kind of an IIFYM (if it fits your macros), but I was obsessed.
If I couldn't weigh it, or find the nutrition info for a restaurant, chances are I wouldn't eat the food or would ask to eat somewhere that had nutrition stats listed. Heaven forbid someone take a bite of what I weighed, tracked, and accounted for. My Fitness Pal was my best friend and everything went into there. It was like a religion and it sort of took over my life. All I thought about was food, what I could eat, when I could eat it, and would it fit my macros. I really felt out of control by how in control I was over my food. It was almost suffocating, but I tried my best to keep it to myself.
My friend, pointed out that she thought I had a problem, but I would just laugh it off. It wasn't until I had meticulously cut (and weighed) a loaf of (gluten-free, low carb) bread I baked into 22 equal slices that I realized maybe I really was a little too obsessed. My friend came over to try some of the bread. Mind you, I was almost out of butter, and who wants bread without butter. I had exactly 1 1/2 tbsp left and had already tracked that butter for the day; 1/2 tbsp for my slice of bread I scarfed before she came and saw I had butter and 1 tbsp for my broccoli for dinner . I actually hid the butter from her and told her I didn't have any because I didn't want to mess up my macros (Hi YJ, I know you're reading this - surprise, I had butter). I literally couldn't stand the thought of having to change my already perfectly accounted for macros for the day that I had to lie about having butter.
That was the point when I told Hubby I needed to stop. I found, Diet Recovery and set about reading it on my iPad. It talked all about living in a Diet Dungeon, how I've probably royally screwed my metabolism, and how to let it go. It's still a struggle, but I'm trying. Even today, when I was sharing an apple with my son, I had a brief moment of panic about macros because someone else was eating my food. Granted it wasn't portioned and I wasn't tracking it, it was just second nature to feel that way.
Hubby has hidden both my food scale and regular scale, and I feel a bit more freedom with myself and life. I deleted all of the fitness and food accounts from my Instagram and other social media so I wasn't constantly bombarded with diet into. I don't obsessively think about food, I just eat. I still limit some foods, but I'm limiting them because of how they make my body feel - like grains (I get congested), added sugars (I go overboard and end up crashing afterwards and feeling lousy), and legumes (because Hubby is allergic so it's best to keep them out of the house). I'm trying to nourish my body in the best way possible because it feels good and not because some diet guru told me carbs are bad, or fat is the devil.
It really is a day-to-day thing for me. While I don't think I actually had or have any sort of eating disorder (though much about orthorexia rings true for me), it was starting to take over my life and it certainly had potential to really get out of control. Thankfully, as much as I can commit to a diet, I can commit to eating whatever I want when I've "fallen off the wagon." Any time I went off of a diet, I just ate whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted, as if it was the Last Supper for every meal. I just knew I wouldn't be allowed to eat tasty things once I went back on a diet so I just gorged myself. That is probably making this transition somewhat easier, but I'm just not used to not being on some sort of diet. It's strange to just eat because I'm hungry and not have to weigh it or see how many carbs it has..it's even more strange to stop when I'm full and not feel like I have to clean my plate because that food has been arbitrarily accounted for. All strange, but nice.
So, here's to healthy habits this year, leaving the food obsessions behind, becoming healthier, truly nourishing my body, and maybe, just maybe, losing a little weight along the way.