My health journey began in elementary school when I ate too much junk food one day and got sick. It was then that I realized, “hey, food can really impact how you feel,” and I didn’t want to get sick again.
Once I began researching nutrition, I was fascinated, and I’ve never stopped. I started with a persuasive research paper in the 6th grade about the negative impact soda has on our health, and over the years expanded to sports performance, digestive health, thyroid function, fertility, autoimmune conditions, mental health, essential nutrients, weight loss, postpartum nutrition, and more. Eighteen years later, I even continue to research sugar!
Throughout my teens, my diet didn’t change too much, I just didn’t drink soda or eat much white bread. In my late teens and early twenties, however, I experimented with my diet a lot. From vegan to paleo to low-FODMAP to ancestral health and more. I never did “standard diets” like Atkins or Weight Watchers, but I definitely was down a restrictive path, believing certain foods were bad for me, while others were healing. Part of it was in pursuit of general health and clear skin (I always had acne), part of it was pursuit of healing (I dealt with chronic constipation for 5 years and an IBS diagnosis), and part of it was in pursuit of weight loss (like everyone else, I wanted little body fat and a 6 pack…until I realized those things aren’t actually that healthy, plus, as a future RD I felt I needed to look a certain way in order for people to take me seriously).
It was during the weight loss pursuit, though, that I really did my health a disservice. I went too low carb, too high fat, too low calorie (sometimes simultaneously, sometimes a different points). My metabolism and energy tanked. I gained weight and my digestion worsened. It’s no surprise I had many symptoms of hypothyroidism. I was definitely not nourishing my body properly.
And yet, I struggled with perfectionism around food. I tried to eat only “health-promoting” foods (like vegetables and meat) and wouldn’t eat anything that wasn’t “natural” (like say, ice cream) only to binge on it later when my sugar cravings got too strong.
But sometimes, even competing thoughts made it impossible to make a simple decision around food. I was at a point where I was becoming afraid of real food, foods that might fit into one “camp” like veganism, but not another like paleo. I was so consumed by trying to eat the “right” things for ultimate health and weight loss that I was further from both than ever before. I was cold, hungry and tired all the time; my digestion wasn’t regular, my IBS symptoms were horrendous, I had little energy and mental capacity for socializing, and I wasn’t able to enjoy the things I loved to do because I simply wasn’t giving my body enough fuel or essential nutrients.
Fortunately, when I found Jesus, I also found food freedom. He helped me realize I was going down a path of disordered eating. I don’t consider myself a perfectionist, but looking back I believe I was on my way to developing orthorexia (and giving myself more health problems because of it). You can read that story here.
Once I actually dug into the biochemistry of nutrition science, everything clicked. I understood how to eat and properly nourish my body and mind. I no longer strive for perfection around food, but balance nutritious foods with fun foods. I eat in a way that feels good and sustainable, not restricted. There are still some foods I limit (simply because I don’t feel well when I eat them), but the difference is I’m no longer afraid of them, I understand the nature of my sensitivities. I ditched my food fears, and I’m here to help others do the same.