I have always been very protective of my personal life. I share but always on my terms. I have been honest and transparent with my experiences and my past. So when I decided 6 weeks ago to start this journey (that I will get to in a minute) I thought a lot about if I should share it at all. But my word this year is COURAGE and I do not feel that I would be living in my integrity if I did not talk about my experience and what I have learned.
I have always been interested in tracking my macros. I even spoke about it on this blog. I felt I had done my research. It made sense scientifically. But it scared me to death!!! Coming from my history of eating disorder I was terrified that though this has helped many it might just send me down that dark road and trigger my disorder again. After spending 20 years of my life thinking about food from the moment I woke up till the time I went to bed I could not imagine how measuring and tracking every morsel I put in my mouth would do me ANY good. After my relapse almost three years ago I dabbled with tracking my food on My Fitness pal as a way to make sure I was not under eating. About a 9 months ago I purchased a template program to figure out my macros on my own. When I did my calculations I felt it was not enough food. I didn’t want to diet for a physical look I just wanted to figure out what was “normal”. I read a lot about it but firmly decided it was not for me. I even went as far as discounting it. I realize now that my negative reaction was my fear.
About three months ago some athletes at my gym started a macros program. Immediately I was worried for them. Would this cause body issues? Would they all develop eating disorders?? It was comical looking back on it!! Talk about projection! I was pushing all my insecurities about my eating and my disorders on them! I felt awful!! I prayed about it a lot. The results that they were getting were incredible. PRing on lifts, dropping body fat feeling great. It was awesome to see!!! I was so used to physique competitors who live in diet hell for 12 weeks to attain this crazy goal, have no energy and hate their lives. These athletes were happy, performing well and seeing results. So I prayed some more….
In the meantime my church started their Daniel Fast in January. I did not participate even though I was leading a study for the month to support the church with their fast. I realize now that it was very arrogant of me. Refusing to fast because I didn’t want to trigger my disorder and I had physical goals that I could not jepordize. It was the first time I realized that I could trust God with many things but not with my food.
What I realized was this was all FEAR. I had told the world I was “cured” of my eating disorder, that I had a great relationship with food. But what I was starting to realize and question was did I really??? When was the last time I had changed the way I was eating? I hadn’t eaten bread or dairy for almost two years FOR NO REASON. I di not have celiac or a sensitivity to diary I was just following a Paleo diet. When I did eat bread and dairy they were always part of a “cheat meal” or when I was being “bad”. Was I seeing the results in my performance? If I was honest not really. I was lifting more but how much of that was improved technique and how much was actual strength? How did I really feel physically? What were my goals? I said I didn’t care how I looked all I cared about was my performance but was that really true??? And did how I eat reflect that?
The biggest thought that kept nagging at me: Was I really ok? Could I really handle such a specific tracking nutrition program? Did I trust myself and more importantly did I trust God? Did I believe that God had my back? That I would be ok? Did I trust and have faith in Him and all the blessings and grace and healing he had done in me? The answer was a big fat (pardon the pun) NO. I had kept such a tight reign on my eating so that I would feel in control. I judged others because I judged myself. I trusted God in something’s but not in everything, not with my food.
I was convicted. I asked God to forgive me for my lack of faith. I asked that He guide my heart and my actions and if doing this was the right thing, He would make it clear to me in his infinite grace He forgave instantly and He guided my way after that.
I decided not to do the same program that the other athletes in my gym were doing and went with a smaller company. The owner was a woman, an amazing athlete and had struggled herself with food issues and I felt her company was the one to go with. Working Against Gravity (www.workingagainstgravity.com) is a Canadian based company and I loved that all their coaches were strength athletes. I also like that a lot of their clients were athletes with goals of performance. I like their simple less is more approach. So I signed up on New Years day.
I only told a few people at the gym when I started, two to be exact. I was dipping my feet instead of stepping out in courage lol.
I am now almost at the halfway point in my 12 week program. I am not going to lie the first three weeks were HARD. I fought everything. It was too much food. Not enough fat. My strength was disappearing before my eyes. I even cried a couple of times. I would check in with my coach and tell him my struggles. (Yes even ciaches need coaches) He was great patient and positive. Finally one day he said something that changed everything for me. He said that sometimes when we focus on stuff and make it hard then it will be a hard. (I am totally paraphrasing he was much more elegant) that woke me up. I had been focusing on the negative since day one on the program. Looking for a reason to stop. From that moment on I changed my attitude. I decided to enjoy every part of the plan. I decided to smile and be happy and look forward to working out and to see the possibility that this could work. Everything changed. It was like a light switch went on. The results started to come. I felt better, stronger. My performance improved. I had energy. I realized that I had so much freedom, There where not good and bad foods there were just choices and for the first time in my life I am beginning to really feel my body. I have removed the emotion of food and just make choices on how food makes me feel physically. Nothing is off limits but honestly I don’t want junk. My body likes and works best on whole foods and that is ok.
It has also made me a better nutrition coach. I really believe that there is not a one size fits all approach to nutrition. It is very personal. Macros are working for me right now at this time in my life based on my goals now. Will I continue on this program when my 12 weeks are done? At this point I don’t know and have not thought much about it. Will I prescribe macros to all my nutrition clients? Absolutely not. I still believe that our relationship with food is so complex. I decide on my approach based on the client, their goals and their history with food. I see macro tracking as one more tool in my tool belt to better serve my clients and their needs. I also feel much better about putting someone on a macro plan now that I have experienced it myself. You can understand concepts but nothing beats experience.
Personally I have eaten some humble pie. I have realized that I do not know it all. That what works for some may not work for others and vise versa. It has made me more open minded and confident. What started out as a leap of faith and a quest to overcome fear has become so much more.
I will continue to share during the next 6 weeks of my program so check back weekly to see how I am doing!
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