My brain is not exactly normal. It knows the caloric content of almost any food you put in front of me. It knows the carbohydrates in a serving of any grain or starchy food. It can figure out the grams of protein in 100 chicken breasts without even doing the physical calculation. It can add the fat content of the amount of peanut butter I'm eating without even trying.
That's what almost 7 years of calorie counting will do to you. I've gone to the grocery store in my sickest moments to browse up and down each and every aisle to memorize the nutrition labels of foods that catch my eye. I wanted to make sure that I knew the calorie content in case a situation ever occurred where I would have to eat those specific foods. Better safe than sorry, right?
Throughout my life, my eating patterns have been alllllll over the place. I've been on a low carb diet, weight watchers, keto, paleo, vegan, a military diet, etc etc etc. Name a diet, and I've probably been on it. The "diet" I've been on the last few years is the fitness phenomenon known as "IIFYM", aka, "if it fits your macros". For those of you who aren't familiar with this term, IIFYM is a flexible dieting concept that is specifically made for you and your goals. You aren't counting calories, you're counting carbohydrate, protein, and fat grams. The idea of it is simple – you eat whatever foods you like to fill your allotment of proteins, carbs and fats. Let's say if you wanted to lose weight, you'd set your macros to be in a deficit. So if a Poptart, Mike & Ikes, or any junk food you desire fits within your allotted macro goals for the day, then in theory yes, you can lose weight eating those things. I chose to fill my MAINTENANCE macros (A/N: I've NEVER had my macro nutrient numbers to be set for me to lose weight) with both nutrient dense foods and a few treats.
It seems a little complex, so I'm sorry if you're confused, but you've made it this far. Keep reading! :-)
I've been doing IIFYM for almost 2 years now. It has taught me that I really CAN eat whatever I want. It's taught me about proper portion sizes, and in a nutshell, has really helped me realize that there are no "good" foods and "bad" foods. Food is fuel.
This past month has been filled with many triumphs and relapses. The past two weeks in particular however, has been the worst two weeks I've experienced in a long time. I've shattered my brand new iPhone 6S after dropping a 40lb dumbbell on it at the gym. I've been down in the dumps. I've felt ashamed, depressed, and angry. I've recently gained a little bit of weight due to having my macros set in a surplus. Yes, I've gained a lot of muscle AND a little fat. It's very difficult for me to admit that. Why though? Let's analyze these feelings.
Why would I be ashamed of my weight gain?
Well, when anyone hears the words "weight gain", they automatically think, "No, no, no. Fat weight. Who wants to gain weight? Who wants more of something on them?" Being "bigger" in today's society is frowned upon. I've been trying to keep myself small and fragile ever since the beginning of my eating disorder. So when I gained weight, I felt shameful. I felt like I've been "bad". I automatically felt guilty for eating all of the food I've been eating. I thought, "I'm not fit anymore if I've gained weight." I was letting (and still do, I'm only human) what the societal views of being "fit and healthy" are mess with my perception.
I need to stop this nonsense (easier said than done though!).
Step back, Lauryn. Look at the big picture. I've gained A LOT more than just weight. When I squatted, benched, and deadlifted in February at my first powerlifting meet, I was A LOT weaker. Just to give you an idea, my one rep max deadlift in February was 275 pounds. Yesterday I maxed out at a whopping 315 pounds! Would that have been possible without eating the amount of food I was? Probably not. As my coach always tells me, "To beat the man, you gotta out-eat the man". And believe me, for a girl, I can pack away a hefty amount of food (Impressive or caveman like?).
So with all of that being said, my friends, Lauryn is going to try to make the transition to intuitive eating. Eating when I'm hungry, stopping when I'm full. Sounds simple right? Well it is a very basic concept, and for "normal" people, it comes like second nature. For me however, it's relearning how to TRULY eat again. Dealing with fear foods, no food scale, no spooning my peanut butter in tablespoons, and the biggie...no MyFitnessPal. MyFitnessPal has been my sidekick for a long time now, and it's time that Batman and Robin split up.
I'm actually on my fifth day of intuitive eating. It's been incredibly liberating, yet I still feel like I hold a guard up in areas. My mind still roughly adds the macro nutrient content of what I'm eating, but I realize that this will be a constant work in progress. I have taken the largest, most difficult step. I've started. I've broken the MyFitnessPal app login streak. I've honored my cravings. I even had a cookie after dinner last night, because I felt like it. I went to Walmart today to purchase ingredients to make chips and guacamole, because I craved it.
WHO EVEN AM I?!
I want to have other daily accomplishments other than just "hitting my macros". With that being said, I feel like guacamole is an accomplishment worth celebrating. Here's to listening to your body, normalizing eating, and guac. :-)