Reading blogs are a great way to get your feet wet. You can take the health advice given and slowly implement at your own pace. I like to provide readings that apply to a variety of issues in diet culture and hope it hits home for someone struggling; parents, athletes, chronic dieters, etc. However, this blog is an all-in-one package deal. It is going to be raw, vulnerable, up-lifting, yet still educational. It will show that I too struggle. I am no health angel. My unhealthy demons still haunt me. It will show you, this path is not black and white. There is no "perfect" way to health and even the professionals fall short. But what is "falling short"?
If you do not know my history, please go read "My Why" before continuing this.
This past week I went on the best vacation (minus my honeymoon) I have ever been on. It was my first family vacation in 9 years! We went to Destin, Florida which was the last place we were all together 9 years ago. Preparing for this vacation looked a little different than most and had a lot of negative history tied to it. Destin 9 years ago was when my father received the call that I was needing to be admitted immediately into treatment for anorexia. Severe lab results came back and actions needed to be taken quickly. My suitcase went from being packed for white sandy beaches to white hospital walls. So needless to say, this trip was my opportunity to create new memories. It was my chance to fully restore the person that was lost there so many years ago.
Confession #1: Even in recovery, traveling is very difficult for me. It moves me out of my normal routine and takes away my ability to fully control.
Normally, no matter where we travel, I pack literally half our kitchen. I have traveled internationally with pounds of sweet potato, ground meat, protein powder jugs and organic veggies in my suitcase. Let me tell you, getting through customs with sweet potatoes and white powder (BCAA's) is not as difficult as you would think. For this trip, I went in with a different kind of control. I called it, "Not controlling my not control." I put myself in a position of discomfort while constantly repeating to myself, "If it doesn't challenge you, it doesn't change you." I wanted to challenge my control freak ways. I wanted to vacation like everyone else. I wanted to eat and drink intuitively. I wanted to vacation and let my mind free!
Confession #2: The first couple days of the vacation I failed miserably. I stuck to my control freak ways in every way I could. Flashbacks of my last time there were overwhelming and I was wound up tighter than a yo-yo.
My head was a mess. I couldn't relax. I played the back and forth game of "Just let go" and "No, stick to 'comfortable'. Your rigidity keeps you relaxed." Then it hit me. This "comfort" was not Jourdan. This comfort was my eating disorder trying to steal my joy AGAIN! "Be paleo, that cocktail has too much sugar, you don't NEED pizza, you have more will power than that" it would say; I was trapped. I had 5 days of vacation, so not much time to decide if I was going to take TRUE control or stay controlled. Contemplation can take a lifetime, but one ultimate decision takes seconds.
Confession #3: I had gluten... twice!
I have been gluten free for 5 years now; paleo to be specific. I have always had negative skin and digestive reactions when eating it, especially after being diagnosed with severe IBS. I really hit the paleo lifestyle hard after I got done with my second round of treatment starting to compete in bikini shows. It was my personal decision and not recommended by my treatment team, but one that I felt really helped my IBS over time. However, paleo led me into another form of obsessive control. When I say I went paleo, I did not eat anything that was not paleo. It was black and white for me and my eating disorder loved it.
Night out to dinner #1 (Most of the nights we cooked at condo): I decided to have one small slice of pita bread... ONE! The next morning I had hives and not to sexy bathroom visits. When I had the slice of pita bread, I was emotional and nervous about eating it. I was battling my own mind while trying to tell myself "I am on vacation and LOVE pita bread. What could one slice hurt?" After it, I was freaking out.
Night out to dinner #2: Here is where the fun comes in. So, if you know me well, you know I do not like to drink alcohol. But when I do, there is one thing I will drink. It contains ALL the sugar, ALL the carbs and ALL the tastiness... A piña colada of course! It was the last night of vacation and I was still not pleased with my ability to "relax". Not only did I feel like I let myself down, I felt like I was letting my family down as well. I truly felt like my time of recovery was slipping. I was not finding the person that was lost there 9 years ago as anticipated; I was slowly losing her again to be honest. I would soon return home to obsessively working and letting enjoyment of life pass me by.
3 piña coladas in, I was care free (like most would be). You are probably thinking, "Why is this nutritionist telling us about her drunk night on vacation?" Don't worry, this is going somewhere. Piña colada Jourdan ate 5 pieces of REAL (all the gluten, all the cheese) pizza and in this state, did not care one bit. Call me Planet Fitness, because I was all up in my "No Judgement Zone." It was the perfect night with my family having some of the most fun together in a long time! And we are pretty fun people might I add. The next morning comes and guess how I felt? Fine! I felt totally fine. No hives, no bad bowel movements, nothing!
I share this story and trip experience with you for the following lessons:
No matter how far you have come, set backs are okay! Often times they are opportunities to grow and become stronger.
The ultimate decision to change does not mean ALL the change has to happen at once. Making the choice is the hardest part and from there, take it day by day with no expectations of perfection.
As it relates to the gluten part: Is your mind getting the best of the way your body reacts? Sleep, digestion, weight loss, etc. The mind is a powerful thing and fear or doubt can lead to negative external/internal reactions.
Struggling makes you HUMAN! Falling short is not failing. You only fail when you give up.
Beat you! YOU are your toughest critic and hold an inner demon. If you are questioning taking "the step", the best step you can take is to stop playing mind games with yourself. Stop the "if's, and's or but's" and prepare yourself for a path of ups and downs.
Drink the piña colada, have the pizza and live a little! If you want ultimate physical health, it will come with having the mental health too. No, that does not mean go get drunk all the time. It means have some vegetables sometimes and other times, put them on top of your pizza.
As a health professional, it can be tough to open up. We are counselors, leaders and role models to people day in and day out. With that being said, we are socially anticipated to have it all put together for the most part. However, my personal opinion is that our struggles only allow us to be better at what we do. Instances like these only allow me to better connect to the battles my clients experience. They light a fire within me to make sure that no one gives up! If they fall short or are haunted by their critical mind, I am here to help put up the fight against it. I can mean it when I say to them, "I understand."
As it relates to nutrition, some of you may be wondering if I will be incorporating gluten into my diet regularly. The answer is no. I will continue to be gluten free on a regular basis, but will not treat a regular donut or piece of pizza like the plague. I will be adding back in rice and oats and no longer putting a name to the way I eat.
I will be doing an experiment this Friday (August 23rd, 2019) as well. I will be getting a regular Lamars glazed donut post workout [insert drool emoji here]. I am going into the experiment with a healthy state of mind telling myself, "I like the donut. I want the donut. My body will be fine with one donut." From there, I will be tracking physical reactions for the next 24 hours if negative. No, I am not going to track if my nose itches once or some non sense of sorts. My mind will be clear and positive! I plan to post results on my Facebook page in a post, so stay tuned!
Stop judging. Stop comparing. Listen to the REAL you. Shut the demons up. Prepare for imperfections. YOU got this!
Nutrition Yoda out.
Question of the day: If one enjoys drinking piña coladas with pizza, does that mean pineapples belong on pizza?