(The things I have to say on the topic based on my experience)
There is no denying that my relationship with food has gone through good periods and bad periods since first getting treatment 8 years ago. Various external factors have contributed to these periods, as did a variety of “ways of eating”. In early recovery, I played strictly by the rules. I ate according to an eating plan and I exercised very rarely, as per my dietician’s guidelines (obsessive exercise was one of my methods of escape). It was essential to my recovery for a good few years, but it was not a sustainable way of life.
Once it got to a point of no longer working for me I wobbled. And my “wobble” lasted a few years – good months and bad months. I tried different things – ways of eating, different forms of exercise – but nothing was working. The one thing that had improved was my relationship with my body since the reintroduction of regular exercise. However my relationship with food was in a downward spiral. Something needed to shift or else I was going to end up back where I had been several years earlier. Because my self-worth was still not established enough for me to do it for “myself”, I did it for my new relationship with my body. This may sound completely insane – surely my body is me? No. This is what I learned. My body is not me; my body is a part of me. A love for my body does not mean an immediate love for my complete self. But at this stage, I had learned to love my body by intellectualising it in this way. I had started to look at my body as a person independent of me, who, in all honesty, I had never liked or cared much for. By seeing my body as a separate being from “me”, I was able to develop a love and respect for this “person”. This love and respect is what drove me to change my relationship with food.
I took control of the situation and I got knowledgeable about nutrition and dietary requirements, specifically for athletes. I use the word “athlete” loosely – I am far from an athlete but I had started training for my first half marathon and so I figured that learning how real athletes take care of themselves could only benefit me. I took myself to a couple of open talks by Professor Noakes and some other international doctors endorsing Low Carb High Fat lifestyles. What they were saying resonated with me. It was all substantiated with research and facts and that made me feel confident. I resolved to give up sugar and carbohydrates and increase my protein and fat intake. This way of eating felt safe to me because I had taken the time to understand why this style of eating made medical sense. People around the world had invested years of their lives in researching these theories and making sure that they were a healthy life choice, so I adopted this way of living.
It worked for me for a long time. It improved my athletic performance and it made me feel stronger. Aside from the positive physical effects this lifestyle change had on my body, it completely transformed my relationship with food and eating. By understanding which foods to give up because they were harmful and which foods to eat more of because they were uncompromisingly good for me, I came to trust food again. Eating became safe; eating the right amout of meals a day became safe. After years in “recovery” I had finally found real freedom from my fear of food and eating.
I spent a decent amount of time doing it religiously, and then I spent some more time adapting it to suit my body, my training and my desired results. I was only able to do this after I had established a bond with my body, and after I had invested in knowledge. I worked for where I am in my recovery today; I know that I deserve some of the credit. But I also believe that I owe my life as it is today to a sugar free lifestyle.