Inspiring Women & Their Relationship With Food
Disclaimer:The information provided by these women is for information purposes only and is not advice given directly from me. Eating lifestyles that work for them may not work the same way for you. If you have, or ever have had issues with food, these answers may be triggering. This is a space for women to bravely share their story. If this is in any way triggering to you, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me for support.
In this blog series, I ask women from my life questions pertaining to their relationship with food and how it affects their eating lifestyle. They share their individual dietary struggles and how to overcome them. They also give their honest opinion about diet culture, Health At Every Size (HAES) movement, and how to practice intuitive eating. Each of these women are inspiring to me and I hope that you can also be inspired by their stories and ways of practicing mindful eating habits.
Courtney is a good friend of mine whom I have known for about 15 years. She has an amazing story to share of how she battled an eating disorder and how she is combatting pain through eating whole, unprocessed foods. (again, if you have struggled with an eating disorder, her story may. be triggering). Courtney is a twenty-three year old student studying Kinesiology and on the path to becoming a certified Yoga teacher. Read more to learn more about Courtney’s story. Connect with Courtney on Instagram to follow her journey of battling chronic pain.
What has been you biggest dietary struggle and how have you overcome it?
My biggest dietary struggle was overcoming an eating disorder and learning how to properly nourish my body without guilt. Learning to gain back control was so hard. I still battle with moments, even to this day, with the little voice in my head trying to fill me with guilt and regret. I’m a lot more headstrong now though. I practice yoga and meditation and have noticed that increasing my self-awareness really helps.
Explain your current eating patterns. How have they influenced your overall quality of life?
Currently, I eat a high protein diet. I avoid most processed foods and dairy besides Greek yogurt. It always works for me because with all the protein I’m consuming, I feel full all the time. I also eat lots of fresh fruit and veggies because I am a volume eater, so I try to fill up on lower calorie foods. My energy levels have skyrocketed.
Do you believe that restrictive dieting at an early age leads to disordered eating? How so?
YES, YES, AND YES!!! As someone who developed Bulimia in 8th grade, I 100% agree that restrictive dieting leads to disordered eating. I was put on a popular low calorie, keto-genic diet in 5th grade. I lost 20lbs and noticed how nicer people were to me and all the complements I received. Then, I yoyo dieted up until 8th grade. It started as calorie restriction (800 cals a day, MAX) then led to binging and purging at least once a day. I battled with this until I was in 12th grade. (forewarning: a bit graphic here sorry guys) The reason I stopped was I actually created a tear in my esophagus which caused me to have blood in my vomit. This scared me so much I decided to never do it again although I did have a couple relapses here and there.
What is your opinion on the diet culture and how do you think it has influenced society?
Alright so I think diet culture is horrible. Everywhere we look we see “quick fixes” which is just another word for crash diet. People screw with their metabolisms so much by doing these short-term 2 week detoxes or 30-day cleanses. We need to focus more on lifestyle changes than quick fixes.
What does intuitive eating mean to you and how do you practice it daily?
So intuitive eating is hard for me sometimes because I am a bored and emotional eater. I still have to learn healthier habits then going to food when I’m stressed or have nothing else to do. First thing I do when I get home from anywhere is open the fridge and stare. I count my macros now but have also learned to intertwine intuitive eating into that.
What is your opinion on the “Health at Every Size” (HAES) movement? How has this changed your view on health, beauty and nutrition?
I didn’t know what HAES was before this interview, so I did some research. I like that it is inclusive to ALL body types and focuses on being healthy not just physically but, mentally as well. Self-care is so important in this day and age. As a student, I forget way too often to take time to care for myself. I definitely don’t see anything wrong with it. I think people need to learn how to accept their current body first. You got to love yourself every step of the way.
Explain how your current eating patterns have changed your overall health and well being.
I feel so much more energized. The past a couple of years I’ve battled with a chronic pain disorder called Interstitial Cystitis and I sought comfort in low nutrition, processed foods. I’ve changed my diet to eating more fresh ingredients and limiting breads and dairy for the most part. I haven’t felt this good in so long.
Share some tips on what you do when eating out at a restaurant.
Okay, so right off the bat if there is no nutrition information I will order a protein with a side or two of veggies. If I’m at a Mexican restaurant (California has one on every corner) I either go for a salad with chicken, no dairy, and use guacamole as my dressing or two soft tacos cause sometimes I just want them. If a restaurant does have nutrition info, I plan ahead of time.
What advice would you give to someone dealing with similar health/food issues?
Learning to have a healthy relationship with food after battling an eating disorder is HARD. Start off not counting anything because that can easily land you right back into your ED. Eat foods that nourish you. Eat lots of colors like fruits and veggies. Avoid trigger foods (any kind of processed sweet or fast food for me). Become comfortable with your body. It’s so hard and I wish I had a perfect answer. Also, ask yourself questions after you eat certain foods like, do you feel sleepy or energetic and does it keep you full long enough? Are you satisfied?
What is your “food philosophy” that you strongly believe in?
“Food is energizing”. Listen to what your body has to say after you eat every food.
What is your favorite food/recipe that you enjoy making?
This sounds so cliché, but I love making green smoothies. I used to drink them every morning but it’s hard with being a student. Here’s my favorite one I came up with:
Greek Yogurt Smoothie
- 1 container coconut light and fit Greek yogurt
- LOTS of spinach!!!
- Half a banana (frozen)
- Coconut water to preferred consistency