Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Balancing the Physical and Mental Effects of Diet

This is the post that I planned to post last week, but didn't. This is definitely still part of my journey, but last week I needed to be honest that "diet" wasn't exactly top of mind.

Recently I have been getting a lot of questions and comments about my new diet. And I wanted to talk a bit about balancing the physical and mental effects of diet.

I realize these are two different topics, but for me they are linked.

Admittedly, after my experience with me elimination diet a few years ago. I felt somewhat reluctant to head down a path of potential restriction again.

There was no doubt that following the diet the way I did provided relief for my acid reflux. I had more energy. And from a physical standpoint I felt great! I was going through a really difficult time in my life, but I was training hard and completely honed in on taking care of my body.

The problem for me is that as a type-A person I tend to easily embrace an All-or-Nothing approach.

And this diet was full on. Combine that with marathon training, striving for a half ironman, while needing something to control when my life felt completely adrift - it's safe to say I loved it. I loved it a little too much.

And I started to see it as a bit of a slippery slope.

Despite eating really well and training really hard I was constantly thinking of other things I could do to be EVEN healthier. Maybe I should go full vegan? (* I tried for a month*) I should definitely try to add more mileage? I should also do yoga 2x a week too?

And that's when I knew the balance had shifted too far in other direction. Physically those dietary changes were working for me. But mentally it was starting to have a negative impact.

You have probably read the articles floating around online about the Blonde Vegan (now the Balanced Blonde) and Othorexia. And if you have spent anytime in the online health and fitness world than you know it is a Very Real Thing and it is around us. There is this constant pressure to be our "healthiest selves" - often at the expense of just that.
I saw myself caving to that pressure.

So I pulled back. I walked away from my half ironman. I seriously relaxed my feelings about food. And I spent a lot less time on my blog and social media.

Walking away from all that pressure was necessary for me. And it has given me some time to reflect on what I want from my life and what I truly value.

I have been willing to make changes to my diet because these changes are for my health. It is something I am doing to combat my hypothyroidism and my Hashimoto's diagnosis.

There are more extreme elimination diets out there. Many people have suggested I look at the AI Paleo approach (including my naturopath because medically it has a lot of valid points). Others have commented that I should also cut out hummus. Some of suggested that I be careful about nightshade vegetables (*which I had to google by the way here's a list if you are curious too*). And while I am always interested in hearing what has worked well for people, I am also only willing to modify my diet so far.

There certainly are more aggressive plans available. And perhaps as I settle into these initial changes, I may become more willing to look at other aspects of my diet. But I want to ease into these changes and make sure that I am making them for the right reasons.

I am truly seeking the idea of Health and Balance.

And that for me means striking that elusive balance with diet that allows me to make lasting and sustainable changes to improve my health physically, while not becoming so restrictive that it begins to impact me negatively mentally.

So I am working with my Naturopath to make the right changes for me.

The internet is often a world of extremes and that is not really the kind of life I am interested in living.
Love Your Favourite Darwinian Fail,