Friday, May 9, 2014

cultivating your relationship with food... (Guest Post: Steve Miller)

In our fad diet, beach body crazed culture we often lose sight of whats really important. We often view food as the enemy, we proclaim portion control is key, food is looked at as a necessary evil that we must limit ourselves from over indulging in because our hunger instincts are the enemy. This leads to the quit weight loss, quick weight regain, unhealthy in all regards lifestyle that we have (as a society) become accustomed to.

Amidst this we lost the mental connection with one very important fact, "food is nourishment". Food is something that has customarily been embraced and cherished throughout history. Almost all cultures host harvest festivals and celebrate when food is abundant (as it was typically seasonal). But we have made pseudo food ultra convenient and nutritionally void in our me, me, me, now, now, now, quick fix society.  Our obsession with quick and easy on the go has lead us to an industrial food system that creates toxic products that are nutritionally void and stuffs them to us in mass quantities. Addictive sugars are used to help soothe our taste buds and make us crave more, and our bodies also naturally crave more food searching for the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that are missing from this cheap processed junk. 

This does not cultivate a healthy relationship with food. This relationship is downright psychotic and abusive. We curse it, we beat it, we hate it, and then we obsess over it and binge, all while being told it's genetics for why we are unhealthy. Truth be told your body is a genetic marvel honed over millennia of evolution to survive in a natural world. The problem with that now being that our food system, and the relationship we have with food is not natural. In order to return to health we do not need to diet, we should not seek out a quick fix solution and then go back to this abusive relationship, instead we should explore, understand, appreciate, respect, and cultivate a healthy relationship with food.

This is a guest post from my inspirational friend Steve Miller regarding his journey to defining his relationship with food.

I was asked to take the time to share my health/fitness journey and my relationship with food. Starting my freshman year in high school I was bigger and heavier than most kids. I didn't lift weights, exercise to be fit or follow any diets. I played! A lot! I played soccer, basket ball, skateboarded, snowboarded, motocross, hunted, fished and even ran some just to hangout with friends. I was able to keep up with all my friends so why worry about my weight.   My junior year in high school I had a snowboard accident and tore my left knee up. Then the summer before my senior year I had a motocross accident that tore my right knee up. Ended up having surgery. After hearing multiple doctors tell me that my weight needed to come down a good 40+ pounds to save the wear on my damaged knees, I decided it was time to change some things. I had no idea what to do.  My friends and I would just go to random gyms a couple times a year and do what everyone else did. I knew sweets and soda had to go but never really changed anything else. I mostly ate big home cooked carb loaded meals or fast food! I always measured my success on how much weight lost. In a 2-3 month stretch of time I could lose between 15-40 pounds pretty regularly but always put it back on. From the time I was 18 till I was 25 I stayed in that same rut.  

In the beginning of 2013 decided I wanted to try crossfit. New gyms were popping up in the area and I passed one everyday on the way to work. I was interested but I felt too out of shape. I decided I was going to do my normal and drop 30-40 pounds and then give crossfit a try. So I starved myself and did the normal lifting and cardio routine and lost 50 pounds! I knew I wouldn't keep it off due to my past failures. I hit a wall. I was actually starting to gain the weight back two weeks. 

Finally I built up the courage to stop at the crossfit gym in late April of 2013. Just so happened the week I signed up they started a paleo diet challenge. I had never heard of the paleo diet before. I loved the first couple workouts I had done at the gym. I figured what the heck. I'll give paleo a try also. In 30 days I dropped 20 pounds. I was impressed! I had went from 292 pounds to 238 pounds cumulative at that point. I started back to eating the way I was for the most part after the challenge though. Socially it was just easier and I stayed right around 240 pounds so I became content. Then my life took a bit of a turn. I started having marital issues. I turned to food.  

From September to mid December I put 42 pounds back on. I was disgusted! I was ashamed and almost quit crossfit completely. One day I walked into the gym after realizing that my marriage was done and I had all but given hit me. I wasn't afraid to put in the work. I wasn't afraid to change the way I ate. My problem was that I never really let any of it become a part of me. I never let it become a life style. I never tried to build a healthy relationship with food. I always used food as a way to feel good. I immediately started researching paleo and soon realized that it wasn't a diet. It was a way I could live a healthy life. I realized that crossfit and paleo were not just ways to look good or meet superficial goals. Jointly, they were my escape from the prison of doubt, fear, and self pity I had kept myself in.  

It is now May of 2014. I am the strongest, fastest, and healthiest(not to mention lightest) I have ever been. I no longer just step on the scale to measure my success. My relationship with food is always going to be a on going battle because of what is socially acceptable and the fact that I like to eat!! The good news is that now I have the tools and community I need to continue reaching my goals. At the end of the day the one thing I have to remind myself of is that life is never going to get easier. I just simply have to get better and have fun doing it!

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