Confessions of a Curve-less Girl

I’m joining up with Thinking Out Loud again this week to talk about something close to my heart: body image. 

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We’ve all heard the (completely untrue) phrase “real women have curves”. And we all know the backlash that phrase has created. Of course, I completely disagree with this statement and I think it can be really harmful.

See, I’m a curve(less) girl. Always have been. Not only am I petite, but I’m totally straight up-and-down. During middle school and high school when I noticed my fellow classmates developing boobs, butts and just curves in general, I wondered when mine would come. But after going through years of an eating disorder and emerging on the other side still curveless, I’ve come to embrace my natural body type. I’m a proud member of the A cup club (if only that were a real club!) and I literally have no hips. One reason why it took me so long to be okay with my body is just that. Having no hips means my thighs are naturally close together, and I’ve never had that coveted thigh gap (when my feet touch), even when I was severely underweight. For the longest time, I thought my thighs touching meant I was fat, but it’s really just because of how my body is built. Some women have thigh gaps, some don’t and that’s okay!

This is when I was near my skinniest (and unhealthiest) and my thighs only didn't touch when I was standing with my feet apart.

This is when I was near my skinniest (and unhealthiest) and my thighs only didn’t touch when I was standing with my feet apart (July 2009).

I’ve grown to love my body type. I’ve learned how to dress to enhance it — having a boyish shape means dresses with no structure absolutely drown me and I can’t really pull off the high-waisted shorts look. At the same time, I can wear strapless dresses and tops without looking too sexy (and honestly, I will probably never be considered ‘sexy’ and that’s okay) and I can get away with wearing shorter hemlines because they aren’t too revealing on my smaller frame. Sure, sometimes I feel like a twelve-year-old girl in a bikini because I don’t have that hourglass shape that most women do, but most of the time, I wouldn’t want to change my body type at all.

Also, this isn’t necessarily about being thin. Plenty of thinner women out there DO have curves and some like me don’t. The point is, there isn’t one body type that defines a woman!

No curves but I still rock a bikini (May 2013).

No curves but I still rock a bikini (May 2013).

So am I not a real woman because I’m shaped like a ruler? Of course not! I’m just as much of a woman as any other female out there and NO ONE should be made to feel less than just because of how they look. I also want to apply this to transgendered women, who probably feel even less like women in certain instances. I believe anyone who identifies as a female should be treated as such!

Moral of the story: don’t let societal standards or stupid phrases keep you from being who you are!

How do you feel about the phrase “real women have curves”? 

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Ditch the Diet Debates

Note: In honor of National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, I created a page on my blog dedicated to my own struggles with an eating disorder and some of my most helpful posts on the topic. Check it out here and visit nedawareness.org for even more information. 

You know me…never afraid to take on a touchy subject 😉 I’ve discussed Instagram disordered behavior, figure competitions, rest days and intuitive eating and orthorexia in my personal life.

But what I haven’t talked much about is the crazy debates out there about the ‘perfect’ diet. There have been a lot of posts lately touching on the pros and cons of paleo, the Whole 30 and the primal-based lifestyles that are gaining in popularity. And of course, Instagram is full of #IIFYM hashtagged photos of ‘proyo’ and Quest bars and Walden Farms condiments. And if you’ve spent any time on my blog or Instagram, you’ll see all the raw fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds that make up my newly adopted raw vegan lifestyle. With all these conflicting dietary views out there, which one is best?

Honestly…none of them are! Let me explain. The ‘best’ diet for all humans doesn’t exist–we’re all so unique in our needs that eating a egg salad sandwich on Ezekiel bread for lunch may work for you, but it will make your gluten-free vegetarian friend feel like crap. The ‘best’ diet is the one that works for YOU and your body, period. It doesn’t matter what’s trendy, or what everyone at your gym is eating or what the latest episode of Dr. Oz tells you not to eat. If something works for you, eat it. If not, don’t…and don’t feel guilty for not eating a certain way.

This approach doesn't exactly work for everyone.

This approach doesn’t exactly work for everyone.

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The thing that gets me the most about these diet debates is how people trash each other’s eating style. The paleo people cut down vegans for not eating enough protein, high carb low fat vegans are militant about shunning fats and omnivores criticize many diets for being too restrictive. Where’s the appreciation for the benefits of each diet? Other than the Standard American Diet, there are benefits to every eating style, which is why people choose to follow them. Each diet gets some things right–veganism emphasizes the benefits of consuming mostly plants, primal eating promotes real food over processed crap and healthy diets that don’t exclude any food groups show the benefits of moderation.

We ALL need to be eating more real food.

We ALL need to be eating more real food.

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I wish people would be more respectful of everyone’s chosen eating style. I came across a blog post the other day where the blogger shared her experiences as being a vegetarian for a week and how she couldn’t do it because she’s an athlete. Nothing wrong with not being a vegetarian, but don’t claim you couldn’t cut out meat because you’re an athlete. If that were true, then Brendan Brazier, Venus Williams and Scott Jurek (all plant-based athletes) wouldn’t be among the best in their sports. Sure, you may have to be better at planning your meals as a plant-based athlete but that doesn’t mean you can’t avoid animal products and still be athletic. I know I’m guilty of questioning the paleo diet from time to time but I recognize that it works for some people and that’s great. Just because something is restrictive for you personally doesn’t mean it’s restrictive to someone else and we need to respect that.

Who says vegans can't be strong and fit?

Who says vegans can’t be strong and fit?

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Personally, I advocate for a plant-based diet because it’s healthier to fill up your plate with plenty of fruits and veggies and of course it’s cruelty-free, but I understand that everyone has their own beliefs and needs that determine what they eat. I try to come from a place of understanding and respect and I wish there was more of that in the blog world and life in general!

What’s your take on the ‘diet debates’?

Am I Healthy?

Just a warning in advance, this post talks a lot about birth control and all that fun girl stuff, so any guy readers out there–you can skip this one! I know this is just what you want to read the day before Thanksgiving, but I thought it was an important topic that a lot of women out there can relate to!

I’m not sure I’ve ever shared my full birth control story on here but I’ll just give you all a quick rundown so you have a little background as to where I’m coming from. After I was diagnosed with anorexia in the spring of 2009, I started seeing a dietitian and therapist. I stopped seeing the dietitian after a few months but I kept going to therapy appointment regularly until I graduated from high school in May 2010. One thing that both my doctor and therapist recommended a few months into recovery was that I take birth control to jump start my periods. Before this point, I had NEVER had my period before, ever. I was 17 at the time this was suggested to me, and I always felt so awkward at school when girls would talk about their ‘time of the month’ because I had literally never had one, and I was almost out of high school! But at the same time, I was scared out of my mind to take BC. I had heard all the horror stories, mostly of weight gain, and in the early stages of ED recovery, weight gain was the last thing on my mind. So I put off taking it for various reasons until January of 2010. My first period felt like a blessing and a curse–I knew that meant that I was at least capable of having one, but the potential side effects still scared me.

After high school graduation, and early on in my BC experience.

After high school graduation, and early on in my BC experience.

Fast forward 3 years. I had been on low dose BC since early 2010 without many side effects. I liked that it regulated my period and how I always knew exactly when it was coming. BC also kept my moderate acne at bay for the most part, which I also loved. But earlier this year, I started getting headaches more frequently with my period, and my acne was coming back more often. I started toying with the idea of getting off BC, at least for a few months, to see if my body could get it back on its own. Part of me was definitely hoping that I wouldn’t get it back, and that would help me justify to myself that I was still too thin.

Well, I got my wish. I got off BC in May of this year, and as of now (late November) I still haven’t gotten my period back. It’s been a full six months since I’ve had one, and while I love not having to deal with all that crap, I’m also worried. My doctor said to come back and see her if in six months I hadn’t had a period. Back in May, I was so sure that wouldn’t happen. But it did.

I’m kind of scared to go back to the doctor, because I really don’t want to be put back on BC. I’m not so sure how I feel about hormones being pumped into my body, and even though the kind I was using was pretty symptom-free, it did create some problems for me a few years after I started taking it. A lot of people say BC is also a crutch–it doesn’t solve the underlying issue of amenorrhea.

I won’t lie–missing my period kind of helps me validate that I might not be at my healthiest weight. I struggle with this a lot, because even though I haven’t weighed myself since this summer, I’m pretty sure I’m at my highest weight ever. I may still be technically underweight or on the low end of the healthy spectrum, but I don’t have the most positive body image still and having a more physical manifestation of my ED struggles helps me cope with it.

Not going to lie, I don't feel comfortable with how my body looks in this photo.

Not going to lie, I don’t feel comfortable with how my body looks in this photo.

The question is, am I healthy? I’ve been worried that my lack of a period might be due to a more serious issue, like PCOS (it is fairly common in women who aren’t overweight), but I do know that missing a period for even a few months isn’t healthy. As much as I’ve enjoyed spending half of this year without one, I know I need to be more proactive and take control of my health. So I plan on going back to my doctor in December or January to check in on this and hopefully get to the bottom of this issue.

I promise I’ll be back after Thanksgiving to share some less awkward stuff (like fun recipes, etc.) but I would appreciate any and all advice you guys have about this topic!

Have you ever had a similar experience?

WIAW: Monday’s Meals

Now that you’ve seen my meal prep, let’s see what I’ve done with all that food! These are all my meals from Monday, minus an afternoon snack of a pink lady apple and some homemade raw bites that I forgot to take a picture of because I ate them in my night class.

Let me start this post by talking a little more about Instagram. I know I’ve ranted about it in the past, but for me, it’s something I easily get sucked into even if I’m trying not to let it dictate my choices. A lot of the users I follow are raw vegans–even though the lifestyle is a little extreme (I don’t think all fats are bad, and I would like to try being more raw but not necessarily super low fat like most raw vegans), I find their viewpoint on food to be refreshing. They aren’t afraid of the carbs or sugar in fruit, and promote flexibility within the diet, but overall they’re committed to real, whole foods. So those users are positive influences on me. But then there are other users, who I stumble upon from the comments section of another user I follow, and I’m kinda pissed at what these people post. Every other picture is a Quest bar, and some even talk about how they don’t eat fruit after 2 pm because they don’t want the sugar in it to turn to fat. Disordered much? It just makes me so mad, and makes me question my own diet. Seriously, though, fruit is NOT bad and you shouldn’t feel afraid to eat it in the afternoon. And don’t preach ‘clean eating’ and ‘whole foods’ when all you eat is Quest bars and Walden Farms syrup. End rant.

Breakfast: frozen banana blended with romaine lettuce+Garden of Life raw protein powder for banana softserve, side of trail mix made with pumpkin seeds, homemade coconut bacon and raisins.

Breakfast: frozen banana blended with romaine lettuce+Garden of Life raw protein powder for banana softserve, side of trail mix made with pumpkin seeds, homemade coconut bacon and raisins.

Not an unusual breakfast for me. Actually, any breakfast not involving banana softserve is unusual. Yes, I still enjoy my cold breakfasts even into the winter. I just turn up the heat 😉

Lunch: random mix of kelp noodles, black beans, cauliflower, kraut and homemade spicy pumpkin sauce. Side of ataulfo mango and leftover homemade hannah yam fries.

Lunch: random mix of kelp noodles, black beans, cauliflower, kraut and homemade spicy pumpkin sauce. Side of ataulfo mango and leftover homemade hannah yam fries.

I love my lunches on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays because I can come home to my apartment and whip up something that I don’t have to scarf down in between classes or make the night before to take on campus. So I can have leisurely lunches like this random one above. Seriously, it sounds like a gross combo but somehow it all tasted good together.

Monday's outfit: black blazer (Charlotte Russe), black/pink patterned dress (Target), black tights (Target), black heeled suede booties (Target).

Monday’s outfit: black blazer (Charlotte Russe), black/pink patterned dress (Target), black tights (Target), black heeled suede booties (Target).

Monday’s outfit, brought to you by Target. But really, like most of this outfit came from Target. I honestly don’t buy clothes from there that much, but I love their cheap (and colorful) tights collection and adorable shoes. My mom happened to buy the dress for me, mostly to wear to work, but I love it as a dressier outfit for school too. I’m obsessed with the boots+tights+dress combo. I need more winter-appropriate dresses. The shoes were new, on clearance, and super cute but not the best for wearing on campus. I only had two classes on Monday, and I walked about 10 minutes from my car to class each way, but these were killing my feet. I just need to get better about walking in heels.

Dinner: salad of romaine lettuce, leftover Thai sweet potato veggie burger crumbles, raisins, pumpkin seeds, kraut and more homemade spicy pumpkin sauce.

Dinner: salad of romaine lettuce, leftover Thai sweet potato veggie burger crumbles, raisins, pumpkin seeds, kraut and more homemade spicy pumpkin sauce.

I’ve been on a roll with the random meals lately. Why do the most random combos always taste the best? I hate it because I can never remember exactly what was in the mix, so I can’t recreate it 100%. Like the pumpkin sauce in lunch and dinner. I remember pumpkin puree, almond milk, nooch, sea salt and some spices going into it. Maybe some sunflower butter too. It was so rich and creamy and just yum though. And it worked perfectly with the veggie burger crumbles and other toppings in this salad.

Dessert: successful take on the mug cake. Almond flour+coconut flour+stevia+a little baking soda+almond milk+stevia chocolate chips.

Dessert: successful take on the mug cake. Almond flour+coconut flour+stevia+a little baking soda+almond milk+stevia chocolate chips.

I’ve been seeing a lot of mug cake creations around lately and I wanted to make one again. I’ve whipped up a few in the past and they’ve always been an easy dessert option. This version was my attempt at a cookie cake. It was lighter and fluffier than a traditional cookie cake, and no where near as sweet (just sweetened with stevia) but still incredible. And definitely a more realistic dessert option for this baking-averse girl.

What’s the most random but delicious combo you’ve come up with? How do you feel about the ‘no fruit after 2 pm’ thing (or Instagram disordered eating in general)?

#hashtagdisordered

You wake up, make breakfast and sit down at the table, smartphone in hand and you start scrolling through your Instagram feed, checking out all the pretty nature snapshots and drool-worthy food pics. You start clicking on the usernames of people liking the photos of those you follow–why not find some new people to follow? But not everything you find is so great. There are a lot of headless ab shots with comments like “I wish I had your body girly!”, and Quest bars galore and hashtags like #carbsafterdark and #iifym. Suddenly, you’re rethinking the bowl of oats you made for breakfast and wondering if you should start pouring Walden Farms chocolate syrup on everything you eat.

Hint: anything that claims to have 0 calories (except water) isn't real.

Hint: anything that claims to have 0 calories (except water) isn’t real.

This is a situation I’ve personally encountered several times on Instagram, and sadly, it doesn’t seem like it’ll be ending any time soon. Instagram has become a new place for disordered habits to flourish, all under the guise of being ‘healthy’ and ‘fit’ and ‘intuitive’. Many of the girls (and guys, too) who post these questionable pics are often recovering from an eating disorder, or are trying to hide disordered eating. Some of them may have lost a substantial amount of weight by eating healthy, but may have taken it too far and are now too small for their body type and are clinging to certain foods in fear of any weight gain. Some are trying hard to recover from anorexia, but are becoming orthorexic instead, or trying out ‘If It Fits Your Macros’ and still trying to maintain control over the food they eat. Many of them are probably way more insecure than they come across in their smiling pictures, and maybe scared too.

Other than some of the pictures themselves, one aspect of Instagram that bothers me is certain hashtags. One I’ve come across lately is #carbsafterdark. I suppose it’s meant to show people that said user isn’t afraid of carbs, but all it really shows is that they actually are and often don’t know what carbs are. For instance, I saw this hashtag on a photo of Arctic Zero, the popular low-calorie ice cream substitute. I read the nutrition facts of Arctic Zero, and it has exactly 7 grams of carbs per serving, 2 grams of which is fiber. Ummmm, not so high in carbs! When I think of carbs, I think of oats, cereal, bananas, dates–all healthy, just more carbs than a fake ice cream. Just to be clear, I think it’s GREAT to eat carbs after dark, just don’t claim to be doing so unless you’re actually eating a decent source of carbs. I eat #carbsafterdark pretty much every night, in the form of banana softserve, but I don’t go around bragging about it because I don’t fear carbs anymore (at least most of them) and I think that’s why a lot of people use this hashtag, because they do still fear carbs.

OMG I ate #carbsafterdark. I'm such a rebel...

OMG I ate #carbsafterdark. I’m such a rebel…

I think I’ve mentioned this before, but another thing that bugs me is when people claim to be eating ‘clean’ but post Quest bars, low carb tortillas (again with the carb fear!), Walden Farms and other fake shit. Listen, I’m not trying to be holier than thou, but clean eating to me means eating real foods. I’m not saying you can’t eat these things if you truly like them, but don’t call them clean. Some of these things are the furthest thing from actual food and you’d be way better off eating the real thing (like real maple syrup instead of sugar-free no-calorie pancake syrup). It all comes down to a fear of calories, fat and carbs that a lot of fitness IGers have. I know it’s hard to believe, but real sugar (in moderation, of course) won’t kill you. Especially more natural forms, like honey, dates, fruit, etc. You can eat those things and not gain a ton of weight! It’s all about balance.

The issue I have with all this is that a lot of young women, myself included, are really sensitive to these images. Even if there are good intentions behind the photo, that can get lost and make girls feel bad about themselves. For example, whenever I see super-ripped, 6 pack abs on Instagram (often on very young, thin girls still in high school), I wonder what I’m doing wrong because I don’t have defined abs. I still don’t have the most accurate body image, but I would consider myself pretty petite, and when women with abs are asked how they got their abs, they usually say “Abs are made in the kitchen” or “You have to eat clean!” I would also say that I eat fairly clean, maybe not as much protein as omnivores, but I eat very healthily so it bugs me that I’m not seeing the ab definition I crave. But here’s the catch: not everyone gets abs at the same weight as someone else. Some women can have ripped abs without much effort, while others struggle to get that definition, even at a low weight and body fat percentage. Everyone is different. So it’s dangerous to promote the message that if you get lean enough, or eat clean enough, you’ll magically look like the IG users you idolize. It just might not happen, and it might make you crazy unhealthy. It’s good to encourage healthy eating and fitness habits, but one thing doesn’t work for everyone, and one person’s body ideal may be unattainable to someone else.

My abs aren't perfect and I still wear bikinis.

My abs aren’t perfect and I still wear bikinis.

I want to point out that I’m not calling out anyone in particular. For the most part, the accounts I follow on Instagram are positive, promote a healthy body image and post delicious-looking and non-disordered food. As with everything though, we have to be aware that the content we post may be taken the wrong way by someone else. I know I may be a little too sensitive, and having struggled with an eating disorder, disordered eating and poor body image may have clouded my views on certain subjects, but it’s hard for me not to take these things personally when I still struggle with accepting the person I see in the mirror every day, and when I still deal with disordered eating. I think we all have to take responsibility for our own content, and also what we choose to view. Not everyone is going to be as responsible with what they post, but I think taking everything with a grain of salt and training ourselves to be less sensitive is the best step to take.

Do you ever see disordered content on Instagram? 

Worth It?

Just an FYI in advance, this is going to be one of my rant-y, vent-y, honest posts–so if you don’t feel like reading that today, by all means skip it. I won’t take it personally 😉 But I encourage you to read on if you’ve ever struggled with feeling like something in your life wasn’t worth doing…for whatever reason.

I’ve been thinking a lot about my ED recovery journey lately. I definitely don’t consider myself recovered (and to be honest I’m not sure if I’ll ever be fully recovered) but somewhere along the spectrum of recovery. Thinking back to my first days in recovery makes me proud of how far I’ve come, but it also bothers me.

See, I’ve been gradually ‘cleaning’ up my eats over the past year and I have to say that I love the way I eat now. Mostly whole foods, completely plant-based, plenty of tasty and healthy things. I consider things I ate a couple years ago, or even last year, and I kinda shudder. I thought I was eating healthy, but a lot of it was basically vegan ‘junk food’, like processed meat alternatives and sugar-packed Clif bars. I feel more energized and light eating the way I do know, but the thing that gets me is why hasn’t my body caught on to the changes? In other words (my ED’s words, really), why haven’t I lost weight eating clean? If anything, I’ve gained weight since last year and all that’s changed is I exercise more now (especially weight training) and eat cleaner. Seriously, I eat fruit/veggies at every meal, get in my greens daily, rarely eat grains (and never eat wheat anymore) and have raw chocolate as a treat. For most people, that adds up to weight loss, or at least fat loss, so why is my body so out of whack that it does the exact opposite? Actually, I know why it’s out of whack–because for years, I severely or at least somewhat restricted my calories and I’m just now feeling like I’m fueling myself adequately to support my energy levels. Who knows, though? Maybe I’m still restricting and my metabolism is still slowed.

August 2011. I still love how skinny I look here and I wish I was still this small.

August 2011. I still love how skinny I look here and I wish I was still this small.

It bothers me, maybe more than it should, because I’m at the highest weight I’ve ever been. I’ve always been petite–short, small, thin. I haven’t grown in height since the ninth grade, but my weight has still slowly crept up 10 pounds in a couple years. Doesn’t sound big, but to me it is. It makes me see a girl in the mirror who’s much larger than she’s ever been. It makes me question why I even try to recover.

Last July on the left, this July on the right. Maybe not noticeably different, but it is to me.

Last July on the left, this July on the right. Same outfit. Maybe not noticeably different, but it is to me.

What has recovery given me? I still (obviously) struggle with poor body image, on an almost daily basis. I still restrict, albeit in a different way. I still think about food and exercise way more than I should, and let them determine my mood for the day. I still get cold easily, have purple feet sometimes, have acne that won’t completely go away even when treated daily with a natural remedy. I haven’t gotten my period naturally. I still (admittedly) love compliments on my body, because it’s the only way I can validate that I haven’t ballooned out of control. I’m still scared to eat as much as I probably should. My greatest fear is still weight gain.

That’s not to say that I haven’t experienced positive things in recovery. It introduced me to veganism, which is one of the best things that’s ever happened to me. It changed my life profoundly, and unexpectedly. It made me realize we can’t change our past, but we CAN change our future, and that’s what gives me hope.

But it still frustrates me that I put in all this effort to be healthier, and I don’t get rewarded for it. I still deal with body issues, both internally and externally, and I don’t know how much longer I can deal with it. I’m seriously considering meeting with a nutritionist just to ask what I need to be eating as a vegan, how much, and why I’m not seeing the results I should be. I have issues asking for help sometimes, but I think if we’re really struggling, the best thing we can do for ourselves is to reach out and ask for all the help we need.

I have hope that somehow, I can find the answers I need to find the health and happiness I want and need. I still think recovery will be worth it in the long run, I just need guidance in the direction I should go to find success with it. I think everyone deserves to feel their best, so I hope that if you’ve struggled or still struggle with a similar issue, that you can find peace and happiness in life.

What’s something in your life that you’ve questioned if it’s ‘worth it’?

Clean Eating Conundrum

So let me just preface this post by saying: I don’t want to come across as a virtuous, judgmental vegan who thinks everyone should eat my way or 100% clean. I think everyone’s entitled to eat the way that makes them their healthiest and happiest, whether it falls under a dietary label or not. Like for example, I claim the label of vegan because that’s how I eat 99% of the time, but I also eat raw honey and don’t question every last ingredients when I’m out at a restaurant so I don’t want anyone thinking that I’m trying to be the perfect eater or whatever. These are just my observations on a very big blog world trend.

Clean eating. Probably one of the most popular, yet polarizing phrases out there in the nutrition world today. Remember when people just used to call themselves healthy eaters, and left it at that? Now, everyone’s jumping on the ‘eat clean’ bandwagon, and for good reason. Errr…or maybe not? Yes, eating as many whole foods as possible and avoiding certain additives is certainly conducive to good health in most cases, but what about when it’s taken too far? As mentioned in my orthorexia post, I’ve taken a ‘good’ thing to the extremes and a lot of people, especially those who have struggled with EDs, can fall into the trap of cleaning up their eats…to an unhealthy point.

Not only that, but clean eating can be an unhealthy competition. I feel like Instagram, and just showing off food/fitness photos in general, can create an atmosphere of jealousy and guilt. If you don’t eat 100% clean, like so-and-so from this blog or this-or-that user you follow on IG, you’ll never achieve their bangin’ bod. I don’t necessarily think there’s anything wrong with having a certain body ideal, but if it’s unrealistic or causes you anxiety, it’s not a healthy goal to pursue. I have to admit that I’m guilty of this mindset sometimes, likely because I still have really bad body image most of the time, and I feel like I have little power to change how I see my body outside of drastically changing my eating patterns.

Is my love for a salad-a-day obsessive or healthy? That can be a confusing part of clean eating.

Is my love for a salad-a-day obsessive or healthy? That can be a confusing part of clean eating.

The actual definition of clean eating bothers me too. Mostly because there isn’t one clear cut meaning–it’s variable depending on the person who follows it. Nothing wrong with that, but there is when it becomes deceptive. How many people out there say they like to eat clean, that they never eat anything processed or packaged…and then they post all these low-cal faux foods made with sugar-free syrups and low fat peanut butter. Uhhhhh…that’s not processed? Again, I’m not trying to be virtuous, but to me, real maple syrup is a hell of a lot healthier and more  real than sugar free maple syrup filled with who-knows-what. I feel like clean eating can sometimes be synonymous with restriction. Not necessarily restriction in the form of counting calories and limiting them, but restricting themselves to ‘diet’ foods in order to achieve their physical goals and possibly stay in their safe, disordered comfort zone.

Never skinny enough. Never pretty enough. Never fit enough. Never perfect enough. This is the mindset a lot of girls (including me) fall in to.

Never skinny enough. Never pretty enough. Never fit enough. Never perfect enough. This is the mindset a lot of girls (including me) fall in to.

Clean eating can become such a slippery slope. For me, it’s started to take over my life. I’ve cut out certain things, even things traditionally considered healthy, because they fail to meet my high clean eating standards (mostly just focusing on all natural, no weird ingredients and cutting down on grains). I pore over nutritional labels in stores and online to figure out what I should buy. I feel guilty when I go out to eat and have no idea exactly what’s in the food I’m eating. And all of those signs point to something that’s not so healthy for me. It’s become my new way to restrict, and even if it’s not putting me at physical danger, it’s putting my mind in a really bad place. It’s making me focus way too much on my perceived imperfections, both with my body and with what I’m putting in my mouth, it’s making me obsessive over exercise and food choices and it’s not leading me in the path I want to be on–the path to full recovery from my ED. So this is why I think clean eating may not be the best thing for everybody…at least not if it turns obsessive, restrictive and deceptive.

What do you think about clean eating?