I was fumbling around today, feeling off, feeling cranky. There have been things I’ve wanted to share, wanted to focus on, but I’ve felt disqualified by my lack of perfection. I want to present a pretty package tied up in a nice red bow. A friend told my husband last night that I was his model of an ideal wife. I fumbled with that for a while. In fact I woke up thinking, “Ah, someone thinks I’m the perfect wife and mom. That’s so nice.” It’s really not true, but it feels happy to wear it; like a mink coat that’s soft and silky, but costs much more than it should. Perfection is a false sense of self. It requires that I am seen as better than others. It parades itself and puffs itself up in it’s embellishments. It’s really kind of ugly and it’s not me. At least not the me I want to be, under all the layers of self protection.
Here I am, stripping back the facade. I started this website - The Vitalogist - to encourage others on their journey of whole health. Not just through food, exercise, mental health, but also living a life of joy and peace. I thought that I needed to do it perfectly so that I could model it. Then life happened and I struggled, I fell short. So, I rarely posted, and I pulled into myself - trying to be better so that I could share a prettier picture. Instead I have found that I live in the mud of failure, struggling under the weight of expectation. I’m messing it all up. Here I am, letting all of you know - that I don’t do this life well. I’m disappointed in my best efforts and angry with my shortcomings. I have been alternating my perfect diet with binge eating. I have been discouraged and fallen into depression. I have writhed in my low points. I have isolated.
Which is why I’m writing this now. I’m challenging myself to live not only an authentic life, but a vulnerable life. To allow my inability, my lack, my struggle encourage you. We scroll through pinterest, facebook, instagram and we are brought face to face with the perfection and successes of so many. In truth, this has me running to the freezer to dive into a pint of Haagen Daz or putting on my running gear to burn as many calories as possible. I exist in extremes, maybe you do too. This is my invitation to join me, laugh at me, or observe me as I embark on transparency and bravely encounter some shades of grey.
I am starting a Whole30 today. If you haven’t heard of it, follow the link and find out more, or watch as I pursue my health through food. I have done many Whole30’s over the last five years. However I struggled to make it all the way through and typically only lasted 10-15 days. Since, I didn’t invite anyone in to my process, the only one I let down was myself. I am joining with a fabulous group of supportive women and I am starting another Whole30 today. I need to make changes, the kind that lend to a highly restrictive eating plan. I tend to snack or binge throughout my day, teaching poor habits to my children. I avoid eating with my family so that no one knows how much I really eat. This is my coming face to face with the reality of how much food is my drug. It’s easy, emotionally fulfilling and ultimately the death of me.
I gamble with my life, not valuing the impact it has on those who need me most. I would be furious if my children were so careless with their own selves. Because I struggle with binge eating, I want to share a little about how that fits into this process. Bingeing is a struggle for control or a cry from an out of control life. It is the demand that we live according to a strict set of rules and when we fail our impossible standards then we stuff ourselves as both punishment and release. There are many ideas floating out there for how to overcome this destructive behavior. Typically limiting foods is not encouraged. Food limits awaken the perfectionist side and then drive the controlling, bingeing behaviors.
For years this was what kept me stuck. However, I noticed that I am as likely to binge while eating healthy as I am while eating junk. If I overeat whole foods then my recovery is much quicker and the damage done is mitigated. It also helps me stay energized and happy. If my diet is full of highly processed food then I am more likely to respond with anger or depression; which isn’t good for anyone, especially my kids and my marriage.
I’m tackling this eating plan with as much focus, grace, and joy as I can manage. I want to do a good job, but more than that I want to discover the depths of self love that can motivate me to keep making quality changes in my life. I have been expecting myself to reach my goals, but I keep circling through my inabilities. I think I can do better. I want to be better, not only for myself, but for my children. I’ll post pictures on instagram of my meals and hopefully it will encourage you - wherever you are. Not to be perfect, but to be true to yourself, where you are. To make the best choices that you can in the moment. Ultimately, to love the process and your truest self in the struggle.