My favorite meal of the day is breakfast. Hands-down. I don’t know if it’s the food, the fresh start to a new day, the quiet and stillness of the early morning, or the food. Wait, did I already say that? Oops. I usually wake up pretty hungry and 9/10 my breakfast involves peanut butter, so I’m guessing the food has a lot to do with it. However, I had a few days last week where my stomach felt pretty wonky and blahhhh in the morning, which makes it pretty hard to eat. (no, I’m not pregs) This happens to me on occasion and I think a lot of it has to do with my (lack of) sleep and (overload of) stress, so I usually try to chill out when my stomach feels a little off. My sleep in particular was all over the place last week, and it’s so funny how much better I felt after sleeping for about 10 hours on Friday night. God bless the weekend.
Do you ever have weird days like this? How do they make you feel?
Not too long ago a week like this would have sent me into a tizzy. I would have just powered through the yuck feeling, eating the foods that felt “safe”, which would end up making me feel even worse. And then I would have freaked out because I wasn’t feeling hungry at all, which can be tricky for someone with an ed past, so again… it made things so much worse. Trust me, my brain felt like an unstoppable rollercoaster.
Thankfully, I know now that these days will pass and they actually tend to be big learning curves for me while I try to navigate through them with gentle nutrition. So today I’ve got a few thoughts on my latest experience with implementing gentle nutrition, and how again… this always has so much more to it than just food. Let me know what you think!
Remember this feeling is temporary
Gahhh this is a hard one. I used to be totally consumed by these wonky days, allowing them to totally ruin the day (week?). I would cancel any plans that I made and isolate myself from others until I felt better. Part of this was because of how I physically felt, but most of it came from the mental and emotional toll it took from me immediately blaming my body size. To say that I was extremely uncomfortable in my own skin is a massive understatement. I felt like a completely different person, looking to blame my body for everything. If my pants felt too tight after lunch it was because I must have eaten something “bad” or failed in some way, not because my lunch may have had a bunch of fiber in it causing the bloating. I was completely over-analyzing everything, which I think is an easy thing for anyone to do in this situation, but it definitely doesn’t help.
Something that I have learned from walking through these days is that they are just that…one or two days. Nothing more. Nothing less. The feeling will pass, my hunger will return, and sometimes our body just gets a little off. It’s not our fault, it’s life, and it’s totally normal and completely okay. Not every day is meant to be sunshine and rainbows. One way that has helped me through these weird days is thinking of them like your average head cold. You can do lots of stuff to prevent them, wash your hands, load up on Vitamin C, and get plenty of rest but sometimes it just happens. It’s annoying but not life altering, and it too shall pass.
Curiosity > Judgement
Have you ever noticed that we tend to be our worst critics? If I had a friend who was having an off day I would maybe ask her if there was something different going on with her or in her life. Maybe she was feeling stressed, scared, or overwhelmed. We all know that there is a lot of stuff that can throw our body out of wack. So instead of jumping to the thoughts of “I did something wrong”, “I shouldn’t feel this way”, or “it’s my body’s fault”. I try to approach these days with questions like “what are you really feeling right now?”, “have you been getting enough sleep?”, “are you pushing yourself too hard?”, “have you been trying to avoid a certain emotion?” etc.
I used to be extremely judgmental of myself, especially on days like this. I would be so disappointed and upset with myself if I “gave into” the wonky feelings. I would preach the importance of rest, intuition, and grace to others, but for some reason I didn’t apply the same importance to my own life. I wanted to be able to do it all. But you guys, this way of thinking only lead to more feelings of yucky-ness. Then I started seeing a few other non-diet bloggers talk about curiosity over judgement, and I thought it made so much sense!
When we approach our nasty thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and attitudes with curiosity rather than judgement, we tend to uncover a lot of hidden gunk underneath, and are then able to give ourselves the space we need to sit with whatever is going on, and recognize what could be done differently next time. For me, I know that I tend to have weird/off days when I have been extra stressed out, when there is a life change going on, when I haven’t slept enough, or when I haven’t been spending enough time with Jesus. It’s just my body’s reaction to too much stuff happening. And that’s okay. I just have to take a step back and breathe for a moment, then figure out what it is that I really need.
Sometimes you’ve got to use your head knowledge
If you have been reading JN for awhile, you know that I believe all foods fit into life and that I am a big fan of an Intuitive Eating and Health At Every Size approach. But I think that one major misconception of these two practices is that they are against everything “healthy”, which is certainly not true. In fact, it’s the opposite of true… but we’re not going to get into the nitty gritty of that right now. Just know that there is a time and place to practice gentle nutrition, and that it looks different for everyone. The most important thing is that you don’t feel that you have to eat something, you choose to because it aligns with your values.
For example, when I woke up last Wednesday morning I didn’t feel hungry at all and nothing even sounded remotely appetizing for breakfast. I mean, I didn’t even want any coffee…and that is weird. In the past I would have powered through and eaten a “typical” breakfast for me (which would have probably been oatmeal), and then would have felt a gazillion times worse because the last thing my body wants when it’s like this is a giant bulky fiber punch first thing in the morning. Fast forward a bit into my IE journey, and I may have chosen something highly plateable like a donut or pastry to eat because at least it would taste good. But then the donut would also end up leaving me feeling blahhh because it sat heavy in my stomach, and the lack of protein wouldn’t hold me over well. So what’s a girl to do? Not eat? (no no no- that makes me feel worst of all).
I knew that I needed something simple and easily digestible for breakfast, but it also needed to be able to pack in enough density to hold me over for a few hours. So I ended up making myself a smoothie with banana, blueberries, milk, vega, spinach, chia, flax, and peanut butter and you know what? I felt so much better! Not because I chose something “healthy” but because I chose something that would taste good, sit well in my wonky stomach, and also give me a good nutrient punch to begin the day with. I chose something that would make me feel the best, and give me energy to get through my work day. That was my goal for my breakfast that morning. Another day my goal for breakfast might be to spend the morning with Allen, so I will probably choose something completely different. Bottom line is that there is nothing wrong with oatmeal or donuts for breakfast, and 9/10 if you listen to your body it will lead you to what it wants. But there is also a time when your body cues aren’t exactly reliable so you need to use your head knowledge to make the best decision. My body told me I needed something easy, and my head told me I needed to have energy and be satiated and the smoothie was the perfect choice!
Give yourself grace
Confession- I am not very good at this. I have a tendency to let my inner mean girl get the best of me, but I’m working on it. No one is perfect. We are all struggling through our own things, and it’s okay if you have moments where you feel discouraged. The important thing to remember is that you are human. All those other people you are surrounded with, see on tv, or on social media are only showing you the parts of their lives that they want you to see. They are struggling too, whether you see it or not.
The best advice that I can give you for this is to remember whose you are. The reason why Jesus died on the cross is because as humans we are naturally messy, disorganized, and broken. We need Him always. Sometimes I think that part of the reason why I go through wonky days like this is because that’s one of the ways God likes to point out that I need to reprioritize, and stop thinking I can do it all. Not always, but often I have noticed that a lot of my weird days tend to align with times in life when I try to pile everything on my plate, forgetting that He longs to carry the weight for me. You see the grace, mercy, forgiveness, understanding, and love that Christ has for us is all unconditional. We do not have to earn any of it, it is actually granted it through our acceptance of Jesus into our hearts. So why do we need to be so hard on ourselves? We are not put on this earth to be perfect, but rather to grow, serve, and love people well. The important thing to remember is that we are loved, no matter what. Surrender it all to Him, and just watch his grace overflow your life.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:9
Do you ever have any weird days like this? How do you get through them? Let me know!