Consumed By Food…

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Blog Pic - FUNNY

There are these two guys. I LOVE THEM. They never ask me to bring them a beer or steal the remote control. They make me feel good and comfort me when I’m having a bad day. They are both totally cool with each other; in fact they’re even in business together. I guess some people might say that I’m “in a relationship” with the dudes – and at times it’s pretty serious – like NOTHING can separate us. We’re like the 3 Musketeers – “All for one and one for all.” Let me introduce you to my two favorite men – Ben & Jerry

Let’s face it, we’ve all got a relationship with food. Whether it be Little Debbie, Chef Boyardee, Uncle Ben, Ronald McDonald or that sexy jar of almond butter sitting in the fridge; you’ve got a story and that story will continue as long as your heart is beating. It’s also probably a safe bet to say that everyone’s food relationship is a little bit different – some healthy, some unhealthy, some downright dysfunctional. Unfortunately, when a food relationship goes bad there’s no easy split. You can’t just leave or divorce food forever – I mean, eating is something we do every day and abstaining from food for any great period of time is not going to end well.

Back in the days of clubs and square wheels our ancestors ate when they had food and hunted when they didn’t. Hungry meant hunt and eat. It was simple. But somewhere along the evolutionary chain things started getting funny. Food was more easily obtained and our relationships with food started getting complicated.

For many of us when we reach a certain age we not only consume food, but our lives slowly start being consumed by food. Our relationship with food goes from one of –I’m hungry so I’m going to eat (like little kids do) to one that is partly to mostly dysfunctional. Food (and maybe exercise too) starts taking over our thoughts and affecting other areas of our lives. Right now some of you might be thinking; “No way, that is so not me – I’m just healthy.” I’m here to tell you that there is a VERY fine line between what’s healthy and what’s obsession.

If you wake up every morning, pee on a keto stick and calculate your 30 gram of carbohydrate meal plan or if you’re ‘that guy’ that brings a Tupperware container with food to restaurants and parties because the meat won’t be grass fed and the vegetables aren’t organic; then you may have crossed the line. Sure, you say that you were miserable and unhealthy before you decided to ‘take action’ and ‘change your life’ – but, (and answer this honestly) is being ‘healthy’ really making you any less miserable? How’s your social life (I’m talking about the one OUTSIDE of the gym or internet forum/group)? Do you truly enjoy your food? (Again, be honest.) Are you so chained to ‘the rules’ that food and/or exercise are all that you think about, talk about, read about or really care about?

Now, don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying to completely go off the rails and succumb to the powers of fast food and soda – BUT this eating thing – it should NOT be your religion. There aren’t Ten Food Commandments and if you, OMG – eat something that’s not compliant with your current eating protocol of choice (paleo, vegan, low-carb, Whole 30, etc.) you are not destined spend eternity in Food Hell. In fact, the life you’re living now may be Food Hell. Spending day in and day out thinking about food, exercise, how you look, a number on the scale – that’s Hell. Life is short and damn it, ice cream tastes good.

There are stories of how eating paleo, getting into body building, going vegan, etc. has freed people of their food obsessions – well hold on to your britches folks – that might not be the reality. The focus or obsession has just changed/shifted and now these miraculously healed folks have got a way to justify the restriction.  It often starts with innocent and good intentions; you just want to be healthy, lose a few pounds or be a beast in the gym– but before you know it you’ve been sucked into a world that revolves around food and/or exercise. Eating ‘your food’ and working out dominates your life and relationships. The only people that are ‘safe’ are the ones that share your obsession. If this hits home slow down for second. It might be time to evaluate whether your relationship with food and/or exercise is getting you anything or anywhere. What good are 6-pack abs and the perfect body if you’re miserable?

I know, I know!  What you eat does have a HUGE impact on how you feel and your health – and again, I’m not saying that you throw everything out the window BUT if things are getting out of hand – get help. A life caught up in the quest for 6-pack abs or a ‘thigh gap’ is not a life. Not going out with friends or family because of the food situation or because it will interfere with your workout is not healthy. If you’re trading time with your kids, spouse, family and/or friends because of your food or training ‘routine’ – step back and take a hard look at your priorities. In 10, 20 or 30 years are you still going to be glad you did what you did or are you going to be lonely with only your grass fed beef, organic spinach and barbell or tri-bike to keep you company?

I know all of this might make some of you very angry – and by all means tell me how wrong I am. If nothing else I hope this makes you think and if it helps one person break free of the obsession – it was worth it. If you’re out there and you feel like you’re stuck in this place, know that you’re not alone and that you can break free. There’s more to life than the food that is or isn’t on your plate, the perfect body or a workout plan. I have yet to read an obituary that makes note of the deceased’s carb intake, workout schedule, or ability to resist ice cream and French fries…

 

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  1. Karen P
    October 24, 2013 at 5:36 am

    It’s all good, Amy. Great article. I did stop binge eating and I have to keep a pretty structured food template- of my own choosing. I do have 85% chocolate every day and it’s amazing.

    I want food sobriety more than anything. It’s important to put life into living and make something sustainable. I was more obsessed when I was not food sober than when I am. :)

    Keep up the great articles. And the great work. Onward!

    • Amy Kubal
      October 24, 2013 at 5:46 am

      Karen,

      I’m so glad you’ve figured out what feels good for you! Freedom from the ‘food chains’ is so AWESOME! Food is meant to be enjoyed – not something we obsess about. Sobriety is priceless! :)

  2. Becky
    October 24, 2013 at 7:56 am

    Is there an easy way to get “un-obsessed” about food? It’s gotten to the point where I have a hard time making recipes because its kind of hard to calculate the macronutrients when the food isn’t measured and precisely 1 cup of this and 1 cup of that. And then there are all the things to worry about. Worry, worry, worry, that’s all I do anymore. I worry about food-sourcing. I worry about my food budget and just how much can I afford to spend on the perfect food. Paleo perfectionism is not my friend.

    • Amy Kubal
      October 24, 2013 at 8:14 am

      Becky,

      Unfortunately there isn’t an easy way to break the chains. My suggestion is to be gentle with yourself – it’s okay to not eat ‘perfect’ all of the time. Stop measuring and trust your body. Listen to what it wants and not what your mind is telling you to have because you need x grams of something. If the thoughts are overwhelming get help. This is a vicious and life destroying cycle and it often gets worse before it gets better. You aren’t alone! Food is a gift – and is meant to be enjoyed. You CAN break free of all of this – it’s not easy, but it’s worth it!

      • Jessica
        February 19, 2014 at 11:44 am

        Amy, Where can someone turn to for help if they can’t get unobsessed simply by trying harder?? I have been stuck in this cycle for 25+ years. I go from one “diet” to another to another and I keep all the rules from the past diets while still applying the rules of the diet du jour. And exercise….don’t get me started. I REALLY need to get out of this but often don’t really WANT to. So I know I need help. What would you recommend? Thank you!

        • Amy Kubal
          February 19, 2014 at 4:01 pm

          Jessica! You CAN get out! I would suggest finding a dietitian (I would love to work with you.) and a therapist. Often there is more to this food stuff than just food. It’s not going to get better if the junk behind the patterns isn’t addressed. Food, exercise and dieting are symptoms of a much larger and more important issues. Know that you are not alone – and that it is possible to break free.

  3. Kelly B
    October 24, 2013 at 8:06 am

    Amy –

    I think what makes it hard to avoid obsessing a bit is that we live in a world that is fairly toxic – it’s not like there are a lot of (sometimes, any) restaurants that even embrace a JERF approach, so if you’re a busy, two-career family that gets tired at night and doesn’t feel like cooking many nights in a week, you either scrap trying to eat paleoish, or you spend a lot of time annoying the waiter with weird customization requests. I think the commenter above nailed it with equating this life change with sobriety for an alcoholic.

    Still – a lot of food for thought above. Thanks!

  4. EL
    October 24, 2013 at 8:34 am

    Great write up and rings true for so many people including myself. I’ve been to the extreme side of food avoidance and back again to help treat a heart condition.

    Should I have cake at my kids one year b-day party? What should I get to drink at happy hour with friends that won’t put me over 50g carbs today. Kids want pizza- OMFG- do they have gluten free options!?! The list goes on too long to post here, but one thing is absolutely certain- one slice of great pizza and a beer is not going to make a shit bit of difference in the grand scheme of things… we all still die, but do we all truly live?

    • Amy Kubal
      October 24, 2013 at 8:43 am

      Your comment is profound! You are absolutely 100% correct and living while we can is kind of a big deal! :)

    • Pam
      December 5, 2013 at 7:18 pm

      Absolutely EL! I took an intense nutrition coaching class this summer that has us start with the 30 day detox diet, then we were doing all sorts of things – carb restriction, macro calculations, daily weigh-ins, weekly measurements, … I learned a ton and now have a bunch of tools for having the healthy body that I want BUT I became totally obsessed! It got so bad that I started binge eating and even, I hate to admit this, tried to purge a few times. I just got so wrapped up in all the counting and measuring that I felt super restricted so when I cheated, I cheated big! I did this for a couple of months. Then one day I woke up and said, “I’m not doing this anymore”. I didn’t go to my circuit training all week (it was with the same guy who did the nutrition coaching – I didn’t want any reminders) and just did my own workouts and STOPPED counting and measuring – I have been doing it long enough that I pretty much eyeball it. I eat when I am hungry because if I don’t, I know I will over-do-it later. I eat pizza, I drink beer, I love chocolate covered almonds, and have the occasional bowl of cereal(*gasp*)…I eat these things but I also love my clean eating because it just makes me feel good. I am always trying new recipes and have wowed my non-paleo/clean-eating friends and family many times. They stop giving me so much crap after they have had one of my meals. :) I am a much healthier – mentally and physically – now. I have more time for living life.

      • Amy Kubal
        December 6, 2013 at 7:00 am

        THIS IS AWESOME! Pam, you figured it out! I’m so happy for you! :)

  5. lyn
    October 24, 2013 at 8:41 am

    What I appreciate most about my time spent in the paleo and low carb world is an enlightened approach to looking at food options and an awareness of how the combination of what we ingest can impact our body. It helps me make responsible choices most of the time. What I need is the freedom to preserve the elements of a meal that incorporate more than nutrition and a quest for vanity. Family, friendship, and traditions comprise a huge circle around my table. I am a southern belle………last night I made shrimp and grits, with real grits, not cauliflower…because it is the way my family enjoys the dish..It will be a while before I make it again and I will make sound choices that limit starch in between. Time for a good run. Thank you for taking the load off the food guilt button.

  6. Dara
    October 24, 2013 at 9:02 am

    LOVE this post. I’ve been using “food as medicine” to overcome autoimmune and Lyme issues. It’s a true miracle how much better I feel now. And yet, the obsession sometimes takes over – leading me to binge on crap junk food. I’m still finding a way to have it all – real food that is healing AND enough flexibility to stay sane and have a social life. With our toxic food supply being what it is, and health issues to overcome, this a quite a balancing act.

    I have to say the one thing I will absolutely NOT compromise on or cheat with is gluten. The effects are horrible, immediate and never worth it. Dairy is a close second, but the effects, while still very bad, are more delayed – tricking me into a cheat now and then. Still not worth it, but it happens.

  7. Debra
    October 24, 2013 at 9:08 am

    I wish it would be this simple for me… I would love to use moderation in my diet. But I’m dealing with multiple autoimmune diseases, along with major adrenal/thyroid issues. The AI Paleo Diet has greatly reduced my pain levels and I’m off most immune-suppressants. Thank goodness! Not cured, but partly improved. However, the few times I’ve allowed myself food not on the plan, I then often experience major pain flare-ups.

    So I never eat out or at a friend’s home, and if I travel for a couple of days, I bring all my food with me. But, frankly, I’m so tired of these restrictions. I would love to enjoy exceptions to my diet – or even just the basic Paleo plan, with occasional chocolate!

    • Amy Kubal
      October 24, 2013 at 9:25 am

      Debra,

      There are some situations that do call for a bit more tightness and that makes it harder to have flexibility. Hang in there and on a totally treat related note, have you tried coconut milk ice cream? Coconut Bliss is really, really good and it may be something you can enjoy occasionally without too many deleterious effects.

      • Debra
        October 27, 2013 at 10:11 am

        Boy, do I wish I could! But I’m allergic to coconut… :(

        That makes living on the AI paleo diet that much more difficult!

        • Emily
          November 1, 2013 at 1:02 am

          Hang in there Debra! Totally agree with you; it’s just not worth ‘cheating’ when it has such an effect on your body. I’m sure you don’t even see it as cheating, as it’s just a way of life now that you’ve found it. Most of the time I’m so glad that my body gives me such a swift and brutal reaction, as i have zero desire to eat the things that make it so hard to even get out of bed, let alone live a life with any quality. It’s the little things, like being able to climb stairs, hold a pencil and bend down to cuddle the children that make it so worthwhile. Exercise? Not too much chance of that, but I can walk without pain, and do the day to day stuff such as open doors and dress myself, and lead a ‘normal’ life. Swap that for a few mouthfulls of bad food? Not a chance in hell!

  8. Gigi
    October 24, 2013 at 9:12 am

    Amy thank you so much for this article, it really hits home. One of the challenges I have faced since going Paleo has been addressed here. I’m constantly thinking about food, what i ate, what I’m gonna eat, i should and shouldn’t eat. I always get nervous come weekend time,I always feel unsure when iI get social invites as I need to make sure that at least I will get food that is within my diet. I really feel like food has taken over my life and yes i am so miserable.

    • Amy Kubal
      October 24, 2013 at 9:27 am

      Gigi!

      You CAN break free!! This isn’t a religion – don’t let food control you or your happiness.

  9. JPK
    October 24, 2013 at 9:32 am

    This article sounds a lot like “everything in moderation,” where everyone views the value or volume of moderation differently. I’ve been overweight my entire adult life. Entered college around 200 lbs, and getting up to probably 250 lbs (who knows, I quit measuring) over about 12 years (and I’m not a tall person). I first learned about how much added sugar is in foods and how they affect our bodies, and began cutting those out about 3 years ago. Then other processed items. Then learned about the environmental implications of poorly sourced food stuffs. Finally after an Eat Local Challenge last June 2013, I broke the 200 lbs mark, and dropped 15 more. Then I joined Crossfit to see if I could even do any exercise (never played sports or exercised before). Finally, after a month and a half, I took on the Whole Life Challenge. I’m down another net 15-20 lbs right now, and feel better than I ever have with 8 more days to go. The strict rules are what helped. Making my own work out plan is silly when I don’t know the first thing about what to try, or attempt (praise be to CF for scripted exercise). Making my own meal plan is not as effective if I don’t know what variables are working and which aren’t. My friends keep asking me to cheat. They keep trying to encourage me to fail (at my own goal of getting back to 160 lbs before the end of the Challenge). And I resent them for it. This temporary obsessiveness and rule following has helped change my life. Not to mention, I can enjoy life BETTER being healthy, as opposed to a slovenly drunk. I can run with my dogs, I can play outside, garden and build things in the yard easier. I’m enjoying life BETTER, with my obsession. And those who try to trip me up, only cause me to feel like I’m leaving them behind because they don’t really care what I’m interested in accomplishing. They just want the fat, jolly, funny me, back. I appreciate the support and friendliness of my compatriots in the gym. They’re good morale boosters for those weak days when everyone says, “Just have 1 drink [at Oktober Fest].”

    Perhaps I’m not your audience for this article because I’m new to this obsession, but I still would not discount it as unhealthy just yet. Unhealthy is what I was. I have clarity and purpose, now. I want to attain new things in the new year with my new-found health. I am currently debating, in the last 8 days of the WLC how and when I want to revert to “normal” eating/drinking. I’m considering extending the regime up to Thanksgiving. But even still, at a friend’s house the other night, there was a spread of food I could not eat, and I almost didn’t want to eat some of it (leave the cheese, of course).

    I’d gladly take this obsession over the old one, any day. In the end, I will likely go back to drinking alcohol, and eating dairy and legumes, and minimal grains (hard to avoid some of those things living in NOLA). But I will still be diligent about added sugar, and product sourcing for environmental reasons. I will probably cut back the number of times I go to the gym per week, but make sure I get in some form of exercise each day, even for 10-15 minutes. But that will still require being obsessive about the effort. I can’t fret over things I can’t change, but it’s more clear than ever, I can change me, for the better.

    • Marge Rowan
      October 24, 2013 at 12:54 pm

      JPK! Good on YOU! After my first Paleo Challenge, I became a convert to eating Paleo, but have never become obsessed with it. What I notice in my body after consuming certain foods is how I learned what to avoid, mostly! When I eat dairy now, I notice the phlegm buildup and, grossly, try to exit my throat and nose. When I eat gluten, I notice the PAIN ball erupt in my upper intestine as my poor belly tries to digest it. When I shared a large slice of Banana Creme Pie last night at a restaurant business dinner with my spouse, I noticed the loose way it exited my body this morning. I am enjoying my life, my food, and my CrossFit exercise (2-4 times a week, depending on what else life brings me)!

      With all the improvements you’ve achieved for your body, I hope you stick with it! Your friend will also adjust to your new chosen lifestyle, and maybe join YOU, when you prove your new found Living Real Life!

      Good luck to you!

  10. ruben ortiz
    October 24, 2013 at 10:06 am

    i started paleo to combat diabetes and so far my new eating habits have taken me off insulin and maintained a healthy blood sugar level . For me its a matter of live vs. death but ill be damned if i cant enjoy an outing with the family and be a stick in the mud . As long as i’m conscious and i stick to it when i’m home there is no reason why i cant have a day every month or every other month where i can throw caution to the wind . Life is too short to be obsessed with something that can be corrected easily and one day doing the wrong thing is not going to kill me as long as i practice moderation . ” extreme moderation ” is what we should all be obsessed with . if our binges are measured there no reason we cant enjoy them .

  11. Heather
    October 24, 2013 at 10:12 am

    Thank you for writing this Amy. It’s horrible to be chained to anything even if it’s healthy. :)

  12. Scott
    October 24, 2013 at 10:18 am

    Hey Amy , nice article. I think those who are really into the Paleo lifestyle are very passionate about it. Unfortunately it does become obsessive to a point. I can’t blame them though, it is a huge commitment to say a strong “no” to bad carbs and greasy foods that surround the general public everyday. Any person who goes “against the grain” , no pun intended is going to be a little obsessive and enthusiastic. I do appreciate your call for people to get perspective on their habits and lifestyle. One day at a time.

  13. Dave
    October 24, 2013 at 10:27 am

    Thank you for the share Robb! I feel you are right on and hopefully others will also. It is hell being consumed by food and exercising if one is consumed by it. There is life to be lived and and it is unfortunate if one misses that point.

  14. Martha
    October 24, 2013 at 10:39 am

    JPK it sounds like what you are doing is working for you. There seem to be “phases” of using paleo. You may be in the first phase, taking control of your relationship to food, calling the shots, instead of food controlling you. Later on maybe you will ease back on the reins, observing how it goes for you. You will still be in control. There is a real danger of slipping back into the comforts of the old ways, when deciding to ease back on the restrictions, especially when one is feeling a little down. I have done it a few times. As you get more experience being in control, the panic at losing control will subside, and you will find yourself more relaxed and happy, and perhaps with a whole new bunch of friends who do support you as you are. So each of us are individual cases, IMO, and good luck to you!

  15. Kathy
    October 24, 2013 at 10:44 am

    I have a similar situation to Debra’s. If I cheat even a small amount, I pay big time. I have had chronic Uveitis, inflammation of the iris, for almost 20 years. Discovering the food connection to Uveitis flare ups has helped a great deal, in fact I credit my strict diet with saving my eye sight… so far. I don’t obsess over counting carbs or calories, I just eat only uncontaminated meat, eggs and vegetables(except night shades). And as much as I want. Silver lining is that I lost all my excess weight and overall feel great. Eating at most restaurants is boring as the most they can offer me is steamed vegetables and spice-less meat. Yuck! Do I miss those restricted foods?? Absolutely! Would I cheat just a little to help my social life? Absolutely not! My friends and family are very understanding about always going to the same restaurant when we socialize, the only one that can accommodate me. And yes, I tip well.

  16. Andrew Urgo
    October 24, 2013 at 11:04 am

    I have had a battle with eating paleo/primal at first eating this way made me crave animal fat more I started losing weight felt great cravings for bad stuff went away but as time went on those cravings came back stronger and worse then ever I have been on a constant struggle with losing body fat I do so good then I fall off could it be I’m not eating enough clean healthy carbs could it be hormones and leptin telling my body I’m losing fat and sees this as a bad thing signaling giving me those cravings again for bad food and the reward system of dopamine its very complex stuff here and can be confusing this issue some people its so hard and I hate when people say its there fault for being fat and obese they say just exercise stop being lazy don’t eat as much but its much more then that it could be thyroid and other factors in our bodies and still research is being done to why this occurs I know there is hope though and the shame of it the people that say that are most likely not healthy skinny fat people that eat what they want and don’t gain weight but does not mean they are healthy I know I’m not alone in this struggle and battle but I know we can sure give it a good fight and win someday

  17. EL
    October 24, 2013 at 11:24 am

    I may be wrong, but I interpreted Amy’s write up as directed to those obsessed with food and how it relates to their physical appearance and not directed to those that have to avoid certain foods due to severe health reactions, i.e, I don’t believe she would advise Robb to hell with caution, put your obsession aside, and down a gluten loaded meal, knowing his reaction to gluten.

    If someone forgoes a night out with friends at a great fondu restaurant because dairy makes their waist swell .25″ and the scale to climb an additional 2lbs with that ghastly water weight – then yes, said person has a serious issue with food obsession and believe this post was directed at such a person.

    It misses the point to obsessively worry over the future while completely ignoring the enjoyment of the here and now…

    • Squatchy
      October 24, 2013 at 11:36 am

      You’re exactly right. Amy was not saying that people who have severe reactions and health issues with particular foods should eat them. She’s basically just saying that people can become obsessed about food and exercise to the detriment of their lives and enjoyment, and to be careful in that regard.

    • Amy Kubal
      October 24, 2013 at 11:37 am

      Right on EL. That’s exactly the audience I was aiming to hit. If it’s a life/death situation it’s a whole different ball game! Thanks for ‘getting it’!!

      • EL
        October 24, 2013 at 12:38 pm

        It’s all good- I’ve been that dude, even worse…

        I finally realized my constant “trying to eat my own tail” obsessions were getting the best of me when I would stress over food and what it would do to my body, then obsessed over being stressed and what it was doing to my cortisol levels, hypertension and my response to glucose/insulin, which would cause me to stress even more. And around, and around, and around I went ’til I finally gave up the fight.

        There are many dark levels one can fall to in the pursuit of ultimate health and I appreciate you shedding some much needed light on the topic.

    • Amy B.
      October 25, 2013 at 7:01 am

      Aaaah, a voice of reason. How refreshing. THANK YOU, EL!

  18. Stephanie
    October 24, 2013 at 11:42 am

    I am so glad to see this article as I was thinking about writing in to address this subject. I’ve been on the Paleo lifestyle journey for nearly a year now and the more I get the hang of things, the more I know I need to be cautious of information overload. I regularly read a few blogs that stream into the Primal Feed app and am finding the tone of one in particular to be getting a little tyrannical. To avoid a complete calling out, I will say that the title contains “ista.” More and more frequently, the focus of the article is some variation of “well, if you say you ‘do fine’ with [insert food/imagine eyes rolling] then okaaaaaay, just don’t try to call it Paleo.” And we’re not just talking about such obvious foods as milk, quinoa, and paleoified processed snacks. This blogger has disqualified (so to speak) grass-fed ghee, vinegar, and pure maple syrup! It seems to be becoming less about a balanced, food based approach to looking, feeling and performing optimally than about adhering to doctrine. Not that I find this inherently bad because there is a time and place for being process-oriented rather than results-focused. My question is, when it comes to Paleo, who has the trademark? Who makes these rules? How did this particular blogger become the reigning authority on what is “true” Paleo and what is not? I welcome people’s thoughts and opinions on this.

  19. Jan
    October 24, 2013 at 12:15 pm

    Thanks for posting the article Robb…..and Amy, thanks for the reminder to “eat to live” rather than “live to eat’!

  20. GuessWhat
    October 24, 2013 at 12:23 pm

    I bet you have better things to share than who your favourite men are and the ice cream that is made with pasteurized holstein(worst breed) A1 cow milk and lots of sugar or sweetener and who know what else…
    C’mon it’s not your facebook account ! If it had been it might be worth reading more.

  21. Valerie McDonnell
    October 24, 2013 at 12:34 pm

    Love, love, love this article! I’m a full time grad student, a wife and mom of two, and a crossfitter. I’ve been so down on myself lately for only making it into the gym once a week for two weeks now and eating less than ideal. I’m stressed from school, work, and life but mostly, I criticize myself for not being strong enough to tend to my work out and eating goals. This article helped me feel like I can ease some of that pressure and tend to my priorities right now, still having time with my family despite all of my other obligations.

  22. Gary
    October 24, 2013 at 1:40 pm

    I have been Paleo for seven months I also have a autoimmune situation[MS] I lost weight[20lbs]but I do not feel much better,I have not followed the AI protocall, I eat eggs lots of sweet potatoes but no nightshades[tomatoes,etc.]is there anyone out there with some suggestions?i have been sugar,dairy and wheat-grain free in this time frame. Thanks.

    • Amy Kubal
      October 24, 2013 at 1:49 pm

      Gary, I would suggest giving the full AI protocol a shot. The eggs in and of themselves could be the issue. Also make sure that you are getting a variety of vegetables, proteins and fats to ensure that you’re meeting your body’s nutrient requirements.

  23. Ben Fury
    October 24, 2013 at 3:20 pm

    Hearing you loud and clear Amy.

    I felt like making some popcorn two nights ago. Not real strong, so I ate something healthier. Then last night I had the popcorn hankering again, so I made some and put some grass fed butter on it and as much salt as tasted good and didn’t worry about it one bit.

    This morning I had my usual paleo breakfast and am back on plan. Not regretting the dietary detour one bit.

    We’re here to have fun, not take some test of dietary/exercise purity.

  24. Vivien
    October 24, 2013 at 6:20 pm

    Fantastic article and the picture made by laugh out loud. Thanks

  25. Rosalie Lenihan
    October 24, 2013 at 9:43 pm

    Do what you gotta do to stay healthy!

  26. JD @ IS
    October 25, 2013 at 12:49 am

    I 100% agree – you have to have some type of guilty pleasures out there from time to time. I probably stick to my Paleo plan 70% of the time, and more like 85-90% of the time when I’m really feeling clean. But I ALWAYS give myself at least one cheat meal a week where I can eat what I want and not feel guilty about it!

  27. Amy
    October 25, 2013 at 7:53 am

    Thank you for this article! It has provided me with confirmation! I needed that. I changed my diet last spring when diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder. I’ve had great results and I’m off medication. But last night over a pizza with my daughter and parents I was just explaining this very concept. I’ll go off my plan if it means I get to have dinner and conversation with my loved ones :)

  28. Rachael
    October 25, 2013 at 10:53 am

    There have been alot of these posts out lately under the headlines of “I quit paleo.” I know you’re not taking it that far and I’m not angry, but I don’t know what to take from this piece. I’m still metabolically broken and have goals that I’m not ready to give up on yet. Maybe I’m crazy to keep trying. I certainly understand the strict paleo simply changing the focus of food dysfunction rather than getting rid of the dysfunction. I’ve chatted with you about it before. I’m not certain my body can take my succumbing to my old favorite foods even if it made me feel temporarily good or less restricted. I’ve tried the loosy goosey in the past and it typically ends with GI issues and an extra 50 pounds. I’ve longed that place where I can pick and choose and still be healthy. I’m jealous of those who can.

    • emlieu
      October 25, 2013 at 8:32 pm

      Rachel,
      Amy is talking about me – not you in this article. I am not over weight, I’ve been gluten free for 18 years (before it was popular), eat from farmers market sourced food and healed my AI. I do not eat any grains, night shades, nuts or seeds, and limit all sugars. This is second nature to me.

      I went out to dinner with my mother (a special event and her treat, which she was excited about) and ordered a baked fish with steamed vegetables. I became worried that there was oil involved and didn’t know what kind of oil it was. I broke out into hives and cried myself to sleep. It ruined my mother’s night and my own. All over less than a teaspoon of an oil that may have been ok. Oh, at that time I became so nervous about what to eat that I usually would limit myself to one meal a day or less, if I could “get away with” not eating.

      In the begining of your journey you have to figure out what’s right for you – including the balance Amy talks about. Don’t give up, but be kind and understanding.
      Good luck.
      PS – After that incident I address what Amy talks about in this post with great success. I just recommend not getting there in the first place

      • Amy Kubal
        October 26, 2013 at 5:20 am

        Emlieu, Thank you so much for sharing your story and I am so glad that you’ve found freedom! You are so right about not going there in the first place. It’s a vicious cycle and it’s so hard to break out. But you did it!!! :)

  29. Jesse
    October 25, 2013 at 2:11 pm

    Amy, you are one of my favorite, no BS, tell it like it is chick in this paleo-sphere. Thank you for this article. I appreciate your words and perspective. I don’t know why we are so hard on ourselves. I swear I view some foods like I view an ex-boyfriend. I never want to see that jackass again. Which is stupid. It’s just food. For me, growth and progress in this subject is slow moving, but it’s moving and I’ll get there one day. I’ve been putting off taking my kids to see a movie because I’m afraid I’ll eat a ton of buttery popcorn and down a coke zero and emerge from the darkened theater feeling pathetic, forgetting I made the choice and not that I lost control. But I think it’s time I take a step forward and go to the movies this weekend. Thanks again for the pep talk! :)

    • Amy Kubal
      October 25, 2013 at 6:27 pm

      YAY! Enjoy the show! :)

  30. Rachael
    October 26, 2013 at 6:02 pm

    So awesome, thank you for this post! Honestly this is the best one about food–and physical AND mental health–EVER! You present everything in a respectful, thoughtful manner. As someone who is recovering from an eating disorder, I have been on so many sides of the spectrum–a “normal” relationship with food, worsening relationship with food, striving for “purity” with food, and now moving back toward a balanced perspective with food. Will it ever be “normal” again? Probably not after everything I have been through (ignorance IS bliss) but I am learning how to balance my physical AND mental health again, and this was a great post about how to find that balance.
    Thanks again, this was fantastic!

  31. Jocelyn
    October 26, 2013 at 6:08 pm

    Great article and very refreshing to see in the Paleo community! I recently had to relax my rigid standards on food because it was triggering my past eating disorder behavior and becoming very unhealthy and I was behaving irrationally towards other people’s food choices (of which I have no right to interfere). I realized that it reflected more on my obsessive-compulsive relationship with diet and exercise than them and have since lightened up on myself and become a lot healthily and brought myself back from another full blown ED episode.

  32. GiGi Eats Celebrities
    October 27, 2013 at 8:15 pm

    Ba ha ha ha! What I can tell you Robb, is that I am in a serious relationship with salmon and I truly think he (yes, I have convinced myself that all salmon I eat is a HE), is going to propose, VERY SOON! ;)

  33. Jean
    October 28, 2013 at 7:05 pm

    Very well said. In my late 20′s I became obsessed with food and developed an eating disorder (due to a huge weight gain from pregnancy). I got over it and maintained my weight….until my 60′s. My doctor recommended a low-carb diet. This was 3 years ago and it has worked very well…yet there are times I crave a good old southern biscuit with milk gravy. It has been a struggle at times but I am happy to say that I now don’t feel like that I will blow-up like a balloon if I give in to a every-once-in-a-while comfort food. This post has made me feel normal. Thank-you!

  34. Jimbo
    October 30, 2013 at 8:45 am

    When it manifests itself in a seemingly positive way, real-life honest-to-goodness clinical OCD tends to go unrecognized for what it is. We all have some OCD tendancies, but anyone who feels a bit too consumed by nutrition may get some good mileage out of recognizing their OCD for what it is and managing it as such. I.E. If your whole life has become consumed by healthy eating, deliberately force yourself to eat a cupcake and see if the world stops turning.

  35. Ty
    October 30, 2013 at 1:55 pm

    Love it! Your article is funny but so to the point as well. I totally agree that food should not be your religion. I went a little ocd on my nutrition when I changed my diet around for the better but have found a nice balance that seems to work for me now. The way I do it is the food I bring into my house is super healthy. However I am less disciplined with myself when I eat out or at friends. This works for me.

  36. Calgary Caterer
    November 1, 2013 at 2:04 pm

    I’m going to assume that clouds do, do that.

    • Amy Kubal
      November 1, 2013 at 5:06 pm

      I completely agree and they would be right on many counts. ;)

  37. vixcottage
    November 3, 2013 at 1:07 am

    This article really hits home because I have transformed my health in the 4 months I have been paleo. I found myself consumed by discussing the diet my weight loss and the many benefits. People just get tired of hearing about it. Just because you want to change your life does not mean everyone wants to make changes and in fact makes people uncomfortable. My relationship with food has changed but I do worry about the additional expenses and then look at the expenses of medicine and time off work. Paleo has literally saved my life but I had to eat non paleo pizza on wednesday due to an unexpected emergency and nothing else to eat. I did not obsess about it but will be sure it doesnt happen again. Flexibility is the key. Life is short! Pizza made me nauseated and in pain for a day but I survived. Not everyday can be perfect!

  38. Alex
    November 28, 2013 at 3:33 pm

    Great article. I too was ‘consumed by food’ for several years. Not a pretty place. And not a healthy place. Thanks

  39. Amanda
    December 1, 2013 at 2:52 am

    Amy, after struggling with eating disorders for many years and finally deciding to give paleo an honest go, this was exactly what I need. I have a long way to go, but to understand at least on an intellectual level that I need to just relax is key to my recovery. I want to be well; when I listen to, and obey my body I am. I will occasionally stray; I love a glass of wine and a bit of stinking cheese. But this is fine; it’s certainly not the end of the world. And I find that as my physical health improves, so does my mental health. Thank you, Amy, for being the voice of reason.

  40. Nana
    March 20, 2014 at 3:40 pm

    Hello :) Great article!!!!! many times the constant “i cant take that, i cant have this, i cant go out cause guys will order that food, i have to hit the gym no matter how the bed calls me…” is what colapses into real food-crimes. maybe if you had that day off gym, or that yummy-looking sweet, from time to time, you wouldnt ever stop working out for months or abandon your diet :D

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