To the casual onlooker, I’ve always been the pinnacle of health. My abs have always been tight, my legs have always been slim, and my arms have always been delicately sculpted. I have always been that girl who cooks barley and kale and drinks water bottle after (reusable, of course) water bottle every day.
And it was mostly wonderful. Guys loved me, girls wanted to be like me, and I was respected by everyone for my “clean eating.”
But none of the people praising my “body goals” body knew how unhealthy I truly was. In the name of health, I almost completely eliminated fat from my diet. I ate copious amounts of green vegetables and berries and very few filling foods. I limited my desserts to small pieces of heart-healthy dark chocolate. I was following all of the rules of being healthy.
But I was far from healthy. Since fats, oils, and sugars are widely deemed “bad,” I pretty much wasn’t eating them. But in reality, eating only produce and whole grains isn’t a healthy way to live.
After years of being obsessed with finding the latest superfood and politely declining decadent desserts with my friends, my body was exhausted. I was so intent on staying healthy that I’d forgotten about the spiritual benefits of eating good food with good people. I’d forgotten the joy of licking a drip of cookie dough ice cream before it falls. I’d forgotten the comfort of forkfuls of oven-baked macaroni and cheese.
Eating only fat-free, sugar-free, processed-free, and carb-free had made me joy-free and I was no longer okay with that.
I’m now a solid 10 pounds heavier and I’m rocking some awesome stretch marks. I still eat kale and try to avoid most processed foods, but I’m also eating “unhealthy” things like full-fat goat cheese and egg yolks in my omelets and almond butter on my toast.
Not counting my macros or measuring out serving sizes of leafy greens has left me with plenty of time to peruse the shelves at my local library and get lost at the nearby botanical gardens.
Since breaking many of our society’s “health rules,” I’m now healthier and happier than ever.