"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:6-7)

Last Sunday I heard a sermon all about the negative effects of worrying.  The Pastor spoke about how so many people suffer from fear and anxiety.  In fact, many of our 'ills' are caused by worry and fear.  And he's right... anxiety is the #1 mental disorder in America.  There are many reasons we worry these days, from scary stories on the news to big bills and small paychecks, our lives are often filled with fear.  As a believer in Christ, I know that a life of fear is definitely NOT the life God intended!

To quote FDR, "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."  A healthy life includes a healthy mindset.  If you are living in a state of fear about food (or anything else) then you need to change your mindset.

Just a few months ago, I was afraid of sugar.  I mean, with all the information we're bombarded with these days, it's hard to make peace with food.  It seems that food has become our worst enemy.  Refined sugar is labeled toxic, gluten is shunned, and white flour?  Forget about it... you might as well be eating poison.

This was me, I was actually afraid to consume refined sugar, or gluten, or dairy...  my relationship with food dramatically suffered from these self-imposed "healthy" rules.  I would avoid my favorite foods and then, the minute I finally allowed a treat, I felt so deprived that I would 'pig out' on the very food I had declared as "poison."  I was stressed about food and I'd end up sabotaging all my 'healthy eating' efforts.

The "all-or-nothing" mentality used to be something I associated with strict dieting, but nowadays I believe it has crept into the health world, as well.  There are just so many rules (gluten-free, Paleo, vegan) and  it's hard to live in a world of such restriction.  We feel as if we're 'good' because we didn't eat any carbs or sweets... and 'bad' if we did (as if a handful of M&MS are going to kill us!)

For me, I've finally come to the realization that restrictive diets DO NOT work for me... even when they are done in the name of health.  Of course I'm not saying it's healthy to eat 5 cupcakes, but what's wrong with one?  What's wrong with eating a treat?  Worry, guilt and regret should not be emotions we feel based on what we ate that day.  Luke 12:23 says, "For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes."

I don't know about you, but I'm done with cutting out foods groups and restrictive eating.  One of my good friends feels the same way.  We hate the fact that food can have such power of us... so we decided that it's no longer in charge.  We're no longer living in a place of restriction.  It's something she came up with called, #foodfreedom.  It's a no judgement zone.  If we want to eat a piece of bread, we're gonna eat some bread...

That being said, food freedom is not about pigging out on junk food because you can.  The thing about ALLOWING yourself to eat whatever you want is that you will soon find that you don't feel so compelled to eat it in excess.  When I've restricted sugar in the past, I would end up pigging out on sugar-free chocolate or crackers or anything because I just felt so deprived.  I KNOW what is healthy and when I allow myself to eat what I want, I feel so much better.  No guilt, no worry, no stress and regret... I am learning to enjoy my favorite treats in moderation!

How about you?  Do you feel anxious about certain foods?  Or do you practice #foodfreedom?!
 


Comments

07/01/2014 1:50pm

I feel that moderation is key :) Nothing wrong with froyo once a week (or a few times) haha :) Great post, Cailee! I'm glad you are healing your relationship with food <3

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07/02/2014 1:37pm

Thanks Liz! It's a process... but like all things worth fighting for, it'll be worth it!

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07/01/2014 2:21pm

I've definitely improved with the restrictions I once placed on myself (around three years ago); however, I won't say I've found complete #foodfreedom. There are some foods I just wouldn't eat because they aren't worth the calories and non nutrition (I.E. fried foods/anything in the processed dessert aisle.) If I'm going to indulge, I want it to be with a homemade baked good or some ice cream! I'm not sure if that's being restrictive or just being picky but I can definitely relate to your story and I'm happy to hear you've chosen better for your life! :D

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07/03/2014 5:47am

Thanks Diane!! And I really think it varies from person to person. I know when I was eating moderately (before I cut gluten out... over a year ago) there were some foods I didn't eat because it just wasn't worth it for me... but I didn't feel deprived because I still got to enjoy my fave treats (i.e. ice cream or chocolate!)

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I am with ya! I try to eat as natural and healthy as possible most of the time, but sometimes that's not always possible, or I just want to splurge. I just hate how society has villainized some foods.

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07/03/2014 5:49am

Agreed!! I feel the same way Stacie! It's like 1 cookie is toxic?!! So we feel guilty eating that one, and then end up guilt eating a bunch more. At least that's how it worked for me...

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07/01/2014 7:08pm

I love this post! I'm the same way when I deprive myself, but at the same time I can sometimes go from one cupcake a day to 2!

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07/10/2014 8:36am

It's definitely a process... I'm still in the learning phases of moderation!! I've done it before though and that's what I want to get back to!

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Consuelo - Honey & Figs
07/02/2014 1:13am

I absolutely love reading every single one of your posts, because the way you see life is just soooo inspiring! I love this whole #foodfreedom idea, even if it's sometimes hard to follow ;)

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07/10/2014 8:37am

Thank you so much Consuelo!! You are so sweet and I'm glad you liked it!!

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07/02/2014 5:02am

Yes to #foodfreedom. With a history of an ED - or still being in recovery - I know where you're coming from with the restrictiveness. While I never cut out any foods completely there were many that I only had in such miniscule amounts and with a lot of guilt that it was close to 'all-or-nothing'. It took me a while - and some going way overboard on those 'forbidden' foods - to understand that moderation is key. That and not limiting my choices as well as trusting myself. I'm still working on it but I can't imagine going back to those restrictive times again. It's not actually living.

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07/10/2014 8:40am

Agreed!! The thought of swearing off brownies for the rest of my life makes me want to run to the nearest bakery and overload! Haha... but realizing that they are a welcome part of my life allows me to enjoy them in moderation... but I hear ya, it's a process... sometimes I will over did it (especially in the beginning)... but each day is a new beginning and slip ups are all part of the learning experience!

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07/02/2014 5:27am

I would have to say that although I'm not afraid to eat any foods, I do watch my calorie intake and am afraid of overdoing it at times. Moderation is definitely the key! :)

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07/10/2014 8:42am

Agreed!! Moderation is the best way to go :)

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07/02/2014 8:49am

I love this mentality. Recovering from an eating disorder, I am working reallllly hard to find the right balance. Food freedom isn't limiting myself, but it is also not eating everything in sight and feeling out of control. Thank you for sharing your story and I hope we can continue to find #foodfreedom

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07/10/2014 8:49am

You're welcome Emily! So glad that you can relate! And yeah... we say that 'food freedom' is not 'fat freedom'. For me, when I restricted myself and didn't allow myself to eat my fave foods I'd end up pigging out on them and feeling like I could't stop... neither ways are food freedom!

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07/02/2014 10:09am

When I reached my goal weight, I was so scared that I was going to put it back on that I had anxiety about anything that wasn't "clean". I have found a much more balanced approach now and I definitely indulge every now and then :)

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07/10/2014 8:50am

Good for you Dannii!! And I totally hear ya.... it can be scary!!

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07/02/2014 12:21pm

I definitely feel anxious about foods and anxiety in general! Great post. I think we all need to let go of our anxiety a little!

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07/10/2014 8:52am

Yes!! Food isn't meant to be a source of worry and stress... it should be nourishing, fulfilling and enjoyable! :)

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07/02/2014 5:36pm

Amen and amennnn! I think so many of us, especially in the food/healthy living arena, tend to be scared of certain foods every now and then. And although it's not a good thing, it certainly is a problem! There are days when I go through those motions as well....till I decide, whatever. I'm being as healthy as I can for the most part, so there's nothing wrong with balance, and I won't be isolating myself from others just because of those 'fears'. The Lord has placed such a gift in you to identify, dissect, and teach! I love how you incorporate it with the Word because that's what real life is about. :))

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07/10/2014 8:54am

Thank you Ellie!! You are so sweet and encouraging! God is so good and I want Him to get the glory through my blog (and my life)!! And He doesn't want me to be anxious about the foods I eat!

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I love this!! That Bible verse you included at the beginning of the post is one of my favorites. I think I've found true food freedom this year, after a long recovery from my ED. No longer am I worried about whether I had too many bites of a snack or too much fat or carbs or whatever.
Great post!

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07/10/2014 8:55am

Thanks Alison! So glad to hear that you are in a good place!! :)

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07/02/2014 11:00pm

YAY for food freedom! I'm with you that restricting yourself winds up biting you in the butt eventually. It's all about balance, so eat that ice cream this weekend if you want it! :)

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07/10/2014 8:58am

You are so right!! We think it's wise to avoid our fave treats... but in the end I'd end up pigging out on what I avoided and eating even what I didn't want... simply out of feelings of restriction.

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07/03/2014 12:41am

This is a great post! I totally agree that restrictive eating is creeping into the health world, more and more. Everyday there seems to be something new to cut out of your diet. I think it's great if people can cut certain things out and feel all the better for it, but not if it's only going to consume you with guilt. I'm like you, I love my treats, and as long as it's in moderation (or moderation most of the time :p), then I don't believe in cutting foods out from my diet. Whatever works best for you, right?

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07/10/2014 9:00am

Agreed! With everything I've gone through in regards to eating/ dieting/ restricting/ obsessing/ etc. I believe that ice cream can and brownies are part of a healthy, balanced diet!!

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07/03/2014 7:43am

I eat healthy most of the time but I definitely indulge in treats! I'm not saying I eat five giant bowls of ice cream but one bowl is a-okay in my book! And no beating myself up over it!

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07/10/2014 9:01am

I totally agree with ya!! I eat sweets everyday! And I'm currently at a much healthier place than I was a few months ago!

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It helps me to completely get rid of sugar once or twice an year for a couple of weeks when my cravings get really bad, but besides that I pretty much eat anything in moderation. Certain times of the month are easier than others!

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07/10/2014 9:02am

Haha! Truth. And yeah, if it works for you, go for it!! Everyone is different and has to find a balance that works for them personally!

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07/04/2014 4:56am

I agree that it's all about balance. To me, if you eat healthy a fair amount of time, then some treats here and there will not do any harm, and might in fact be good! Like you said, mental health is important too and nothing good comes from deprivation. I once cut out all sugar and "unhealthy" foods too, but you're so right that that causes much unneeded anxiety! And I stress enough about other things that I don't need extra stress in my life haha ;)

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07/10/2014 9:03am

Agreed!! It's totally about balance! And that unhealthy mindset is NOT worth the headache!!

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Jack B.
07/04/2014 3:53pm

This article is so spot on! I used to live in such a restrictive diet. There were so many foods I didn't let myself eat. I felt like everything I ate was the best stuff, but after a while, I felt empty inside, like I was being overly protective of my diet. One day, as I was eating a meatball sub, I realized: Hey, I should give vegetables another try, maybe they would be good to have in moderation. After that, I started to eat a weekly bowl of mixed veggies and I even let myself have some spinach once or twice a month. Like you said, I can't just drop every General Tso's meal I am eating in order to pig out on sweet potato, but I have been introducing it in my diet, and I think it is doing me good. Thanks!

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07/10/2014 9:07am

Haha... whatever works man :p It's all about balance! Eat healthy 80% of the time and treats 20% :)

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