Food brain: noun, state of being
1. A condition in which the mind hyper-focuses on nutrition, or feels guilty about recent eating choices
Today I am experiencing food brain.
2. Where my mind floats to during moments of pause and/or silence
3. The opposite of being kind to myself
Synonyms: anxiety, fear, depression
Finding Normal began as a personal project to help me find an outlet for constant, often negative, thoughts surrounding food, body image, and the realities of today's health culture. I addressed some of my historical thoughts and feelings in earlier posts (here, and here), but shied away from expressing struggles in real time. I feared my food brain would seem trivial in comparison to those dealing with more severe mental health diagnoses, and I also feared expressing my thoughts would paint a darker portrait than I wanted.
98% of my day (and life for that matter) brings me great joy; my friends are amazing people, I enjoy my job, and I feel lucky to have my life. However, I still fight against my biology, and brain; wacky thyroid, sensitive GI system, and lower self-esteem, but who doesn't? Some days I feel physically and mentally great, but some days frustration, anger, and self-doubt bubble to the surface.
Today I am having one of those days.
So instead of backing away from sharing, I'm running straight into my complicated web of contradictory thoughts in hope of finding a little peace before Thanksgiving; going back to the core purpose of this blog.
Warning: this is like a diary post, so please except a more stream of consciousness style.
November has been a busy month with lots of travel, which means I have not been able to eat "normally". My stomach is angry with me; gassy, bloated, etc. My favorite pants are tighter, which is a daily reminder that I have probably put on a few pounds even without stepping on the scale.
Could I have done something better? If you want to beat yourself down, start asking this question. I know I did the best I could in each situation, yet I still feel I failed, and am the only one to blame for how my body is reacting.
Put down the sugar, put down the bread! This is food brain at it's worst, pushing me toward more extreme thoughts about food being good or bad. I know I react poorly to these things, but I'm not allergic, so where is the balance?
I'm pretty sure I can see the extra pounds in the mirror...
I have to eat better or else none of my clothes will fit.
These thoughts aren't pretty, but they are honest, and I know I am not alone. Over the last few years I have gotten much better at dealing with these thoughts, and not allowing them to hijack my day, but they still float around in my brain as a constant reminder that I do not feel good enough. Different strategies help; exercise, short yoga sessions focusing on breathing, talking to a friend, etc. Today, I want to challenge my thoughts with some kind words to myself.
I am strong.
I am worth it.
Feeding my body nutritious food is important, but not everything.
My friends and family still love me.
Just breathe, make healthy choices that work for me, and in a few weeks I will feel better.
Walking enthusiast, kitchen experimenter, sports lover (watching, not playing), and future world traveler.
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