Good morning! How’s your weekend going? This morning we have a guest post by the lovely Jessica Guthrie of Freedom Hunger. After many years of struggling with an eating disorder, Jess has found a sense of freedom through viewing food as fuel to nourish the body. Cheers to that! Here is her wonderful story…
Hey Keeping it Real Readers—
I’m gonna keep it real today and talk about starting to see that food isn’t something to fear…but it’s fuel.
I think society has made food a numbers game with one number at the forefront: calories. This is how bodybuilders differentiate a bulk from a cut, how dieters are told to determine what to eat. Heck, the new food labels are emphasizing calories above all else. Honestly, though, all that number tells you is the energy it takes to raise the temperature of 1 g of water by 1°C.
Judging a food based solely off calories is like judging a person after only knowing their name. I’ve never heard of someone being hired just off their name, so why nourish something as precious as our bodies off solely one number? Instead, we should look at food based off the nourishment it provides and what our body needs in that moment. My nutritionist doesn’t have calories on my meal plan, just exchanges based off my body’s need for protein, dairy, starch, vegetable, fruit, and fat. Looking purely at calories, I would never know what category a food fits in. Is 200 calories a candy bar? Two bananas? Maybe a large chicken breast?
Instead we should look at food for what it is: fuel. We need all different kinds of fuel because they each serve different purposes. Proteins provide essential amino acids to help build muscle and help our cells transport materials throughout the body. Vegetables and fruits provide vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals, which help fight cancers and other diseases. Dairy is a great source of calcium, which we need for bone health. How about those dearly feared carbs? We need those for fiber and as a source of immediate energy. Carbs are essential for our brains to function! Then the dreaded fats—we need them too! Vitamins A,D,E, and K can’t even be absorbed without fat. Carbs and proteins can’t be used properly without it. Most important to me, fat helps insulate your organs. Without enough fat even walking can be dangerous because your organs will be jumbling around crashing into things right and left.
Looking at food as fuel gives you the whole picture. You see what the food can provide, helping you determine what to eat based off what your body needs. Sure, in the end you could say it’s calories in vs calories out, but when it comes to all-around health, it isn’t that simple. Sure, you can get your x amount of calories and never eat carbs or fat or whatever you think you shouldn’t eat, but your body won’t function to its top ability. Trust me—living based off calories can get you to all sorts of levels of distorted. Living off calories the past 15 years of my life led me to have a list of 200 foods I was scared to eat!
Luckily, I am on the road to recovery and am empowered with the knowledge of food as fuel—and eating foods I haven’t eaten in years! Every time that tiny voice in my mind says I shouldn’t have it because of the calories, I think of all the reasons I should. Brown rice: it’s a great carbohydrate source and provides fiber and a lot of vitamins too. Salmon: rich in Omega 3s for my mind and my heart, not to mention the protein I need to build muscle and repair from my time spent cycling. Peanut butter: another great source of the fats I need to keep my organs safe. The new list goes on and on and on.
Thanks for reading! Good luck with your goals and God bless : )