You Are What You Eat, So I Am Pizza

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Kinda funny, yes. But this quotation that I’ve seen make the rounds on Pinterest more than once actually carries some weight (pun not intended) for me, believe it or not.

Growing up, food wasn’t really an issue for me. I liked to eat (who doesn’t), but I never really thought about it. It was just food. Usually healthy (at home), sometimes not (at school, after work). I knew girls in high school who counted calories, while some days I’d eat a 3-pack of ginormous chocolate chip cookies, and go off campus to eat lunch at Taco Bell on the very same day. Counting calories didn’t cross my mind. I played field hockey, I was in marching band (which you can make fun of all you like; it’s a workout), I walked regularly with my family. I probably burned more calories than I ate, even on the days I ate poorly.

Then I went to college. Though I didn’t gain the ‘freshman 15,’ suddenly I did have to pay more attention to what I was putting in my body. I wasn’t playing sports anymore. I overloaded on classes, rushed a sorority, and worked 3 jobs. It was miraculous if I got to the gym once a week. I heard girls who looked like Barbies bragging at 6 PM that they’d only had half a bagel and a Diet Coke all day. I drank Slim-Fast, I took green tea pills. I thought I was doing great. Interesting, because although the number on the scale is higher, my body composition is much better now than it was then.

Somewhere along the way, my mind turned it all around on me. I started bingeing. I hated myself for the bagel I had for breakfast, so that night I’d order a large pizza to myself and eat the whole thing. I couldn’t stop myself. I hated it. I felt sick, and overstuffed, and wanted to cry, but I’d keep eating. I’d save food swipes until I had enough for a box of Snickers bars or Reese’s cups (yes, like the boxes you see at bulk stores), and I’d eat an entire box in one sitting. I’d ditch the pizza boxes in different parts of the sorority house, and spread out the candy wrappers, or even stash them in a drawer. Though this only lasted seriously for about a year, the thing about something like binge eating is that it never leaves you. When I have a bad day as a mom, my first thought is usually to order a pizza. It takes ever fiber of my being to do yoga instead, or to go for a midday walk instead of hitting up the tub of ice cream in the freezer.

What really served as the catalyst for changing the way I feel about food was our daughter Maile’s diagnosis of a milk and soy protein intolerance in her early infancy. Breastfeeding was so, so very important to me, and I wasn’t willing to give it up, so I went on an elimination diet. No dairy, no soy. FYI, dairy and soy are in EVERYTHING. The first few weeks were tough, but once I figured out what I could eat (fresh, clean foods), I couldn’t believe how much better I felt. Thankfully, she outgrew her intolerance and I can enjoy the occasional slice of cheesecake, but food has again become nourishment — what my body needs for energy and to feel good.

I take pride in, and enjoy, cooking healthy meals for my family. When I offer to buy Maile a cookie at Starbucks, and she asks for a banana instead, I beam. When she asks to help me bake, like in the photo above, I’m happy to include her in the process. And now, writing for Shrinking Kitchen (a sister site to Real Oilfield Wives), I can put these good feelings and this energy out there, and share it with you!

I suppose I can wrap up this post by saying I am thankful. I am thankful that my daughter allowed me to see how destructive my relationship with food had become. I am thankful that now I can eat well not just for her, but for myself. I am thankful that I don’t eat entire pizzas anymore, but neither do I count calories.

You are what you eat, so I am pizza. But just a slice.

Have you, or do you struggle with food? Open up to us in the comments below, or send me a tweet.

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About Katie

Katie lives in the suburbs of Denver, Colorado, where she raises her sweet daughter, Maile, who just turned two! Katie has been married to the love of her life for going on 6 years; every one of those years as a roughneck wife. The family also includes two spaniels, a very persnickety old cat, and two aquatic frogs. Katie spends most of her time reading books with her little one, going down the slide at the park 10,000 times, painting and playing pretend, and dreaming of growing all her own food. You can also find her at her family lifestyle blog, See You There.

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