Food. I likes it.

I love food.

I could say there isn’t much more to it than that. I mean, what else is there to say? I love going out to eat with friends and family. I love trying new things. I love finding out that I love something that I didn’t even think I would like. I love a really good hamburger. I love cooking for my vegan friend. I love salad and fried chicken and white rice and stinky cheese. I don’t love sandwiches.

I love food, but even I wouldn't eat this.
But there is a lot more to it than that. You see, like many {way too many} young girls, I once struggled with food. I was a statistic. A thirteen year old, anorexic, skinny, statistic.

I love food. I’ve always loved food. It’s the eating part that gets you sometimes.

This post isn’t to wallow in self-pity about my poor self-image, and it’s not to tell you my story. Mainly because my story isn’t very interesting, but also because that’s not who I am anymore.

Earlier today, I thought about writing a post about when I knew that I was an adult. A few things came to mind. When I wrote my first rent check. When I graduated from college. When I walked down the aisle. I could have written about a number of things, but one stuck out in my mind.

One time, maybe about a year ago, I stepped on the scale and started to cry.

I don’t struggle with my weight. I’m not overweight and I’m not underweight. I don’t want to say that I’m “normal,” because really, what is normal?

Anyway, I stepped on the scale and I started to cry. You see, I weighed almost the same amount for nearly ten years of my life {minus the month that I spent in Paris, when I gorged myself on chocolate pastries and crepes, but I digress}. To see that number on the scale, almost twenty digits higher than what I remembered, was a shock. And I didn’t know how to handle it.

I argued with myself for months after that. Part of me wanted to diet, to try and get back to where I used to be. Another part of me didn’t care. And then it hit me.

I’m no longer the sixteen year old girl that weighs 110 pounds. I’m never going to be that girl again. I’m an adult. And I’m finally starting to look like it.

Coming to that realization was one of the most amazing epiphanies of my life. While my boyfriend may have found me attractive when we were in high school and I was as flat as a piece of cardboard, my husband doesn’t want to be married to someone who looks like they are still sixteen {he’s the same person, by the way}. The fact that I can actually fill out a Victoria’s Secret bra is kind of awesome to me. I don’t have to pretend that I’m a woman anymore, because I really am.

But, back to food {it relates, I promise}. I think there is a spectrum of how people look at food. On one end, there are the people who eat at McDonalds for every meal. On the other are those who count every calorie, who will only eat raw or organic or any number of things.

I don’t understand either end of this spectrum that I’ve created in my head. Why can’t we just enjoy what we eat. The person who eats chicken nuggets and French fries everyday isn’t going to enjoy their food just as much as the person who eats only grilled chicken breasts and salad with no dressing for lunch.

There is a happy medium somewhere along that spectrum; where it’s okay to go out for ice cream once a week, after a dinner of grilled salmon and green beans. I’ve constantly tried to find this balance, and realizing that I don’t have to hate my body, or manipulate it into something that it isn’t, has gotten me even closer to that happy medium. Because I love food. And that’s okay.

Now, this is turning into be a lengthy post, but I have just a little more to say. I went to the doctor yesterday, because of some stomach problems I’ve been having. We’ve ruled out an Inflammatory Bowel Disease and any type of infection that could be cured with antibiotics. And he mentioned something that I’m kind of scared of.

Celiac disease.

Because again, I love food. I love bread. I love pasta. I love bagels and muffins and cinnamon rolls and cupcakes. I don’t love sandwiches.

I’ve actually been trying a gluten free diet for the past week now, just to see if it helps at all. I feel good, but I couldn’t tell you at this point if it’s because I haven’t been eating gluten. It hasn’t been as difficult as I thought it would be. I’ve found that Trader Joe’s has really good wheat-free pasta and waffles. I found some white bread that satisfied my craving for toast this morning. And I have a new appreciation for Chipotle, who has almost an entirely gluten free menu, minus their flour tortillas.

Even if this isn’t what’s wrong with me, I’ve definitely learned a lot from this experience. And if it weren’t gluten, if I were trying to eat only organic or vegan or raw, I would learn many of the same things. Eating gluten-free has made me much more conscious of what I eat. It has forced me to look at the labels, to think about what I am putting into my body. And it’s brought me even closer to that happy medium.

If you get anything from this novel of a post {I apologize for that}, I would just encourage you to find your own happy medium. To find what works for your body. To be happy with who you are. To be healthy.

That’s all. Thanks for listening.

Love you. 


Eschelle said...

man that is ridiculous!! I have seen that before, but wow, just blows me away everytime!

andrea n. townsend said...

Girl, I'm right there with you every step of the way (through this post, I mean, haha). I, too, lovelovelove food but struggle to love my body (sometimes as a result of all the aforementioned food, of course). My doctor also hinted at Celiac's disease the last time I visited him and, you're braver than me, because it scared the hell outta me. I LOVE BREAD. AND GLUTEN. Ugh.

I have yet to try a gluten-free diet, purely out of laziness and a lack of real motivation. But maybe I will? You've inspired me, friend. :)

jillian :: cornflake dreams. said...

joelle this is a fantastic and honest post! and this is why i love your blog :) i am SOOOO glad that you have accepted your body, i had a ah-ha momement like that too.. i was rail thin in high school and now i weigh more (as i should after almost 8yrs...) and its nice to have some muscle and meat on the body :) xoxo jcd :: cornflake dreams
ps i cannot believe you dont like sandwiches. heart broken.

LCR said...

great post, Joelle. It's great to find a balance, and you're SO right about an 'adult' body. I had that moment too! Hips and boobs!? whaa? :)
I am gluten and dairy intollerant. I thought my life was over when I first found out, but now I hardly notice. Lets talk about GF eating... I have lotsa info and tips:)
Hope you feel better soon.


Amanda said...

What a wonderful post! I love your attitude!

Diet Starts Tomorrow said...

Great post. I completely agree that you have to find what works for your body. There's no one size fits all!!

Holley said...

Love your honesty!! I think it's hard to try to find the healthy medium. It's healthy to be happy, and I think sometimes we forget that.

Mary ♥ Mur said...

♥ Oh.. Nice post.)) Love your blog.)) ♥

Emma @ She Got Married said...

Beautifully said. I still *watch* calories just to be in a decent range, but I definitely enjoy my healthy organic days as well as my occasional local dairy bar day. Food is fuel, but it's also such a lovely thing.

I'll be hoping that you don't have celiacs, that's no fun...bread is...love.

Kristina said...

This is a fabulous post - very real, and honest. I had that same "adult body" realization a while back except I was in Kohls with my husband buying pants in the juniors section, and I dont shop often so I got the same sizes and brands I usually wear only to find myself in the dressing room in tears because the "new" pants didn't fit and a concerned husband texting me because I hadn't come out of the dressing room in at least 10 minutes. Pulling myself together I came out put the new clothes down, told my husband that I wasn't buying a thing and broke down at home, once again. I had to come to the realization of 2 things- clothing sizes sometimes in fact change and most importantly I was an adult with an adult body, and that was ok.

Not all days are perfect body wise, some are worse than others but like you said it's all about moderation. I spoke at a girls conference a few months back about wellness and about body image and that was one of the things that we stressed - your body naturally gravitates to the size perfect for you. So eat healthy and in moderation and exercise for fun, and you will be exactly the size you are meant to be.

Have a lovely day!!


Beka said...

i really liked this.
when exactly have we felt that we suddenly were adults? interesting thought.

...about the weight and all. so true. i was 115 when i was 15, and i've gone up to probably 135. muscle weighs more than fat, i always say. and leaning on the trying-to-be healthy side and enjoying life with whole foods and all is a good way to go.
we, women, are amazing. and beautiful. we need to know that.

Jenna said...

Thanks so much for posting this... judging from the comments above, I think it's safe to say that (almost) all girls/women have struggled with this. Even when I am happy with my weight it's never enough... I still want to look like I did in high school when I was running cross country and I finally realized thats it's never going to happen.

I think it's a journey to be happy with how you look and I feel like I'm taking baby steps to hopefully get to where you are :)


Duff said...

What an amazing post, Jo Jo. I'm so proud of you :)

Chiara said...

Is that a donut burger?! I have not seen that before in Italy.
I think it's great that you can be open and candid about your experience, because I believe many can relate.
Have a great weekend, xo

Married In Chicago said...

What a wonderful post! I agree with you -- that being overly gluttonous and overly restrictive both take the fun out of food. Someone once told me that they like to think of foods as sometimes versus always. Some foods are always foods (fruits, veggies, etc.,) while others are sometimes foods (like donut burgers. haha). I've always just thought that was a nice attitude to have.

Betty said...

I've experienced some of these things...in reverse...sorta...I am an emotional eater and realized I'd eaten my way to a size 16 - needed an 18 - and realized there was now more than "cushion for pushin'" as some call it. I had even passed "voluptuous". I had reached fat...That's when I found that I needed to find my happy medium...and I'm down 8.3 pounds. I'm not where I want to be, yet...but I'm working to get there...but I'm becoming an adult (because let's face it, it's a process) and learning to love me - and my food! Thanks for another awesome post! You are amazing!

Amanda said...

I'm loving your blog! It's relatable and real, and I like that you're not afraid to share. I've had my fair share of body issues, and, like you, I LOVE food. It's great to finally be at a place of a happy medium :)

Untypically Jia said...

Oh good gravy . . . okay I'm ashamed to admit that I've actually made those krispy kreme burgers before. I believe I did it as a late birthday present for my husband or something. Can't remember. He thought they were amazing. I thought they were disgusting and swore I'd never sink so low again.

Alovelydai said...

I love this post! I too am finding a happy medium between over indulging and being comfortable in my grown woman body. I find that eating real whole foods work for me (I cut out all processed crap).

Oh & what's so wrong with sandwiches? LOL!

Liza said...

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