Having both been brought up in families who live active lifestyles, we were both inspired from a young age to love staying fit and especially to love the outdoors. Over the years, exercise, for both of us, has become a very natural part of your everyday lives (as any repetitive behaviour does). We love the outdoors and would both choose to be exercising outside WAAY over a gym workout. Due to neither of us ever choosing to exercise to ‘lose weight’, we haven’t had to focus much on the eating side of things…
But Kit does have a story
I, Kit, have always been fit and active (as mentioned above) but as many girls know, weight-related issues don’t always stem from being over-weight but rather develop in the space between our ears (in our heads). I’m a natural go-getter, I’m competitive and rarely ‘stop to smell the roses’, it’s how I’m wired and I’m okay with it. But sometimes, in our pursuit for happiness, acceptance, success, the extremes of our personalities lead us astray… and this couldn’t have been truer for me. 10 years ago exactly, I developed an eating disorder, along with an obsession to control everything. I was fortunate to catch it quickly (with help from friends and family) and even went into in-patient treatment for 6 weeks. Of course, on day 1 in the clinic, I was already telling my psychologists how I was going to be the best success case that they’d ever had; to which they responded with “Caitlyn, it’s okay if you’re not the best anything. That’s actually why you’re here.” (I can laugh at this now but didn’t see the humour then).
My time in the clinic changed my life. I learnt that it was okay to not be okay. I let down my guard and learnt to embrace ALL of me. I learnt that an eating disorder was much like any disorder, a thinking problem, not a weight one. I lived on an eating plan for a good 6 months post-clinic to help me to re-establish healthy eating habits (everything in moderation) and then spent the following few years journeying with myself, and establishing a life that I loved waking up to, every damn day. (Cos lets be honest, being skinny will NEVER equal happiness, nor will abs or a fancy home/car). It started with little choices to give myself permission to try new things, to let go of a bit of control, to accept that I’m crazy driven but fun at the same time, to make notes of what made me truly happy (like swinging on swings, swims in the sea, chai tea) and I created a life, in time, that I loved.
My life may not be everyone’s ideal, like the fact that I wake up before the sun rises (I’m writing this at 4:30am at 38 weeks pregnant), love exercise but will happily eat a whole pizza and that I am asleep on the couch by 8:30pm. I gave myself permission, over the years, to feel difficult emotions and to stop running from them (towards food, exercise – you know the drill). I slowed down and made active choices to live a life that felt GOOD, this meant stopping running all together at times (if it felt like it was becoming obsessive) as well as fighting the idea that exercise can cancel out unhealthy food choices. For a while, pizza on a Friday night meant no run on a Saturday; this helped me to start making intentional choices to love my body and the choices I made everyday, rather than hating on my body and making everything a numbers game.
I can now happily eat a full pizza without a glimpse of guilt; I can stop running for months and be okay with it. It wasn’t an easy journey but it was so worth every intentional action I’ve taken to learn to love myself (and the journey continues everyday). So NO I don’t follow an eating plan, in fact, you’d probably be shocked that I eat some of the foods that I do, but that’s okay. For the most part, I eat well – cereal breakfast, mid-morning fruit/crackers (occasional croissant), lunch (leftovers from dinner mainly), a snack (biscuit, fruit, smoothie) and then a standard dinner (protein, carbs and veg) and of course a couple pieces of chocolate post-dinner. I don’t obsess over what I eat, but rather try to be mindful when eating and not just ‘eating for the sake of it’. And fortunately, due to my self-love journey, and 6 years of Psych-studying, I now get to inspire audiences (and coach individuals) around SA on how to create lives and bodies that they love.
In conclusion, are we anti-eating plans or diets?
No. Not at all. Neither of us obsess over food (we actually had a pizza evening, and no not healthy-carb-free-pizza, together just last night) but we do understand the importance of healing your relationship with food and reching a weight that your body is comfortable at (i.e: maintainable not unrealistic) and if that takes an eating plan of some-sort then we’re all for it. In saying that, we are definitely not into extremes and fail to see the benefit in ‘starving yourself’ or being ‘overly strict’ only to pile on the weight a few months later. We both love including all food groups into our diets, and appreciate eating plans that encourage people to do the same; ultimately allowing these new habits to actually last.
Karen Bishop, the dietitian who wrote our Nutritional Guide for Pregnancy, is a phenomenal dietitian based in Kloof, KZN, for anyone needing some nutritional guidance around reclaiming their love for their body and establishing good eating habits. She can be contacted via her website here.