Growing up in the early 2000’s was hard. Not just because my mom was alone and decided to go back to school for her master’s in nursing (lots of late-night shifts) but because food and body type was so insanely regularly criticized. I’m not saying that’s really any different now, but I’ve seen such a difference when it comes to healthcare and practicing healthier habits, while recognizing we all have different body shapes and different foods do different things to different people. There’s a Mexican stereotype that a lot of grandparents force their grandkids to eat food because It’s seen as disrespectful and wasteful to throw things away because others are not as fortunate (this has creeped into my life in a different way, I hoard things) but my grandparents were the opposite. My mom being in the healthcare field made it worse because she was always telling me if I had any “bad” foods I will A. get sick and die or B. look unappealing to a future life partner. While I don’t blame her entirely for the way I was raised surrounding food it’s a sour subject. In high school, I danced for hours a day and ended up restricting my food intake because of A. the conditioning I received as a child that I’d die and look ugly B. I felt like my life was out of control and being underage I couldn’t do anything about what was going on besides decide how and what I was going to eat and C. I got praise for eating less and having a good figure. Flash forward to a year out of high school, everything came to a halt. While I recovered from being anorexic, I didn’t recover from an eating disorder (ended up binging). In college I saw so many doctors, have been hospitalized a few times for various things and became type 2 diabetic. Being diabetic was my worst fear as a child and it ended up manifesting itself. Since 2018 I haven’t escaped the hell that is worrying about my health and its complications. I’ve tried thousands of things: therapy, food journaling, my fitness pal, different diets, exercise, binging, restricting and absolutely none of it worked. I’d get better in some ways and worse in others. I finally found a good doctor around 2019 and a good rhythm with exercise and then I ended up in a car accident that left me permanently disabled My doctor melissa told me to try and only eat 50 carbs a day, no eggs and no natural sugar. Spoiler alert: that didn’t work. Me and my spouse moved back from California to Texas in 2021 and for a year I was living in the uncomfortable yet comfortable bliss of not seeing a doctor, not knowing if I was getting better or worse and being totally oblivious to my condition even though I thought about it every day. Finally, last October I got the courage to find a new doctor. Not knowing was almost worse than knowing and to my surprise, I hadn’t got much worse! I wasn’t better but I pretty much maintained the condition where it was. She wanted to change my medication to something stronger, but I wanted to keep it where it was and try one more time. I did end up adding a new medication to assist with the binging issue, but I essentially quit my bad habits cold turkey. And now, 3 and a half months later, I’m no longer diabetic. I’m not in the clear quite yet I still have pre-diabetes but I’m okay (besides a lot of random low blood sugar events). My cholesterol and a1c did a 180. My hormones from my PCOS are stable. What changed? I pretty much still ate whatever I wanted and while I did work out for like 30 days, I haven’t done a single workout for two months. But the amount of care and respect for myself finally outweighed the noise from social media, family members, past doctors etc. Things didn’t change till I did and when I finally felt ready. But it’s also not as simple as it seems. Yes, I did eat pretty much whatever I wanted but I still had to try and unlearn the conditioning that food is bad. Anything is bad if you have too much of it but not being able to enjoy something out of fear? That’s worse. That kept me sick for 5 years. Letting go of the idea that I can only have a certain number of calories or need to be a certain size is what saved my life. This week, I made a cute margarita pizza in with mozzarella pearls and tomatoes making daisies and it was delicious. Being able to have food that’s both cute and heals my inner child is always a win.