I grew up with a bunch of "foodies" before they called it that. Both my grandmother and mother were avid cooks, never cooking the same thing twice. They were constantly scouring magazines for the next challenge and hosting parties just so they could try new recipes out. I developed a pallet for interesting food and a passion for cooking for the one's I love, much like they had.
My mother raised me on her own until she met my step-father (my dad) when I was eight. Although I never knew my biological father, I have his Norwegian build, taller and broader then all of my family, leaving me to feel different and insecure. I was in a constant state of fighting my body, wanting to be thin and dainty but all I saw was big and ugly. My weight yo-yoed throughout my life, finding some success and then falling off.
Once I completed my Bachelor's degree in business, I turned to my old passion, food, and entered into the most prestigious culinary school in the country. I packed my bags and headed cross country to New York, to the Culinary Institute of America. This was a time of learning and excitement, but also a real struggle with my body image. It was a difficult environment that forced me out of my comfort zone. This was good in that it forced me to find strength and confidence in my abilities, but also caused me to look for comfort. And where did I go for that comfort? Cannolis, pizza, pastries, bread (a lot of bread) and anything else I could get my hands on. There was a lot of food available to me and I indulged.
After culinary school I stopped cooking for a few years. Food had cemented itself as my enemy. I had indulged in every food choice available in Culinary School and I no longer felt in control. To say it simply, I didn't like myself. On top of that, I lived alone and worked a lot and didn't have the time nor the energy to prepare food.
In 2013 I met my husband, a successful, funny, supremely confident, and handsome engineer and frankly, I couldn't believe he would want me. I actually lost quite a bit of weight during the beginning of our relationship, being that we golfed a lot and the fact that we were still in the "hide the worst parts of yourself" phase.
Once the engagement occurred and the stress of wedding planning heightened, I again turned to food both as a comfort, and as a weapon I wielded to sabotage the happiness, deep down, I didn't think I deserved. During our engagement and beginning of our marriage, I yo-yoed between losing weight and gaining it again, my self-confidence following suit.
Three years ago, I went to the doctor for my annual check up. I was newly married and of course I began to discuss with my doctor about starting a family. My husband and I were still many years from being "ready" for children, but I wanted to make sure all was well. She looked at me with a furrowed brow and said, "honestly, I worry about your weight. It could really make for a difficult pregnancy when that time comes." She then began to lecture me about food choices and activity, none of which I wanted to hear. It was really the first time someone had told me, to my face, that I was obese.
At that time I was 230 pounds, but honestly, I didn't feel like my weight could be a health issue. I had been like this most of my life. I felt like sure I'm chubby, but that is just me. I was resigned that it was unfortunate genetics and nothing could be done. So this REALLY pissed me off. Who was she to call me fat (she never used that word but that's how I internalized it)? I reacted as I generally would, face first into whatever food I could find. This brought out every insecurity I had. It was one thing for me to be over weight, but the thought that it could effect my future children sent me into a depressive tailspin of eating and self hatred. It took me about two weeks before the clouds begin to clear and I was able to confront that fact that I was uncomfortable in my own skin and felt out of control.
The next day I walked into a Weight Watchers. I didn't tell anyone but my husband. This wasn't my first rodeo, but I knew I needed to do something and I had lost weight there in past, although never able to keep it off. After a year at Weight Watchers I had lost 85 pounds and was down to 145 pounds. I had begun exercising and feeling generally good. I spend the next two years working the Weight Watcher program to the best of my ability. On this program I became a runner, ran my first marathon, started this blog and a lot of other amazing things (that's why you will see many of the recipes have WW points). Going to Weight Watchers was an important step for me, but it wasn't my last. As stated before, I got down to 145 pounds, 20 pounds lighter then my goal weight. Probably lighter then I should have been since I stayed at that weight for all of about two weeks. I then spent the next two years gaining 20 pounds back (some in muscle as I started weight lifting, some not), battling, trying to get back to that weight, then trying to accept the weight I was at.
I have spent the last year working on not only my relationship with food, but also my body. The number one thing I have learned through all of this is how absolutely incredible our bodies are. The problem that I was recently confronted with, was that I have spent most of my life trying to tell my body what it wants and force it into the lifestyle I thought was best, instead of listening to my body and living my life accordingly. I was desperately clinging to a low fat, low starch, no sugar, very high protein diet, and I was hungry...all the time. Losing a lot of weight leaves a constant fear of that weight coming back and never feeling satisfied only served to increase that fear. I was worried about what to eat and when and anxious about going out or being in any situation that I didn't have full food control. A problem that I had pre-weight loss suddenly reared it's ugly head, and I began to binge eating, spending 6 days on a this very restrictive diet and then, not being able to handle the hunger anymore, binging until I literally couldn't eat anymore. I was going to Weight Watchers meetings every week, only to be frustrated by weight gain and inconsistent results. I was working the program to the best of my ability, following the guidelines, and it wasn't working for me anymore.
Something had to change. I was tired of counting, of obsessing, but more then anything, I was tired of being hungry, of thinking about food ALL OF THE TIME. I love food, I have built my life around it, but obsessing about every meal but not enjoying it, was making me mad. So I decided to take some time, do some research, and some soul searching. What did I want from the food that I eat? What was the end goal in all of this? What am I hungry for, in life and in food? During this time I went to California, where I am from, to spend some time with family, most specifically my mom, whom I am very close to. My mother has Type 1 diabetes and she successfully combats that with a very low carb, high fat diet, and she is thriving on it. I told my mom about my feelings and how I was struggling. She gave me this book called The Keto Diet by Leanne Vogel. I was pretty apprehensive, but I started reading and was immediately astonished. I always thought the Keto Diet was a fad. It was something you did to lose weight fast, completely unsustainable, and frankly unhealthy. I have spend my entire life focusing on low fat. The idea of a high fat diet sounded crazy to me, and on top of that, as a runner, carbs are thought of as King. I couldn't put the book down. I read the entire night about her story and the way she approaches food. Her story of overly restricting herself and spending her life on a diet reminded me so much of myself. I was intrigued to say the least. I then started to do more research, learning more and more. I got books, watched documentaries, read medical journals; I couldn't get enough (I still can't). I found out that Ketogenic living is a lifestyle about far more then just low carb. Its about eating environmentally friendly grass fed and pasture raised protein, eating local vegetables, organic as much as possible, and avoiding all processed foods. It's about giving your body the fat it craves, and learning to listen to your body, evolving your fat focused diet as necessary. To top it off, as a long distance runner, the idea of getting through a long workout, without needing to refuel sounded pretty amazing. The more I read, the more I believed.
I saw the positive feedback immediately. On the second day, I completely forgot to eat lunch. ME! Forgot a meal! Not skipped a meal because I thought I should or because I didn't have time. No, I forgot to eat lunch because I wasn't hungry, so I wasn't thinking about food. Entirely incredible. I cannot say enough how different and wonderful that was from the two days prior. On top of that, my energy doubled and the fog I so often found myself in, just wasn't there. No up and down emotions or anxiety. I was finally fueling my body with what it needs and wants, and it was thanking me. From that day on I have been living a ketogenic lifestyle and loving it. I want to be clear, this switch WAS NOT and IS NOT about losing weight or getting down to some specific size. It was and is about living in a way that no longer restricts, but rather follows my body's natural preferences, allowing myself to see my fullest potential, but also eating in a way that supports my environment and doesn't destroy it.
I have found that living a Ketogenic lifestyle isn't restrictive. I know...you love bread, but trust me, you go a few weeks with no gluten and start seeing the benefits, it becomes easier to say no. Not to mention, with a little planning and some knowhow, you can have bread, muffins, delicious desserts, and honestly the best meals you will ever eat. Fat is delicious, but more then that it is nutritious and satisfying. For the first time in my life, I feel like food doesn't control me and I see a time when I don't have to calorie count or check points. A time when I can listen to my body, give it what it wants, enjoy every morsel, and move on. You see with the Ketogenic lifestyle, I actually feel more free then I ever have.
So why am I telling you about this and putting this out on the blogosphere for all to see?
I spent most of my life feeling like my worth was connected to my size and that my issues with food were mine alone to bear. That I was the weird anomaly, not the trend. I now know that I am not alone. The daily struggle with self esteem and body image is something many of us fight and it is often perpetuated by our relationship with food. I am hoping to instill in all of you that food is not to be feared or resented. It is an amazing thing that can bring real joy. Your body is an awesome creation, and you should fuel it with the best food possible and it should be food that not only makes your body feel great, but your spirit soar with excitement. You deserve it. Living a Ketogenic lifestyle isn't just about what you ingest, but it's about getting the most out of your life, physically and mentally. I am still new to this but I am learning with every day and every meal and I intend to pass along that knowledge. I am going to make mistakes and there are going to be moments that are really hard. My relationship with food and myself is a journey that has a lot more chapters and you can be sure, you are going to hear the honest struggles and success' that occur along the way. I spent too much time feeling alone in my struggle and I want you to know that you aren't alone in yours, so I promise to be transparent giving you honest information and feedback. This blog is about all aspects of my Ketogenic life, running, food (lots of food), travel, relationships, everything, because you can't fix your relationship with yourself without addressing all of you. This blog is about feasting on every moment, living to the fullest, and finding whatever that means for you.
Please comment and let me know of any questions you have. I would love to hear from you about your journey and favorite recipes.
Until next time....happy feasting!
Meet the Everyday Feast Squad
Husband, Chief Food Tester, and constant Comic.
Jeff is a circumstantial foodie. Being forced to taste, with review, all of Tedi's creations, he's become a pretty good cook himself. He's funny and keeps Tedi level and laughing. Jeff is a breakfast cereal connoisseur, lover of all things bacon, and a proud member of Steeler nation.
Secretary of Table Scraps
Rosemary is the cutest, and laziest one of the family, although she is head of security. We are pretty sure she has no idea she is a dog, although she loves long walks, her reindeer toy, and scratches on her belly.