One day toast changed my life.
That was many years ago when I was working as a personal trainer and nutrition and wellness coach.
I’ve spent my days helping people “get healthy” and “eat healthy”, so it’s no surprise that lifestyle changes, eating “healthy”, and being “complete” While constantly preaching about “clean and nutritious” foods, he demonized “processed” foods. Most other people in those worlds do.
In those days, toast was a big taboo. Especially toast with white bread.
This is basically blasphemy in the world of “healthy eating”, and two strikes for this. First, bread has carbs, and what I learned from Atkins in the 90s, it was trying to kill me and make me gain weight. Second, it’s processed. I learned from the world of “clean eating” that processed foods are also trying to kill me and make me fat.
So we weren’t allowed to eat toast for breakfast. Toast was bad. Especially in combination with butter, at least if the protein wasn’t included with it.
And I was standing at the counter this morning buttering two slices of *gasp, shock, horror* white bread toast for breakfast. without protein.
Because, despite vowing that the day would be “back on track,” when I woke up just an hour ago, I didn’t want to eat anything that was on the “plan,” so I decided to start the next day instead. Because I had already decided. I wanted toast instead.
As you know, like many people in the fitness and nutrition world, I preach to my clients about clean, healthy, and balanced eating, and I work hard to follow the rules myself. but also severe bulimia/bulimia.
In fact, within four days of my first “clean eating” attempt, I became a total binge eater.
It got so bad that I was hospitalized for a week, and I often went to bed thinking that I might die from eating too much.
For many years I have lived in the so-called “on-track” versus “off-track” mode. for years.
When I was “on track,” I was meticulously eating “clean” and healthy.
When I was “off track,” I was binge eating and completely out of control when it came to food.
At the toast that morning, I could easily have concluded that I had gone astray.
But at that point, I was in the very early stages of awareness, as I was beginning to work on understanding how my thoughts were affecting my suffering.
And I was standing at the counter listening to my thoughts as I buttered my toast.
They were horribly abusive, critical, and accusatory.
“Is there a loser who eats bread for breakfast? And white bread too. That’s so bad. You’re so messed up. What’s wrong? hmm you worked hard yesterday you should eat some protein god you are an idiot you promised to do well today and you failed again all you do is fail only.”
Voice then began planning trips to the grocery store to binge for the rest of the day. You better eat everything today because when you get back to the track tomorrow you won’t be able to eat anything. ”
The voice made plans for us to gorge ourselves all day, but then everything began to be judged again.
“You should be eating oats, eggs, and six blueberries. That’s a good breakfast. You can never stick to anything. Loser. Why are you broke? You’re going to get fat.” What will people think of you then?”
(Yes, I actually had a meal plan from my coach that included 6 blueberries per meal. This is me with my eyes wide open.)
Then, like magic, something switched in my brain and another voice rushed in like a knight on a white horse and said in a lighter, more compassionate tone: It’s just toast. ”
The first voice stopped midway through and was like… “Wait, what did you just say?”
Voice of the White Knight: “I mean, just a toast. I don’t want oats and eggs this morning. I just want a few slices of toast. Ordinary people sometimes have toast for breakfast. Toast for breakfast.” Why do you assume you’re a terrible person just because you want to eat a few pieces of? That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard.”
In my head it felt like someone had thrown a sane life raft into me.
The first voice was a little startled for a moment, and I had to make sense of the information before I could answer, “Oh my god, that’s right!!”
Immediately, all abusive thoughts vanished. And then, for the rest of the day, all thoughts of binge eating faded away.
I ate two slices of toast and enjoyed myself and went through the day in peace.
A few hours later, it was time for lunch. Realizing I was getting hungry, I realized that not only had I not been thinking about food since breakfast, but I had forgotten that I was going to go grocery shopping before breakfast.
I forgot to eat and drink.
what? ! How did you do that!?
It felt like a miracle. Normally, I was constantly thinking about food and nothing in the world could stop me from binge eating.
So I thought, uhm… can I use this new skill of eating only what I want for lunch? *gasps* Dare?
I asked myself what I wanted and felt like a sandwich.
* Breath again. * But that would be two loaves of bread a day. * Horror. *
The White Knight rolled in and reminded me, “It’s okay to eat whatever you want.”
So I ate a sandwich and enjoyed it.
A few hours later the same thing happened. I realized I was getting hungry, but again, I hadn’t thought about food since lunch.
I don’t remember what I ate for dinner that night, but I ate normal, slept well, and reflected on the fact that I didn’t want to overeat after all.
Almost every day of eating garbage turned into a normal day of eating and enjoying food in peace.
Because I got my strength back.
I shut down the voices in my head that had been programmed by my crazy eating habits and healthy food culture. I reconnected with myself and allowed myself to eat anything without feeling embarrassed or afraid, believing that I was the one who decided what I wanted to eat.
It was the beginning of freedom, peace and sanity.
It was the beginning of healing not only my relationship with food and my body, but also with myself.
It is the beginning of healing and creating truly healthy eating habits, habits that are rooted in love and trust rather than fear and restriction.
Before, I was afraid to buy bread because I didn’t have confidence in it.
“Don’t leave bad food in the house,” right?
Back then, if I had bread at home, I would eat it all in one day.
Now I can’t remember when was the last time I bought a loaf of bread. It’s not because I’m afraid of bread, it’s just because I’m no longer interested in eating it. The last few times I bought bread, it got moldy before I could eat it all and threw it away.
A full recovery obviously took more effort than a day of toasting, but it was definitely a pivotal moment.
Because from that moment on, I stopped feeling fear and trying to control my food intake.
Instead, I practiced connecting with myself, recognizing what I wanted to eat, and more importantly, understanding why I wanted to eat it.
If I am making a choice that I know is not in my best interest, I would ask myself why? Why was I making a self-defeating choice?
One of the biggest reasons I stuck with that pattern with food was because I kept trying to be good.
The fears and restrictions that I learned were necessary to “eat healthy” primarily caused me to binge eat and feel out of control with food.
That’s why, after I decided to enjoy toast for breakfast, I didn’t overeat and didn’t spend the rest of the day thinking about food.
The point here is that I’m not here (anymore) to debate what is the healthiest and best diet for you or anyone else.
Because I know all too well what a fucking show the world of nutritional science is, and I know that our beautiful bodies are natural healers and communicators. They know what they need to feel their best and they know how to communicate those needs to us.
We become so disconnected from them that we cannot hear (or trust) their voices.
And it doesn’t matter if you think you eat perfectly healthy and “clean” some of the time, but are a complete train wreck the rest of the time. When you eventually get “off the track” and start getting “good” again, you start eating everything you can’t eat.
And holding on to fear, shame, self-judgment, and criticism about how you eat is far less healthy than eating a cookie or two when you feel like it.
In fact, it’s incredibly harmful and unhealthy.
Especially when you start allowing yourself cookies, while clarifying why you want them in the first place, you end up naturally caring less about them the way I do about bread. because it will be gone.
The healthiest way to eat for you is the best way to nurture and support not only your unique body, but also your mental and emotional health, and your relationship with yourself, your body and food. No one knows what it is like for you better than you and your own body.
And you can trust and make decisions.
There is no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to “healthy” eating, nor is it rooted in rules and restrictions.
It is rooted in love. trust. And to be wholeheartedly—to be present, connected, curious, and intentional about your choices while being 100% rooted in the knowledge of your own worth as you are.