That Time I Lived on Protein Bars

Last summer was one of the most stressful times we've had as a family.  Immediately after Trey was in a bad car wreck which totaled his car, he accepted a new position in Houston. We sold our house in Nashville, packed everything up and drove 12 hours south as we moved to H-town.  Finding a house proved difficult and we ended up living with Trey's parents for 5 months while we searched for the new place to call home. BUT they lived about 2 hours from where Trey was going to be working- in the heart of Houston. Cut to him spending a month living in the city with a kind co-worker in the most bachelor apartment you could possibly imagine. He came home on his days off and spent the work week in his apartment. After that month he decided to drive it. Yeah, the 2 hour commute every day to and from work. (Wide eyed emoji) He did this for the remaining 4 months it took us to find a house.  But being separated wasn't working for us and it seemed the best option. Our belongings were stored at a family member's house and the kids and I stayed with my in-laws.  Let me just say: my in-laws are among the VERY BEST.... like I couldn't dream up two more amazing people. They did everything they could to make the whole experience as easy as possible on all four of us. Trey's work was so kind and accommodating as we transitioned. They allotted him as much flexibility in his schedule as possible.  All in all we were blessed and cared for along the way but never the less it was HARD. 

We spent so many hours driving back and forth (in Houston traffic mind you) viewing houses and neighborhoods. Often to end up disappointed as we didn't know the areas at all or turned away because it sold while we were on our way there. Yes that happened more than once.

It was a lot. I missed my husband. I missed being in a home all four of us together. The kids missed their daddy being there as often. Trey missed all three of us. While we were on the brink of returning to normalcy and snagging a home of our own in great neighborhood; I couldn't see that yet. All I could see was what surrounded me; the houses that fell through, the aftermath of Trey's car accident, the new town I knew nothing about and barely anyone in and the friends/family I missed from afar. 

Stress manifests in so many different ways. Usually different in everyone. In me it brought on some emotional eating and then a 'stress-induced-binge-restrict' cycle. I would want to "get back on track" and eat nothing but protein bars for several days. Literally nothing but just 100 or so calorie protein bars that at best sufficed my sweet tooth temporarily. Then something happy would happen and there would be cake. I would end up binge eating and completely over indulging in an amount of cake that makes my stomach hurt just thinking about it. It sounds ridiculous as I type it out. It's the truth though. 

That's pretty much how I spent last summer. Stressed out. Living on protein bars. Trying to maintain a low weight. Inevitably binging. Then back to restricting and continuing the vicious cycle.

I took what was an enjoyment of healthy eating, added my perfectionistic flare and created a slew of disordered eating habits

 I damaged my digestive system, worsened an already existing hormone issue, and impaired my mental thought process surrounding food. 

 So much energy was spent on controlling the calories I ate. It consumed giant amounts of my mental space. I was anxious around food + parties where there was going to be giant piles of "bad" food. I lost the understanding of what hunger cues felt like. It was exhausting.  

At this point you're probably thinking, "what business does this chick have being anywhere near a wellness website?"  And you're right to an extent. Im amateur in the world of wellness. However, I have pulled myself out of that nasty binge-restrict cycle and found balance and peace beyond the need to be skinny. I love good healthy food but no longer am controlled by the need to be "perfect" in my eating. And that is something worth sharing.

Fast forward through the year and as our life settled down I was able to gain a handle toward having the balance I knew existed. I bounced back and forth a little bit but never to the point I found myself in through the stressful season last summer was. Also, rarely do I eat more than 1 bar of any sort in a week. Real food is so much more satisfying. When you find that satisfaction you no longer feel the urge to dive into a chocolate cake and eat your way out. 

I know others have issues with this. I know the number on the scale can consume you to a point of paralysis. I know there are thoughts that run wild in your head telling you, you need to eat nothing. I also know how wrong those thoughts are. And through the stressful season I had last year I know the freedom and peace that comes after you battle that weird-mental place. If you've been there or are there right now, I hope this encourages you to find balance. Lastly, real food is so good. It will fuel you and heal you. Let it in. 

-xo, Chelsie

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