When you google 30 Day Challenge, the top results that come up relate to fitness and health. 30 Day Challenges typically consist of some sort of fitness that a person must do every day for a month. This could be anything from yoga to getting a six pack to working towards a “beach body.” (Side note: I hate the phrase beach body because everybody has a beach body; all you have to do is take your body to the beach.) Really a 30 Day Challenge could consist of anything, evident by this Ted Talk, but our culture has associated this term with fitness. Although my 30 Day Challenge did not consist of exercise, it was for my own health. Being healthy for me right now is not about fitness, but about getting my mind back to a healthy place be riding it of ED Head.
Because a year ago I was very into the fitness mentality, I challenged this idea that exercising is the ultimate challenge. For me eating fear foods is. Thus, the 30 Day Fear Food Challenge was born. I decided in the month I had before leaving for college I would try and eat 30 fear foods. I didn’t want to stick to my normal foods and then have the transition to college feel like a huge shock. I am still terrified of the moment when I walk into the cafeteria for the first time and am surrounded by the bustling of college students, knowing I must choose what to eat amongst the plethora of options. But, I have hope that by continuing to challenge myself with food at home, I will be able to conquer the challenges presented to me at college.
When this idea came to me I wasn’t really sure if I would be able to do it. I told my parents what I wanted to do and they fully supported me in it. Whether this meant taking me out to buy food or just sitting at home supporting me as I ate, they helped me to be successful. I surpassed my expectations because I actually completed the challenge about a week before leaving for college. It is amazing what you can do when you really commit to something. A year ago I committed to eating “healthy foods,” now I know eating healthy means mentally challenging myself to eat all types of foods, so I can eliminate any fear that they bring me.
Desserts and “junk food” (again these terms are so bad because all food is good food) are some of the fear foods I have left to conquer. Here’s what I accomplished for my 30 Day Fear Food Challenge:
Chips: Doritos (X2), Potato chips, Fritos, Pringles
Asking to go out for something on my own (X2) (I’m bad at this)
Grilled Cheese (X2)
Church coffee hour sweets
Six Flags lunch and dinner (2)
Sugar Factory drinks
So you might be wondering what my point is in telling you all of this? Well my point is that in order to get back to normalized eating I have to continue to challenge myself by eating the foods I fear. These foods I have listed, normal people can eat without a second thought. For me, I still overthink eating them a lot, often times thinking how bad, fat, or inadequate I am. It’s not easy to challenge these thoughts. But by doing so I get closer to normalized eating. Hopefully someday I can eat a donut and not think about all the trauma it has caused me. Or eat ice cream without breaking down in tears beforehand. The hard days get fewer the more I push back against my ED Head rules and mentality. I challenge you to do something that will push yourself. It doesn’t have to be food related and it most certainly doesn’t have to be exercise related, but something that will help you grow as a person. It could be telling yourself every day that I am enough. That is much more important than whether or not you are what our distorted society calls “fit” and “healthy.”