Hi hello! I’m not sure I can put into words how happy I am to be back with a cup of real, non hotel coffee in my hand writing this post. I love my weekends away or week away at camp with the YMCA so much but I’m always super happy to get back to my normal routine. Just a creature of habit, I guess. If you have been reading for a while you know I work closely with the Y and this weekend I was an advisor for a youth development program called Youth and Government. I did the program as a teen and it helped shape me into a confident public speaker and strengthen my knowledge of our government while also giving me some really solid friends and life experiences. This conference holds about 3,500 teens from all across California and their advisors who volunteer their time to make sure they are safe, happy, and in the right place. I love spending time with my kids because they teach me a lot and make me laugh so hard because they are just weird and awesome. I’m confident that I know some of the coolest teens in California.
(We left the Y at 7 am Saturday morning and had brunch at Chipotle around 10:30 in Tulare, California- lol- new experiences for everyone with this new brunch spot!)
So anyways, lets see the weird food I ate this weekend, shall we? The thing about these conferences is that the food service company has to feed 4,000 people. That’s a lot of frekaing people. So yes, the food is questionable but as an intuitive eater I look at the situation like this.
I’m here, this food is free, I’m not being paid to be here, it’s a balanced plate, and I’m hungry and I don’t really have any other choices (we can’t drive anywhere and outside the food trucks are expensive and have 50 kids in line). The food fills me up and I move on. No emotions attached so I can just be the best advisor I can be. When we start to look at the food situation as something to pout about or try to change we only make life harder and life is already hard enough so I choose to set that example for my kids in hopes that they might see a dietitian-to-be eating weird lasagna and ice cream and see that contrary to popular belief, I don’t believe in or spread diet culture. My kids know what I do for the most part but they only know that I have a food blog and some know I’m in school for this stuff. I get at least 10 questions a day like this.
(I ate dinner in the hotel room dealing with some advisor duties- a friend brought me a plate of questionable chicken teriyaki and extra veggies from the dining hall- by this point I was so hungry I would have eaten anything)
“Hey Connie!!! Is ______ ok to eat? Like, is it bad?” and they are always surprised when I say, there’s no such thing as bad food! We have a conversation and move on. I hope I am at least putting some new ideas in their head. It makes my heart sink to hear so much diet talk in young teenagers because I only know it will get worse with time if we don’t nip it in the butt or put some new ideas into their heads soon.
(Welcome to breakfast Sunday (and Monday) plain oatmeal with brown sugar + a banana and an egg. I bring PB packets and chia with me because I know if I don’t have fat in my breakfast I’ll be hungry in like an hour)
(The most questionable meal, a burrito bowl? Whatever- it did the job + I ate an apple and a perfect bar about an hour or 2 later)
(Lasagna was for dinner- this entire plate was consumed because 1. I was hangry and 2. We had the dance later that night and it’s my favorite part of the weekend. I have to be full for that because it’s basically bikram dancing in there for an hour with all those kids- also, advisors have more fun, just sayin)
(An advisor friend and I shared some Rita’s Custard after dinner from a food truck because we thought that sounded good!)
(Post dance my super sweaty self ate a Double Tree cookie and was very content with life)
In working with these kids I get more and more passionate about working with this age group as a dietitian. I don’t know how and in what capacity I see that happening quite yet but I know I want to invite them into my future practice or run weekly IE/HAES classes through the Y. I just know they are so malleable at this age and can become stuck in diet culture if someone doesn’t inspire them otherwise. High schoolers have so much to offer to this world and I love being able to see that in them. They are each unique, smart, driven, and will contribute to this world meaningfully.
(Breakfast was the same oatmeal, we had sessions into the morning, and left around lunch time only to get back to Tulare where about 2,000 other kids were waiting in lines for food. We found the shortest line at Del Taco, I ordered a chicken quesadilla with pico and it was decent + some fries! I also had about 1/2 of a mini chocolate shake because I needed something sweet- wouldn’t recommend the shake but it did the job)
All through the weekend I snacked on apples, some granola bars, and some beef jerky. I only brought stuff to get me from meal to meal and it worked out really well. I used to freak out about loss of control on weekends like this when I was still eating in a very disordered manner because it meant that unfamiliar food was going into my system and now I could care less. It took me a lot of personal intuitive eating work to get here but I can confidently say it has been a joy to be on this path to normal eating.
I choose to immerse myself in spaces like the Y because they are other interesting things in this world to me besides food and nutrition and fitness and body image and social media. I think so often we get caught up, especially on instagram, thinking that nutrition and fitness needs to be the number one thing on our minds. Heck, society makes us think we are crazy if our next diet isn’t already on our minds! I disagree. I think if we only think about nutrition and ourselves we are missing out on SO MUCH OF LIFE. Focusing on other people is one of the ways I overcame my disordered eating. Hobbies work wonders my friends!
Hope you had a wonderful weekend and a happy MLK day, what a cool man he was.