Ohhhh, I Want That
In 2016, when I told my sister, Lisa I was going into treatment for anorexia she wasn’t surprised.
“I used to tell mom I thought you might have a problem,” Lisa shared with me,” but she was hesitant to believe it, citing how much food you seemed to eat.”
It is a common myth that people struggling from anorexia don't like food, but in reality it's not about the food. For me, the cancer diagnosis in 2005, combined with the stress in my marriage, and my anxiety reducing exercise regimine, caused me to slowly become more structured and controlled over my diet. A practice that was about to get more extreme, due to a phone call I received in 2009.
“Sherri!” A friend and ex co worker of mine exclaimed when I answered the phone, ”the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN) is starting an online program, I thought you might want to check it out.”
Years earlier Drina had moved from Portland to New Jersey where she had enrolled in the IIN program in New York City. While she was in the program, I listened enviously as she shared her experiences with me. The expert speakers, the multitude of dietary theories, and the creative ways she was learning to use food to boost mood, slow aging, increase energy and, manage weight were fascinating to me. God how I wish I could have access to a program like that I remember thinking.
After ending the call with Drina, I immediately made contact with an IIN admissions counselor to check it out. I was skeptical about the effectiveness of online learning (it was not quite the thing it is now), but by the end of that call, I knew I wanted in. The timing could not have been better as Brennan had started kindergarten which meant both boys were in school all day. Despite the substantial expense, Marc was supportive of my new project. Although the program was structured as a Health Coaching training program, my intent was to do it soley as a personal learning experience. I wanted strategies to apply to my own life in efforts to stay cancer free, boost my energy and to increase my endurance and strength. And being forty-one years old, the anti-aging info was intriguing too.
I jumped in with both feet. I began running early in the morning before the kids got up so I would have uninterrupted time during the day to study. I listened intently to lectures from the likes of Andrew Weil, Geneen Roth, and Dr. Oz. In the evening when I finished reading Green Eggs and Ham and Geronimo Stilton with the boys, I immersed myself in books such as Sugar Shock, the China Study, and In Defense of Food. I absorbed every dietary theory IIN threw my way, Vegetarian/Veganism, the Zone Diet, the 80/20 diet, Macrobiotics, the 5 Elements theory and many more.
The program did not promote any one way of eating and in fact, encouraged a holistic approach, emphasizing that no one diet works for everyone, the key is listening to the body. I couldn’t wait to start experimenting to find what might work best for me.