I had a grilled cheese sandwich Sunday night after a four hour nap.

That was after my week of adjusting my mindset about eating and exercising. I stopped eating gluten the next day, not because I have anything against gluten (quite the opposite), but because I like me more than I like gluten.

Food has been one of my coping mechanisms for anxiety, and years of untreated anxiety disorders has translated to years of weight gain without really understanding how to have a healthy relationship with food because I didn’t even have a healthy relationship with myself. My brain craves carbs and fat when I have anxiety. I found it way easier to eat than to stop avoiding.

Until last week.

Last week I decided to lean it, to stop avoiding and to face anxiety head on. I got really honest with myself and with my therapist. And I stopped needing food.

Exercise is much more appealing now. In fact, I skipped the office this morning for a 5 mile walk and talk instead. I’ll go play Pongis later. I can eat whatever I want today, but I am still choosing the foods that are good – no gluten, low sugar, lots of protein and veggies and nuts and no processed food. I’m well below my calorie allowance for the day because I’m eating nutrient-rich versus calorie-rich food, and I’m not even hungry.

Gluten is not necessarily a negative contributor to my mental health, but removing it from my diet makes me more conscious about what I eat – similar to when I stopped eating beef seven years ago. Because I have struggled for many years with food as a coping mechanism, I have done what I could to limit the damage.

Now that I understand why I don’t have a healthy relationship with food (I picked food and work rather than alcohol, cigarettes, etc.) and am willing to lean into the underlying cause, that changes.

It’s a new thing. It’s a good thing.