It is no secret from the posts that I have made about Body Dysmorphia and fad dieting that my relationship, like so many’s relationship, with food is a complicated one.
We live in a world where we are constantly bombarded with messages about food and how we should look. What is the next diet we should be on? How should our bodies look. Want to lose that tummy? Of course you do! Who wouldn’t!? Well I wouldn’t. Not anymore anyway. There are moment of course where I put on a bathing suit and hate the way my body looks before I have to remind myself that I love my body.
As I set out on this nutrition course that I am going on and look into yet another different way to look at food, I want to take a moment to reflect on some of the lessons I have learned over the past two years about how I deal with my relationship with food so that I do not fall back into old habits and, for lack of a better term, my past dysfunctional relationship with food.
- My Body Is Mine: And no matter what people say about it, I am really the only one that matters. Everyone is going to have their own ideas about what you and your body should be but the only one that matters is you.
- Get Rid of the Word Diet: Diets as we understand them, are not a badge of honor. Restricting yourself will cause guilt and lead to my bad behaviors. Eat when you’re hungry (Know the difference in between hungry and bored) and stop when you’re full. Thats all the diet that you need.
- Control isn’t always your friend: I have a super type A personality. I like my bullet journal, I love my training plans, and I actually enjoy organizing. But planning my meals isn’t always my friend. When I get into it too deep, I tend to exasterbate my dysfunctional eating. I can plan everything else, but this is one thing that I can’t feed into (Pun intended).
- Self Care Is On Going: There are going to be days where you feel great about yourself and there are days where you are going to have to stop, take a deep breath and remember to speak kindly to yourself. It is a struggle on some days. This on going process sometimes feels like it’s never going to end. Take it day by day.
- There is nothing wrong with enjoying food: Food is not just about nourishing yourself. You are allowed and supposed to enjoy it. Its a way to show people who you are, to share tradition and customs. It is not something that is there to hide or to binge eat because you are afraid of what people will say. Give yourself permission to enjoy your food.
- You Don’t Have to Make Up for Eating Food: Surprise…working out to make up for what you ate is a form of Bulimia. Maybe more people knew this but I certainly didn’t until I applied to make some extra money in a college study. This is something that I have consciously and unconsciously been doing for years.
- Not every women feels uncomfortable in their own skin: Nor is it a shameful thing to feel confident in my body. I don’t know where this idea came from but when my 60 year old mother told me that before a date it really just stabbed me in the heart and I realized that I was raised to not feel good about myself and that if I did, it was vein. It was never said aloud but it was just…known.
- Don’t Let Food Interfere with Your Daily Life: My planning and my rigidness in my eating habits often were so restrictive that I would find excuses not to go out with friends, not to go to parties, miss social engagements I had made because I ‘needed’ to go to the gym. Its one thing to follow your training plan or trying to not eat too much sugar. It’s a completely different thing to let it interfere with your daily life.
- I Don’t Need to Defend What I Eat or Why I’m Eating It: Once I started paying attention to how often I was doing this, I was shocked. Mostly because most people don’t give a damn what I’m eating. I wasn’t defending it to them; I was defending it to myself. It made me look unconfident and like I thought that there was something wrong with me when no one else was thinking about that at all.
- Set Boundaries: Like wise, with the people that do talk about what I eat or how much I eat, I had to learn how to set boundaries. I’m still working on this with some people. Setting boundaries about talking out weight, diet and everything else sounds easy but you cant control what other people talk about. Still letting them know that you have issues with these kinds of conversations puts the ball in their court.
The over arching theme is that Food Is Not the Enemy. I love food but for a long time I fought it and fought my body. I thought that if I wasn’t dieting and wasn’t trying to change my body, then I wasn’t good enough. I can want to improve without hating myself, food or wanting to completely change it.