I have struggled with my relationship with food for years, and now I can proudly say that I have finally healed it. Of course there are times when I occasionally feel guilty over eating too much of something, but those moments are now very rare. I’ve dealt with years of an eating disorder and countless experiments with fad diets; I’ve done it all, and I know more than anyone how hard it is to achieve a loving, healthy relationship with food. If there is one thing I’ve learned throughout my journey, it’s this- you have to have a healthy relationship with yourself before you can have a healthy relationship with food.
Since 5th grade, I always remember feeling completely insecure when it came to my body image. I would constantly compare myself to others and want to look like them. I never genuinely looked in the mirror and was happy with what I saw. In high school, this started to really effect my relationship with food, and my health really started to spiral downward. What started as a diet, some meal planning, and a workout regimen became an obsession with food, exercise and body image that never seemed to stop. I started becoming more and more restrictive with food, I kept wanting to lose one extra pound after the other, and my workout routine kept getting more and more intense. For a year or two my whole world seemed to revolve around what I could eat, when I could eat it, how much I had to workout, and counting and restricting the calories I could consume. I didn’t care about how healthy I was or how strong I felt, I was just obsessed with being as skinny as could be. Not only was food my enemy, but I, myself, was my biggest enemy.
Looking back, I am truly amazed at how far I’ve come. Now,I never, ever see food as the enemy. I look forward to each meal and am in love with the way good, nutritious, healthy food makes me feel. I never, ever count calories and am not afraid of healthy fats or healthy foods that are high in calories. I eat a healthy diet most of the time, but I allow myself to indulge 10% of the time and never feel guilty about it. I never workout to “lose weight” or “burn more calories” or “look skinnier”; I workout because I love how it makes me feel and I want to keep getting stronger and healthier. I stopped comparing myself to others and stopped caring about other’s opinions of me. I can finally look in the mirror and say that I love my body and the person staring back at me.
I truly believe that an unhealthy relationship with food starts with an unhealthy relationship with yourself. In my case, for example, I was struggling internally and had a lot of personal issues to deal with, and I used food to escape these issues.The second I started taking the steps to deal with my issues, start healing, and learn to love myself was the second my relationship with food started to heal.
In a society where we are constantly bombarded by images in the media telling us how we should look, how we should behave, and what we need to look like in order to be considered “beautiful”, it really is an amazing accomplishment to be able to look in the mirror and love what you see. It’s also one of the greatest feelings in the world to really get to know yourself, learn to love every part of yourself, and treat yourself with the love and respect you deserve. Everybody, including you, deserves to have a healthy relationship with food and with yourself. Here are the first steps you can take towards improving your relationship with yourself:
- Take thirty minutes each day to do something you love
- Move your body 3 times a week for an hour, and make sure it’s a workout/activity you actually enjoy!
- Meditate for 5 minutes every morning and repeat this mantra “I am enough”
- Spend some time alone each day (even ten minutes if that’s all you have time for) and learn to enjoy your own company
- Eat when you are hungry, stop when you are full
- Learn how to make healthy recipes that you actually enjoy!
- Ditch the diets
- Spend some time in nature each weekend or every other weekend to reconnect
- Surround yourself with people you love and get rid of any toxic relationships
- Stop comparing yourself to others and realize that there is no one in the world as uniquely beautiful as you!
Much love always,