This post will no doubt be sat in my drafts for weeks possibly months before I decide to share it, and that’s if I ever do. It might not seem like a major thing to talk about, we all eat, we eat multiple times everyday in-fact, so why does the idea of me pressing publish on a post about my relationship with food scare me so much? I guess the fact that it does, shows that it is something that needs to be spoken about, not just my personal eating habits but people’s relationship to food in general. If this blog post simply acts as a way of me emptying my head that will be enough, and it would be a massive bonus if it enabled people to relate and perhaps know they’re not alone if food has ever seemed like a daunting subject to them like it has for me.
As you might know from my blog and social media pages I try to live a balanced life. I would say I eat well 80% of the time and I tend to keep pretty active. I aim to go to the gym a few times a week and try to keep snacking on vegan chocolate to a minimum (most of the time). However I have not always been in the place I am now, and I am by no means in a place yet with food that I feel 100% comfortable with. I’m not going to delve too much into it but from about the age of 14-15 I remember feeling a lot of pressure to look a certain way, and I am almost certain that everyone has felt like this at some time or another, the key thing is how you deal with that pressure and how much you let it affect you. You see perfectly toned abs every few scrolls of Instagram and constant pictures of weight loss progress on Facebook. That’s all great, it’s great that people are proud of their achievements but seeing that stuff day in and day out can make it hard to not think you need to change too.
I’ve done countless diets, diets where you don’t eat carbs, diets where you don’t eat after 1 pm, diets where you only eat 250 calories 3 days a week, diets where you drink 2 litres of water before a single mouthful of food, you get the picture I’ve tried a lot of the diets out there. You only have to type the words ‘how to…’ into google before pages and pages of fast ways to lose weight pop up left right and centre. How to get the perfect abs in 48 hours, how to lose a stone in a week, how to get your summer body in less than a month. The list goes on, but where is the page on how to have a healthy relationship with food, it’s a much tougher search for that information.
For me, something changed when my boyfriend asked me what my goal was. I would have thought the words to come out of my mouth would be; I want to lose a stone, I want to be able to run the half marathon in a few months, I want to not be self-conscious every time someone gets a camera out, but instead I found myself very honestly saying, I want to be able to wake up in the morning and get through a day of eating good, wholesome, filling foods and go to bed at night without feeling guilty. Simple he thought, but for me, guilt-free eating is something that for years I haven’t experienced. You might think I mean if I accidentally eat a full pack of Oreos I might feel a little bad (we’ve all been there), and perhaps that’s where it started. But over the years it got worse, so bad in-fact I would struggle to sit and eat a bowl of salad without being worrying there would be something in it that would make me fat. This turned into an endless cycle of not eating anything and then bingeing and feeling terrible about it, waking up panicking about food and going to sleep either starving or guilty. Something had to change.
I knew it wouldn’t be easy to change this relationship I had going with food and I won’t lie to you now and say that I have the perfect diet and I never feel bad after certain foods. The truth is I’m not sure anyone has the perfect relationship with eating, and it’s almost become the norm to not. Food had such a massive hold over me everyday, and impacted so many of the decisions I made. From whether or not I would go out for lunch with friends or if I should buy a top I wanted even though the size on the label was a number higher than I wanted it to be. I have beaten myself up more times than I wish to admit about and all because of what? I think I might be happier if my clothing label says XS, I might be liked more if I have abs? The only thing that really matters at the end of the day is if you’re healthy and happy, and by healthy I don’t just mean you can run around the block without being out of breath, I mean mentally. Mental happiness is something that is looked over so much and is something I am really passionate about. I’m no expert, but I don’t think that matters, people need to feel able to talk about mental wellness and not feel it’s ‘cheesy’ or ‘weird’ to talk about how they are feeling mentally as well as physically.
It is important to me that among all the beauty, style and vegan posts I write on here there was also a personal, honest and open chat. It may seem like everyone else has this perfect balanced life of keeping fit and looking great, that’s not always the case. If you’re feeling daunted by pressure to look a certain way or fit into a certain size you’re not alone, and although its not easy focusing on developing a love for looking after your body is a million times more important than a number on the scales.
Next time you get annoyed at yourself for eating a packet of crisps or for having an extra helping of dinner, please just remember that you’re doing more damage than good by punishing yourself. The one thing that I try and remind myself on a daily basis is to listen to your body, bodies are bloody clever things and they know when and what they need. If you had asked me a few months ago if I eat intuitively the answer would have been a big, fat, no. I didn’t know how to. I was so use to ignoring hunger, I thought being starving was a positive feeling, and being full meant I would be instantly gaining weight. I was so out of sync with knowing what my body actually needed and the more I let this go on the more ingrained it became. I had conditioned myself to feel guilty over food and I was sure there was no way back from the years of damage. Slowly over the last few months I have really tried to hold back on the mean things I say to myself and the ways I punish myself around food. It is still a conscious effort everyday, but by listening to my body I have managed to slowly undo the years of damage I had done to my battered relationship with food and reform a positive outlook on eating. I can fuel my body with the nutriants it needs in order to live a active and healthy lifestyle somewhat guilt free and for me that is such a difference. There is always room for improvement but for now I am bloody proud of the changes I’ve made.
Please let me know in the comments if these sorts of post are interesting at all and if you would like me to maybe do more like it? Thank you so much for reading.