How To Have A Positive Relationship With Food While Living In Diet Culture
We have all been there, dieting or trying trendy new food/diet trend. Many of us have struggled with our body image and weight. I know I have, the first time I was aware of my weight was when I was 12 years old and my father had pointed out to me that I wasn’t as small as my friends. My first diet pill was when I was 13, I tried this pill that would take the fat out of your food when you ate, but if you ate too much fat you would literally poop out oil, it was an awful thing. That was the last time I tried a diet pill, then year later I went on slim fast during the summer and that was just awful, I think it was worse than the oily poops.
At 14, I decided to stop with the diet pills and shakes, but I still hated my body and I felt fat. I was a bit overweight, I won’t lie but was I unhealthy? No! So from 14-21, I hated my body and my weight kept me from dating and doing a lot of fun things, then when I was 21, I decided to learn how to play tennis and although that was a positive thing, it turned into a bit of an exercise obsession. I would walk 45 minutes to tennis, play tennis for 2 hours, then walk 45 minutes back, and once I got home, I would work out for 45 minutes, so if you do the math, I worked out for about 4 hours and 15 minutes and I did that 4 days a week.
On top of that, I was eating maybe 1000 to 1200 calories day. And I thought 'I was being healthy'. I wasn’t on diet pills or shakes, I was working out and eating well, so in mind, I thought it was completely normal. But that was not normal, I became obsess with calorie counting and what I put in my mouth. I lost about 40 pounds that summer and I will tell you something, I was not happier, and I hated my body even more. Fast forward to 28 and I have gained about 30 pounds back, I am a size 14 but I don’t know how much I weigh and after going through life changing surgery and recovery, I have learned to love myself and my body. I am not thin but I also know that my body is a fucking wonderland and I am grateful for it! So here’s what I have learned.
Eat Well: When it comes to eating, eat what you want. I believe that moderation is key and that can mean going to all you can eat sushi one day and having something super healthy the next day. Obviously eating fast food every day isn’t good, so find your balance and go from there.
Take The Guilt Away: Try to not attach guilt or emotion to food. This was really hard for me. Since I struggled with my weight, I attached lot emotions to food. I loved to binge eat, my dad was always really critical of my weight so I couldn’t eat in front of him and for so long I couldn’t eat in front of others. I felt guilty for eating so I would eat privately and I would binge eat. I ate when I was happy or when I felt guilty and the one thing I learned was every time I ate it was always connected to guilt. Once I hit my twenties, I started to realize this and slowly and patiently began to let it go.
It’s Okay To Be Scared But Be Brave: Being fat scared me, eating scared me, being called fat scared me, and being unwanted because I was fat scared me. Let’s just say my relationship with food was a scary one until I started to change it around. The truth is food is fuel to the body but it was also pleasure. You eat to live and to eat things that bring you joy. So remember that food is not in control of you or your body, you are! Learn to be brave because you will test yourself in terms of your fears, every time you put food in your mouth, your mind might say awful things to you and here’s where you have to say, “I eat to live and bring joy into my life, I refuse to be afraid of something that is meant to be bring me life”. It sounds cheesy but try it!
Seek Help: I will have to say that I never sought real help with my weight issues, I mean a doctor prescribed me a diet pill and my parents were totally aware of it and the shakes and didn’t stop me. But along the way there where voices of reason, I remember I was reading a diet book in grade 7 and my teacher, took the book out of my hand and looked at me and said "you don’t need that, you are perfect as you are", and I wish that my parents had said those things to me. I think if you are struggling with eating or your weight go to a professional and have a chat with them. Seek help and know you are not alone or abnormal. One of the biggest lessons I learned was from a stranger who said when people you know pick on you or criticize you because of your weight, it’s their insecurities that they are putting on you. So, don’t let it affect you or bring you down!
Don’t Compare Yourself: Remember that comparison is the thief of joy! So don’t compare yourself. Don’t compare yourself to your skinner self or to other people. Remember one simple thing, this is a thing I wish I would have been told as child. You are beautiful and what you eat does not and will not define who and what you are!
Hopefully, this blog post helps you! It was a bit difficult sharing my experiences but I thought, no matter how old we get many people might be struggling with this! Let me know your thoughts!
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