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I have written about my body image before, but this time I want to focus on my relationship with food. I posted this on Instagram just after a family holiday, recently…
I decided that when we got home from our holiday, I would use the momentum created while we were away to improve my relationship with food. I had realised not long before we went away that I was using it as self harm. I mean, OOF. I know, right?
I know Instagram influencer types will call food with a bit of sugar or salt in it poison or liken it to self harm (don’t get me started), but that’s not what I mean.
I was addicted to using it to punish myself, the whole time thinking that I was comforting or rewarding myself. I know it started out that way (the comfort thing), but at some point during 2020, without me realising it, I crossed the line.
I went from, ooh, I feel crappy so I’ll bring myself joy by eating yummy ‘sometimes’ foods a bit more often than sometimes to I’m having a shit day – fuck it. Let’s feel worse.
I wasn’t enjoying it anymore.
I’ve put on a lot of weight in 2020 and I’ve come to terms with my appearance (although I obviously want to work on my health). I’ve made a conscious choice to love myself, without tying that love in with how I look or what I weigh. But mentally, I know I have work to do too. I’ve been really hard on myself about something from my past lately and I realise now that the two things are linked. I don’t want to carry that anymore (physically or emotionally).
Going away was a really good circuit breaker for me. My life revolved around friendship, social interaction, physical activities, and quality family time for a couple of weeks. This meant that food was not my focus. I did not have access to any and all food I wanted at any time. Meals during the day were when we could grab them (in a small town where choices are limited) in between having an amazing time with friends. Meals at night had to be quick, easy to cook on a camp stove or baby WeberQ and good for the kids. There were treats, of course, but it was not about soothing my soul or abusing my body anymore. There was joy and positive intention.
I knew that coming home, I would need to continue this mentality. Enjoy food without deprivation (for positive reasons), but also realise that I had been depriving myself of much more in life by constantly eating foods that made me feel gross (bloated and tired and flat). I was eating stuff out of habit, not because I was enjoying it. I felt bad about myself and the food made me feel worse.
I am working hard on not letting food rule me as much. I can enjoy food but not abuse myself with it. I’m not dieting. I’m not doing anything radical. I’m just asking myself before I eat: Am I actually hungry? What are my reasons for wanting this food right now?
I am checking in with myself and making sure I’m not hurting myself with food anymore. I’m trying to be more compassionate with myself. If I was somebody else, would I be this mean? Nope. I wouldn’t.
I am trying to start moving more. I’ve re-started a program called C25K (it’s an app), where you learn to go from the couch to running 5km over a few weeks. The first session made me feel so good. I had a sense of accomplishment and I worked muscles that made me stand taller and stronger, even after just half an hour. I was a ‘good’ tired afterwards, and not the shitty type of tired I was when I was eating for the wrong reasons.
I don’t know where this will take me physically (weight and appearance wise), but I don’t think that’s the point. I just want to treat myself better. I deserve my own respect.
I may joke about eating my feelings, but hasn’t really been that funny for me lately.
It’s time to make changes and I am glad I have made this breakthrough. I hope my habits will become healthier mentally, emotionally and physically in the long term.
What is your relationship with food like?