My Relationship With Food
Since posting small amounts about this over on Instagram I've had a few requests to talk about it in more depth - my relationship with food.
For as long as I can remember I've had a crazy amount of either really positive or really negative emotions around food. In fact I'm rarely anywhere in between.
Only a short while ago (about a year) I used to freak out and feel sick whenever I saw loads of food at once or sometimes any amount of food that was more than one portion's worth. The little voice in my head would tell me things like
'There's nothing here you can eat, everything is full of calories'
'All of the options you have right now will make you fat so you shouldn't eat any of it, at all'
and 'you'll feel awful after eating this'.
This was definitely not a good way to think about food. I'd eventually get hungry and give in but feel so much more comfortable about eating that I'd eat way too much, to the point where I'd feel so full that I felt sick (and trust me, I swear I never used to know what it felt like to be full up until I got to that point, hence why I just kept eating).
I felt awful about my body shape and size, I knew I had a bad relationship with food and I had absolutely zero clue about how on earth to overcome it. The only 'solutions' my brain would come up with were 'starve yourself', 'only have one meal a day', 'cut out carbs', 'try a new diet' or 'go on a 10 mile walk every day'.
These were (and still are) very unhealthy, would only worsen my mental health, would deprive me of the vitamins my body needs to function and get me nowhere.
I used to spend so long picking out my imperfections, bullying myself, comparing myself to others, crying about how much I hated myself until I had a headache; the list goes on. There are SO many other people out there who still struggle with this or something similar, and that is why I'd like to share with you all how I managed to slowly (very slowly) turn my life around a little.
So fast forward a year....
...and things are looking slightly different! It's very rare nowadays that I think I need to starve myself or drastically limit my intake of food. I love the variety of things I can make and I have a huge interest in what different foods do for your body. I'm learning to listen to my body, feed it when it needs some fuel, care for it every day, and completely let out any emotions that I'm feeling.
This does not mean that I'm happy 100% of the time or that I have no problems with food anymore - I still occasionally eat too much and I still have the odd breakdown here and there, but the point is that I am so much better than I used to be.
So here is a list of positive thoughts and things to do that have helped me get to this stage - let me know if you try any out and if they help you too.
Tell yourself that you're beautiful, every single day. Some days you'll realise that you are and others you won't and that is normal and completely okay.
If you feel like you've eaten too much, tell yourself calmly that everything will be okay tomorrow and you'll just get back up and try again.
Know that there is a big difference between eating too much and just feeling full.
Listen to your body while you eat. Are you still hungry? Do you need more? Our bodies need more food on some days and less on others - this is completely normal, so just listen to it and give it what it needs.
I found that going on a short walk helped if after a while of feeling down I was still getting nowhere - this is both for food related stuff and anything else that stressed me out!
Focus on de-stressing about anything else that's giving you negativity (and get rid of it where possible) - I used to stress eat, i.e. eat a lot to 'cope' with stress, which of course often made me feel awful. So focus on the core problem first if you can.
Compliment yourself often.
Nurture your spirituality.
Learn to notice when you're comparing yourself to others.
Learn to notice when a photo of someone on social media is posed or edited.
Do something for self-care every day.
Surround yourself with positive people where you can.
When you look at food you're about to eat, override the negative thoughts with positive ones such as 'this will fuel my body', 'I will listen to my body and stop when I feel full or eat some more if I'm still hungry', 'this has all sorts of vitamins in it that are good for me' and 'be thankful for this food as you eat it'. Or anything that will counteract whatever negative thoughts you have! The important bit is to listen to what your body needs, and know that this takes practice.
I hope some or all of these help you as they helped me. And as I said earlier, I'm not quite there yet. It's a long process but it's completely worth it. I think I may actually write another blog post that's a list of positive thoughts, things to be grateful for or my affirmations, to give you all a small example of what I do. Let me know if that's something you'd be up for reading! (Or actually watching - I'm also considering starting up a YouTube channel?).
Thank you so much for reading, don't forget to smile, look after yourselves today and tomorrow and every day after that, and remember that we all have low points so that the highs can exist.
Love, Ally x