It wasn’t until I did some research that I realised how BIG and BAD unhealthy relationships with food are in our modern day society. Yes we all try and limit ourselves to 1 piece of chocolate and end up inhaling the block only to sit there for the next few hours (yes men…. hours) with so much guilt that you just wish you could reverse time and restrain. We all do it – but at what cost to our bodies? If you have a bad relationship with food… it’s time to break up. Cheesy text, awkward phone call, in person, sleazy twitter or Facebook status announcement… just end it because you will just get hurt even more.
Today on the 9th of July 2015 … I broke up with food. (how ironic that is it also my 2.5 year anniversary with my main man today too.. happy anniversary you sexy bearded man…anyone feeling awkward right now? lets move on… )
So here it is… drum roll … “I am so healthy – that I am unhealthy” … whaaaaaa!!!!!
It first dawned on me that I had a “problem” (god I hate that word) when I became anxious and uneasy at the idea of dining out and socialising because it either meant one of two things; 1) I would be the ONLY one who didn’t have dessert and therefore get judged or 2) I would eat dessert and feel so much guilt and hatred for it so what was the point. It was a loose loose situation. Judgment caused me stress just as much as guilt did. This isn’t an eating disorder – it is disordered eating and it needs to end.
I knew that there would be dessert served one night and I couldn’t stop thinking about it all day. Not in the excited “errrrrmageerrddddd I am going to inhale cake tonight face first hooray” sort of thinking but rather the “I really don’t want to HAVE to eat it that sugar laden mountain of crap – why do we have to have cake tonight“. Catch my gist? Not cool. So the day would most likely start with a killer AM workout at the crack of dawn, in the freezing cold and darkness… not because I was happy and full of life and wanted to bounce out of bed – but because I knew there would be cake tonight and so sleeping that extra hour and not sweating it out was not an option. I was already feeling regret and hatred and I hadn’t even stepped into a 1km radius of the eFFing cake.
It’s awful being in a dysfunctional relationship with food. I would compare it to regrettable hookups with losers in my past, but those flings didn’t last very long. Food and I have been breaking up and making up since childhood. The worst part? Our affair is completely one-sided. A cheeseburger doesn’t know I exist. My feelings for a cheeseburger, however, are complicated. But although I’m a chronic dieter, my eating habits are considered normal. I don’t have a clinical disorder like bulimia or anorexia. I simply want to be thin and healthy.*
Let’s get a little experts insight on the whole thing shall we. “Our obsession with appearance, our fixation on diet and our food- and information-abundant culture have given rise to an epidemic of unhealthy relationships with food,” says Michelle May, MD, author of Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat. “Food has become our focus instead of being the fuel for a full life.”
Firstly if you can relate to any of the above, you are NOT alone. In fact I can guarantee most women go through this on a daily or weekly basis. Aren’t we just wonderful creatures? So how do I know that I am stuck in a sucky relationship with a loser and need to break it off? #dumped Here are some signs and tips to realising you need to change and then some steps to making that change. Sometimes just realising that you need to change can be the biggest thing of all.
#1. you are ruled by rules
If you have ever once said on a Monday morning (what is it about Monday’s and starting fresh?) something along the lines of “I will not eat sugar this WHOLE week” or “no alcohol for a month” then listen up. This is allowing yourself to be ruled by rules. No sugar, less fruit, more protein, drink water, don’t eat crap, exercise every day, get 8 hours of sleep, no gluten, no dairy, no meat…. ahhhhhhh STOP!!! It is time to break the rules (oh you little rebel you) and start slowly … Note; don’t go cold turkey and throw all your diet and health beliefs out the window at once and to those who are vego I am not suggesting the 1kg steak challenge either. Just slowly make a conscious effort to STOP making rules. Life is full of enough rules why would you want to make it more boring!
#2. You feel so much guilt you are practically admitting yourself into rehab or therapy.
So you ate a whole slab of chocolate which says 12 serves? How do you feel? To be honest I would be concerned if you didn’t feel a slight weight of guilt because it probably means you have some diet issues beyond this post. You SHOULD feel guilty about smashing a whole block because lets be honest – we know this isn’t healthy. BUT one or two pieces, hell even rows should not make you feel ashamed or guilty. If you didn’t restrict yourself from chocolate I can guarantee you that you would NOT have any desire at all to smash the whole block in the first place. You always want what you can’t have right? And then when you get a taste of it your body just needs more. Exhibit A! Drop the No chocolate rule from #1 and your ‘guilt’ will naturally decrease. Life is not meant to be lived in guilt.
#3. You will do anything to be thinner
ohhh ohhhh touchy subject. Weight! 92% of women DO NOT like what they see in the mirror and majority just want to be thinner. But again – at what cost? quick fixes, detoxes, fasts, cleanses, fad diets (if you have done the cabbage soup diet raise your hand haha) So you probably already know that NONE of these diets work nor lead to healthy sustainable fat/weight loss. NONE! sorry! But you still find yourself believing it all, buying that detox tea anyway and striving so hard to be thinner. You stare all day long at skinny girls on Instagram and if you have seen them eat a weird fruit/vegetable or supplement, you are straight to the supermarket to find it. Just remember those so called ‘skinny’ girls get paid to take a photo of them drinking a weightloss tea and claim that it is 100% to thank for their body. Wrong! If your main goal is to be skinny then you need to reconsider. Being skinny at an unhealthy cost only means dark rings under your eyes, lifeless hair, scaly skin, gaunt features, yellow eyes, weak bones, NO BOOBS, loss of your period (I have a whole post to come on this soon) moodiness, sleep insomnia…. oh and the list goes on. Hello people have you not picked up on the latest craze at the moment STONG not SKINNY!
#4. You are constantly thinking about food (even when eating food)
Now this is where I put my hand up and say …. ok shoot me I’m guilty. I am the girl who says “hmmm what should we have for breakfast?” whilst eating dinner. At first I found this kind of funny but then I realised that sometimes I would be watching tv but I was actually staring into the empty space thinking what I should top my oats with tomorrow morning? or whether I should have peanut butter or avocado on toast? peanut butter for sure… no avocado…. hmm maybe if I have avocado then I can have peanut butter and dates for morning tea…. STOP!!! There is more to life than thinking about food. Don’t let it rule you. Food should be enjoyed.
#5. you label foods GOOD or BAD and only focus on what you CAN’T eat rather than what you CAN
If you sit there thinking “ok so I can’t eat grains, dairy, sugar or peanut butter…” “that chocolate is BAD, that banana is BAD” and end up getting all anxious about eliminating food groups based on the latest fads and you think there is nothing for you to eat so you either starve (and then binge and break the so called diet until next Monday) or you go back to #4 and just think constantly about all the food you wish you could eat like chocolate. Chocolate is not bad and believe me a bloody banana is NOT bad either. Everything is good for you in moderation just as much as good things are bad for you when consumed out of moderation. If you eat 1kg of kale – you will be sick! That is BAD for you. But how can kale be bad? you ask. When consumed out of moderation. So how can chocolate be good? When consumed IN moderation. Get it ! Life is about finding that happy and healthy balance.
In order to BREAK UP with (your loser of a boyfriend) AKA FOOD issues try following these small little guidelines;
– stop thinking about food (trust me when you are full you do not think about food. so if you are constantly thinking about food – maybe you aren’t eating enough… or you need to quit your job and become a chef)
– sit down when I you eating and ENJOY your food
– if you are craving something – eat it
– indulge in things when your body needs it – your body NEEDS fats and sugars sometimes
– don’t let yourself go hungry
– don’t restrict your diet the day after a ‘indulgent’ night or weekend. just eat normally
– eat nourishing full fat whole foods
– love your body and your flaws
– strive to be strong not skinny
– be kind to yourself
– listen to your body
– step away from the scales
– fuel your body with healthy fats and carbohydrates
– don’t call it a ‘cheat’ meal because you are NOT CHEATING
– delete people on social media who are not helping my case (you know which ones)
– don’t make your screen background a skinny model (trust me – they don’t look like that without photo shop anyway)
Put an end to an unhealthy relationship before it becomes worse. There are plenty of articles and qualified people offering advice on this topic so if you need to see someone about it or seek more information please do.
A disordered approach to eating is a serious matter. Remember you are beautiful inside and out and your health should be your number one focus not your looks. If you are having a shit day – put your hand on your heart. Feel that? you are alive! so live!
* extract from article by Valerie Frankel April 4, 2014