If you ask any woman to talk to you about food, you tend to get beautiful answers.
They’ll usually paint you a picture of fond family memories, funny stories at restaurants or hilarious kitchen mishaps. These are the stories about food that bring us happiness. The stories that bring us together – the stories that empower us.
If you ask someone about their relationship with food however, you tend to get a very different answer.
Even the most badass women I know have struggled long and hard with their relationship with food. From diets to binges and all the disordered eating in between, our relationships with food as women tend to be very complicated entities. SO complicated in fact, that we often choose to hide our struggles rather than to share them. It seems easier to tell someone that you burnt the pizza and laughed than to share that you ate the whole thing and felt guilt.
Why? Why is the topic of our relationship with food more taboo than food itself? In my mind, the two go hand in hand.
You cannot find happiness with food until you find it within yourself first.
I struggled with disordered eating for many years as a teenager. Reflecting back on this chapter of my life, I now realize that a huge reason it took so long for me to overcome it was because no one was talking about it. There was no body positivity movement, no social media influencers or celebrities calling out photo-shop, and definitely no one publicly talking about the mental aspects of eating.
Fast forward a few years and life couldn’t be more different. Now, as a Holistic Nutritionist it is my mission to help women have the happiest journey towards health as possible – specifically, much happier than mine was at the beginning. Today, I want to share with you the three pillars that guided me through my journey with food, all the way to the happy place it is now.
LOOK AT YOURSELF WHOLLY
“Whoever told you that the most important part of you was your negative space?” – unknown
This concept changed my life. I have no idea where I read it or when, but it has stuck with me ever since. We are beat over the head with ideals that should matter to us like thigh gaps and flat stomachs.
By holding ourselves to these ideals, we are essentially telling ourselves to be less than we are.
As a teenager, I assumed that being skinny was the same as being healthy. The truth was, the skinnier I became, the more my health deteriorated. I was constantly fatigued, had insane mood swings and my brain function was dwindling (without all those amazing healthy fats we know and love today!)
The truth was that I valued looking skinny on the outside and thought that that reflected what was on the inside.
In Holistic Health, the most important part of healing is finding the root cause – once you find and heal that root cause, most superficial symptoms disappear. When I applied this to my disordered eating, I saw my body in a whole new light:
It’s not about what you look like on the outside. It’s about how you feel on the inside.
Fuelling your body to FEEL its best, changes it to BE its best.
Focusing on my internal body and how I felt freed me from obsessing over my external appearance.
“Eat real food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” – Michael Pollan
No truer words have ever been spoken. The next step to healing was understanding that a calorie is not a calorie…The calories you consume from M&Ms do drastically different things to your body than those from some avocado, carrots or wild salmon.
It’s really as simple as this: fuelling your body with REAL food feels amazing.
Eat because you love yourself, not to punish yourself. Eat foods that make you feel vibrant and energized. Eat foods that work for YOUR individual, magical, incredible body. Remember that everyone is different and that’s amazing. Experiment with what feels good for you and run wild with it.
“When walking, walk. When eating, eat.” – zen proverb.
Mindful eating literally means paying attention while you’re eating. It means bringing awareness to the food you’re consuming and as such, enjoying it more thoroughly. We live in a very distracted world. It is easy to open your phone and scroll beautiful people on Instagram, it is easy to watch Netflix while you eat, the truth is, the world makes it easy to live a very mindless life.
Instead, put your phone down when you eat. Sit down at a table alone. Enjoy each bite – every little chew. Enjoy the way veggies are so crunchy, or that nuts are so nutty, or how olive oil has a slightly bitter taste in the back of your throat. Enjoy every moment of it – really live while you eat.
Not only does this help you listen to your body more easily when it gives signs of fullness, it helps bring enjoyment back to eating. It helps you rediscover the beauty and life that food provide. It helps you stay grounded and grateful.
It helps cultivate happiness around food.
These three pillars allowed me to free myself from the food drama that followed me through the better part of my teens and into my early twenties. Back then, I probably would not have been able to identify these three things as pillars that allowed me to heal. It’s only after 3 years of reflecting on this that I am finally able to see what helped me reach food freedom. I hope at least one of these three ideas stands out to you as something to implement in your journey as well.
If you asked me about my relationship with food back then, I probably would not know what to say.
If you ask me about my relationship with food now, I can barely hold my smile back.