I’ve always been a massive foodie. I’ve grown up surrounded by food, literally.
My parents always used to cook for us growing up, and meals out at restaurants weren’t saved for just special occasions, but more a fortnightly occurrence as a chance for us to spend time together. I love food. I’ve never crash dieted. I never grew up hearing my Mum complaining she needed to lose weight. Overall, I’ve had a really positive upbringing body image wise.
However, I’d be lying if I said I’ve never struggled with my relationship with food, as most women have at one point or another. It’s almost impossible not to have some issues around food in our society; the pressures and ideals portrayed on social media, our language of guilt and shame around food (if I hear the phrase ‘cheat meal’ one more time I will face plant my desk), constantly bombarded with marketing and products designed to play on our insecurities.
If you’ve not got your wits about you, it can be easy to get sucked into it all. Particularly around Summer time, where the imminent showcase of extra skin is portrayed as the most important event of the year for a woman and her fitness routine. I’ve come a long way in the past year with my body image. In fact, this time last year I specifically remember a distant relative saying I’d put weight on at a family party, and spiralling into weeks of self loathing and anger towards myself.
Food became something to be tracked, and measured, and controlled.
If you read this post about MyFitnessPal, you’ll know my issues with calorie counting. Even though I’ve deleted the app, I still find myself with this internal calculator some days, using it to determine what food I eat instead of just eating what feels right and stopping when I’m full.
There are always going to be those days, but here are some food philosophies that have really helped me when it comes to having a positive relationship with food;
Nothing is off limits - for me, restricting anything leads to only thinking about that thing and probably binging on it later on. This also means that no foods are classed as ‘good’ or ‘bad’, which means there’s never shame or guilt invited to a meal.
Moderation and listening to your body is key - I have a little bit of what I fancy every day. Whether it’s a bar of chocolate in the afternoon, a spoon of Nutella in my porridge, or a dessert whilst out on a Friday night. This is my way of enjoying all foods, both the ones that are good for my body, the ones that are good for my soul and everything in between.
Focus on portion sizes - Personally, I get very obsessive when it comes to tracking anything. Portion sizes are an easy, visual way to structure a meal to ensure a good balance of macros without having to track, and eliminate over eating without having to count calories.
Positive vibes only - I’m very aware of my language around food. Many of us use self deprecating humour to make ourselves feel better for eating something we have decided is ‘bad’ - "I'm such a pig hahaha!" I cut that shit out long ago, and I highly recommend you do the same. I only say positive things about food now, because I only focus on the way that food serves me in that moment - whether it’s to enjoy socially, fuel my body or please my taste buds! If I have eaten a lot of a particular food, I look at my overall day objectively and make other food choices to create a balance, rather than berate myself or restrict. And when I have gone all out at a social event, or not eaten a vegetable in 48 hours, I am kind to myself and don't let any negative thoughts enter my mind.
What's your relationship with food like? Do you struggle with similar issues? I'd love to hear about your experience!
Love, Kat x