The Secret to a Healthy Relationship With Food
I’ll be the first to admit that if my relationship with food were a Facebook status, it would read, “It’s complicated.”
While I may not be victim of your textbook eating disorder, I have been a disorderly eater for most of my life.
Over the past 10 years, I have binged and purged. I have starved. I have gorged. I have gained 20 pounds and lost 20 pounds. I have tried every fad diet out there. I have Googled, “how to get skinny in 6 days” and "how to lose 10 pounds in 48 hours" in anticipation of some big event (like when I got my first job at a magazine and there was the launch party to attend). I have eaten a cheeseburger with a fork and knife. I have juice-cleansed and tea-toxed and everything I learned in high school math has been applied to my practice of counting calories. I have lied (more than once) about my weight, height and cup size.
So, this isn’t some fluff piece based on evidence I found on the internet. This also isn’t medically or scientifically proven advice (I feel obligated to remind you here, that I’m not a doctor in any way, shape, or form).
This is simply what has worked for me.
This is simply my secret to a healthy relationship with food.
(Except it’s not a secret anymore, because I’m sharing it with you.)
Throw Out The Rulebook
What if I told you everything that anyone’s ever told you about food, and diets, and optimal BMI’s was wrong? You’d probably be like, well that’s a pretty bold statement to make for someone who is not a doctor, right?
Sure, but hear me out.
Everything that anyone’s ever told you about food, and diets, and optimal BMI’s is wrong because it assumes a one-size-fits-all mentality. And anyone who has ever been inside a Brandy Melville knows, one size certainly does NOT fit all.
Think of all the mass-marketed diets and food rules out there: The South Beach Diet, The Atkins Diet, The Paleo Diet, The Mediterranean Diet. Sure, they’re all trendy AF. But they’re also all generalized. None of them are designed or developed specific to you and your unique makeup; none of them are specific to your body.
Let me give you an example. My boyfriend went on a high fat (the good kind), low carb paleo diet. Obviously, because we grocery shop together and eat together and stuff, I assumed his diet. And then I crashed. Hard. While my BF was feeling great, I was feeling run-down, exhausted, lethargic and foggy. I was also craving carbs.
While I can’t tell you what diet (and I don’t mean diet in the “restriction” sense, I mean it in the “habitual” sense) is best for your body, I can tell you it’s time to throw out the rulebook and stop assuming strangers on the internet know your body better than you do.
Quit The Counting
I know it’s nice to be able to flex your math brain every now and then, but please, I beg you, for both our sakes, quit the counting.
Quit counting calories. (Spoiler Alert: They’re not evil, rather, what you need to survive.)
Quit counting hours between your meals. (If you’re hungry, eat.)
Quit counting pounds gained or lost. (Despite everything you’ve been told, numbers bear no significance on our self-worth, our beauty, or who we are in this world.)
Listen To Your Body
It’s such a simple concept, really.
Are you hungry? Eat.
Are you full? Put down the fork.
Are you craving something sweet and salty? Check out my sweet and salty popcorn recipe.
Your body has all the answers. When you drown out all the other noise and tune into your body, listen to your body, and give your body what it wants, amazing things happen.
It’s All About Balance
Restriction is triggering for me. I spent so long banning my favourite foods, telling myself I didn’t deserve bread or chocolate or Annie’s Shell Pasta, that today if someone tells me I shouldn’t have something it only makes me want it more.
Here’s a fun little fact: the moment you stop restricting yourself from “bad foods” is the moment you stop craving them.
And if or when you do crave them, well I say, go for it. Your body is an incredibly resilient vessel that can bounce back from a Five Guys burger, no problem.
Eat To Feel Good
The truth? Most days a big green smoothie, or a hearty salad with chicken, or a steak with a side of carrot fries make me feel good.
But some days, what really makes me feel good is pizza. And, sorry in advance, but I’m not one to deny my bod, or my tastebuds that specific pleasure.
Not sure you can trust a recovering disorderly eater/literista? Don’t just take it from me. These nutritionistas routinely break all the rules when it comes to “healthy eating.”
*Feature image via Sarah Bah Bah