I’m going to be honest, I’ve been sitting on this post for a little while now. In fact, I took these pictures months ago, but never got around to writing my thoughts down. I don’t know why, really… except that it feels like a constant struggle and that makes it scary to share. Hannah Gale’s post was a huge eye opener, about her relationship with food as well. It made me feel like I wasn’t alone in these things. We’ve both fallen under the power of Ruby Tandoh, who’s book Eat Up has really helped me alter how I think and feel about food. I’m trying really hard to heal that tainted relationship I have… So, it’s time for me to open up and talk about my relationship with food, and my relationship with my body.
I talked briefly about my relationship with food in a post at the start of the year, and I’ve been working to improve it ever since. I love to eat a good meal; in fact, I take a lot of pleasure in cooking and preparing a meal, or indulging in a really amazing night out. Food is a wonderful thing, but somewhere along the line, my relationship with food has become a little bit skewed. Let me explain…
I sometimes use food as a coping mechanism
My weakest moments always happen when I’m feeling low or upset about something. The things I reach for in those moments are perhaps not the best choice. I’ve cried into my ice cream while polishing the whole pint off. I’ve packed away entire packets of biscuits in one sitting. Basically, I use food as a crutch, an emotional cushion to help me cope when I’m feeling crappy. I don’t think there is anything wrong with indulging every once in a while but this is different.
This is 100% about coping with whatever crappy feelings I’m dealing with. I don’t get any real enjoyment out of it.
I binge eat to suppress feelings of self loathing
I had a really crappy time a few months ago when I went to a new fitness class. What I expected was to leave the class feeling great about myself, but in fact, the opposite happened. I was the largest person in the room and the only one who seemed to be struggling; as a result, I grew frustrated and started to cry. The feelings of self loathing crept in and I just couldn’t keep it in. On my way home, I bought a box of those caramel crispy bites from Marks and Spencer’s and inhaled the whole thing.
I started feeling guilt and embarrassment. Embarrassment that I’d failed, embarrassment that I’d allowed myself to binge, embarrassment at my body being the size that it is. I shared a bit of this on Instagram, and so many people messaged me saying they’d felt the same.
My food habits are very much tied to my mental health
I’ve addressed my mental health on the blog before, so it’s certainly no secret. What I struggle with is occasionally feeling low, a bit hopeless and lost. Ever since I did CBT 2 years ago, I’ve been able to keep things relatively balanced. Sometimes though, I’ll have an off few days where I’m just in a funk, and my food habits go out the window. I forget to eat, or I can’t be bothered to get up and make something. I skip meals, and my appetite disappears.
My relationship with food also has an effect on my relationship with my body. When I have those binging moments, or I don’t eat, it becomes a physical thing I can feel as I walk around. The space my body takes up is filled with that negative energy. What helps though, is being able to talk about it. I’ve had so many empowering conversations with people about some of these difficult topics and it serves more than anything as a reminder that I’m not alone.
As I get older, I realize more and more that I can put pressure on myself, to be, I don’t know, perfect somehow. Well, I think it’s time to reevaluate my relationship with food and work out why I behave this way. Reading Eat Up has been eye-opening not just in my relationship with food but how I talk about it. I’m working on framing these thoughts and feelings a more positive, healing light.
It’s certainly a work in progress, but that’s just a part of life. I’m working on being kinder to myself, and making sure that my relationship with food comes from a happier more positive place!