I love food. To me, having a delicious meal can be equivalent to falling in love. It is just SO GOOD! But I didn’t always believe that food was good for me because I was overweight for so long. I believed my relationship with food was one-sided; I loved it, but it made me fat. So I walked around feeling ashamed that I loved something that was making me miserable and unhealthy. As I played out this shame cycle every time I weighed myself, I sunk even lower into my already negligible self-esteem. I thought I would always be fat because I couldn’t turn off my desire to eat. For some reason it didn’t occur to me that food wasn’t the enemy – it was how I was living the rest of my life that was keeping me buried under all that weight.
Does that sound familiar?
When you don’t believe in yourself, it seems almost impossible to emerge from the darkness of your insecurities. Being fat was my security blanket to hide me from the harsh reality that the life I had created for myself wasn’t working; my larger size the baggage I carried like a neon sign broadcasting my unhappiness. I was weary and lost and there it was – food! It tasted so good and made me feel better, smiling, satisfied and alive! Until I stepped on the scale again…then back inside myself I would go to grieve for the person I had lost inside of all the weight. How I blamed food for everything! But the truth was much deeper. This unfulfilling life I had made wasn’t a conscious choice – as most of us know it is very easy to spend time focused on other people and/or a career and the years just PASS. Then, when you have time to come up for air, it is years later and the view is not at all what you had expected. For me, it was trying to attain some form of the American Dream that I discovered was not what I wanted at all, married to a great guy but the wrong guy for me, and having a job that was sucking away my life force for years. I gained weight because I was paralyzed with fear of the unknown, fear of being alone, and fear of more failure. I gained weight because I was misinformed about what eating healthy meant. I gained weight because I did not exercise consistently. I gained weight because I didn’t feel good. I gained weight because I gave up on myself.
Food didn’t make me fat and unhappy.
In fact, food ended up saving my life.
Once I ate real, nutrient dense food to support my lifestyle, I started to lose weight. When I started to lose weight I felt better. When I felt better I wanted to move my body more. When I moved my body more, I started feeling healthier. When I started feeling healthier, I started looking healthier. When I started looking healthier, I started believing that I was healthy. When I started believing I was healthy, I changed every fucking thing that made me unhealthy. Then I threw out the damn scale and started enjoying food again. I still have excess body fat that I’d like to lose, but that fat is no longer a badge of unhappiness. My excess fat is part of me that I no longer need, but I love it anyway. I watch it gradually disappear as I get stronger and fitter, and I say goodbye with love in my heart to a past that I now own and accept. I will never blame food again for my mistakes or poor choices or anything else that it has nothing to do with. Food is nourishment and enjoyment, nothing more. Once I really grasped that, food and I finally found an extremely healthy relationship.
How are you doing in your relationship with food?