Finding Peace With Food
Seems like something so simple, right? Well to break it to you it’s not. It has taken me longer than I would have liked to finally love food. It seems silly saying that, I have always loved food but it’s something deeper than that. Being at peace with it, being okay with eating certain foods, not cutting yourself down for eating something. As a female, it’s hard to not think these things. As we grow up we see every advertisement of a size 0 girl wearing nothing and it embeds in our brains that we are supposed to look like that. We then start counting calories, watching everything that we eat, and even cut back on eating meals. Binge eating, purging, missing meals on purpose, starving ourselves; these are all realistic things that happen to us.
For me, my unhealthy habits with food started at a very young age. I don’t like to blame dance for this, since it was such a happy escape for me at times, but this was where it all started. I grew up in a strict ballet studio where you had to look the part if you wanted the part. You had to have long lean limbs, be able to where anything, and look the way they wanted. It even happened when I danced in college, but that is just how the dance world is. I had a member in my family who wasn’t the easiest on me either, always letting me know about the weight I was holding on to. Being told every day about your weight makes you feel worthless. Like nothing you did to change that would never matter. During that time, I did everything I could to “slim” up and it seemed like nothing would ever work. My family member would tell me to keep a food journal and document everything that I would eat, and I did. Only for a short time, and then I got over it, out of pure laziness though not because I knew how toxic it was.
It took more than ten years of this self abuse on my body to realize what I was going. Some days I would really limit myself, barely eating anything. Other days it seemed like I would eat everything in sight, and then find myself sobbing on the floor of my bedroom thinking how disgusting I was. I would then drag myself to the bathroom, and try to purge. Most of the time I would fail and find myself dry heaving between my sobs. Graphic I know, but I’m being real with you. I used to track my macros strictly, scanning everything I would eat making sure that it was to the ap’s “standards.” Whenever I was sad, I wasn’t one to binge, I was one to starve. So with every break up I went through, I wouldn’t eat. If my family member hurt me with words, I wouldn’t eat. When I was going through very stressful times with my current relationship, I didn’t eat. I had to have my sister remind me at times to eat something. There were days when I wouldn’t have time to work out so I would cut back on what I ate to make up for it. There were multiple incidents where I actually fainted because I wasn’t eating. I had actually went unconscious in a public setting because I wasn’t feeding myself. And still with this happening, it didn’t wake me up, I still didn’t realize what I was doing. I was clueless to the damage I was doing to my body. Even being sent to the ER to get stitches on my face wasn’t enough.
All of this is extremely unhealthy and not a way to live. This isn’t how someone should go about their life, limiting themselves to look like someone else. Anorexia and bulimia is a real thing, it’s not made up diagnoses we give ourselves for sympathy. These are real illnesses still happen and probably will never go away because of our society. I can’t even go on my instagram anymore without it being full of girls showing off their amazing bodies. And yeah I’m all for expressing yourself and showing off your hard work, you do you girl, but it makes it hard for someone, like me, to not start thinking unhealthy thoughts. Thoughts like, “why don’t I look like that?” and “What am I doing wrong?” These illnesses all stem from one thing, food. An unhealthy relationship with something that we need to survive.
Only recently have I found a stable peace with food. I’m not perfect and I never strive to be, because it’s unrealistic. I have slip ups where I find myself going back to my old ways, thinking toxic thoughts and finding myself back in that hole. It took me awhile to come to terms with what I was doing, I denied it all the way. I didn’t want to believe in what I was actually doing to myself. At times I was waiting for someone to drag me out of it, but really it is only yourself that can. Sometimes you need that hard smack of reality to realize what you are doing, and sometimes you just realize what you are actually doing.
I’m not writing this post for sympathy, I’m doing it to share my story and what I have learned. To let you know that you everything gets better, and everything will turn around. That food isn’t something to have unhealthy relationship with. You should always be at peace with it, you should always enjoy, even look forward to, every meal that you eat. Food is medicine, and if you deprive your body of that medicine you are doing yourself a disservice. You are taking away something that is truly amazing, something that can actually heal you. Being malnourished is not a pretty look to wear. Find foods that make you happy and eat them. If you love something processed and unhealthy, find ways to make it healthy. Find love for your kitchen, and enjoy every moment you spend in it.
Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable. Express the thoughts you have in your head, share it with someone you care about. Coming from someone who is constantly in their head, it is better to share it. Sit down with a good friend and pour your heart out. Write it down on a journal page, read it out loud and have yourself a good cry. Go to the ocean or a forest and tell your story. Never hold anything in because that is when problems start to happen. You never want to keep anything held up inside, always let it out.
If you struggle with loving food, find it. Don’t take food for granted because we are extremely lucky to have it as easily accessible as it is. Love every meal that you have and be thankful that you are actually able to eat it. Food is something that you should always love, not hate. It should heal you, not hurt you. Love food, and more importantly, love yourself.
I love each and everyone of you and I want to thank you for taking the time to read this. It took a look of courage to express how I have felt, sharing stories that not even my closest friends know. But I want to be real and be honest and let you know that I’m not coming from a background of perfection. That I didn’t have this perfect life, and I still don’t. I want to be the most real with you all, I am never fake and never plan on being. Everything I tell you, every story I share, is not a way to grab attention, it is to share what has happened to me so anyone out there can spare the way I have felt. Like I said I’m not seeking sympathy, I am being real and honest, and I will forever be that way with my audience.
I wish you love and light on this day or night wherever your beautiful soul is.