Hi, lovelies! In today’s SELF CARE post. I want to talk about something that’s a little tough for me, my rocky relationship with food. But also what I’m doing to try to fix that relationship. Hopefully, you’ll get some tips if like me you’ve had a rough relationship with food.
Let’s go, shall we…
A little history…
I was born a big baby, like 4kgs big. I had such a chunky body that when I first began to walk my bum was so close to the floor cause my little legs were bowing under my body weight. Growing up my mom and I lived with my grandparents for a while. I was the only grandchild until I was 6 years old and therefore by default the favourite. My grandmother was a great cook and an excellent baker.
Naturally, I got spoilt with all the good stuff. I’m talking about the extra crispy baked potatoes, chunks of freshly baked gingerbread and the best part of the roast lamb. Ironically my grandmother loved making vegetables that a kid would NOT want to eat (do I need to list more than Brussel sprouts?!). My grandparents grew up during World War II and they had learnt no food is bad and nothing goes to waste. Which meant that as a kid I had to finish the food on my plate. And I mean EVERYTHING including the yucky Brussel sprouts. Being creative I ate all the not so nice stuff first and saved the best bits for last. Which is great for learning to finish my food but it also did these two things to my relationship with food:
- I learnt to ignore my “I’m full” signal
- I learnt to eat super fast so I could get to the parts I actually wanted to eat
So from an early age, I learnt to overeat. Which meant that as I got older I struggled to control how I portioned my food. As you can imagine this meant that I have never been a traditionally “slim” body shape. Which gave me loads of self-image issues.
Where to from there…
I have spent years and years trying every single diet imaginable. None of which worked for me in the long term. The next obvious choice was to look for professional help so I visit a dietician.
I was given an eating plan and an exercise plan. Every time I had a follow up with the doctor, I didn’t see any results and was told I need to exercise more. This response didn’t sit well with me because I feel like you shouldn’t have to exercise yourself to the bone to keep your body at a normal weight. I believe it has everything to do with what you put in your body. Unfortunately, because of the focus on exercise vs. nutrition, the program I was given didn’t work for me either and I ended up handing over a lot of money at every visit. It became a very unsustainable relationship and it made me doubt myself more.
Where I am in my journey now…
Eventually, I stopped trying fad diets and tried to be more conscious of what I ate. Doing my own research and cutting out the obvious “bad foods”, like saturated fats, refined sugars and processed carbohydrates. I visited a doctor and discovered that I am allergic to wheat which I cut out too. I saw some slight improvements and I spent more time focusing on loving the body I have.
This process worked for me up until my trip to Naxos last year. Of course, I had a great time on my vacation. However, I was suffering from a case of IBS. When I got home I realised that I had gained 8kg in the space of 2.5 months. Yeah, you read right…8KGS! This coupled with the continuing IBS forced me to once again seek professional help. This time however after some research and by the recommendation of my psychiatrist I visited a gene-based nutritionist.
Basically, a gene-based nutritionist focuses on examining the interaction between your diet and your genes. The concept states that the nutrients in our food alter gene expression or structure, acting differently on different people according to their genetic makeup. So my new way of eating (NOT diet) is solely based on my personal DNA makeup. This is what we discovered from doing my DNA test, my body…
- cannot process caffeine or alcohol correctly
- suffers from oxidative stress and inflammation
- cannot process trauma (whether physical or emotional)
- cannot process smoke or other airborne pollution
- struggles to detoxify itself easily
So what does this all mean for my weight? Well, my body basically coats all the things it cannot process correctly in fat. And the natural tendency towards inflammation doesn’t help either. So I have done a few things to combat these issues, like cutting out alcohol, switching to decaf coffee and increasing the amount of naturally detoxifying foods, like beetroots and green leafy vegetables. And I’m happy to say that I have seen some great results. It’s still going to be a long journey but at last, I feel like I am on a path that I feel is worth it. Now I enjoy my food and feel better about restricting certain foods because I know why I’m cutting them out. And for a change, I am working with my body. And that is the key!
So here are my 5 tips for creating a better relationship with food…
- Ask yourself if the food you are eating is doing your body good or is it doing harm. It’s not about cutting out things because society or a fad diet tells you to. It’s about learning to be honest with yourself about what you are putting in your body. If certain foods make you feel sick, stop eating them. Your body is trying to tell you that you are doing harm.
- Pause halfway through your meal and give yourself time to decide if you are still hungry and need to finish the plate.
- Make your food as interesting and varied as possible but also never feel bad about defaulting to dishes that you love. There is no harm in eating the same thing for breakfast every day as long as what you are making is doing your body good.
- Being in tune with your body is the ultimate key! Take the time to be more kind to yourself. Do your own research and learn to listen to your body.
- If you are still struggling or you feel lost, please visit a professional. There is no shame in asking for help. Sometimes you need a different perspective or moral support.
I hope this post has helped you in some way! And remember that every part of life is a journey and we each have to find our own way. May you find yours!