Food. Oh, the depth of the love-hate relationship I have with food. Like countless other American women, I think I could write a book about my relationship with eating. At this point in my life, I’m at a much healthier place in regards to my attitudes toward food than I’ve ever had before. I look at food as something to be enjoyed, something to nourish my body, and something to share with others.
This is definitely a new thing though! Before this time last year, going all the way back to when I was about 16, I had a really strange and unhealthy relationship with food. I didn’t have an eating disorder, but my attitudes toward eating were pretty messed up. To me, foods were either “good” or “bad.” If I ate “good” foods, there was a possibility that I could lose weight, so I was good. If I ate “bad” foods, I would likely gain weight, so I was bad. I never really paid any attention to the portions of what I ate, and if I wanted to be bad, I was really bad, eating a giant ice cream sundae instead of just a scoop. I rarely felt like being good, and in turn talked down to myself in my head all the time about how awful and fat I was.
I finally got past all that when I worked at a camp last summer. I wanted to lose weight before I got to camp and had been trying for years, so to say it wasn’t a concern of mine at camp would be lying. But the busier I was with friends, campers, and having fun, the less I thought about my weight. The more I ran around because it was fun and ate cereal instead of cinnamon rolls in the morning because that choice made my body feel good. The “good/bad” food dichotomy and the judgment I put on myself in response to it melted away. As did a few pounds!
Not that I always have 100% healthy attitudes or eating habits now. There are days when I still view food as the enemy. BUT I have come A LONG way from the obsession and self-judgment I used to have in regards to food. Now, I listen to my body. For the most part, my body asks for healthy food, and a lot of water. When I eat sweets or junk food, my body asks that the portions are reasonable and not gluttonous. And when it’s someone’s birthday, my body always asks for cake.
I ran across this video this week, and encourage anyone who has either had unhealthy attitudes toward food or knows someone who has to watch it and take its message to heart.