Food… Is it fuel or just a toxic relationship?

Food is the stuff we put into our bodies when we are hungry right? or bored? It’s the stuff we need to keep us alive? or the thing that’s killing us?

I am the first to tell you I have a horrific relationship with food. People think because I’m a good cook and a foodie that I must be really healthy. I’m always faced with the statements like “oh but you are always in the gym!” or “you don’t need to lose weight!”. People are shocked when I tell them I am actually very close to being obese. Yep! So I am on the verge of putting myself at serious risk of diseases like cardiovascular disease (which by the way is the planet’s biggest killer!)

I’ve always had a terrible relationship with food.

I did my phase of starving myself and nowadays I comfort eat. Both equally as bad as each other! (from a nutrition point of view) To get technical about it, the WHO define Nutrition as “the intake of food, considered in relation to the body’s dietary needs”. And I certainly do not need all that shite I push in through my mouth. While on the subject, malnutrition isn’t just little children starving in Africa. Malnutrition is when your body lacks the nutrients it needs. So of course, I’m not comparing myself to a starving child. I’m comparing myself to a control-less glutton. I have the luxury of food from supermarkets and the money to buy it and the knowledge and capability to make fantastic meals with it. But I choose to eat shit. People say it’s a treat, it’s not! A treat is something good, not toxic waste. I am malnourished due to the lack of veg in my diet and the high levels of sugar and chemicals.

What you eat is a choice.

Now we all make stupid decisions sometimes and that’s okay. Acknowledge it, forgive yourself and move on. You learn from your mistakes so mistakes are important to make or you’ll never learn. But LEARN don’t make excuses. I always make excuses. “I will start tomorrow”, “Just this once”, “But I hate salad”, “My jeans still fit so it’s okay”. None of this is okay. Let’s put some perspective on this. The likelihood for a lot of us is that we will live to a grand old age, me especially. If genes are anything to go by ye won’t be seeing the back of me for an awfully long time. This makes it even more important to learn from our mistakes. Let me ask you this, would you rather get to 100 being fit and healthy? or would you rather get to 100 being riddled with a string of illnesses you could have easily prevented? Now do not get me wrong. I love going to dinner and I love drinking alcohol. I also believe it is important to enjoy life and make the most of it because it is short and can be taken from us at any moment. But I do think it’s time we started to be realistic about how we “live life to the full”!  So next you drink a load of Coke and your tummy hurts – learn from it! Think of the long-term effects and if it was really worth it. Sometimes it will be worth it, but most of the time it won’t.

All or Nothing;

Another thing that I think we fail to see as a nation about our relationship with food is how the all or nothing approach DOES NOT WORK! If you go cold turkey when eliminating bad/shit/unhealthy food from your diet, you will drive yourself bat-shit-crazy! Then you will pig out on the many donut establishments dotted across the country. The outcome: Point Defeated! Why? In my own personal opinion, I think it is because people forget that your mind plays a very powerful role in our actions and you need to train it to be stronger. The same way you would train your body to be stronger, you need to train your mind to have greater willpower. It’s not hard, it just takes some time, so be patient. Please don’t go cold turkey and torture yourself because you are setting yourself up for a fall. You don’t deserve that! Slowly cut out the crap bit-by-bit. Then if you decide you need that donut on a Friday after work to keep you on track every week, then accommodate for it, and have it! Enjoy it! You may actually need it, so don’t deprive yourself of it!

You can teach an old dog new tricks;

I do think healthy eating and the fundamentals of nutrition should be taught to children from a young age in school. I only learned about nutrition in my early twenties when I did an online course in it. I thought I had a good understanding about nutrition, until that course. Every webinar scared the absolute shit out of me – no word of a lie! I couldn’t believe what I was doing to myself. Reflecting back on when I was younger scares me the most, the diet I managed to sustain was horrific and I dread the day I will have to face the consequences of that. I wonder now how my parents didn’t do more to keep an eye on what I was eating. But they didn’t know much better and my mom has spent my entire life battling Bi-Polar Depression, so most days she was probably barely able to feed herself. However, had I known then the importance of what you eat, I would have been too scared to eat chocolate muffins every day for lunch and wash them down with a bottle of lucazade. Maybe instead of a quick fix or cutting your calories down so low, you are only inhaling particles in the air, go and educate yourself and change your relationship with food. Because healthy food needs a healthy relationship before it can make a difference to your life.

How I think we can change this relationship;

Be honest with yourself. Did you eat half a pack of biscuits? [this is a Yes or No answer] “Am… well.. I had a few”. Yes or No? Yes, I ate half a pack of biscuits.

Learn from it. Just don’t keep sticking your hand in the fire – you already know it’s hot!

Don’t berate yourself. It’s okay, you cocked up. Now just remember this feeling and ask yourself do you want to always feel like you failed? No, you don’t. So learn from it and forgive yourself and move on.

Be patient! Trust that with some patience and perseverance it will come to you more naturally to make healthier choices.

Educate yourself. In the meantime learn more about food and its nutritional value. What’s good, what’s bad, and what is only okay.

You can’t deny that a bad relationship with food is toxic, and you should never stay in a toxic relationship. Even though you love the look of that toffee popcorn, regular popcorn is yummy too, you’ve just gotten used to things being toxic. But that is all easily changed. Be patient. You owe it to yourself.

DISCLAIMER: I am not a nutritionist, and this blog post is based on my own personal understanding.

For a greater understanding, I have attached some useful links that have helped me learn more about where I am at health and weight wise. They can be found below in the reference section.

1) BMI Calculator

2) Calorie & Macro Calculator

3) MyFitnessPal App

References   [ + ]


One Comment Add yours

  1. Rannveig says:

    Love this! So many great points. “Because healthy food needs a healthy relationship before it can make a difference to your life.” I have always been a fighter for the good relationship with your body. When it comes to diets or exercising I just know that if you start off doing it because you want to treat yourself well and be kind to yourself you get a much better result than if you start off from a place of self loathing or shame.

    Great read!

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