I Should Be Grateful to Have A Relationship with Food

One of my greatest bug bears of this year has been the response (good and bad) to diet culture.

I may not be ending 2019 where I intended to be (a different country to start with!) but I have been on a significant journey of self discovery.

I always intended to have a steady relationship with food and a balanced approach to nutrition, but not for one second did I think I’d end up in a such a funky mindset with food.

It is my fault to a certain extent by being persuaded by some uneducated plonkers on the internet, but I also blame the lack of gratitude the western world has for food.

It is so easy to forget that in some parts of the world they do not have access to food and clean water. Meanwhile we are too busy worrying about having too small a bum and not a flat enough stomach and taking this out on our relationship with the contents of our shopping trolley.

Now I’m not talking about people with eating disorders… that’s a whole different kettle of fish. But I’m talking about the influencers telling us to ditch one type of food and instead spend our money on something else that is fashionable at that very moment in time. Especially when it is driven by their financial gain. Cue #cyonidegate

Yesterday I complied fully with my no snacking/sit at the table rules and for something so simple it was so empowering. I gave myself permission to eat whatever I wanted but it must fall within breakfast, lunch and dinner. If I was too full I could have whatever I’d wanted at the next meal.

It felt like such a grounded day with food. I did not overeat, I felt in control and I felt grateful that I had a fridge full of food to choose from.

I appreciate its only one day but the experience was so much more rewarding that seeing a number drop on the scales. My mind has become so consumed with the thought of foods (and my bank balance has become so empty signing up to every dieting plan there is) that it was nice to have a break.

Today I took the plunge and didn’t weigh out my breakfast. Scary stuff!

I appreciate it might sound a bit whacky to be ‘grateful’, but being introduced to daily gratitude was a life changing thing for me. At the time I was unemployed, looking at returning to live with my parents and it was putting a huge strain on my relationships. Being able to focus on the good in my life at the point stopped me from going under and 12 months later we are back on track.

I won’t let diet culture and social media influence me anymore. I am not against weight loss – I’m on a mission to shave a few inches off myself. But nor will I succumb to the games of diet culture and/or anti diet culture.

So there we have it! I’ll get off my soap box now!

Letting The Food Guilt Go

This is most certainly going to be a process…

This is most certainly going to be a process…

Photo by Moose Photos on Pexels.com

What triggered the need to set up Simple Healthy Living was when my husband Tim said to me ‘our relationships towards food are very different’. Tim isn’t one to comment on such things and it highlighted to me just how borderline possessed I am with diet mentality.

It’s so tempting to attempt to be the ‘perfect’ mindful eater… to have the skills to only eat when I feel gentle hunger and stop when I am satisfied. However, today has been messy and I’m currently working on being okay with that.

It’s become very apparent that my biggest trigger for overeating is guilt. ‘I shouldn’t have had that fifth Miniature Hero… I’ve blown it so I might as well eat the whole tub’. That’s currently the situation that I find myself in.

But you know, perfectionism doesn’t belong on Simple Healthy Living – it makes things complicated. Humans aren’t perfect so why are we pretending to be otherwise?

I think working through the guilt is going to be such an empowering experience for me – when I look back over my time of overeating, it is predominately guilt with the odd bit of boredom thrown in.

So why do I feel guilty? The extra roll of chub that’s going to form? The size 10 clothes feeling like they are fading into the distance? Being the ‘fat’ one in the group?

Weirdly the biggest thing that I’m inherently aware of is my posture?! I feel like the heavier I get, the weaker I become and the slouchier (apparently that’s a word?!) I feel. It’s a bizarre thing to focus on but that’s the reality in this very moment. I do also have a skirt I am DESPERATE to wear, but just not as desperate as I was to get into my wedding dress.

And what foods trigger the guilt? There only seems to be one food… milk chocolate. It’s my biggest vice. I can put down the crisps, the ice cream, the cake and even the sweets. If I buy biscuits I tend to eat the packet in one sitting, but I can easily live without buying them. Chocolate however, holds a power over me that I cannot explain and I have no idea why.

I give myself permission to eat chocolate even when I’m counting calories. Yet the restriction on only 100 or 200 calories is enough to push me over the edge. This isn’t something new.. I have ALWAYS had issues with chocolate. This year I have really noticed a compulsion with even purchasing the chocolate – the process definitely starts at the checkout.

Do I enjoy the taste? Not always. I have been known to devour a packet of Cadbury’s Buttons and not even taste them or think ‘I don’t really want these’, yet I still eat them. Today however, I really enjoyed the taste. Hormone dependent maybe?

I can’t envisage being totally neutral with chocolate – I’ve been in a relationship with it for about 27 years – it’s a tough nut to crack. BUT if I could not feel an overwhelming compulsion to buy it (especially at the petrol station), then I’m definitely onto a winner.

And I’ll tell you something else… acknowledging in this article that I feel guilt when eating chocolate has in itself been an incredible experience. Clearly saying it ‘out loud’ is perhaps just one more small step to having a better relationship with food and a better relationship with myself.