Welcome to week 2 of the real talk series! Last week, I wrote candidly about my relationship and behaviour with food during my childhood and adolescence. If you missed it and would like to read it, you can find it here. Today I want to talk about finding a balanced relationship between food and my body.
The fatigue of constant dieting and finding freedom to eat what I want.
I can’t remember exactly when my attitude started to improve towards food and my body. Around 18 years old, I went quite a while without going on the scales and I managed to find a balance between food and exercise. I was probably tired after a decade of fighting against my body and fighting against food. I remember being happy.
When I started university, the responsibility of being in control of buying and eating what I wanted, when I wanted, was quite overwhelming. I would eat healthy, normal meals, but I would eat an extra bowl of cereal or toast before bed and I was drinking heavy amounts of alcohol every week. When hungover, I would eat chips to soak up the leftover booze and console myself with packets of biscuits and bars of chocolate. I was finally free and unrestricted and I was making the most of it. By the end of first year, I had gained almost a stone of weight and at the beginning of second year, I bought into the teatox craze at the time, BooTea and quickly fell back into the diet culture that I had almost escaped.
Finding sustainable change
The sustainable change that has stayed with me for at least two years now, came when I started my relationship with James. It was also helped by a module I did in final year about eating disorders and when my housemate, Lydia, introduced me to @bodyposipanda. James taught me to appreciate more than just my body. He encouraged me to be more confident with my approach to my intelligence and my personality, to love myself for more than my appearance. He tells me I’m beautiful, but he tells me I’m clever more. And it was when I stopped thinking so much about my appearance, that I let go of my constant need to monitor myself and I began to love my body unconditionally.
The module in final year also taught me about the Set Point Theory which basically means your body is programmed to stay within a certain weight so having a weight target is pretty pointless. Have a read of the link for Set Point Theory – it helped me stop weighing myself and to stop caring about the number on the scales. Bodyposipanda is fantastic for exposing the manipulation behind diet culture and her positivity towards herself and life is so empowering, you can’t help but feel good about yourself.
What to expect next week:
I hope you’ve found some validation or empowerment from this week’s real talk about finding a balanced relationship with food and body. In next week’s edition of the real talk series, I’m going to be talking about the little things I do to maintain this healthy balance as well getting real about the challenges I still face.
If you’re struggling with your relationship with food, contact BEAT Eating Disorders service for support.