Friends. We need to continue our conversation from last night on Stories. It’s after midnight and my head is racing after my dinner chat about my relationship with food and how many of y’all said that you were in the same boat. I thought I’d dive in a little deeper here and share what’s on my heart.
So. Here we go.
I have had a TUMULTUOUS relationship with food pretty much my whole life. I am, without a doubt, the pickiest eater I know. I acted like every day was a “Treat Yo’self” kind of day. I worked at a bagel shop in high school and at a restaurant as a hostess. Although I had food readily at my fingertips, I’d also stop by Wendy’s or Sonic on my way home for my 4th meal of the day. And I’d hide the evidence from my family, finding a garbage can before going home.
Fast forward to college and it was a rollercoaster of pounds. Coming on (freshman 20 was v real for me) and coming off. The summer between junior and senior year was when I decided to get a “handle on my weight”. This entailed starting to work out, go for walks after class, and watching what I ate. Some weight came off and I thought, okay, let’s keep going. I bought a scale and started weighing myself every day. I went on medication that suppressed my appetite and restricted my calorie count. I also amped up the workouts to two hours a day and go for a walk around my college town. I got down to a size 6. Everyone was telling me how good I looked and I LOVED IT. I’ve always been confident in my own skin, but I was finally being seen (even if I was tired and anxious all the time) and I felt valued. How disheartening for me. That I put so much of my worth behind what my body looked like in the mirror.
I kept this up for almost two years and ended up not being able to sleep for days on end. This was also in part to being in grad school and the pressure I put on myself (but that’s another story for another day). My anxiety got so bad that I had to go on anti-anxiety meds, and although I looked like I was an “average” size and weight, I wasn’t nourishing my body. I was depriving it. I had developed poor eating behaviors by being so restrictive.
At this point, and many years later, the pendulum has swung far the other way. And honestly I feel damned if I do and damned if I don’t. I’ve been feeding my body junk because it was easy and convenient. I comfort myself by eating. Happy, sad, stressed. Whatever. I have to be better to me. I set an intention this year of making better decisions for my bank account and my body. Making dinner at home Monday through Thursday and it’s been going well. I’m trying some new things and it’s become pretty fun. I still love Whataburger and will probably treat myself this weekend. And you know what? That’s a-okay!
What’s the point in me sharing this? Well, here’s what I’ve learned. What we eat and how we treat ourselves cannot be an all or nothing mentality. The shame and guilt I felt at 21, when I broke my resolution to eat under 600 calories a day, was overwhelming and I am strong enough to not let myself go there again. I’m more mature now and see how there can be better decisions made to serve me more; more balance to be achieved, and more overall wellness to be had.