Healing my relationship with food has been one of those exhausting challenges that have just chipped away at me for too long to remember. On the surface, many close to me wouldn’t have known it was an issue; this only made it even more tiresome hiding it. As I strived more and more to create a business as a health coach, personal trainer, and yoga teacher, I realised I was the only thing getting in my way.
I wasn’t implementing the strategies I was teaching my clients, and I certainly wasn’t being a health coach to myself. Feeling the pressures of the ‘perfect body image’ every time I showed up at the gym to see my clients made me realise I needed to heal my own relationship with food.
With the pressure of the ‘perfect body image’ is at an all-time high due to the constant stream of body and food images on social media.
The psychological effect of such pressure can harm our mentality towards food and how we view it, causing negative behaviours, leading to eating disorders. This was the case for me. My own internal beliefs of needing to have the perfect physique to be a good personal trainer, lead to unhealthy habits, ultimately leading me to feel a health coach fraud and not good enough.
It can involve eating too much or too little or becoming obsessed with your weight and body shape.
Although I personally have never got to the point of being ill as a result of eating habits, I’ve definitely been a yoyo dieter with unhealthy habits and obsessed with my weight. I punished myself by trying to out-train lousy food choices, avoided going out for a meal with family or friends in fear of falling off whatever food plan I was following at that time.
And I honestly couldn’t tell you how many times I sat on a Sunday evening vowing it all starts tomorrow, proceeding to eat everything in sight with the once it’s gone its gone mentality! Only to be left with a feeling of self-loathing and disgust. Sound familiar?
For me to feel worthy as a health coach and show up authentically, I wanted to make friends with my body and heal my relationship with food.
This journey, alongside training to be an eating psychology coach, has deepened my understanding of the mindset behind our relationships to food and our bodies and made me even more passionate about helping others heal too.
When I started to understand my emotional connection to food, I was able to get a better handle on why I was overeating or binge eating. Understand what I craved and what was fueling my cravings. Finally beginning to respect my body, make peace with it and have a happy, healthy balanced relationship with my body.
I started to check in more, get present and tune in to my intuition.
Releasing the all or nothing mentality and by not labelling foods, removing the guilt, and owning my choices. By making small changes has created a sustainable way of life and helped me get out of the yoyo, on/off the wagon feel.
I started to ask myself, Is the particular food item I’m about to eat feeding a craving? Dulling an unwanted feeling (which does not work, well maybe for a brief moment to be swiftly followed by enormous bouts of guilt)? Or is it going to nourish me? Is it nutritionally dense, or can I make a better choice?
I’m not going to lie, this was not a quick fix and is an ongoing process, but by reminding myself that dieting doesn’t work, it was time to change my mentality and trust my own body.
I’ve acknowledged there is no perfect way to be, no perfect diet. As the seasons change my taste changes. In the summer, I crave fresh fruit, smoothies, crisp salads, and fish. During the winter months, I love porridge, hearty stews, warming soups, and roasted root vegetables.
Sometimes I can go several days eating the same evening meal because I enjoy it. However, the next week I might have more time to enjoy cooking and experimenting, therefore I eat a different meal every night. The point is, I no longer deprive myself due to a restrictive diet plan.
I eat because I want to nourish my body, not because I’m stressed, upset, tired, or overwhelmed by something. I’ve learned to understand these feelings, take a breath, and deal with them in other ways and not eating them.
I move my body in a way that works for me, and I’ve released the pressure of having to do it all.
If this all sounds easier said than done then dig deep, be brave, and ask for help, there is certainly no shame in admitting you need help. Your future self will thank you.
If this is something you would like to discuss further, please reach out, and message me directly at [email protected] alternatively visit your local GP
www.beateatingdisorders.org.uk who is a UK eating disorder charity.