Building a healthy relationship with food
I love living a healthy lifestyle. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t face challenges in maintaining this lifestyle or that I don’t fall off the wagon on the odd occasion. One of my biggest challenges was, and sometimes still is, having a healthy relationship with food. Before I started trying to live healthily, my relationship with food was beyond toxic. I was addicted to eating rubbish food. It was bad. At one point in my life, I was drinking a minimum of 2-3 cans of coke per day. I also ate takeaway food 3-4 times a week, minimum. I just didn’t care about what I was eating. I ate out of boredom when I was stressed when I was sad. Any excuse really and I was hitting up the chocolate and chips. When I decided to start focusing on my health, the hardest part was trying to deal with the food. I was fine with adding exercise to my daily routine. But coming to terms with what I was eating and how much I was eating was really hard for me. But after some research, and many frustrated google searches, I added in some habits to my life that made it easier to build a healthy relationship with food.
I started by taking the time to focus on what I was eating. Every time I sat down to eat, I made an effort to really focus on my plate. Once I started doing this, I realised what exactly I had been putting into my body. I had never really taken much notice of how much fat, sugar, and carbs I was consuming. I didn’t realised just how much I ate. It really was an eye-opening experience. But I truly believe that it was a necessary experience. Focusing on what I was eating, allowed me to really think about what aspects of my diet I needed to change. I started looking for recipes on how to make healthy alternatives to what I was eating. It also gave me the motivation to do a lot more cooking at home and to stop relying on fast food.
Once I had started getting into a healthier diet, I did really restrict what I could and couldn’t eat. I completely cut out everything that I knew was bad for me. What a mistake! All this did was make me crave those foods. Especially chocolate. I was pretty good at ignoring the cravings until I was stressed, or I didn’t see the progress that I had hoped for. Then I binged. I would eat all the foods that I had been craving. This then made me feel awful. I felt like I was failing. So I decided that I would keep trying the healthier diet, but allow myself the occasional treat. Not necessarily a cheat day, but if I felt like a piece of chocolate, I would have a small piece of chocolate (Not the whole block). This let me fulfill my craving, but not go overboard. And even now, I eat what I crave. I’ve just gotten better at eating proper portions of it.
In saying that, I only ever brought the smallest possible amount of ‘junk’ food. By not having it readily available in the house, I wasn’t as tempted to indulge in it. I brought healthy alternatives to the snacks I would usually eat. Instead of buying a bag of chips, I bought a bag of nuts. Instead of lollies, I brought muesli bars. Making small changes like this made the transition from junk to healthy so much easier. Eventually, I found some recipes for bliss balls and started making batches of those to keep in the fridge for my snacks.
Now, I have a mostly healthy relationship with food. I know it can be better though, so I’m still working on it. Taking these steps made my life a thousand times better and was the biggest part of starting a healthy lifestyle. I had many, many challenges on the way. And I still do but, I’m getting there. I use my pitfalls as motivation to keep going and to keep trying. I really focus on making sure that food doesn’t rule my life but is helping me make the most of my life.