Fitness, Food, Health and Wellness, Inspiration, lifestyle, Mental Health, motivation, Uncategorized

My Relationship With Food

Like most relationships, it is a ridiculously complicated one. Well, it used to be. I saw that a few weeks ago it was National Eating Disorder Week and I went back and forth about posting something about my own experience with the subject. I am not sure exactly why I waivered, other than it is a really sensitive subject for a lot of people, myself included. In sitting here today thinking about what I wanted my next post to be about though, I came back to this topic. I want to be as open, honest, and transparent on here with you all as I possibly can be and my relationship with food is definitely part of my story.

Before I begin, I want to be upfront about the fact that I will be talking about my struggles with eating in the following post so if that is a trigger for anyone this might be a good time to jump off this particular post! I also want to be upfront about the fact I was never diagnosed with an eating disorder, nor have I ever sought treatment for one. This is just my story that I thought I would share in case someone out there can relate and might find some hope that things can get better as they have for me!

Back when I was in my mid-twenties, I was, as they say, trying to find myself. I had graduated college, was working a super boring but steady 9-5 job, was in a relationship of 5 years that I knew I wanted out of, and was waking up each morning feeling more and more out of control of my own life. I felt stuck. I knew the life I was living wasn’t the life I wanted but I wasn’t sure exactly what I did want or how to go about getting there without disappointing people, letting people down, or taking big risks that I wasn’t sure would pay off. 

Not knowing the next move to make, I stood still. I convinced myself I was being ridiculous because after all, I was checking all the boxes of what a responsible adult’s life should look like. But man, was I unhappy. Feeling like I couldn’t control the larger things in my life, I turned to “over” controlling the smaller things. It started with joining the gym. Innocent enough. I hired a personal trainer. Ok, not unusual. Then I started going to the gym two times a day, seven days a week. Problem loading.

I started waking up each morning thinking about when I was going to be getting to the gym. I beat myself up if I missed one workout. And of course, at the gym, I was primarily doing nothing but cardio. My only goal was of course to be as skinny as physically possible. I don’t think the word healthy was even in my vocabulary at the time, just skinny. I even fired my trainer because he kept trying to drag me into the weight section and I wanted nothing to do with it for the fear of getting “bulky”. Oh man, how misguided was I?!   

Naturally, this obsession with working out and being skinny quickly spilled over into what I was eating. No matter that I was working out several hours a day, just about every day of the week, I began to restrict my calories like a crazy person. Back then I would have told you it was all part of my quest for the “perfect” size zero body, but in reality, it was me trying so desperately to be in control of something in my life that I was willing my make myself sick to do it.  

My daily meal plan consisted of something like a handful of plain cheerios for breakfast, fat-free saltine crackers with a dollop of French’s Yellow Mustard and a stick of fat-free processed cheese product for lunch, and usually an energy drink and protein bar for dinner. Sometimes I would allow myself some plain chicken breast and on really special occasions some fat-free fro-yo for dessert.  

What is even crazier, I never bought anything at the store that had over 3 grams of fat per serving in it. I didn’t pay attention to the sugar or calorie count or if there was any nutrition in these products whatsoever. As long as the total fat number came in under 3 grams it was good to go in my book. I know, I know. Utterly ridiculous and so beyond unhealthy. I am literally sitting here cringing that I am even telling you guys that.

But hey, I got myself down to about 90 lbs or so which was all I really cared about. Now I am about 5’4 which means at 90 lbs I was probably about 20 lbs underweight. I was skin and bones. I thought at the time I looked amazing. In reality, I looked sick. I looked sick enough for family and friends to start asking if I actually was sick. Wanna know the crazy part? Them asking that made me feel slightly elated and even accomplished. It actually fueled my desire to not only maintain that very unhealthy weight but maybe even lose more weight!

I “lived” like that for almost two years. Hovering right around 90lbs, feeling so weak most days it was hard to get up once I had sat down, and subconsciously resigning myself to the fact that if I couldn’t control what was going on around me, I would control what was looking back at me in the mirror. Steadily declining health, a near nervous breakdown, and a trip to the emergency room later, I finally snapped back into enough reality that I quit my job, broke up with my boyfriend, and decided to take my life back into my own hands. It wasn’t quite as quick and easy as that, but in general, that’s what ended up happening.  

I also didn’t magically find myself right after I did all those things, but I did find so much happiness in living on my own terms that my obsession with my weight and what I was eating no longer had a place in my life. So what are some things I did to help turn such a negative relationship with food into the much more positive one I have today? Well, the first thing I did was…

It didn’t happen overnight, but the good news is, it did happen. It took work and not every day was perfect and honestly, I still have some days when I look in the mirror and for a brief second, I think I need to start restricting again. You know, just for a few days to drop a few pounds but I am now quickly able to banish those thoughts as unhealthy and unnecessary. My relationship with food today is on solid ground and as healthy as it has ever been. I see food as an ally or a tool I have in my arsenal that I can use every single day to live the healthiest life possible. Being able to shift this relationship into such a positive one has made my life so much better in so many ways and may have even saved it.  

Stay healthy and safe everyone!!

xoxoxo,

Beth

143 thoughts on “My Relationship With Food”

  1. Glad you and food are now allies. It is so easy to grab and go with some ready made food or follow the latest fad diet. The secret to a healthier diet seems to be to steer clear of processed food, eat a balanced diet and get back to scratch cooking/baking. Not that a fast food treat isn’t nice once in a while, but a steady diet is not a good idea. Stay well and thanks for sharing. Allan

    Liked by 11 people

  2. I too struggle with control over as much of my life as I can. This whole pandemic has forced me to substitute my interactions with dear friends (like oxygen for me) with workouts and a focus on food. Unlike you, I have not restricted my calories to almost any but I focused on keeping the composition of my diet down to the gram. For me, I felt that the focus could somehow make up for the emptiness that I feel in my everyday life of solitude.

    I love my workouts and worked with a personal trainer but soon became bored with the personal training. I also found that my flexibility was declining because I was so focused on getting a specific number of miles or workouts. As I logged them on my Fitbit site, I found that my focus was on filling in the boxes rather than enjoyment.

    I am still struggling with balance and loneliness. As someone who is 5’8″ tall who weighed 324 lbs for most of my adult life, I lived in fear of my weight going above 180 lbs. I still struggle with missing my dear friends; gaining weight or losing some of my conditioning. I work on being patient, keeping my nutrients sound, and knowing that soon this pandemic will let up and I will be able to spend some time with those I love. It’s a daily struggle but I must be honest if nothing else. I see some of myself in your post and I thank you for posting it.

    Liked by 8 people

  3. How are you feeling after writing your post? That was a real emotional rollwercoaster for me to read, and I cannot imagine what you are going through.
    To share your experiences will hopefully make difference to someone in need too.
    Good for you.
    Steve

    Liked by 12 people

  4. Thank you so much for sharing your story. This is an incredibly important issue that our family has personal experience with so your openness and honesty are much, much appreciated. We’re so glad you’re in a better place and have established a kinder and healthier relationship with food!

    Liked by 11 people

  5. I think everyone can relate to this on some or other level…. we all have the tendency to control smaller aspects of our life when the larger part is getting out of hands. Appreciate you for sharing your experience! 🙂

    Liked by 13 people

  6. I sadly did not catch on as quickly as you, but I am glad that you did.
    I didn’t know what disordered eating or eating disorders even were, though honestly in my house growing up, food seemed to be a constant chaotic all day saga.
    To begin, my big brother was a juvenile onset diabetic, 13 years old when I was born.
    it was pre Karen Carpenter, and I was only eight years old old. I was assaulted, and like you I wanted to have an even an tiny bit of control. No one spoke of E.D. until I had 5 years of daily practice and it would control my life for over 4 decades.
    7 years of active recovery, today and grateful to be alive. In my worst days, at 5′ 7″ I was under 85 pounds.
    Besides having an amazing therapist, who sat on the phone with me until I had successfully driven over my scale 6 times, so I love that it was #1 on your list, I have gone to treatment twice. The first time was barely long enough to make any progress, before insurance kicked me out, undoing all positives almost immediately, and the 2nd time which was life saving and took me away from my family for more than 6 months, but I have not gone back to it, no matter how hard life becomes….
    AND I have not weighed myself in over 7 years. I am so glad that you were able to get past
    yours too.

    Liked by 8 people

  7. SO RELATABLE. I don’t think the food obsession thing ever goes away once we have it, it’s always lingering at the back of the mind, and comes out at stressful times. And the fitness part, I read it like it was as told by me haha same situation!

    Liked by 12 people

  8. I recognized a lot of similarities in your post in relation to my own battle. Definitely the fat limit, which ended up being more sugary foods that I consumed. I also understand your apprehension in sharing. I recently posted about my experiences on my website and shared on Instagram. Unfortunately, I then started losing Instagram followers. It’s hard to discuss but my hope is that it can be helpful for others. Best wishes.

    Liked by 5 people

  9. I wonder how many women go through this very same scenario. I know I did (hello counting the tablespoons of milk in my coffee!). Maybe we have to go through that hell just to realize that we are so much more beautiful than a number randomly selected by … whom?

    Liked by 9 people

  10. Your story is relatable to me..I was thinking like you before but I was changing my mind little bit too late after I got sick..Thanks for your sharing

    Liked by 7 people

  11. So relatable. I’m 5’2” and got down into the 80s. I’m not even sure how I got out but so grateful I did. I’m also glad it’s a topic that’s much more discussed because I didn’t even know it was a thing when I was struggling. Hoping the does what you hoped and helps others going through this. It reminds people they are not alone! Thank you for sharing your story💕

    Liked by 5 people

  12. Loved your rollercoaster journey. One of the best piece of advice is to cook your own meal. It really helps to know the meal your body is consuming in a definite proportion. If we can stick with it, it does additional wonders to the body. 👌🏻

    Liked by 6 people

  13. I am glad your relationship with food got better over a period of time. Once an enemy is now your biggest ally and booster. Thumbs up for you Beth!

    Liked by 3 people

  14. What a good read and thank you for sharing your story which I greatly can relate too. I am currently struggling on how I control my meal and I get really anxious when I’ve seen I started to gain weight again. I was mesmerized by the tips you’ve given that I should not restrict myself on what not to eat but to listen to my body and focus on the nutritional value instead. Wow, I hope I could apply these to myself. Stay healthy!!! Xx

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Aww thank you and I hope so! I totally agree with you….I think they are much more common than we think. Hopefully the more we talk about it the more people feel comfortable coming forward and getting help. Thanks again!! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s