There was a time where my relationship with food almost cost me my life. A period of restrictive eating and extreme dieting ended with me being forcibly hospitalised for nearly six months with anorexia.
If ever a person needed a wake-up call from their own relationship to eating and food, being placed in an adult psychiatric unit as a 14-year-old would be it. Sitting on my hospital bed, unable to walk or support my own body weight, surrounded by people who’s behaviour frightened me, was my rock bottom. Without a doubt.
I overcomplicated my relationship with food by having rules, counting calories and following fads. Sure, these choices took me below my goal weight (which I obsessed over “achieving”) but I forgot something important along the way: the weight in which I needed to weigh to be happy and the types of foods I wanted to eat sometimes to simply enjoy life.
Whether you are overeating, under-eating or not eating as well as you know you could be, your eating habits don’t have to be as extreme as mine were to motivate you to make positive change.
What I’ve learnt and continue to learn is that food is a source of nourishment as much as it is something we should enjoy for enjoyment’s sake.
Balance and eating with consideration (rather than mindlessly or obsessively) is what we all really desire — this is the definition of eating positively and for vibrant health. We’re all wonderfully unique; what works for your body won’t necessarily work for others. Each of us has our own particular metabolic type — it’s why some people can’t tolerate dairy products and why others steer clear of gluten and high carbohydrate diets. We all process foods differently.
Our modern society offers us an overabundance of food choices and foods that were once seasonal are now available all year round. Foods that were once considered treats are now consumed on a daily basis without thought (hello block of chocolate that disappears sometime after dinner and before bedtime). And our waistlines, our health and our positive energy suffer for it.
Rather than having restrictive rules or fads, could we instead embrace eating intuitively? This means listening to our bodies, considering what we eat before we eat it and ending the labelling of food as either good or bad.
What we choose to eat and how much we choose to eat has the power to leave us feeling and looking amazing, radiant, shining and a picture of health, or alternatively bloated, sluggish and dull.
We’re not saying goodbye to any particular foods here so don’t fear- no rules! But if eating sugary foods leaves you feeling sick and with a headache afterwards like it does me, then obviously it’s not ideal to ignore that feeling!! Particularly if we want to maintain or lose weight and feel more vibrant within ourselves. Our bodies are trying to tell us something in one of the only ways it is able to, through how it feels.
Can we keep things simple for ourselves from now on? Let’s actually listen to our bodies and what it’s trying to tell us. If it doesn’t leave us feeling amazing let’s avoid eating it (or alternatively eat it rarely). Let’s choose…..wisely. If we eat based on how food or an amount of food leaves us feeling in our body than maintaining our weight becomes not only a non-issue, it becomes an easy, enjoyable part of living.
What do you know needs to change when it comes to your eating habits? Where is there room for improvement? What are you consuming too much of or not enough of? What are you snacking on mindlessly? Are you drinking too much coffee or alcohol? Not enough water? Eating too much sugar? What foods leave you feeling light on your toes and amazing? Let’s bring in more of those foods please. What foods leave you feeling flat, sluggish and with indigestion? Let’s crowd them out with more of the good stuff please.
This chapter is an excerpt from the book “A Vibrant Heart” – a practical and inspiring guide that invites you to explore movement, eating and mindset with love and enthusiasm. All in the spirit of loving your body over hating on it. You can find it for purchase here.