One of my longest and most meaningful relationships would have to be with food. It is always there when I need it, but it has always been complicated. I would love to say that I was born with a green smoothie in my hand but that would be a complete lie. Even though I am now very balanced and have an incredibly healthy relationship with food, it took me many years to get to where I am.
The combination of low self-confidence and my lack of knowledge of the science behind food, left me in a pretty desperate state when it came to my mental and physical health. At times I felt guilty about eating; I had no self-control and no real understanding of nutrition. I could not grasp how to change my eating habits until I actually went back to school to study Holistic Nutrition. That is what saved me.
My weight has always fluctuated, which is extremely unhealthy. Just like most people, I was always looking for a quick fix. What I have learned is that the first step to being happy with your body is understanding what you are putting into it and the effects that it has on your physical and mental health. If you eat processed food you will feel terrible, if you eat whole foods that are not processed or genetically modified you should feel incredibly good.
The second rule would have to be: be realistic about your body type. You will never be happy if you don’t accept the fact that everyone is different. You cannot choose your body type, but you can choose to take all of the right steps in getting into the best shape of your life. By enhancing your nutrition and incorporating exercise into your daily regime, you can change your appearance. You can’t give yourself an 8-pack if your body is naturally curvy, but you can work with what you have and create the best possible version of yourself.
In a way, this shift into a healthy lifestyle has saved me and helped me clear my mind and become more focused on the greater good. I now get satisfaction out of helping people who were just like me, by teaching them about the importance of nutrition.
Food has also been very toxic in my life, especially at times when I was in the dark about the effects that unhealthy food would have on my body. In our society, body image is heavily imposed us, and I have battled with this for what seems to have been my whole life. In the past, I have suffered from depression, and now upon reflecting, when I consider what I was putting in my body, I see that it has always had a direct effect on the way that I was feeling - both mentally and physically. In a way, I believe that I chose the healthiest route, and ate myself out of a depression. When I began to change my diet and eating habits, my whole body changed and my depression lifted. I felt alive and was ready to be active again and treat my body like the temple that it is.
People always think of me as being confident and secure with myself, but I have struggled for years with body image and had also turned to drastic measures to lose weight. I used to “eat my feelings” when I was younger and then hate myself for being heavier than my friends. I have gone the two-workouts-a-day gym route, I have tried taking certain medications to suppress my appetite, I did back-to-back 90 minute hot yoga sessions at times, and I abused food and mistreated my body. Sometimes I would drink my calories and not eat, or I would binge eat and make myself sick.
The more that I talk to my clients and friends about body image, opening up about my story, the more I come to understand that many people have endured very similar struggles. The feeling of guilt over eating seems to be very prevalent amongst women that I have spoken to. It is very common for people who do not understand the science of nutrition. I can confidently say that I am saved - that I have bettered my life through studying and eating whole foods. I went back to the basics: I don’t break the bank on trendy health food crazes, I don’t diet or restrict myself from eating until I’m full, I just eat what is good for me. I eat more than ever and anyone who knows me will vouch for that! I never feel bad about nourishing myself because I know what I am eating is healthy. I am in the best shape of my life at 27 years old, better than when I was 22. I have more energy to work out, and my meal prep allows me to make nothing but great food choices when I am on the go. I want to share my success with all of my clients and be their food relationship coach!