Part of the reason that I became a food and eating psychology coach was because I was fed up with feeling like I had to be a certain shape to get on in life, and spinning around the revolving doors of weight loss clubs in an attempt to achieve it.
The repetitive body shaming dialogue in my head and roller-coaster of emotions resulting from chasing a number on the scales was frankly, exhausting. Being constantly pre-occupied with your body size and what you are going to eat takes up a huge amount of head space.
For me, the answer was to educate myself. My study of eating psychology was akin to opening Pandoras Box, a myriad of relatable insights that I couldn’t help but feel I really should have known already.
Therein lies the issue. So many women, regardless of their level of intelligence, are blindsided by societal opinions of what they should look like and are sucked into a life of scrutinising their bodies and dieting.
For me, enough was enough.
Theses days, I enjoy a completely relaxed relationship with food, by which I mean, I always give consideration to nutrition, but I never obsess about fat, sugar or calories. I also have a good relationship with my body. I am proud of how strong and resilient it is and I no longer berate it for not looking a certain way or not fitting into a pair of skinny jeans.
When I think about the key learnings that helped me to finally leave dieting behind and create a better relationship with food and my body, it boils down to a combination of these things:
- Building a sense of self-compassion. Deciding to approach my body with love rather than disdain allowed me to truly care for it.
- Learning how to eat in a way that balances my blood sugars. Combining the macro nutrients in regular meals and snacks is truly satisfying. I don’t need to do anything else to manage my weight or nourish my cells.
- Gaining the knowledge that restricting food or depriving myself of food groups increases the desire to eat and decreases self-esteem.
- Learning how to experience sadness, anxiety, boredom and all my other difficult feelings without the need to judge, escape from them or suppress them with food or alcohol.
There is no doubt that it’s a journey, and one I had to work at. A lot of the beliefs about body shape and eating habits are so entrenched that it takes a while to learn and develop new ones.
It also takes strength to push back against the notion that being a certain dress size defines your value in life and to snub the industries and groups who are profiting and benefiting from your unhappiness.
That said, it is absolutely possible to divorce dieting and begin a happy relationship with yourself.
Over the coming weeks, I’m going to explore each of the things that I believe it takes in more detail through my blog and social posts to support any of you who might be struggling with similar challenges. I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments so I can shape my offerings around your experiences….