A relationship with food is similar to all other relationships you encounter in daily life, such as with a friend, spouse, or business partner. These take time, preparation, planning, dedication, comittment, care, thought, and more. You have to schedule time and activities to maintain these relationships and to keep them healthy. Your relationship with food should align with the efforts in your other relationships. Do you slack off remembering birthdays, cheat on your spouse, and play hooky at work? Do you also find yourself slacking at the gym (or not going!), cheating on your healthy diet, and forfeiting the idea to challenge yourself physically?
Or do you plan surprise birthday parties and gifts, put your effort in at work, and reap the rewards of happiness and prosperity? Do you plan your meals, buy healthy groceries consistently, cook creatively or come up with healthy solutions? Do you find joy in spending time with your food, whether it be at the grocery store picking out a seasonal fruit, or at home as it sizzles on your pan? Think about these things for a minute and see if you like your personal relationship with food. If not, decide on a plan to change it for the better, and feel free to ask me for advice.
Whether we’re indulging or withholding, it is our relationship to food that we must be aware of, and know why it exists. Only then can we maintain it, fix it, or change it.
If you’d like to know my personal story and relationship with food, read on:
Up until the age of 10, I lived in a household with my three siblings and both my parents. We ate a predominantly Standard American Diet (SAD). This included, but was not limited to: wonder bread, sugary cereals, pb and j, hamburger helper, Kraft Mac cheese, Lil Debbies and Hostess treats daily, Bologna and American cheese food sandwiches, hot dogs and hamburgers, processed lunch meats, and tons of sugary sodas, candy, and drinks. I was never overweight by BMI standards, but I definitely wasn’t healthy. I played outside all of the time on my bike, trampoline, and swingset, but was internally rotting away. I was constantly sick with ear infections and stomach issues. (My parents didn’t know I was lactose intolerant until I was 15!) At age 11, my parents separated, and had a back and forth custody battle for 4 straight years. This meant constantly moving and switching schools.
My negative issues with food began around the age of 14. I felt out of control with my living situation that was constantly changing. I decided to control the ONE thing I could: what I ate. My choice was to not eat much at all. I lost my appetite because of stress, and would drink diet sodas or energy drinks to keep me going. My lowest weight was 87lbs and I was 5’3, about 15 1/2 years old. It came to a point where I was a freshman in high school and being teased for being a “Stick with Boobs.” My closest friends would shove food in my face or scream, “I know you’re throwin’ up in there!” when I went to the bathroom. (Little did they know I was anorexic, not bulimic.) The anorexia started out as a kid’s way to gain control on life because I had none. It turned into a case of full-blown body dysmorphic disorder once I started maturing into a woman and caring what my shape was.
I left high school for home school, and graduated with a fierce speed to get out of that hometown ASAP. At 17, I started college and took Nutrition 101. That class started the change of my eating habits into healthy ones (grilled lean meats and veggies versus junk food). I also took gym classes to learn about strength and conditioning. I learned the healthy way to “be skinny” and wanted to dedicate myself to that. This is when my fitness journey began.
As an adult, I still find times in life where I feel out of control. I know deep down how to be healthy and happy, but sometimes that’s not enough. Doing this DietBet the last four weeks definitely triggered some anorexic tendencies from my past. Being 125lbs and working out 4-5 times per week on a grain-free restricted diet wasn’t enough; I was destined to search for my peak. I want to see 14% body fat on that scale, the lowest bracket in the “Athlete” range. I want to constantly be challenging myself, growing, and getting better. I know the easy way out would be to starve a few days a week (eating less than 900 calories) on top of my healthy 2-a-days, lean meats, and protein shakes. But I’m a Personal Trainer. I am a Nutrition Consultant for Pete’s sake! How can I be a hypocrite? I’m not. I’m a human being who works this career with 110% passion because I LIVE IT. I feel it. I know it. I’m the fat kid who wants a Lil’ Debbie for breakfast and bologna sandwich with mayo and cheese on white bread for lunch. I am that same kid who hid a pillowcase of Halloween candy in her drawer just to hoard sugar. I am that athlete who wants to be faster, stronger, and more skilled. I am that girl who just wants to be skinny. I am that trainer who wants to be the next Chris Powell. I am that girl who devours a buffet as quickly as I burn it off. I understand you, and if I haven’t been there, I sure as hell will empathize the place in your shoes.
This is one of the most sensitive subjects in my life because it encompasses why I am the person I am today. I truly hope opening up to you and showing my vulnerable side helps you through your food and fitness journey.