I spent a lot of my teenage life and early adulthood feeling very out of control with my food and weight. Being a dancer, I felt an enormous pressure (which was probably only ever from myself,) to look a certain way. No matter what I tried, my body never responded the way I wanted it to. I have my Dad’s build – picture short, stocky and staunch (something that I am now extremely grateful for because I have really strong legs.) But no amount of dieting was going to make me look like a lovely, tall Prima Ballerina!
In hindsight, I had a terrible relationship with myself and my body. I was taking on all of my negative self-talk and self-doubt, which manifested into stress, anxiety and unhappiness. So I dealt with this the only way I knew how. I tried to eat the pain away. Over-eating food that I knew was not going to nourish my body, let alone my soul. I suppose you would call it binge eating. I ate in private, and I ate a lot. And I felt SHIT afterwards. And so the vicious cycle started again….. The feelings of guilt would set in and then I would say to myself “TODAY IS THE DAY! I AM GOING TO EAT WELL AND EXERCISE LOTS!”…. All the while still feeding myself negative thoughts about my body and myself.
But after a day or 2, things would fall apart again. Because what I failed to really deal with was my negative self talk and the reasons why I was doing this to myself.
Over the past few years I have worked hard to remove any feelings of negativity or guilt towards food and weight. Alas, my relationship with food has improved drastically. Here are my top tips to start rebuilding your relationship with food.
Take A Breath
If you’re reaching for food when you’re not hungry, then STOP, BREATHE and identify what is really going on. 9 times out of 10 it will be something emotional. Are you stressed, tired, anxious or nervous? If the answer is yes, then deal with that. Find something non-food related that’s pleasurable. Get outside for a walk, take a power nap, have a hot bath, treat yourself to a massage, watch your favorite TV show with a cuppa or call your best friend. Anything!
Let Go Of Yesterday’s Mistakes
Be kind and stop punishing yourself for what you ate yesterday. BREATH! It is done. Let it go. Focus on the now. Your body is listening attentively to this negative banter, which will create more unwanted stress in your body. Helloooo cortisol, and good-bye optimal digestion!
See Food As Fuel
Change the way you view food. Start to look at your meals for what they really are: an opportunity to nourish your body with all of the important nutrients it needs to run efficiently.
Break The “All-or-Nothing” Cycle
So you made a not-so-great food choice? Get over it! Saying, “well I ate that ice-cream so I may as well just keep going and eat the entire kitchen” is like saying “well I dropped my iPhone, so now I am going to continue to smash the screen to smithereens”. Trust me when I say this – your body does not mind the one Magnum you ate so much but it will start to mind all the rest of the crap that you fill it with.
Forget About Perfect Eating
I am yet to come across anyone that eats perfectly. So just forget about it.
Practice Positive Affirmations.
If you really want to change your behaviour, you need to train your brain. Start practicing positively daily affirmations to really change your beliefs, which will translate into actions. I cannot stress how important this is for long-time sustainable change. Find your mantra ladies!
Nourish and Nuture Your Body
Last but not least, never forget how damn hard your body works for you to do the things it can do. You get ONE BODY, ONE LIFE, and ONE SHOT at this magnificent existence. Nourish and nurture your body the way it deserves!