One of the main challenges I am facing in my life right now is that I don’t like the way my body looks. I don’t like the way I feel in my clothes or the way that I look in my clothes. In the past year or so, I have steadily gained about 20 pounds. Not a whole lot in the grand scheme of things, but enough to make my clothes not fit anymore (and now those bigger sized jeans I bought not that long ago, ugh). I have pretty much been a human garbage disposal of junk food my whole life and never really gained any weight… until now.
In my late teens and early twenties, my entire wardrobe consisted of tight, form-fitting tank tops and shorts (I grew up in Phoenix, Arizona where flip flops are worn year-round). Now that I am approaching my thirties, and have more of a protruding stomach area, I find myself wanting to just be comfortable and covered. This basically means that I live in baggy shirts and run to change out of those WAY too-tight-around-the-middle jeans into my sweatpants the minute I get home. My husband is so lucky.
I don’t think that I am fat. I strongly dislike this word and it makes me sad to think of anyone calling themselves that word. There is nothing wrong with the size I am at now or any other sizes for that matter. But what I do want to be is healthy. I am a tad on the overweight side according to the body mass index scale. I have an unhealthy relationship with food, and it affects my physical appearance as well as my overall state of mind. It also affects my husband as I have recently discovered that I am lactose intolerant but have yet to summon enough self-restraint to not eat cheese, phew. I told you he was lucky!
When I am stressed or upset, I turn to “comfort” junk food to make me feel better. I try and restrict myself but the minute I get a craving for something I know I should not eat; I throw a temper-tantrum inside my head and end up getting what I want. I get emotionally uncomfortable and agitated when I try and change my diet, but I feel physically uncomfortable with the food that I eat.
This is not how I want to feel. I want to feel beautiful and healthy and strong. True, sweatpants are like wearing a cloud around your bottom half, but do I really feel like my most confident self when unbuttoning those jeans feels like the greatest relief known to mankind? Um… no. Yes, I could just buy another pair of jeans, another size up. I’m afraid that if I buy the next size up, then in a few months I’ll need another size up and then another.
Which brings me to my goal. I want to build a better relationship with food. I want to put nourishing and wholesome food into my body, not the empty calories of processed junk food that I have been that makes me feel sluggish and moody all the time. When something is getting me down, I don’t want my go-to to be driving to the nearest gas station to buy some sort of delicious and yet disgusting morsel of self-sabotage. To do this I am going to need some help. Saying that I am going to change my relationship with food is all very good, but if I don’t have some sort of action plan or strategy to help keep me in line, then it is never going to happen.
I have been trying to think of some of the challenges in my daily life that hinder my goals from eating better. Sometimes I just flat out forget that I am trying to eat healthily and don’t remember until after I have already bought and started eating something that definitely was not on the meal plan. Most of the time, however; I just have a momentary lack of faith in myself and give in to what feels comfortable and easy. So, I have come up with a few tactics that I think might help remind and motivate me to start and maintain my journey of building a healthier relationship with food.
Tactic One: Why, Oh Why
Write out my why.
The first step is to write out my reasons for wanting to create healthier eating habits. Why am I doing this? Why do I want a better relationship with food? What is my motivation? Establishing why I want to make this change will help to make it more personal than just saying, “I want to eat better.” Using the reasons that I came up with, I can set a few short and long-term goals to have something to work towards.
Tactic Two: Dear Diary,
Keep a food journal.
I am going to start keeping a food journal of what I have had to eat that day. I think that this will help to visually show me what it is I am actually putting into my body. Sometimes, I can trick myself into believing that I haven’t just eaten two packages of pop-tarts… in a row…one right after the other…without pausing…like the cookie monster. Having the truth laid bare in black and white will help to keep me accountable.
Tactic Three: Affirmations Are Assuredly Ambitious And Awesome, AF
I think that affirmations and visualizations can be very useful tools in helping to change your mindset and mood. A positive phrase that I can use to help guide me back to my intentions and visualize myself being healthy and happy. It might be something that I don’t fully believe now, but hopefully will begin to by consistently saying it out loud to myself. Some ideas for affirmations could be:
- I respect my body and will fuel it with healthy and wholesome food.
- I will eat healthy food that is delicious and nutritious.
Tactic Four: This Is Healthy?!?
Re-create unhealthy meals with healthier ingredients.
The last tactic I think that will really help me build a better relationship with food is trying to re-create some of my favorite things to eat but with healthier ingredients. For example, I LOVE brownies! They are my all-time favorite dessert and could eat them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. So, I searched for a recipe for a healthier version of a brownie and I found one that uses chickpeas and other more wholesome ingredients. They were AMAZING! I was really surprised at how delicious they were as I was very skeptical throughout the whole process of baking them. I think that trying to re-create or finding healthier versions of recipes will help introduce better food options and alternatives.
I also think that this will help make healthier eating more fun. Sometimes when I think of healthy eating, I think of boring, tasteless rice cakes and celery sticks. So, re-creating fave meals or snacks with healthier ingredients will help to switch my mindset that food can be good for you and delicious and yummy at the same time.
These are the four tactics I plan on implementing into my daily life to start building a healthier relationship with food. I know this is going to be an on-going, lifelong process and there are sure to be some ups and downs. Trying to change one’s way of eating can be a daunting task after years and years of unhealthy habits. That is why it is important to be kind to yourself. Slip-ups are going to happen, sugar cravings are no joke, but that’s ok! We don’t have to be perfect overnight; we don’t have to be perfect at all. We just have to keep trying and remind ourselves of our ‘why’ and say our affirmations!!
Say it with me!
“I love myself enough to fuel my body with the nourishment it needs to keep me strong and healthy.”
Thank you so much for reading! I hope this helped inspire or motivate you to begin building a healthier relationship with food! Do you struggle with any bad habits when it comes to food? Do you have a go-to favorite healthy meal that you love? Comment down below.
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