When I was trying to eat as “clean” as possible in my early twenties, I thought I was being healthy. I was proud of myself for staying away from “bad” foods and only eating whole foods. I was proud of myself for spending hours in the kitchen and hours at the gym because I thought I was taking care of myself in the best way possible.
I was SO focused on being “healthy” and eating all the “right” foods that I ended up restricting myself. I wouldn’t say that I was starving myself but I was restricting myself in ways that led me to lose joy in my life. For example, I would not eat birthday cake at someone’s birthday party or I would only get salads (with only oil and vinegar as my dressing) when I went out to dinner. I felt as though I was not able to enjoy food like everyone else did but I justified it by saying to myself that I was taking care of my body.
I didn’t realize I had a problem with food until the binges started happening.
As I continued to restrict and over plan my meals, I started to crave all the “bad” foods. I was so worried about what people would think if they saw me eating bad foods because I was the “healthy” person, so I would hide what I was eating from others. Eventually, I got into the mindset that if I didn’t eat clean all day, I might as well binge on all the bad food. This vicious cycle of restricting and bingeing got to me and I knew my body was not thriving.
I really didn’t want to admit that I had a problem, so I dealt with this restricting and bingeing for a few years. Some phases of it were worse than others and some weeks I could control it better than others. I didn’t face these issues until I was instructed to by my therapist at the time. In my mid 20’s, I was going through a difficult time and started going to a therapist for a completely different reason other than my food issues. Naturally, these food issues came up during one of my sessions and my therapist made me face the reasons behind them.
Even though I was actively facing the reasons behind my food issues, I was not healed overnight. It took years and a lot of self-discovery and forgiveness for me to finally make peace with food and my body.
Initially, my clean eating all started because I wanted to fuel my body with only real food. Eventually, it got to a point where I wanted to eat clean because I wanted my body to look a certain way rather than feel a certain way. This mindset led me to believe that anything bad I ate would make me gain too much weight and would ruin my body. The root of my problem with food was related to body hate and wanting to control my appearance through food and exercise.
This food restriction led my body to lose energy and I myself lost happiness. Instead of facing this unhappiness, I turned to food for comfort. I was not letting myself address my emotions because I was afraid of facing unwanted feelings. I believe this was only one of the reasons for my binges. I believe my binges were also caused by too much restriction and my body going into starvation mode. Either way, I had to address both issues in order to develop a better relationship with food and my body.
If you are currently having issues around food and/or your body, you have to get to the root of the problem. The problem with you isn’t that you lack willpower around food, the problem is much deeper than that. Are you trying to control your food because you want to look a certain way? Do you view food as good or bad and who/what caused you to think this way? What emotions are you trying to avoid when you binge eat? Why do you think you need to be a certain size in order to be beautiful?
When you are feeling ready to face your food issues, answer those questions honestly for yourself. If talking to someone would help you, please click here to sign up for a free session with me. We can address these questions together and create steps that will help you make peace with food and your body.