A random post on Facebook this morning prompted me to actually sit down and put my thoughts to paper, so to speak. It was focussed on ‘good’ and ‘bad’ foods and why ‘clean’ eating was the way forward. And it made me angry. Really f**king angry.
For years and years, my attitude has always been that certain foods are ‘bad’ and should be avoided, or heaven forbid if they get eaten, then they come with a massive portion of guilt afterwards. A feeling of disgust at myself for eating that bit of cake or ploughing through a bag of peanut butter M&Ms and a total hatred for the way I look.
What I’ve finally realised (and quite recently), is that there’s no good or bad when it comes to food. Food is just food. It’s something to fuel our bodies with and make sure it runs properly. All of the positive and negative connotations that come with eating certain things are all created by ourselves. A blueberry doesn’t see itself as a ‘good’ food, much as a Mars bar doesn’t see itself as ‘bad’. We may feel slimmer, lighter, more healthy when we focus on eating more fresh fruit and veg, but that doesn’t mean that we should punish ourselves for eating a pizza or tucking into our favourite chocolately treat. I think that the whole good/bad thing completely skews our own perceptions of ourselves.
We (I do, at the very least) end up with lower self-worth because we feel guilty about eating certain things, which not only leads to a negative body image but often sets ourselves up for failure in the long run. How many times have you tried to lose weight, eaten something ‘off plan’ and then decided you might as well give up that day as you’ve ruined it already. And then face plant a tear and share chocolate twist (with absolutely no sharing involved).
This summer I’ve decided it’s time to change my attitude completely. For me, there are no more ‘good’ or ‘bad’ foods, but instead I’m focusing on eating to nourish my body. Giving it the protein, healthy fats, carbs and lots of nutritious fruit and veggies that it needs. That doesn’t mean that I’m cutting out cheese or gluten or chocolate – far from it. Instead, these are just another type of food. One I’ll attempt to eat a bit less of, purely from a health point of view, but no longer because they are seen as evil diet saboteurs.
I’m making a commitment to exercise. One that’s actually achievable and (mostly) enjoyable. I’ve joined an online personal training programme (Frank Personal Training - not sponsored in any way!) where positivity and accountability are both encouraged. It’s a total mind set change for me as I’ve been all about the self-hate for so long that it’s hard to stop those thoughts, but I really am trying. And I’m trying hard to make it less about a number on the scale and more about a feeling of health, fitness and (hopefully) smaller trousers. Where I pat myself on the back for being able to do 5 press ups instead of half of one (true story).
As for all the self-hatred about the way I look, I’m trying to be kinder to myself. A couple of extra inches around the waist isn’t the be all and end all of life and there’s far more to me than just that. It’s time to give myself a break, stop looking in the mirror and throwing hateful words at myself. I worry that one day I’ll get older and look back on these days and see what a waste of an opportunity it’s all been. I spend so much time telling myself I’ll wear ‘this’ when I get back down to a certain weight, but what if that day never comes? I don’t want to wait any more. I want to be free. To feel happy and to love myself a bit more.
So it’s time for a change. A change for the better and a change for the happier.