One question from my best friend did more for my relationship with my body than any amount of dieting or therapy ever could: it made me forgive, if not forget…
If I was to describe my ongoing battling relationship with my body I’d use the phrase ‘It’s complicated’. I have to admit that yo-yo dieting played its vicious part, but the thing is there simply isn’t enough of that string in a yo-yo to start to spin out the yarn of our deep shared history. Let me just gently point out that we’ve never got along that much, and we definitely never been good for each other either. When I stood completely naked in front of the mirror, staring at my own reflection, I seen nothing that I liked, I hated EVERYTHING about my body. When I was 12 stone (with the height of 5’2”) of painful shame and all of my deeply swallowed feelings, I hated it even more when it was forever starving yet socially acceptable UK size 10.
Therapy was of great help; so was meeting my former best friend who’s wisdom saved me from my self-loathing self eventually. I didn’t believe him at first when he was going on about how beautiful I was and how miraculous the mere part of having a healthy functioning body is, how amazing it is to be alive in the first place; I couldn’t allow myself this refreshing indulgence of being/feeling loved and appreciated beyond the numbers that my scales would show each and single morning in the bathroom. And each time that my weight would increase – and self-loathing that barges in loaded into each pound – ballooned, until the combination of health scare and a wake-up call question broke the vicious unforgiving cycle.
My brother called and told me that he was getting married and that he wanted for me to attend his wedding, no excuses. Again, I stared at myself in the mirror one chilling morning and then felt even more ashamed and disgusted about the way I looked and felt. I was trying to dance my way out of this invitation, but Dan was strict and said – I don’t want to hear any of it, either you get to attend the wedding, or you can forget you ever had a brother. My heart sank. On one hand, I couldn’t bear a thought of the entire family staring at me commenting and judging how much weight I’ve picked up since the last time they saw me (which was from over a decade ago), on the other hand – I couldn’t allow for this reflection in the mirror and my shame about how I felt to destroy my chances of retaining a very important relationship with my brother. The thought of loosing him out of my life because of my insecurities was unbearable. It had to stop. I had to do something about it.
I had a little over six months to change it all. But it all began with the look in the mirror.
There I was stood naked in front of my own reflection. Feeling heavy and unhappy I looked into my own eyes and asked myself this: Why do you hate yourself so much? Life’s too short to feel that crappy about your own self. You have to learn to appreciate yourself first if you want to change.
But for that, I first needed to become so incredibly uncomfortable with the way I felt, allowing the mind shift to happen.
Have you tried eating sensibly, to begin with?
Eating sensibly, when I actually felt hungry, never appeared as a valid idea (perhaps the only diet I’d never tried before). I never checked the sizes of my portions either, I always felt compelled to finish EVERYTHING that was placed on my plate. I was wrong. The shift began when I started listening to my body and why it was trying to tell me. Feeling hungry? Eat a little, and make sure you are eating real food intended by nature (forget about the junk food you’d find the refuge in before).
If your mind is feeling a bit foggy, check your water intake. Are you staying hydrated? Be kind to yourself and drink lots of water to replenish your entire system. Listen to your body and give it what it needs – real fuel, the best it deserves.
I cut down on dairy and wheat and drank lots of water. I became more active and felt differently about myself. Everything changed with the melting excessive weight of my body. For the first time, I’ve learned to appreciate it.
Eat well, every day.
I believe that eating well is crucial, and it’s something we should aim to do for the rest of our lives.
I became interested in health and well-being after a good friend of mine suggested that some fundamental health issues I had been battling with for most of my life might be down to my eating habits and not so great overall ‘food choices’. He strongly advised to go and see a nutritionist. I must admit, as soon as I felt massive improvements and great effects of good nutrition, it inspired me to dig into the subject even deeper. It was a while ago, but am still continuing to learn more and more each day.
The foods that we choose to eat in our daily lives make a huge difference not only to managing some nutrition-related health issues but also to your overall well-being and how much energy you have every day.
- How much we need to eat and drink is vastly based on age, gender, how active your life is and the goals you are looking to achieve.
- Portion sizes have grown in recent years, as the plates and bowls we use have got slightly bigger. Pro-tip: use smaller crockery to cut back on your portion sizes, while making the food on your plate look bigger.
- No single food contains all the essential nutrients you need in the right proportion. That’s why you need to consume foods from each of the main food groups to eat well and feel good.
Some of us learned to associate ‘eating well’ with ‘dieting’ – those things are fundamentally different. Eating well is something ALL of us should aim for on a daily basis, so there is no need to rush and therefore there is no risk giving up on it too. It’s way better to take things slowly, one step at a time, gradually shifting your eating habits in an enjoyable and sustainable way over the long term.