I had a different post lined up for today, but as I was doing a cheeky morning yoga with Adrienne session I had some inspiration to write this post instead. I know, look at me, not posting for a month and then I’m coming at you with two in one week. Just as a quick side note… the reason I did not post anything for nearly more than a month was because I was settling into a new role at work and my schedule was very busy and a bit all over the place for a while. Any free time I had was spent socialising with friends, being with the J man or face planting the sofa to zone out on some Netflix… Now I am a wee bit more settled, I have been making the time to write again. So here we are… 🙂
Like I said, as I was doing some morning yoga with Adrienne, I was thinking of which blog post to write today, when another idea popped in my mind to write about 5 ways I am at peace with food and my body. As someone who has recovered from various manifestations of discorded eating spanning my teens right through to my mid 20s, I am just so happy to be in a place of food and body peace. Some things lately have just made me think it would be cool to share this kind of post.
I don’t want to write this blog post to brag about how at peace I am with food and body, not at all. The drive to write it is to inspire any of you out there who are struggling with your relationship to food and your body to know that there is another way. You can get better. You can live a life where what you eat and your body size don’t take over your life anymore. You can be free from it and live a full life. It takes a lot of work, a lot of self-love and a lot of changing your beliefs + thoughts + patterns. But you cannnnn absolutely do it. You can get there 🙂
So here are 5 ways I am at peace with food and my body (there are much more, but I thought I would not make it too long 😉 )
- Intuitive Movement: I have not done much “formal” exercise since I got back from Bali in late August. And it kinda just happened that way. For a while, old thoughts of having to do exercise to be healthy and keep my weight stable popped up, but they went away as quick as they came. With a mixture of being busy and sometimes having to work long days on my feet, I started to just move completely how I felt like it. Lots of gentle yoga and walking have been my movement choice over the last 3 months or so with a couple of “dance around the room to music movement sessions” and guess what? I feel great. Yes, I am slightly softer in areas, is it the end of the world? NO. I have more important things to be doing than making sure my body is toned enough to meet our society’s beauty standards. And walking and yoga are more than enough healthy movement to honour that our bodies like to move.
- Being able to eat out multiple times a day and not freak out about it: Eating out used to be a stressful experience. In my restrictive days, eating out was just a huge amount of stress, negativity, panic and toxic thoughts. Similarly, with orthorexia, eating out was only safe if I knew there was something “healthy on the menu”. Not only do I not have to check a menu or worry about where we are eating, but I can eat out multiple times a day and not freak about it. I know this may seem trivial to someone who has not had an eating disorder or suffered from the lashes of diet culture, but to me it is a big deal and just soooooo freeing to be able to eat out when I need to and be cool about it.
- Intuitive Eating: Which brings me on to Intuitive Eating, which is honestly been a life saver for me in healing my relationship with food and why I am passionate about sharing the true Intuitive Eating message (from the book Intuitive Eating by two eating disorder professionals). I couldn’t recommend IE enough. I am finally at a place where I listen to what my body needs. And as of recently I have decided to fully, fully listen to that with no labels whatsoever. As you may know, I struggle with ethics around eating animal products as I love animals so much. However, my body, time and time again shows it’s need for eating some animal products when I try and be vegan or vegetarian (for purely ethical reasons). I deny what my body needs due to guilt around an animal dying for my food. Sounds dramatic hey? Although I was practising Intuitive Eating as a vegan or veggie and eating whatever I wanted within those vegan/veggie windows, I was ignoring my intuition to eat meat sometimes. What I have realised on this Intuitive Eating journey is that I am a big hypocrite preaching about this life saving way of eating (intuitive eating) if I am denying some of my own cravings. The biggest take away I have learned is that we have to give ourselves compassion and look after ourselves, even if that means eating meat sometimes, and then do what we can to help animals. I know some may disagree and old militant vegan LK would scoff at this. But I have to practice what I preach and if I crave a bit of meat every so often, I have to listen to my body and what it needs. (More on this to come in a later post…)
- Being at peace if my body puts on weight: Every so often I can feel I have put on a little bit of weight. It could be around the time of my period where I get a bit bloated or it could just be that I can feel my thighs are a little snug in my jeans. Old Lauren would have freaked out and tried to lose weight (oh hey diet culture matching my weight to my worth). Healed Lauren is like meh, I might not totally love feeling a bit uncomfortable in my clothes, I might not even totally love the look of my body right now, but I am going to choose to live life according to my true values, and losing weight is not a true value of mine. Focusing on taking care of myself and others and adding value to this world is. Instead of fighting against my body, I choose to trust it. I know it is taking care of me and I am taking care of her. My body will be at whatever weight it needs to be for that that moment in my life and I trust that I do not need to micromanage my body weight or size.
- Not being affected by people’s comments about my weight/what I eat: Some people still greet me with comments like “have you lost weight?” when I have not seen them for a while, even though they know what I have been through. They don’t mean to be insensitive, they are sadly just stuck their own diet culture world. These comments used to really bother and affect me. My old ED brain would pipe up and be like “omg was I big before?” aka “was I unworthy before and therefore do I need to keep being smaller for external approval and for people to love me?”. Unfortunately, our society deems being smaller as more worthy and bigger as being less worthy, which totally ridiculous and just not true. We are worthy whether we are small or big or everything in between and more. Other comments could be about “how many carbs I eat” or people being amused or making comments about how much I eat. This again used to really bother and affect me as I felt “greedy” and greedy means unworthy right? WRONG. I am not greedy, I just satisfy and nourish my body as needed. Now, at peace, I am just like yes I eat a lot to nourish myself when I am hungry and sometimes that is multiple meals and snacks and yes I eat a lot of carbs. All of this helps to nourish me and give me energy to live a full and free life and get out and live my true values and make a difference in this world. Now let us please move on to more exciting conversation and stuff that actually matters…
Are there any thoughts you have where you notice how at peace you are with food and your body? If you are still on your journey (we all are on an ever growing journey with it) what sort of thoughts would you like to be having instead of the ones you have now?