My eating has always been picky. And too often, while surviving my years as a teenager and doing my best to not get lost, I turned to food as a way of coping. That coping was often not eating or eating too much.
This relationship with food has continued to be the most difficult part in my weight loss journey to date. Counting calories is overwhelming. And it often feels impossible that so many calories could go into so little food.
It's not something you talk about often. No one really wants to know that someone is struggling with any sort of an eating disorder. After all food is our friend. It's how we survive. We need it to make it through the days. It shouldn't be our enemy.
I struggle - nearly every day - with making the best choices for my body. Most days I lose the battle to eat the best foods I can. Most days I don't get as many servings of vegetables as I should. Most days I don't eat more than two servings of fruit. Most days I load up on more carbohydrates than lean protein.
A lot of it goes back to looking at food for comfort. I'm trying to move away from this perspective because food is not meant for comfort. Yes, it can provide that, but that shouldn't be it's main purpose. Seeing food as comfort leads to, in my case at least, a colossal weight gain.
This is a cycle I've gone through multiple times. It is also a cycle I refuse to go through again. Before, during those times that I saw food as control, I thought I looked good. But now, years later and pounds later, I see the exhaustion on my face and see how unhealthy my skin looked. I was thin, but I wasn't healthy.
I have dreams of being thin again. Though I never want to be thin like I was in high school. The kind of thin that leads to bags under eyes and a smile that seems to be forced more than natural. I want the natural smile I have now on a smaller face and smaller frame.
And I don't want to just be thin. I want to be fit, strong, lean, and healthy; those things are so much better than thin.
So I am changing my relationship with food and seeing it for what it really is.
And what is it? It's nutrition. It's strength. It empowers me and gives me energy. It fuels me to go another day. And it is something to enjoy. It is not the things I once thought it was.
My hope is that the more I see food in this way the easier it will become to eat lower calorie foods, to choose fruit and vegetables over anything fried, and to steer away from ice cream for breakfast (which was a staple in college).
Food is not the enemy. It is one of the ways I got to a point of needing to lose weight, and it is also a part of my why. But it is also one of the ways I will get to my goal weight. It is how I will accomplish losing at least 100 pounds.
(title from "never good enough" by rachel ferguson)
[PS: To anyone who is suffering or has suffered from an eating disorder of any kind, there is hope. There is always hope. And there is always life after; and that life is pretty great. Praying for all of you who are suffering or have suffered.]