I love food. My days revolve around my meals, my work is food, a lot of my childhood memories I can remember certain days/occasions because of what I was eating… and despite this I have only come to terms recently to the very negative side to my relationship with food.
I will do a full recap for anyone new here, to be honest I don’t know how I didn’t realise a lot of this sooner but anyway here we are and I can genuinely say I feel more positive than ever towards the way I am eating and thinking about food.
I had an unhealthy relationship with food for as long as I can remember. I was overweight throughout my teens and as a young adult. At 21 years old I found out I was pregnant with Abbie, long story short it was a lonely time, a lot of the friends I had at the time well we would just go out in the week and at the weekend on huge benders… then of course I got pregnant and my life changed pretty drastically. When Abs was born I spent a lot of time indoors, eating, I would walk to the local shop and buy huge bars of chocolate and bags of crisps and just eat and watch tv whilst she slept. I used to cook huge meals for me and Kieran and eat the same amount as him. I have never ever EVER listened to my body when I’m eating, always eating to feel better but actually it always made me feel worse.
Despite feeling full or sluggish I would still continue to eat. Despite feeling low because I’d binged, being snappy and miserable to those around me, I would still continue to eat. This is something I was STILL doing up until about 2 months ago!
When Abbie was about 9 months old, I decided to join Slimming World… and I can honestly say it was such a positive decision to make. I thrived on the plan and managed to lose 5.5 stone in total, I felt amazing at 10st7 but I was adamant I still needed to lose 7lbs and be 10st exactly. I love Slimming World and what it has done for me in the long run, but I also developed bad habits in terms of weighing myself too regularly (I had never weighed myself really until I started Slimming World)… and thinking of some food as good/some food as bad etc… I would recommend it as a plan if you have alot of weight to lose but more importantly just start paying attention to your feelings before/after food! Will go into this more later… and link some older blog posts here for anyone wanting to know more about my weight loss…
Weightloss in Numbers photos of my Slimming World diary
Pregnancy After Weightloss when I was pregnant with Isla
Trying To Find Balance… Still! general chit chat about my ‘journey’ lots of photos!
I continued to follow the plan throughout my pregnancy with Isla, after having Isla, I got a personal trainer @chesssmart … I still continued to eat very much the ‘Slimming World’ way but did calorie counting too, I also tried intermittent fasting but realised both of these just weren’t for me. I was still thinking about food all the time, trying to control certain aspects, having obsessive behaviour, feeling guilty if I ate badly for a day or 7… beating myself up and being aggy and miserable! I felt fit and amazing but was still having negative thoughts around food and feeling guilty but not as frequently, it has been quite a gradual ‘journey’ I would say getting to the headspace I am in now.
When we moved house last year, and as Isla got more active and demanding, I stopped exercising regularly and do regret this because it did wonders to my mental health… but now instead of feeling bad about how my shape has changed in this space of time, I just embrace it and now I’m exercising having PT once a week again with Chess and working out at home 2-3 times a week with Jemmas Health Hub, trying very hard to focus on how it makes me FEEL and not weigh myself.
Now lets get onto the food!! So I don’t really know where this came from… thinking back to a couple of months ago I think I just felt a bit out of control… I wasn’t eating that great and I felt uncomfortable and sluggish. I was thinking daily about joining Slimming World again but I just knew I couldn’t have any restrictions, I just wanted to eat without feeling bad about any part of it. I had a good think about food, what made me feel good after eating, full, energised etc. So I simply started by thinking before eating a meal ‘how is this meal going to make me feel’ now I know it sounds a bit weird and cringe but let me explain for instance eating a Sausage Sandwich for breakfast on White Bread with lashings of Butter and Ketchup (I mean YAS lovely, I had one at the weekend because I had an adult headache :)) but how will I feel after eating that compared to Yoghurt, Fruit and Granola or Poached Eggs on Toast… or throwing Chicken Nuggets and Chips in the oven instead of boiling up a quick Pasta with so Veg and a bit of Chicken or fish, I would literally sit there and say to myself if you eat this… how will you feel after?
Then of course there are the times that you will want that Sausage Sandwich, that glass (bottle) of wine… that McDonalds… for me that is all part of life, and it was being able to do that without feeling guilty, just saying ‘yep do you know what, if you want that just bloody have it’ but noticing that maybe those meals aren’t quite as nourishing and just enjoying them and drawing a line. And I can honestly say that for the first time in probably my adult life I haven’t binged for nearly 3 months. Almost like just saying to myself you can have whatever you want when you want it, I always worried if I had too much freedom to just ‘allow’ myself to eat what I want that I would go mad and binge, but by giving myself the freedom and actually thinking and listening to my body, I’m eating better than I have done in probably my whole adult life, not just in a ‘healthy for my body’ sense but a ‘healthy for my mind’ sense too.
If anyone else is struggling with food and feeling guilty, restricted or anything… I would honestly say just try and spend some time to listen to your body, notice how it reacts to different food and how you feel, if you have time plan meals that you love that will satisfy you and make you happy, keep it interesting and if you want a takeaway just bloody have one and treat yourself every once in a while.
I won’t pretend I have it nailed, I still have negative thoughts and old habits creeping in BUT I just try and switch those thoughts to positive ones and remember there is much more to life than stressing over having your cake and eating it.
I really hope this post has helped even one person, please message or email me if you have any questions! I know so many of you will be Slimming Worlders or Ex like me and believe me I am not knocking it, it did amazing things for me but I just knew I couldn’t spend my life thinking about numbers on scales, sans, calories… it was all just taking up too much of my head space, I actually cant believe how little I think about what I’m eating/going to eat now. Yes some weeks are worse than others and some old habits and negative thoughts creep in but it’s just recognising that (its usually the week running up to my period!) and just allowing myself to have what ever I want… it really has made the world of difference.
Really hope this post has helped anyone!